Friday, June 18, 2010

eBay vs. Amazon

I've been taking baby steps, but none of my current efforts have yet come to fruition. Well, okay, I sold a Webkinz Turtle via Amazon, but that's about it!

First, I dug out everything that was in the “store” under my bed. Cathy has announced that she is too old to earn points and buy things at my store, so I was forced to liquidate. Some things she bought with cash (which my children always seem to have more of than I do). Some she no longer wanted. (sigh)

And then there was the collection of Webkinz. Cathy must have at least 30 or 40 activated Webkinz. And there were maybe a dozen more under my bed, which I had purchased for half price when a local store went out of business. I had her get all the unactivated Webkinz from her room and then we sifted through the huge pile. I mean, she doesn't even do Webkinz anymore! Now she's into all things Sonic. Still, it was hard getting her to part with any of those Webkinz because they're "cute". But she finally chose 10 or 12 that she could part with. I checked prices on Amazon (which varied widely by animal!), and then posted for sale the half dozen that were worth my time. The turtle sold the next day.

Second, the Saxon math disk... A year and a half ago, when Maryanne was doing Saxon Algebra, we ordered these supplemental computer disks from Saxon for around $90. She hated them, since all they were was a hand writing out the same math problems that were in the textbook. Totally bogus. So I called the company to see if I could get my money back. Of course they said no, but after that business with Calvert (where I DID get my money back more than two years later!), I had to try. Then I put that up for sale on Amazon.

Third, I dug through my "The Teaching Company" DVDs and videos. This company is great. Their product is great, consisting of lectures by excellent professors on a variety of subjects. We have quite a number of their sets. Unfortunately, it turns out we'd rather watch Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles or Survivor or even Wife Swap than lectures by excellent professors. (Very embarrassing.) I'm more into reading, anyway.

The company has a lifetime satisfaction guarantee, so I tested it by sending back two sets of videos for high school students, one on world history and the other on U.S. History. Maryanne only ever watched two of the half-hour lectures and I can safely project that Cathy will never watch any. So I mailed back two sets and now await my hypothetical refund.

Fourth, I wrote and submitted that recipe.

Fifth... Wait a minute. Maybe that's all I've done! I'd better get on the stick. There are SO many possibilities. I need to check and see how much that silver might go for on eBay.

I love Amazon. I love eBay. But it's so much easier to list things on Amazon. All you have to do is find an exact match and click “sells yours here”. The entire process takes under a minute. Then all I do is maintain my “current inventory” so that my price is always the lowest. My goal is that if anyone in America buys this item, they will buy from me because I have the best price and catchiest description. (Most of the sellers are stores, so their descriptions are pretty basic and boring.)

To list something on eBay takes more time. The advantage is that you can sell it within a certain time frame. (Or not, if no one buys.) Meanwhile, an item can languish indefinitely on Amazon; all the while, I have an Amazon pile in the corner of our library (a room which is much smaller and humbler than it sounds) so that I can bark at my kids, “Don't touch that! I'm selling it! It's condition can't change!”

But eBay remains problematic. Most of the time you have to take a photo. That's already a hassle. And I don't even know how to get the photo into the computer, so then I have to rely on my ex or one of my kids. (Like I said, I'm a Luddite!) Then I have to deal with the descriptions and all that. Listing an item can take a good 20 minutes. Sometimes, it's not even worth it. But at least you get resolution in 7 to 10 days.

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