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Work at Home Moms > Online Auctions Getting Started Tutorial > How to Get Started

Getting started as an online auction retailer 

Being an online auction retailer has become a very popular business choice for people all around the world. It enables you to work at home and be a valuable retailer at the same time. Additionally, there is the added benefit of the online auction sites, many of which are heavily advertised, like eBay and come with a solid reputation in the industry. Combine this ‘free marketing’ with the number of tools online auction sites provide their retailers like payment options, easy listings, store building wizards and a variety of tracking and marketing information and getting started is a fairly straight forward process.

If this business idea appeals to you here are a few things to know to get started:

What are you going to sell? It is important to make this decision early on. Some experts recommend starting small with a very specific item. For example if you’re interested in home made items, you might choose to sell candles first before widening your product base. This gives sellers the opportunity to build their business slowly, specialize, and master the online auction process before expanding inventory.

Where are you going to sell it? There are an abundance of online auction sites. Some of them are excellent, others not so much. To learn more about online auction sites and how to evaluate them take a look at our article on Finding the Right Online Auction Site for you.

Pictures. Pictures are very important. Grab a digital camera and practice taking photos. Buyers want to see the condition of items they’re going to bid on. Look for areas in your home that have good lighting and are free of distractions. No one wants to see your dirty dishes in the background!

Descriptions for inventory. Spend some time on auction sites looking at how items are described. What headlines motivate you to click? What items motivate you to place a bid? Take note of these descriptions and what works. Practice writing headlines and descriptions for your products. This is an important part of an online auction business!

Information about your competition.
Research your competition. Visit online auction sites you’re considering joining and take a look at your competition. What are they doing well? What can you do better or differently?

Shipping and distribution. Once you sell an item it has to be packaged and shipped. This is often one of the areas where feedback is noted. If an item takes two weeks to arrive, buyers will not be happy. Take a look at your shipping and distribution options. While buyers generally pay for shipping, it is still important to know what options cost and how long it will take so buyers can be informed. Additionally, if inventory items are not already packaged for shipping, investigate affordable packaging options; remember items need to arrive at their destination in one piece.

Accepting payments. The majority of online auction sites handle the payment process for you and give you a number of options including do you want to be able to receive checks, echecks, credit cards and so on. There is generally a charge or this service. Decide in advance what you can afford and how to make it as convenient for your buyers to make a purchase as possible.

Business identity. Many online auction sites enable retailers to build a store. A store can have a logo, an address, a separate website and contact information for inquiries.

Additionally, it is important for business owners to have a method of recording income for the tax authorities. Being an online auction retailer is a real business. Take a look at our article on Online Auction Business Entity decisions for more information.

Starting and owing an online auction business may be the best decision you’ll make in your life, getting started on the right foot will make the transition into business significantly easier and profitable. Happy Selling!

Recommended eBay Resources:

NEW! Learn how to start your own eBay Business with the Moms Talk Biz Guide to Making Money with eBay.


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