Using Software to Make eBay Selling Easier

If you do a lot of selling on eBay, there is a lot to keep track of — new posts, closing sales, feedback, shipping, and on and on. Fortunately, a number of applications have been developed to help make your eBay tasks more manageable and make your eBay experience run more smoothly. Here are some applications that can save you time and headaches:

  • Setting up images for automatic FTP upload: You have several ways to store the images in your auctions. If you're using an auction-management service or software, such as Auctiva, an uploader is included as a part of the software. Many online services merely fetch the photos from your hard drive without the need for additional File Transfer Protocol (FTP) image-uploading software.

    If you choose to keep images on your own website, you'll have to use some sort of FTP software. The Mozilla Firefox Internet browser uses a free FTP add-on called FireFTP.

  • Sorting auction e-mail: Most computer-resident auction-management programs have their own built-in e-mail software as part of the program. When you download your winner information from eBay, the program automatically generates invoices and congratulatory e-mails.

  • Automating end-of-auction e-mail: If you want to set up e-mails to be sent automatically after an auction ends, you must use a software application to do so.

  • Keeping inventory: Many eBay PowerSellers depend on the old clipboard or notebook method of inventory. If that works for you, great. Others prefer to use an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of inventory.

  • One-click relisting and selling similar items: Using auction software or an auction service speeds up the process of posting or relisting items. After you input your inventory into the software, posting or relisting your auctions is a mouse click away.

  • Scheduling your listings for bulk upload: If you want to schedule the unattended launch of your auctions without incurring eBay's 10-cent fee, you must use an online management service. If you can be at your computer to send your auctions to eBay singly or in bulk, you can use the Turbo Lister application, which eBay offers at no charge.

  • Researching your statistics: There are so many questions when you're selling on eBay. What is the best time to end my auction? What day should I start my listing? Is it better to run a five-day or a seven-day auction? Now an online service can help you separate the rumors from the facts.

    Sellebrity tracks your listings automatically, gives you loads of information about your visitors, and offers a 30-day free trial After that, services start at $4.99 a month.

  • Printing shipping labels: Printing shipping labels without printing postage can be the beginning of a laborious two-step process. Two companies, Endicia.com and Stamps.com, print your labels and postage all in one step. (Endicia's software even sends the tracking numbers directly to eBay).

  • Tracking buyer information: Keeping track of your winners isn't rocket science. You can do it in an Excel spreadsheet by downloading the information from PayPal. If you choose to have an online management service do this for you, be sure that you can download the information to your computer (in case you and the online service part ways some day).

  • Generating customized reports: PayPal allows you to download your sales data in a format that's compatible with QuickBooks or to an Excel spreadsheet. PayPal reports are chock-full of detailed information about your sales and deposits. Putting this information in a standard accounting software program on a regular basis makes your year-end calculations easier to bear.

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