eBay Resources

eBay offers a variety of resoruces to help you start and run your business. Here are some places to start your research.

By Mark Henricks

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you're new to eBay, you may need some pointers about how to find your way around. That's why you'll find "Help" at the top of every page on eBay. The Help feature is your ticket to assistance with using eBay to buy and sell.

There are several different ways you can get started finding answers to your questions about eBay. One way is to type a few words into the Search Help box on the main Help page and click on "Search Help." You'll get a list of relevant Help topics. Click on the one that fits your situation, and you'll be taken to a page with a brief explanation and links to other relevant Help pages. This search tool only looks within Help by the way, so you can't use it to find an item listed on eBay. You'll find other searching tips by clicking the "Tips" link beside the search button.

Another way to use Help is to look at the list of the Top Questions About Getting Started on eBay. These start with "What is eBay?" and "How do I sell an item?" and cover the most often-posed questions. These links work just like the Help topics. Just click on one to go to a page that will give you an explanation.

If your need isn't covered in the Top Questions, take a look at the blue topic links that fill the bottom of the main Help page. Clicking on any of the boldfaced subject headings, such as "Getting Started on eBay" and "Safe Trading," takes you to a page with an explanation and links to related Help pages. You can also search Help from one of these pages.

Finally, to get an alphabetized look at Help, click the "A-Z Index" link on the left of any Help page. Click the first letter of your topic, or click "All" to see all Help topics in a single list. Learn more here.

eBay Learning Center

To find audio tours on topics, including "how does eBay Work?" "How to Register," "Successful Searching" and more, visit eBay's Learning Center. You can also access tutorials on topics such as an overview of selling, how to get started on eBay, advanced selling and more.

eBay University

Anyone can learn to buy and sell on ebay with the help of eBay University. You get two ways to learn: in face-to-face classroom sessions or convenient online courses.

eBay University classroom learning puts you face-to-face with expert instructors. You'll get to ask questions and take home a workbook for more study. Plus, you'll get to network with other eBay users. Classes are held regularly across the nation, at prices starting at $39.

Classroom learning offers a choice of two courses. If you've never sold on eBay, start with "Selling Basics." It covers fundamentals, including opening a Seller's Account, creating listings, writing item descriptions, adding photos, setting prices, opening a PayPal Account, and completing the transaction.

If you have some eBay selling experience but want to hone your skills, "Beyond the Basics" is for you. This classroom course shows you how to start a new business on eBay or expand an existing one. You'll learn to pick a listing format, create attention-grabbing listings, market your business, and pack items for shipment.

eBay University Online lets you learn at your own pace from your computer, with the help of Jim "Griff" Griffith, dean of eBay Education and author of The Official eBay Bible. During the course, you can submit questions via e-mail and get answers in a monthly live-chat session on the eBay discussion boards. When you finish, you'll get a certificate of completion.

The online course, called "eBay University Online: The Basics," mainly concentrates on how to sell on eBay and is a great way to get started and learn from the experts at your own pace, in a short amount of time. You can take "The Basics" for $19.95 or get it on CD-ROM for the same price plus shipping and handling. Learn more about eBay University here, or visit the Learning Center.

eBay Live!

At eBay Live!, the annual eBay community conference, you can rub shoulders with PowerSellers, other eBay users and eBay execs; learn new skills for buying and selling; stock up on eBay gear; and more. Along with opportunities for serious learning through classes, keynote speeches and executive panels, you'll have plenty of chances to socialize at receptions, parties and the gala dinner at the end of this two-and-a-half-day eBay extravaganza.

At the keynote speech, you'll hear eBay executives explain where eBay is headed and get a chance to ask your own questions. You'll find booths staffed with category managers who offer expert insight on everything from apparel and books to PayPal and third-party exhibitors. All together, there are more than 500 eBay employees in attendance.

In 2004, classes were arranged in three learning tracks: Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced. Topics and content range from an orientation for all attendees to sessions on marketing, fraud prevention, shipping, photography-even creating a business plan. All classes are taught by instructors who are experts in their subjects and can answer your questions.

The exhibitors at eBay Live! are there to show their offerings of services, software, hardware and training materials to help you with buying and selling. Exhibits feature everything from list-management tools and label-printing software to digital photography equipment and appraisal services. You can also talk to the vendors in person.

One of the most popular and enjoyable activities at eBay Live! is stocking up on trading cards, collectible pins, eBay apparel and other goods at the on-site eBay Shop and Stamping Station booths. eBay is planning the June 2005 event in its hometown of San Jose, California. Learn more here.

eBay Toolkit

eBay has dozens of tools to help you enhance your listings aswell as your other eBay activities.

  • "About Me" page: This page is a way to educatebidders on what you have to offer, your policies (payment terms,shipping, returns), and why they can feel comfortable buying fromyou.
  • Bidder management tools: There may be times when youwant to control who can bid on your listings. eBay offers two toolsfor this: The blocked bidder/buyer list lets you set up a list ofbidders/buyers who aren't allowed to bid on or purchase youritems. The preapproved bidder/buyer list lets only the people onthat list bid on or purchase your listed items.
  • eBay community: You'll find a helpful collection ofdiscussion boards, chat sessions and online workshops.
  • Feedback: Feedback is the tool by which an eBayuser's reputation is built. There are three types offeedback-positive, neutral and negative-and both parties in atransaction are encouraged to leave feedback about each other.

An eBay user's feedback rating is the number in parenthesesafter his or her User ID. The feedback rating is calculated bygiving one point for each positive comment, giving no points for aneutral comment, and subtracting one point for each negativecomment.

