Selling 101: What you should know about BOLOs

Police Car Lights

If you’re a member of any Facebook groups or egroups for online selling, then you no doubt have seen the acronym BOLO being thrown about here and there. If you watch a lot of cop shows on television, you probably know that this means “Be On the Look Out” (for) and on a show like Law and Order SVU or Rookie Blues, it means the police are hunting a suspect or someone that’s wanted for something.

 
In the world of online selling, a BOLO sort of has the same meaning, but instead of a person, it means to keep an eye out for an item that a seller can generally pick up for a low amount and flip for a higher profit margin. You may wonder why a seller would want to share a BOLO (and whether you should share is a topic for another post), but normally it’s shared because the seller has found the item and is no longer able to locate anymore of them in their own area, so now they want to share their find with others in their.

In most cases, a BOLO is hard to find so what should you do if you run across one? Well, your first thought is probably to buy as many of them as you can, but before you do there are some things you should do.

Find out if the item is really worth buying and reselling? Just as one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, you may find that the BOLO does not meet your selling requirements. Perhaps it doesn’t have a sales rank that is high enough for you on Amazon, or you discover there are already a bazillion of them for sale on eBay – all at incredibly low prices. Do some research before you by and check to make sure that the return on your money is worth the purchase.

Get it. List it and send it in! If the BOLO was made public, then there are a lot of people hunting for the same thing. Strike while the iron is still hot and list it as soon as you get home or send it on in to Amazon FBA. This will keep you ahead of the other competition and can help get your item sold quickly before others start to appear.

Visit every store in your area. Don’t give up if you don’t find the item in the first store you visit. If the BOLO was seen in a CVS or WalGreens, visit every CVS or WalGreens in your area. This was how a seller scored big back when holiday Pringles were the big BOLO item. She didn’t find any at the first two stores she visited, but the third store was the charm and she was able to get each flavor that Pringles was offering. Since the chips were so hard to find, she was able to make a lot out of them and sell them for more than what many people were getting just trying to sell the single cans.

Are you a BOLO hunter? Leave a comment below.

EBay selling 101: 3 tips for treasure hunting

Thrift Store

Although some sellers are heading toward the proverbial eBay door, there are and always will be other sellers who are either just getting started or want to take their eBay business to the next level. If you’ve been wondering how the Powersellers find all the good stuff, here’s three tips that can help you with your eBay treasure hunting.

It’s all about the pricing

Obviously, the easiest way to treasure hunt is by visiting antique stores. Unfortunately, the treasures you find there are also going to be the highest priced. After all, the people selling them have already done all the scouting work and know what the items are really worth. That’s not to say that you won’t find a bargain or two, but if you are planning to resale the items, antique stores are not usually worth it.

Unless you’re wanting to sell new items, that generally leaves flea markets, thrift stores and yard sales as the treasure hunting spots of choice. While each has merits, keep in mind that flea market items are generally priced higher than thrift store items and thrift store items are usually higher priced than yard sale items.

Making the rounds

Although yard sales tend to have the cheaper prices, I actually prefer thrift stores since they generally seem to have a large assortment of items and are constantly getting in new things. The best part about thrift stores though is that you don’t have to search for them every time you want go out to hunt. Once you’ve located some stores in your area, it’s more about organization and time management. Plan your most efficient travel route for making the rounds and then simply stop in about once a week to each of the thrift stores you have found to look for new inventory.

Forearmed is forewarned

A few years ago, if you you saw something at a thrift store, you had to take a leap of faith, make the purchase, then pray that you didn’t overpay for whatever treasure you thought you might have found. With the invention of the smartphone, however, researching an item is simply a matter of making a few swipes and clicks.

Two words of advice though.

First, if you even remotely think that you want an item, go ahead and put it in your basket. That way you have “claimed” the item until you have a chance to decide whether you want to purchase it or not.

Second, remember that there are other people are trying to shop in the store too. Instead of blocking an isle and inviting disapproving glances from employees or quizzing from curious customers, move to a low traffic area to scan items where you are out of the way and can work undisturbed.

