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Selling Online with Free Auction Sites

Auction Site, Auction Sites

How do people sell online without eBay? Many people enjoy selling online at free auction sites. Here is how it is done:

www.PowerSellersUnite.com (PSU) This is a web-site devoted to information about free auction sites, and low-cost auction sites. This is a good place to start doing research towards finding a free auction site that will suit your needs. Click into their discussion area and read about what sellers, buyers, and site owners are saying about alternative auction sites.

www.UBidRight.com (UBR) This is a free auction site that is showing growth and good comments on the PowerSellersUnite site mentioned above. I will use the UBR site as an example of how easy it is to open your own free online store. UBR is not the only site showing growth and good comments; you must research Free Auction Sites for yourself and choose the one that best fits your needs. There is a Resource List including other popular auction sites at the bottom of this page.

To sign up, go to UBidRight.com (or the free auction site that you’ve chosen to try) and sign-up as a member. This is a free process. If you’ve chosen a site that does not have a link on the first page to use to sign-up as a member, find another site. When the link is missing, it shows that your choice of site does not care about growth, and may lack the necessary skills to keep their site functioning in case of computer problems.

You will be asked to choos a Member ID Name.

Think of your Member ID Name as your new nickname or online identity. Choose a name that you like, but NOT one that offends any potential buyers. Names like “ihatemylife” or, “2brokethisweek” might sound cute, but negative names tell buyers that you might not be a totally rock-solid seller that will be there after a sale if they need you. Instead, choose an ID Name for yourself that either matches your store name, or one that makes you sound like a pleasant person to be around.

The Member ID Name should be something short, pleasant, and easy for your buyers to spell. Names like, “happyme” – “niceglass” – “bookgal” are all fine examples of workable Member ID Names.

It is not appropriate to use your real name as your Member ID Name while selling items. Your real name is considered private information, and is kept confidential by your Free Auction Site in its records (for online safety reasons) until you have a buyer who needs your real name to complete a business transaction.

You will be asked to provide personal contact Information.

Your personal contact information is your real name, address, phone number, and your choice of a bank service method that you’d like to conduct business through on their site.

When you put your real name onto a form on the internet, it is suggested that you place it online a little differently than you do for your offline transactions. Example: Mary A. Smith (offline name) may want to use M. Ann Smith online. By changing your name slightly online, you can monitor where that online information is being used offline. If you pick up the phone, and somebody is looking for “Ann” – you know instantly that they’re related to the information provided online somehow.

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Be honest while giving your Personal Information to your free auction site. Leave the real address and phone number that you can be contacted at quickly if they need you.

Credit Card Information: If your choice of free auction site asks for credit card information, and you’d like to provide them with a credit card – BE SAFE! Go to your credit card company and request a low limit credit card to use online. Hook that low limit credit card into a very small bank account, not into your main bank account. This way, if your credit card number is stolen online, your primary finances are safe. The example free auction site: www.UBidRight.com does not ask for a credit card in your personal information.

You will be asked if you would like to open a Store. The answer is “Yes”.

A free auction site store is just that… a free store. If your Free Auction Site is asking for a monthly fee to have your free store, you should look for another auction site.

Your store will come with easy to use instructions that will make it very easy for you to use.

The free auction site have a customer service area where you can ask questions if you get stuck. The example site: www.UBidRight.com has people making favorable comments about their quick and friendly customer service department on the powersellersunite.com site. While researching for the Free Auction Site that will best fit your needs, a good customer service department is something that you must have.

You do not need lots of items in inventory to open a store. Most free auction sites allow you to open a store if you are selling just a small amount of items. For the small seller, opening a Free Store gets your items seen by more people. Your items will show both in the free auctions and in your free store to shoppers.

You will be asked to choose a Store Name.

Your Store Name is what your store is called. This name does not have to match your Member ID Name. When picking your Store Name, it is important to consider search engine placement. If you would like to be seen near the top of the list of stores in your Free Auction Site, choose a name that starts with a number or the letter “A”. Some Free Action Sites like www.UBidRight.com show their stores in random order to give everybody the same chance to be seen near the top of the list. This is not true in all free auction sites, so it is best to plan ahead while picking your Store Name.

After registration is complete, you will be given a link to your Home Page.

