Monday, April 13, 2009
Reviewing: "eBay Power Seller Secrets" by Debra and Brad Schepp (2nd Edition)
This second edition published in 2008 aims to educate readers on how to become a PowerSeller which is primarily defined as someone whose sales are more than $1000 a month and has at least a 98 percent favorable rating. Based on interviews with many PowerSellers, this book is not a primer how to start selling on eBay. Written by two self proclaimed PowerSellers the book does not present anything negative about eBay. It is strictly an advice book, written from their perspective, about how great the site is and how you too can become one of the select few, the PowerSellers.
That is the plan as detailed in the introduction which follows the preface that states the same ideas in a different way and an acknowledgment section which thanks numerous people for their invaluable contributions to this 388 page book. The introduction goes into more about what the book is about if you haven't figured that out by the title as well as the numerous blurb ads all over the cover. They also explain that being PowerSellers qualified the authors to ask questions of other PowerSellers.
Chapter One "Know your Business / Grow your Business" begins the book in the standard format of these type of books by making sure the reader understands the work commitment and job qualities needed to succeed. Not only do you need to have time commitment and personality to make the venture work, you need to know what the criteria is to be a Power Seller as well as the tools and resources on eBay to grow and support your market place. Various options and tools are covered as well as the idea that, at least in the beginning, you need to know the products you are selling. Repeatedly stressed is the idea that along with selling your merchandise, you are selling your reputation from day one so don't break the law, don't sell items that present problems, (such as food) and start small because you are in for the long haul.
"Source Products for Success" is the title and the theme of Chapter Two. Beyond getting a sales tax id number, the authors explain various ways of obtaining product inventory to sell. Researching inventory to sell is going to take up a lot of time as is actually acquiring the inventory whether you do it online or through local moving sales, garage sales, etc.
Sales growth is a theme in every chapter and that certainly is the case in Chapter Three "From Mom and Pop to PowerShop." With recommendations on the hardware and technology you need to support your business and inventory, to accounting software, to web hosting and photography needed, to simple things like digital scales and a phone line, the authors make numerous suggestions and recommendations . Much of this you may already have, but the chapter will also get you to think of new ways to use what you have and determine what you need to get.
Now that you have spent the first one pages getting things going, it is now time to "Automate Your Auctions for Smooth Selling" otherwise known as Chapter Four. A major point of an internet business is for it to make sales while you are sleeping or engaged in doing other things. To do that you need auction management software. The authors explain what such software is, what it does and how to get started using these valuable tools by showcasing a number of vendors and their products.
"Get Your Auctions Going!" is the title of Chapter Five which is all about making sure your customers see you and not a faceless store. Let a little of your personality (within reason" show on your "About Me" page, make your selling rules positive and non scolding, and spend time and money making your listings sell for you. Don't be too cute, be clean and neat and know the right product for the right category along with the above tips is just part of what this chapter is about.
Chapter Six is about how to "Power-Charge Your eBay Business." They suggest marketing by way of e-mail, a monthly newsletter, and rewarding returning customers along with numerous other ideas to protect your sales and your growing business. Putting the business to work for you by increasing sales is the theme of this chapter as well as the book and the authors also suggest other avenues of growth beyond your core business.
"Close the Auction and Collect the Cash" is Chapter Seven and they point out the obvious fact that a sale isn't made until you have money in hand. Various payment options with a main focus on Pay Pal (part of eBay) are covered. Along with tips on how to sell internationally while avoiding scams, spoofs, and phishing. Selling online can result in problems of various types with some customers and this chapter suggests ways to deal with some of those problems.
Chapter Eight "You Sold It, Now Ship It" points out the obvious fact that as a seller, you have to deliver the product. Along with suggestions on how to package and ship items, they suggest various shipping options and how to accomplish this in the most efficient and cheapest manner possible.
"Your Customer Is Always Right (Even When He's Wrong)" is the theme of Chapter Nine. Anyone who has ever sold anything online or worked in retail (I did for over twenty years) know that some people simply can't be helped. With an eBay business, e-mails are going to be the primary source of contact and they must be clear, concise and detailed for all parties. Examples of e-mails regarding various situations as well as basic customer service concepts are covered along with how to deal with customer service issues and feedback on eBay.
Chapter 10 is "Keeping Records – or Let's Have a Look at Those Books, Buddy." Keeping good records is vitally important and this chapter tells you how to do so and where to get info. This chapter gives a little advice on the subject but like any book, things are subject to change so you will want to contact a tax pro who is up to date on the rules and regulations.
"From eBay Seller to e-Merchant" also known as Chapter Eleven makes a few more suggestions on how to start small and grow your business before briefly comparing Amazon market place to eBay. As expected, the authors think Amazon needs work and ignore other auction sites in the marketplace.
Along with a brief thumbnail sketch of a Power Seller at the end of each chapter that functions more as an ad for the seller/eBay and not a real interview or analysis with depth, and an eight page index, this easy to read and understand book delivers on the intentions stated in the beginning. Filled with tips to grow your business, the read will help those who already are familiar with eBay and have the time to invest in the project though much of the information is rather obvious and there aren't any real special secrets in the book. Written with an obvious agenda in mind, the book doesn't offer a contrary point of view as to the merits and realistic issues with eBay nor did it intend to. Instead, like any wealth building guide, it shows you how to make money pushing a product such as vitamins, cosmetics, or in this case, eBay.
eBay Power Seller Secrets—2nd Edition
Debra Schepp and Brad Schepp
This book was provided by the good folks of the Plano, Texas Public Library System.
Kevin R. Tipple © 2009