Seller Confessions: My Biggest eBay Fails

September 24th, 2018 Comments off

Nobody wants to lose money, but even the most experienced eBay seller makes mistakes.  Here are three of my biggest eBay fails.  Read and learn.

 The Trader Joe’s Nightmare

About 8 years ago, I bought $1,000 worth of Trader Joe’s sea salt caramels to sell on eBay.  I’d never sold food before, but I looked them up, and they were in demand.  I soon realized that I had purchased too many.  Before I knew it, summer arrived, and I had stacks and stacks of these tasty treats sitting in my garage.  Although we were still getting orders, they were melting in transit.  People were not happy.   Unfortunately, I couldn’t wait until winter to get rid of them because they had an expiration date.  We started eating sea salt caramels for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  What else could we do?  I gained five pounds trying to get rid of those suckers.  Eventually, I gave the rest away as presents.  Remember: If you’re going to sell food, always check expiration dates, and be careful buying items that cannot be shipped in hot weather.  Lesson learned.

The Shoe Emergency

Many of our biggest fails involved shoes.  Years ago we did not understand the importance of inspecting preowned shoes before listing them.  Shoes can look brand new but may fall apart the first time they are worn if they have been sitting in a closet for years.  For example, some manufacturers produce soles that do not stand the test of time and will disintegrate or even split in half if they get old.  When we first started selling on eBay, we listed a pair of name brand clogs.  The woman who bought them worked at a hospital and thought they were an amazing deal!  Unfortunately, the first time she wore them to work, she left a trail of rubber wherever she walked.  The soles were literally disintegrating all over the emergency room.  Uh, oh.  Instant refund.

The Fashion Fiasco

In another instance involving shoes, a buyer purchased a pair of beautiful designer heels.  She wore them to work with her favorite outfit.  A few minutes after she got to work, one of the heels fell off – the entire heel.  So embarrassing!  She hobbled around the office for the rest of the day.  Luckily, she thought it was funny.  We quickly issued a refund, and offered to send her a pair of shoes for free.   We now know the importance of closely inspecting all preowned shoes before listing them on eBay.  In addition, we have purchased a one million dollar insurance policy that covers us if anything goes wrong with the products we sell.

Selling on eBay is an adventure, but, like anything, it does come with some risks.  Luckily, each of these fails taught me an important lesson and made me a more successful seller!


About the Author

Miriam Otto is an eBay blogger and credentialed teacher with 13 years’ experience selling on the site.  She was a frequent guest on eBay Radio and has participated in eBay seller panels and projects.  Her blog, The eBay Life, is an all-in-one resource for eBay sellers.

5 Blogging Tips Every Ecommerce Seller Should Know

September 4th, 2018 Comments off
By 2021, e-commerce is projected to grow to more than $4.8 trillion in US dollars. As more and more consumers transfer their shopping to online, it’s important to change the way you interact with your customers to create an exceptional online experience. An important part of that online experience is having a blog.

With a blog, you can connect with consumers in a conversational way. You can offer advice, be casual and fun, and give important comparisons showing the difference between your product and all the others out there. While many e-commerce merchants have yet to dip their toes in the blogging pond, now’s the time to jump if you haven’t already. Here are some handy tips to help you get the best results.

Tip #1 – Use Great Images

Did you know images on your website are crawled by Google? There’s an entire tab for image searches on Google, plus they can get picked up in social media. You can gain more visibility and boost SEO with images.

For example, let’s say you sell kids’ socks. Pictures of the socks you sell could show up in Google’s image search. To get extra oomph from your images, name your image files descriptively. For a pair of kid’s striped socks, name your file something like “striped-kids-socks” to get the most SEO value. Also be sure to use alt tags and image descriptions, this will help Google determine the content of your image and rank you better.

Tip #2 – Make Content the Star of the Show

Ok, saying “focus on good content” may seem obvious. But it’s important to remember that you’re not creating content for content’s sake. The content has to be good. While quantity can feel satisfying, the real results will come from quality. Avoid content that’s shallow. Things like poor writing and grammatical errors will reflect poorly on your brand.

Bonus tip: Sometimes less is more. Don’t make the mistake of trying to overstuff your blog with keywords. Google’s become a lot more sophisticated in the way they measure websites.

Tip #3 – Follow SEO Best Practices for Your Blog

You don’t need to be an expert to use SEO best practices. Most people don’t take the time to understand the way Google rankings work. Following the SEO basics can take you a long way. Start by researching your keywords. Find the best ones that will bring you more sales. Then, install an SEO plug-in like Yoast to help you manage using the keywords on page and in metadata. The Yoast plugin will also help you generate an XML sitemap, which you can submit through Google Search Console.