3 steps to help organize your eBay inventory

"MY fort!"

If you sell on eBay, you know how easy it is for your inventory to pile up. While there is often profit in chaos, it can also be frustrating to deal with all these piles, especially if your eBay inventory has spilled over into more than one room.

Before we get into how to organize your inventory, let’s take a look at how eBay inventory is generally categorized. Most likely you have:

*Items you have brought into the house and need to list

*Items that you currently have listed, but haven’t sold

*Items that you have sold, but have yet to package and ship.

The first step toward organizing your inventory is to dedicate one area in your house as your eBay area. While it may not be possible to put everything that is eBay related into this one area, you will want to put the items that you currently have listed at least into one room. The reason for this is because if you don’t, an item will sell and you will have no idea as to where you put it.

Trust me, it’s not fun when you are running around looking for something you just sold and have no clue where you last saw it. I actually have a storage shelf in my eBay area of the house. I bought it from Home Depot and it usually holds all the items I have for sale. If you have a large amount of inventory, you might find that it is easier to store your items in labeled tote boxes or some kind of storage container. How you store it doesn’t matter at this point, the goal is to simply get everything that is for sale into one place.

The second step is to organize your shipping area. It’s best if this can be in the same room that you list your items in because your scale needs to be available for both the items that you are listing as well as the items you need to ship. In your shipping area you will want to have your packing materials (peanuts, tape, bubblewrap, etc.) and your boxes. I have a folding table that I bought from an office place that works perfectly as a “shipping station.” It is not only big enough for me to have plenty of room to work when I’m packaging something, but there is also enough room for my scale to sit. The best part is, a box of peanuts and the bubblewrap fit almost perfectly underneath it, so everything is contained in one place.

The third step is to keep the items you have listed, the items that have sold, and the items you need to list away from each other. If an item doesn’t sell and you don’t plan to relist it for a while, you need to move it to somewhere else. If you don’t, the listed and the unlisted items will creep back in together again and you’ll have to start all over.

Finally, if an item has been listed and didn’t sell, try to determine if you overpriced it or whether it was a fluke that it didn’t sell. If you relist it and it doesn’t sell or your numbers show there wasn’t much interest, you might find it is best to just donate the item, give it away or simply throw it in the trash. It may feel like money down the drain, but the peace of mind from having an organized and uncluttered work area just might make that little bit of a loss seem worth it.

How to Save Big Bucks on Black Friday

Image courtesy of Cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of Cooldesign / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

….and we’re off!

The holiday season has officially started!

Hopefully, you had a good Thanksgiving yesterday and you have started hearing some of those “Cha-Chings” that the eBay App likes to play whenever a member sells something in their store.

If you’re like a lot of people, you’re probably going to head out the door at some point today (or maybe you’ll avoid fighting the crowds and just Christmas shop online). While you’re out and about or looking for all those deals online, don’t forget — this is a great time to buy some inventory for your eBay store and save some big bucks.

Here’s how:

Check for price matches
It use to be that if you wanted a Black Friday deal, you had to show up in person at your local retailer. Today, a lot of stores honor those Black Friday deals online and (even better!) some places such as Wal-Mart will match prices from the competitors on the sale items. Even Amazon does some price matching, so it pays to check all those ads to find out which items are the best deals. Since a lot of stores have limits on the Black Friday deals, here comes the neat part — order the limit from the store that is running the ad, then get Wal-Mart or Amazon to match the deal and get some more. This means you get double the amount, but all at the same price. Pretty neat – right?!

There’s an App for That
Stores love to draw shoppers in with coupons, but they don’t always tell you that there are coupons out there for you to find. I like to check the “RetailMeNot” App before I go shopping and if I forget — well, a lot of stores will now just scan the coupon right off your smartphone. I have been able to use coupons this way at Barnes and Noble, Michael’s, and Hobby Lobby. You just do a search for the coupon and then present it (on your phone) to the cashier. A lot of the restaurants will take coupons that way too, so when you’ve shopped til you’ve dropped and it’s time to refuel, don’t forget to see if your favorite place has a coupon that they’ll accept digitally. Another great way to save some cash.

