More and more, people are becoming aware that they have potential cash
sitting in their closets, attics, and basements. But not everyone has the time
or the know-how to tap into it, so these items remain where they are or are
given away. Or worse, they’re tossed out with the trash. eBay is about to change
eBay Consignments are a Growing
Opportunity for experienced eBay sellers and a boon to consumers who want to
unload their “stuff”
Heres a common scenario:
Renee has a basement full of record albums from the 1940’s that she inherited
from her Uncle’s estate. She has no interest in them, and would love to see what
she could get for them on eBay. The trouble is, Renee is not only unfamiliar
with how eBay works, but she’s also a “technophobe”. She breaks out in a rash
every time she sees a computer or a digital camera. But Renee has heard
something about eBay
So, Renee asks her neighbor Anne, the eBay whiz, to help her out. Anne does a
quick check of recently closed eBay auctions to see what similar items have been
selling for. She adjusts Renee’s expectations with this information, and the
next day Renee drops off her cartons full of records.
Ann takes a couple of digital photos, writes a general description for the lot,
and launches the eBay auction. She invites prospective bidders to email her with
Things go smoothly, and a week later the lot is sold. Renee is pleased with her
earnings and extremely grateful to Anne. She asks Anne what she owes her for her
hard work. Anne, good neighbor that she is, only accepts enough to cover her
eBay expenses and tells Renee she can take her out to lunch some time.
An Opportunity Seized
This kind of informal arrangement has been going on between members and
nonmembers of the eBay community for several years. Many auctions will state
that “I’m selling this item for a friend”, or “a woman in my neighborhood found
these in her attic and asked me to sell them on eBay”.
eBay, who has a knack for keeping an ear to the ground and spotting to trends,
saw a golden opportunity in this kind of arrangement. In 2002, they launched the
“eBay Trading Assistant” program.
The program is run on the same basic principal as eBay consignments, only more
formalized. Sellers can now advertise themselves as Trading Assistants on eBay,
and people with items to sell can use eBay’s Directory of Trading Assistants to
find someone in their area.
Because of eBay’s minimum requirements for becoming a “TA”, only those sellers
with experience and a good reputation (or high positive feedback ratings, in
“ebay language”) have the privilege of selling items for others.
Benefits for Everyone
The system benefits the Trading Assistant by expanding their reach far beyond
the next door neighbor. When a seller joins the Trading Assistants Directory, he
or she is telling the world that they are willing to sell for others.
For those seeking out eBay consignments as a means to cash in their “stuff”, the
system offers an “official” source of experienced eBay sellers and information
about how things work.
And of course all of this brings more business to eBay. As always, eBay is
simply the portal for consignment selling, not an employer of the Trading
Assistant. So each individual “TA” makes their own rules about how they wish to
structure their eBay consignments business.
How it Works
Trading Assistants are experienced eBay
sellers who have indicated their willingness to sell items for others for a fee.
People who want to hire a Trading Assistant can search the Trading Assistant
Directory to find someone to sell for them. All the terms of how the services
will work are negotiated between Trading Assistants and their clients. You can
become a Trading Assistant if you meet some basic requirements (1 past sale in
the last 30 days and a feedback rating of at least 50 with fewer than 2%
negative feedback points).
Cost and Requirements
Currently, it costs nothing to become a Trading Assistant and be listed in the
eBay consignments Trading Assistant Directory. eBay has not expressed any
intentions of charging for it, but they do reserve the right to change their
To become a Trading Assistant, you need to meet the following requirements:
-You’ve sold at least 4 items in the last 30 days.
-You have a feedback score of 50 or higher.
-97% or more of your feedback is positive.
-Your eBay account is in good standing.
Note: The ability to join the directory is a privilege, not a right, and eBay
can remove the ability of a TA to post to the directory if they receive
complaints and/or find evidence of unprofessional behavior.
According to Walt Duflock, eBay’s director of the trading assistant program,
consignment selling has really taken off since the program’s inception:
-The TA Program began in February 2002
-There are more than 50,000 registered trading assistants worldwide as of August
-”Collectibles” is a very active category for TAs and TA clients
How to Find or Become a Trading Assistant
To find a “TA” At eBay, you’ll be asked to enter your ZIP code code to find a
Trading Assistant near you who can handle your ebay consignments. To find
someone who specializes in particular items or services, you may select an item
category or use their “Advanced Search” link.
Provided you meet the requirements listed above, you can fill out eBay’s online
application to become a TA and start your own eBay consignments business right
away. Although you can run your business however you choose, and you’re not
employed by eBay, they do provide some assistance:
eBay provides extensive resources for the trading assistant program, among them
Trading Assistant Worshops such as the recent one entitled, “Getting the Most
Out of the New Trading Assistant Directory”. The “Trading Assistant Toolkit” is
an extensive directory of tools and education to help Trading Assistants market
their services better and find more clients.
eBay also offers an Advertising Reimbursement program, which helps PowerSellers
market their products and services offline by subsidizing a percentage of their
advertising efforts. And eBay has produced at least two training manuals
outlining Best Practices for marketing, selling, fincance, efficiency, and
working with clients.
With all of these resources at hand, anyone interested in eBay consignments,
whether to tap into “the money in the attic” or to further their eBay auction
success, is not likely to be disappointed.
An untapped online business resource–outside of your basic Yahoo and Ebay, among
others–is setting up your own auction sales venue.
Since most families have items in their home that have outlived their
usefulness, they can get started at online auctions for mere pennies.
And, most selling online at auctions does not have start-up or membership fees.
There is a nominal fee per item listed and a percentage commission on each sale.
Still, you come out ahead.
With this minimum investment, many are flocking to auction sites to gain
additional income to get their families and selves through the seemingly ever
present economic downturn.
Besides the low financial risk, individuals see auctions as one of the select
few online vehicles where scams are not associated, or not as prevalent as with
most online business opportunities. Plus, a majority have ongoing fees which you
must absorb; auctions do not.
As with most home business opportunities, to be successful at online auctions
also takes time to learn the ropes. Many auction sites do much of the work for
you, providing standard formats for the sellers to insert data. Sites further
assist in communications between buyer and seller as well as additional support.
Perhaps the toughest part is finding the right products to sell. Don’t think for
a moment that Uncle Charlies’ false teeth in a jar that you’ve preciously held
onto for years will fetch thousands of dollars, although nowadays you never
know. Irregardless, with sites such as Ebay with over a thousand categories,
that remedies that headache!