Tip #4 – Rev Up Your Site Speed

People don’t like slow websites. Having a slow blog site can drive visitors away, it also reflects poorly on your brand. Plus, it can harm your SEO. Website speed has been part of Google’s website ranking algorithm since way back in 2010. Here are a few tips to help rev up your page speed…

  • Use a lightweight blog template that’s made to perform well
  • Spend money on good/fast hosting if possible
  • Disable any plugins you’re not using and uninstall them
  • Be sure to compress images

Tip #5 – Promote Your Blog

Lastly, be sure to let people know about your new blog content. There are a lot of other ways for people to find your content besides showing up in Google. Share newly published blog posts on all of your social accounts. If you have an email list, feature new blog posts in your email communications. It’s a great to keep people informed – while making your content do double duty.

Categories: Marketing for Ecommerce Tags:

Ecommerce Trends to Watch

July 20th, 2018 Comments off

Ecommerce is experiencing a new wave of innovation. While buying products online is now commonplace, the technology supporting e-commerce is evolving to eliminate any remaining friction in the purchase process. This article will examine some of the most exciting developments in e-commerce and how they are changing the retail experience.

  1. Mobile-First Shopping Takes Hold

The first era of e-commerce took place using desktop computers. The next will take place in the palm of your hand. At the end of 2017 two-thirds of e-commerce transactions were completed on a mobile device. Retailers are responding by partnering with social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to drive sales. Consumers can now enjoy the entire retail experience on a smartphone and innovations such as fingerprint authentication remove even more friction from the purchase process.

  1. The Growing Prevalence of Voice Search

Another innovation that is removing friction from retail is the growth of voice search. Voice search using Alexa, Google Home, or other smart devices allows consumers to make a purchase verbally, sometimes without even seeing the product. Purchases through Amazon or Google can be authenticated using a credit card and shipping address on file. Voice search adds greater convenience for consumers and new challenges for retailers. As one business school professor noted, voice search using Amazon’s Alexa favors the company’s own brands at the expense of competitors. Brands depend on visual marketing to communicate with consumers and as voice search takes off will need to completely rethink their marketing efforts.

  1. Customers Expect Faster Shipping Times

It used to be that goods were shipped in a week and the customer was entirely satisfied. Amazon changed the game when it gave Prime members free expedited shipping. Now ecommerce sellers are racing to offer faster and faster delivery. Ecommerce sellers can simply go to to print shipping labels with the fastest delivery times USPS has available. Online shoppers have become accustomed to quick shipping and easy returns and retailers that refuse to play will lose sales competitors.

In a few years’ time, shoppers will expect to be able to order a product out loud and have it delivered quickly, safely and securely. The next wave of e-commerce eliminates many of the common frictions and pain points in making a purchase. Companies that do not embrace this trend will be left b

Categories: Marketing for Ecommerce, Shipping Tags:

How to Use Google’s AdWords Keyword Planner

June 22nd, 2018 Comments off

If you’re just starting out with AdWords for your online business—or are curious about digital marketing in general—it can be very confusing to figure out how to deal with keywords. Fortunately, Google has long included a keyword planning tool as part of the AdWords platform that handles advertising campaigns within its search engine network.

Even if you’ve worked with the keyword planner before, you may need a refresher since Google recently redesigned the entire AdWords portal, including the planner.

Here’s how to use to Google’s AdWords keyword planner to figure out which keywords you want to include in your search marketing campaigns.

Evaluating Keywords With Google AdWords

To get started, first navigate to Google AdWords and create an account, if you haven’t already.

Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be presented with the AdWords home page and are ready to begin.

1. Click on the wrench icon in the upper-right toolbar, then select “Keyword Planner” from the “Planning” column.

2. Enter a specific keyword or key phrase related to your site, or simply enter the link to the website itself. The Planner uses this information to display suggestions for related keywords.

3. The next page is the main section of the Keyword Planner, “Keyword ideas.” This screen displays a variety of related keywords and key phrases, and gives you several options for organizing and analyzing the results.

4. If you want to narrow down the results by location or language, use the drop-down menus at the top left of the screen.

5. To only see keyword ranks for specific times of the year, adjust the date range in the calendar drop down at the top right of the screen.

6. To see which related keywords and phrases are searched for most often, click the “Avg. monthly searches” button at the top of the related column to re-sort the results.

7. Sorting the “Competition” column tells you how difficult it would be to “break into” the search results for those keywords or phrases. High competition keywords already have other ads that dominate those search results, while low competition words are easy to increase ranking.

8. If you plan to use these keywords to develop an advertising campaign, use the “Top of page bid” columns to see how much you’d need to spend to have your ads rank highly.

Whether you just want ideas for new keywords or projecting marketing budgets, AdWords Keyword Planner is a valuable tool. Search engine marketing is all about getting a leg up on the competition, and mastering AdWords Keyword Planner can give you just the competitive advantage you need.

Categories: Marketing for Ecommerce Tags:

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