Tag Archives: Featured Posts


The Secrets to Finding Deals on eBay

How do some people always manage to snag low prices on eBay? The answer is: “they probably have a system”. If you’re not familiar with the system, here it is.

Do your research

The most important step to striking a bargain on eBay is to make sure that you know what the product you’re buying is worth. You need to search forums, look at Craigslist advertisements – do whatever you need to find a number.

Hack your way to better searches

If your way of looking for low prices on auctions on eBay is to simply search with the names of the products you want, you’ll find the same listings as anyone else. You won’t find any great deals because these auctions are likely to be crowded with bidders. You need to think differently.

Search with misspelled keywords

While it may sound strange to think that you should go about your bargain hunting on eBay with misspelled words, it works very well.

Many people have a great deal of trouble with spelling correctly. Thousands of products on eBay are by sellers who have made careless mistakes typing the names of their products in their listings. They might spell Motorola Xoom as Motorola Zoom, the iPhone as the iFone, Silver as Sliver, Panasonic as Pansonic and so on. When shoppers correctly type in their searches as Motorola Xoom, iPhone or Panasonic, these listings mostly don’t show up. If you can find these products, you can probably bid on them unopposed.

How do you go about looking for all the different spelling mistakes possible?

A few people do know about the gold mine that misspellings present. This is why software programmers have created special tools for them. Auction Speller is one such popular tool. You go to the website, put in the keyword for the product that you’re looking for and hit Search. Right away, it opens an eBay window with all the misspelled search terms that you need. TypoHound and FatFingers are other options.

A few eBay typo search tips

  • When you separate all of your misspelled keywords by commas, eBay’s search engine takes it to mean that you need a product listing that has all of the terms included. What you should do, instead, is put in the variations that you need separated by commas and enclose the entire string in regular parentheses. This makes eBay give you pages that have even one of the instances that you have in mind.
  • eBay searches need to be shorter than 300 characters. For keyword phrases that are longer than 300 characters, you may need to do multiple searches.

Look for abbreviations and shortened titles

Many sellers who list products on eBay like the idea of quickly putting their listings down and moving on. Often, they use abbreviations. An iPod touch becomes an iTouch, a game called Dungeons & Dragons becomes D&D and so on. When you search for these specific terms, you’re likely to turn up something. You should, then, search for the most popular keywords for your niche and search by tweaking them and shortening them.

Search by missing words

In a hurry to type their listings out, some sellers accidentally miss words. For instance, a seller selling a sweater may forget to call it a women’s sweater in the listing. Instead, he may simply call it a sweater. Most searchers wouldn’t pay much attention to such a listing. When you look for such listings, you’ll find mostly neglected items that will be an easy bargain.

Look for listings with terrible images

Most buyers on eBay wouldn’t bother with listings with poor quality images. When you go after these listings, you will practically have no competition. You’ll simply need to request pictures.

Use an auction sniping tool

Manually bidding for products is a losing game. If you get in well before bidding is due to close, you are likely to enter a bidding war with someone. You will also drive the price up unnecessarily. Not only does this waste time, it drives prices up. You should simply wait until the last minute before bids close and place your bid at exactly the right moment. This kind of action is called auction sniping. Since it’s hard to do this yourself, you should use one of the various auction sniping tools available. BadNapper, Gixen, AuctionBlitz, AuctionSniper and JBidwatcher are all popular names.

Finally, always aim for items that close last

If you find several listings for the same product, all closing within a short period of time, you should always pick the last product to close. Since others are likely to be tied up bidding for the items closing earlier, you may have the last product to yourself.

Note: Of course, if you are a seller, you should know that all of the above happens regularly, and you should create your listings accordingly.

Amazon Dash

Amazon Dash Review – Amazon’s New Barcode Scanner

This is my review of the Amazon Dash. Dash is a new handheld Wi-Fi device by Amazon that you can use to scan the barcodes of items around your home (anything from yogurt to pens) and add them to your AmazonFresh shopping cart (AmazonFresh is the same-day scheduled delivery service for Amazon.com items and groceries). If you are not much into scanning, the Dash also has a microphone button for voice recognition – whatever you say gets added to your cart.

Amazon Dash AmazonFresh
Amazon Dash, April 21, 2014.

A few days ago, I received an e-mail from AmazonFresh inviting me to participate in the exclusive Amazon Dash trial and “be among the first users of an exciting and convenient new way to shop”.  A 10-digit alphanumeric free trial code was included.

I am not sure what their qualification criteria were, but I am a PrimeFresh member, and I use Amazon quite often – 100+ orders placed in 2013, and 80+ orders placed in the past 6 months.  I mostly order groceries, office and shipping supplies, gifts and some personal toys like fountain pens and ink.

One day after I entered my shipping address and submitted my code, my Amazon Dash arrived.

Amazon has long enabled me to scan barcodes with its Android app, but I was never a big fan of this feature. I always found it a bit cumbersome to look for my phone, turn on the app, navigate to the barcode scanning feature, make sure that there’s enough ambient light … it is much faster for me to just open up a browser and start typing the name of whatever I am looking for.

Amazon Dash - Scanning Light
Amazon Dash – Scanning Light

The Dash, however, makes me want to scan, scan some more and keep scanning. The second I press the “Scan” button, a red light is emitted that quickly (very quickly) scans any barcode. There is no more need to hold my arm steady and wait until the thing focuses. There is even no need for ambient light. I was successful in scanning and purchasing iced tea in complete blackout-curtain-induced darkness.