  • My eBay: My eBay allows you to manage your buying,selling and other account activities. The links on the My eBay pageinclude "My Summary" (where you can view such items as"eBay Announcements" and "Buying Reminders"),"All Buying," "All Selling," "AllFavorites" and "My Account."
  • PowerSeller program: eBay's PowerSeller program isdesigned to recognize certain levels of achievement by eBaysellers. PowerSellers are held to strict standards regarding boththeir sales volume and their business conduct.
  • Relist feature: If your listing doesn't result in awinning bid, or if it results in an Unpaid Item, you can qualify torelist. If the item sells, eBay will refund the fee for therelisting.
  • Second chance offer: This allows sellers to offer anitem to an underbidder at the underbidder's highest bid if thewinning bidder doesn't complete the purchase or if the sellerhas more than one item available.
  • Seller's assistant: This tool, available for amonthly subscription fee, helps you create professional listings inbulk, track them, and manage customer correspondence. It provideseasy-to-use templates for standard auction-style and eBay Storeslistings, and also automatically inserts payment terms, tax,shipping, and any other details you want to include.
  • Warranty services: If you sell electronics or computeritems, you can increase bidders' comfort level by offering astandard or extended warranty through eBay's Warranty Servicesprogram. Promote the warranty option in your listing, and athird-party company handles the warranty sale and servicing.

The LatestTools

The big three ebay selling tools-Turbo Lister, Selling Managerand Selling Manager Pro-are updated to stay current with users'needs and site features.

Turbo Lister, the free desktop tool that makes listing multipleitems faster and easier, now allows you to import and exportspreadsheet files of items, along with their listing details. Plus,now you can select multiple shipping services. The edit view inTurbo Lister has also been redesigned so you can preview itemspecifics quickly and easily on one page, rather than having to gothrough several pages.

Some recent improvements have also been added to SellingManager-the online sales management tool that eases listing andtracking and other selling jobs-and Selling Manager Pro, whichhelps high-volume sellers do bulk listings, manage sales,communicate with customers, manage inventory, and print labels andinvoices. Integration with My eBay makes this tool easy andconvenient to use.

Another eBay product is called eBay Toolbar, which helps youtrack the items you've bid on as well as the items you'rewatching. This downloadable toolbar protects eBay accounts andusers with the Account Guard feature by turning green whenyou're visiting an official eBay or PayPal site. If you'reon any other normal site, the toolbar indicator is gray. Ifyou're on a known spoof site, it turns red.

SolutionsDirectory

The solutions directory provides a single source to help youfind software applications and services to increase your businessproductivity on eBay.

There are more than 7,000 members of the eBay DevelopersProgram, and many of them create applications that specificallyaddress a variety of needs of businesses on eBay. Examples includeservices that integrate companies' existing inventorymanagement systems with the eBay Platform, or listing managementand automation software. Users find implementing new systems ortaking advantage of these services increases their eBay businesslevels. When sellers transition from using the eBay "Sell YourItem" form to using software, they sell more merchandise, andthey're more productive.

The eBay Solutions Directory will host approximately 500developer applications by the end of 2004. The solutions will becategorized by feature, functionality, eBay category or price. Soif you're looking for a software application to publishlistings on eBay, you'll find it under "ListingManagement." Users can also browse the directory to findapplications that support specific activities.

Each listing will include the price of the solution so users cancompare features and benefits. Listings also include a link to thedeveloper's Web site so users can find out even more about thesolutions and make purchases.

All software in the directory will go through a technicalcompliance review process prior to inclusion in the directory toensure that applications are eBay-compliant. Beyond serving as ahandy resource for eBay users, the directory helps eBay Developersreach the eBay community with their solutions, which is onlyfurther incentive for them to develop useful products and servicesfor the eBay community. Learn more here.

PayPal

The most popular payment method on eBay is PayPal, an eBaycompany that allows you to accept credit card, bank account andPayPal Account balance payments over the Internet. PayPal providesa fast, easy, secure way for people to exchange funds online.

There's no charge to open a PayPal Account or make paymentsusing PayPal. Buyers can fund a PayPal payment using their PayPalAccount balance, checking account or credit cards.

For sellers, Pay Pal's Personal Accounts are free but cannotaccept credit card payments. PayPal's Premier and BusinessAccounts can accept credit card and bank payments but pay a fee toreceive funds. Fees are assessed at the time of the transaction.For more information, go to www.paypal.com.

Education SpecialistsTrained by eBay

If you like the idea of helping others learn how to be bettereBay buyers and sellers-and supplementing your income in theprocess-then the Education Specialist Program is for you. Thisself-paced, online training course will show you how to teach the"eBay Selling Basics" course as an independent trainer.Even if you're already teaching a class, you can make sure youhave the best materials and hone your expertise through theEducation Specialist Program.

This program uses top-notch eBay-approved training materials. Infact, you'll be able to use the same student-training materialsthat were developed for and used by eBay University. This course isalso convenient-you can take it at your own pace, in your own time,from your own computer.

You won't be on your own when it comes to learning, becauseyou'll get to see how the professional eBay Universityinstructors teach-picking up tips from their tried-and-truemethods, and getting steady direction from guidelines andtechniques for teaching eBay course work. You'll also be ableto chat with other education specialists, and when your course workis done, you'll get continuing support from trainingexperts.

The Education Specialist Directory is a powerful tool forhelping you promote and publicize your services. As an EducationSpecialist, you'll still be able to sell your training servicesas you wish, plus you'll have the advantage of being able topost your training events in the online directory. When studentssearch for courses by location or date, yours will pop up.You'll get another marketing edge when you enhance your Website and business cards with the logo declaring you to be an"Education Specialist-Trained by eBay." You can even getpaid when your students use eBay for the first time! Learn morehere.

Resources for eBaySellers

Organizations and Associations:

Internet Resources:

Publications:

Shipping Companies:

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