Your Home Page is your control panel. It will have links available so that you can operate all site functions that have to do with your store. Click every link on the page, and see what it does. This is the quickest way of finding your way around on a new site.

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Go to the Auction Site Main Page, and explore for a link to your site’s Discussion Board. On the example site, www.UBidRight.com the link to the Community Forums is near the top of the page. Other sites have links displayed along the side of the page, or along the bottom of the page.

A site Discussion Board can go by many names: Community Forum, Chat Area, and so on. This is a place that is normally monitored by a real person associated with the site, where buyers, sellers, and store owners go to chat about site associated events, (Sales, Contests, and Advertising) or problems that might be of a concern.

Read your way through the board to find out what is happening on your new site. Try leaving a friendly little, “Hello” on the board to see how the chat functions work. The responses you get will tell you who the friendly sellers are on the site. It will make you feel more comfortable on your new site quickly when you know that other people are there on the site with you.

If your new Free Auction Site does not have a discussion board, you may want to look for another site. With smaller auction sites, it is important that they provide a way for members to communicate. When you don’t see a discussion board on a smaller site, you should ask yourself what it is that they don’t want you to say about the site to a crowd.

The Verification Process:

On Ffree auction sites, there will be some sort of a Verification Process to ensure that the information that you’ve given them is real and appropriate. Some sites do this Verification behind the scenes – specifically, you do not know if they are checking your information or not before giving you an icon beside your name that reads, “Verified”. This icon is a way for your buyers to know that somebody has checked to see if you are a real person. Sites that check things behind the scenes without you being involved in the process may not have high standards about who sells on their site. It is best to stay with a site that asks you to participate in the verification process.

On free auction sites like the www.UBidRight.com site, you are asked to participate in a verification process. This site has you send them 1.00 through your chosen banking method to make sure that your account works as it should. After you have sent your 1.00, they give you 25.00 in credits into your site account. This money can be used for ad upgrades, site banners, extra advertising, or any sales fees… just like real money. For your 1.00, they give you 25.00 to use on their site. This is how a good verification process works.

ADD MORE STORES:

After you’ve settled in at a free auction site, and have your store completely loaded, go back to powersellersunite.com and find a second free auction site to register with. You may run your items on more than one Free Auction Site at a time, as long as you keep your Stores updated by pulling sold ads instantly. Smaller auction sites do not receive the same high click-traffic as the large sites, so being on more than one at a time is to your advantage.

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On all of your sites, keep yourself visible. More ads around, participate on the discussion boards; appear to be “at home” when shoppers come to see your items. You can’t just list items and walk away to wait for them to sell. It gives your online business an empty feeling. Customers want to know that you are there for them if they need you and not just checking in once a week. As a rule-of-thumb, those who chat on the discussion boards (showing that they are “at home”) make the most sales.

Smaller auction sites function just like larger auction sites when it comes to deciding what to sell in your store. Shoppers want a bargain. Be ready to list some bargains in the .01 to 3.00 range for your buyers to choose from. Having a few small-priced items mixed into your normal line of inventory is a way of working with your buyer. Some new buyers to your store enjoy ordering a small item to see how you function before shopping with your store for an expensive item. Some examples of small items are used books, used music tapes, craft supply items, costume jewelry, used toys, and so on….

If possible, try to carry a line of inventory that is not seen in every other store on the same site that you are on. Buyers like variety. If you are looking at a site that has 10 of each item listed, instead of 1 or 2 of each item, chances are good that this site is not a good place for you to try to sell if you have the same identical items that are already on the site.

Buyers use online search engines to find what they are looking for. You can link your Free Online Store to an ad campaign like Google AdWords to increase traffic to your site. This is a program where you deposit money, and they take payment from that deposit by the click. If a person clicks on your ad, it will cost you one dime. These ads are a great way of advertising your store when you are on a budget.

Sources:

www.powersellersunite.com (Web site devoted to alternative auction potentials.)

www.GoogleAdWords.com (Google site for advertising campaigns.)

www.UBidRight.com (Free Auction Site with good reviews, growth, and site features.)

www.Overstock.com (Requires Credit Card to register. About 20,000 items running.)

www.WeBidz.com (Free Auction Site with about 28,000 items running.)

www.HiBidder.com (Free Auction Site with about 28,000 items running.)