Stack Those Coupons
There’s nothing quite as much fun as finding out that something is on sale and you have not one, but two or even three coupons that you can use together. A lot of stores won’t do this, but some will so always make a point to ask. One store I frequent will sometimes offer “Buy $50 worth of merchandise – get $10 in Cash (certificate).” When I return the next time, I can then get the sale price, use a 20% coupon AND…wait for it…use my Cash too. Plus, if I bought another $50 worth of merchandise, I get another $10 and can repeat the process all over again the next time I’m in the store.

Finally, it might be too late to do it this time, but always sign up for the newsletters for all the places you like to shop. As I write this, I have an Inbox full of emails all promising me savings with promotional codes or coupons to take to the store. Don’t you just love it when that happens?!

Are you going out shopping today? Leave a comment below.

4 Ways to get rid of that excess inventory

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If you’re like most eBay sellers, at some point or another, you will have old or excess inventory that you need or want to get rid of. Maybe you need the money or maybe you’re just tired of seeing the same inventory sit there season after season. Whatever the reason, you just know that you want it gone.

The question is, however, what is the best way to get rid of that excess inventory? After all, you would like to either make a small profit on it or at least try to get your money back.

Here’s some ideas to try that might help:

How low can you go?
Putting the items on sale is typically the simplest and best method for disposing of your excess inventory. In most cases, this still allows you to make a small profit on the items or at least gives you a chance to break even.

Since the holidays are just around the corner, start marking the items down and use Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest to advertise the sale. If there are still any items left after the holiday season is over, mark it down a little more and turn it into a clearance sale where everything must go, go , go!

Try a different marketplace
You might think that if you can’t sell the item on eBay, there is really no reason to try selling it anywhere else. It might surprise you to learn,however, that a lot of sellers find that when they try another venue, such as Amazon or eCrater to list the same item that has been gathering dust at eBay, it often sells and usually at a higher price than what it was initially listed for when it was on eBay.

List it on Craigslist or Facebook
The good thing about Craigslist and Facebook’s yard sales is that you can list items on the sites for free. There’s also no commissions to list this way, so even if you are selling the items at a lower price, there is still more money coming into your pocket. One of the best parts about Craiglist and the Facebook yard sales though is that you can often sell the items locally, so there are no shipping costs involved. You can also ask for cash, so there’s no reason to worry about bad checks or fraudulent credit cards.

Donate the items to charity
You may not get to see the cash in hand, but since donations are tax-deductible, a donation to a charity can help ease your tax burden. Donate by the end of the year if you want the tax deduction to go on this year’s taxes and make sure you ask for a receipt for your tax file.

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

3 Secrets About Yard Sales That You May Not Know

kat 7

As you may recall, several weeks ago I wrote about some yard saling tips that I thought were helpful for buyers to know. Today, I wanted to take that a step further and discuss some things you may not know about yard sales that might help you take those yard sale finds and turn them into profitable sales.

The early bird may get the worm, but the late mouse gets the cheese. I confess, I am not a morning person. The idea of getting out of bed before the sun comes up and hitting the road to catch all those early morning yard sale finds is just not for me. While I may be missing out on some of those fat juicy “worms” by not getting an early start, it might surprise you to learn that I’ve still managed to get the “cheese” and locate some great yard sale finds by simply showing up just before a yard sale was over. In fact, I once unknowingly ended up with an exquisite tea set because I was rummaging through a medium-sized box of various items as a wife and her husband were shutting down a yard sale (it ended at 6 and I had arrived at 5:40). The wife said I could have the entire box for $3.00 and I said “SOLD!” I didn’t even know what all was in it until I got home, I had mainly been interested in a Fire King coffee mug and a platter that were sitting on top. The tea set was buried at the very bottom.

Watch for yard sales during the week. Setting up a yard sale is a lot of work. That is why some people begin setting up their yard sales mid-week and continue to bring out items until the weekend. They will then actually have an unadvertised yard sale on Thursday and Friday. It won’t be in the newspaper, but if you watch for those Yard Sale signs, you’ll usually find one or two if you’re watching for them. Most people won’t know it, so you can actually be the early bird to a lot of weekday yard sales even if you don’t wander into it until around 3 p.m..