The voice recognition feature is equally impressive. You press the button, say something, and it instantly loads in your shopping cart on your desktop browser. Cool! Everything I said was instantly recognized and showed up in my shopping cart. I tried saying “Chobani Yogurt”, “Milk”, “Bananas”, “Eggs” and “Solid Seller”.  Of all the items on the list, the only item that was not recognized was “Solid Seller”. It showed up as “Solid Cellar”. Amazon, I forgive you. After all, you can’t buy my blog on Amazon.

Amazon Dash - Solid Seller
Amazon Dash – Solid Seller

After you are done adding items to your cart, specifying quantities and adding a few additional items, all that is left to do is go through the simple checkout and pick the delivery date and time.

Quick Clarification: If an item you scanned is not on AmazonFresh, you will either get suggestions for similar items or a “not found” notification for off-the-wall barcodes (old SXSW conference ID badges, spray paint, codes not in the system, etc.)

In my opinion, the Amazon Dash is an exquisite device – one that really makes shopping for groceries and other household items easy. I keep it on top of my fridge and scan/speak whenever I run out of something. The scanning is effortless, the voice recognition is accurate, and the construction is quite solid. It doesn’t seem to be a cheaply made item that barely flops along.

Amazon Dash - Top
Amazon Dash – Top

Why you should care: If you are selling a lot of the same items on Amazon, Etsy, eBay … or any other marketplace, now would be a good time to make sure that your items have traditional barcodes. They are not expensive to register (google “How to Buy a Barcode”), and they could be used a lot more in the future. Let’s face it: QR codes were just a little too much for mainstream consumers. This, however, may be a game changer. As devices like the Dash (price point TBD) hit the shelves, barcodes could be the “it” factor for not only major retailers, but for online sellers like you and I. “Say and bid”, anyone?  In fact, at least one other scanner is already out – it’s called the Hiku …pronounced as Haiku…accessory. More could be out that I don’t know about.

If this trend goes mainstream, you may want to make sure that your stuff on eBay, etc. has barcodes.


Buying or Selling Art on Etsy

Buying and Selling Art on Etsy

Buying and selling creative works of art, from paintings to handmade cards to decorative vases to stunning jewelry, cannot be easier when you use Etsy. Similar to eBay in design and ease, buying and selling art on Etsy will leave you excited and anxious to use it time and time again.

Etsy opened its virtual doors in 2005, and millions of people from all around the globe visit the auction site to purchase a wide variety of goods. Buying arts and crafts from Etsy is very simple, as is selling your own creative projects.

Buying art on Etsy:

The creators of Etsy wanted a fun and easy-to-navigate site for people to view a wide variety of products and that’s what happened. The platform is similar to eBay in design, with items being placed under an assortment of categories. Browsing these categories is very simple and fast.

There is a search box at the top of the page. So, if you are looking for a glass vase, simply type in ‘glass vase’ in the search box and click on search. You will get a list of items which match your description. Then you can click on the item and decide if you want to purchase it or not. Simple.

Using Geolocator, you can search for art sellers who live close to your own location. This is very handy if you are purchasing bigger items such as decorative screens, paintings or even sculptures as it would save you a fortune in shipping and handling costs. Plus, you may even be able to meet the artist themselves.

The Etsy Time Machine is a handy tool which allows you to see recently added items to the site, progressing to older items. This could be very useful if you are interested in seeing what new items are being uploaded before everybody else gets there.

Connections is where you can view what other people are interested in. When you save something as your favorite, it can be saved in the Connections section. This allows people then to browse items that you like, gaining inspiration for gift ideas.

Once you have decided that you wish to purchase an item, all you need to do is register a free account on Etsy. Go back to the relevant page and simply order it. If you need to ask the seller any questions or perhaps ask a special request, then you can initiate a ‘conversation’ with them. These messages are kept in your inbox until you delete them. Follow the payment instructions and the seller will ship your item to you. Upon receiving it, you should leave feedback on the seller’s profile and they will do the same for you. Other people view this feedback to determine whether you are a trustworthy buyer/seller.

Selling art on Etsy:

Selling art on Etsy is a little more complex than buying art on the site, but even then it is a simple enough process which reaches millions of people all over the world. Etsy itself is not a shop, but rather an online marketplace where vendors come together and sell their goods, just like your local market.

You should note, however, that there are two small fees to pay out when you sell your art on Etsy. You need to pay a small listing fee when you upload products to your shop, and you also have to pay a small transaction fee when a customer purchases an item from you.

In order to sell art on Etsy, you begin by setting up a seller’s account and then open a shop. This will require a credit card to do. Fill out the profile page and the shop description. This is a great way to advertise how unique you and your items are.

Then you need to list your items you wish to sell. Add a good quality photograph of the item, tags and a detailed description of the object. Also, make sure you include clear shipping costs and information, especially if you are willing to ship overseas.

The next step is to advertise your shop (through social media like Facebook or Twitter for example) and wait until an item is sold. Once the payment has cleared, you need to package the item and then ship it to the purchaser. Once your customer has received the item, leave feedback on their profile. They should leave feedback on your profile; this is important as other potential customers will read your feedback in order to determine whether you are a reliable seller.

Etsy has gained a trustworthy reputation as a reliable online marketplace for anything arty and creative. Buying and selling art on Etsy is fun, easy to do and very profitable, making it a popular venue for artists and customers alike.