Community yard sales versus individual yard sales. While I have had some incredibly good luck at church sales, I have to admit that I’ve never really found very many treasures at any community yard sales. The ones I’m talking about are where the entire neighborhood has a yard sale on the same day. These are usually in more “upscale” neighborhoods and I find I usually run into one of two things. Either the prices are way higher than they should be for a typical yard sale, or the family is trying to get rid of a bunch of baby clothes or items their children have outgrown. This may be great for sellers who deal in this kind of thing, but it’s not for me. Instead, I find that I typically have greater success by visiting individual yard sales which are generally in older neighborhoods or at houses that are sitting out by themselves on an acre or more of land.

How about you? Do you know any secrets about yard sales you can share? Leave a comment below!

That Kat Radio – Podcast 58 – March 17, 2014: Barrington McIntosh & Charlene Anderson

Listen to That Kat Radio – Podcast 58 – March 17, 2014: Barrington McIntosh and Charlene Anderson

 

In this episode of That Kat Radio, Kat spoke with Barrington McIntosh about international Amazon selling and with Charlene Anderson about sourcing at trade shows.

First, kat spoke with Charlene Anderson (or “Char”) about sourcing inventory at trade shows. Questions that were asked were:

  • How many tradeshows are you planning on attending in 2014?
  • Isn’t it expensive to travel to a tradeshow?
  • How do you make it worthwhile to your business?
  • What kind of eBay/Amazon seller would benefit from attending Tradeshows?
  • How do I get started and choose a Tradeshow to attend?
  • What are your top 3 tips for Tradeshow sourcing?
  • What are your top 3 things to watch out for at tradeshows?
  • How can the audience connect with you and learn more?

 Charlene has been doing the trade show circuit for years now and is considered a pro. She has attended hundreds! Tradeshows can be beneficial to your business and offer countless sources of new inventory. She recommends wearing comfortable clothing and shoes, not deciding on anything until you have done your research and grabbing all the business cards you can!   After speaking to Charlene, Kat spoke to Barrington McIntosh about selling internationally with Amazon. Questions that were asked were:

  • How did you get started in eCommerce?
  • What were your goals when you started?
  • What was the biggest obstacle you had to overcome?
  • What and where are you selling now?
  • What else are you doing in your business besides selling products?
  • Where can the listeners connect with you online to learn more?

Barrington has the prestigious honor of having his business ranked in the top 25% of all Amazon businesses during the 2012 holiday season. He didn’t start out on top, but he earned his position by working hard and by doing what needed to be done. Barrington and Kat discussed how hard it can be to source in an area like Jamaica, where there are NO big box retail stores. Barrington discussed how looking in different places and online for different items can make all the difference. If you find enough specialty items that people want to have, you can truly own the market, as he does. You can find Barrington and learn more about his story at his website, BarringtonMcIntosh.com After speaking to Barrington, we were in for a surprise guest! Kat got Scott Henshaw on the line to discuss the new KIOUIApps product, KIPhoenix!  Questions that were asked were:

  • where did the idea for Ki Phoenix come from?
  • How did you find out about Ki Phoenix and what is it doing for your business?
  • WHY is Ki Phoenix such a game changer?
  • How is business going for you and where can people find you?
  • what’s next for Kioui Apps?

Scott was approached by Jean-Charles to try out the new ap,KI Phoenix for his business. He said he has never used such an easy app! He loves the simplicity and efficiency of the design and will never go back to doing things manually again! Ki Phoenix is an application that keeps your products in stock and the listing up, even if you have run out of stock of an item. If you sell large quantities of items on eBay, this is the app for you! Every time you have to take down a listing, or a listing runs out of your quantity, you must end the listing and start it again when you get your inventory in. Doing this, you lose sales, as well as potential return customers! To find out more about the app, head over to KIOUI Apps.com and check out KI Phoenix! Links from the show:

 

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