How do you organize your new eBay inventory for success?
Walking in the door with armloads of new items to list on eBay and Amazon gets exciting, and maybe a little nerve wracking. You’ve made your inventory investment and want to see some returns pretty quick. So, I know you’re thinking, “What’s to discuss? List ‘em, ship ‘em, easy!” But, right now is the opportunity to make some key decisions that will bring your store happy buyers, huge growth, and top rated seller status. Having a plan to transform your home office stockroom into a lean, mean eBay warehouse is the first step to growing your business. And, it’s key to helping your new eBay inventory sell and ship with ease.
You need to make sure these items are arriving in the hands of your customers safe and well prepared. That starts with onboarding the eBay inventory into your workspace and tracking it while it’s there. Being an awesome seller means being smart with your time and your products. Your workspace is your Kessel run. So how do we navigate our way to happy buyers and quick work strategies? Let’s get into it:
New eBay Inventory Prep Guide:
You want to find the leanest path to make sure these new eBay items are presented in their best light, fully functional (or as you’ve described them) and ready to quickly deliver when they sell. You don’t want to be scrambling at the last minute to prepare something. When you rush that’s where errors happen. Here are some steps to making sure each item is properly prepped and ready to go!.
An eBay spreadsheet might be your best friend.
You want to save time, create happy customers and stay organized? An easy way to start organizing your new items is to make a simple spreadsheet for your eBay inventory with a “Status” column. Google Docs is your best choice here, It’s free and real time updating for multiple users. You can break down the process into as many steps as you need but should try to keep them minimal and impactful. Use steps that can be divided into what is accomplished in one sitting. For our eBay store, we break that down I like this:
- TEST – This is where an item enters our shop ready to be inspected.
- FIX – Needs some sort of repair or adjustment that could not be easily done in the test phase.
- RTL/ADD – Ready to list but need something added.
- RTL – Ready to list.
- SAVED – The listing has been saved and is ready to post.
- LISTED –Keeping track of where your products are in the pre-listing pipeline is going to save you time and guarantee the product gets handled correctly.
- SHIPPED – The item is on its way
- SOLD – Feedback has been left, the item is accounted for and it’s life with us is essentially retired.
This keeps our eBay warehouse organized, so we know where in the process each item is at all times
Test Your eBay Inventory. Don’t Give Away Value.
This diverges a little for new vs used items, A new item needs a more cursory inspection, but used items must be diagnosed for it how well it works and how good it looks. You should use your most experienced labor to do the inspection. The customer who buys it from you could always be an expert level user. You don’t necessarily have to be an expert but should always make you best, honest effort to know more about your products. The more you and your customer both know about the product the more likely to have a positive outcome for everyone. And positive outcomes are how you grow your business one sale at a time. Here’s some testing tips.
- Google is your friend. When testing something you don’t know everything about simply googling “(Item Name) + Repair” or “+ Fix” can point you in the direction of the most common problems, and what you should look for.
- Always be increasing your knowledge of the product you are selling. At the inspection time have whoever is testing write the description to be used for the eBay listing in a column on your sheet. They will have the most intimate knowledge of anyone there who handles it.
- Your tester should make internal notes detailing anything that should be done to it. This person is also responsible for figuring out what is the best state to sell the item in. Maybe it’s a camera and going to sell better with a new charger or a case, that all gets identified here. Maybe it should just be sold As-Is, but make that decision informed by a quick cost vs reward analysis. It could be with 5 minutes of googling you learn enough about the product to sell it as mint. The benefit to this approach is it makes you much more informed to buy the product again in the future and reap the reward of already having learned about the product.
- Let me just take a beat here to emphasize this: Product knowledge is one of your most profitable assets. You have an item in front of you and the opportunity to learn everything there is to know about it hands on. You then get to keep that knowledge you’ve earned and watch it pay you dividends over and over again. Don’t skip this step because you don’t know the product. Learning about something grows your ability to become expert level over time. And, an expert can use that experience to make money time and time again. Product knowledge is so valuable because it allows you to make more money on the same piece of inventory.
An item’s value goes up the more you know about it.
Learn about your product and how it sells best.
Under describe, over deliver.
Once everything is into its best functional shape and accessories are added to make it it’s most profitable product you want it to be cosmetically as good as it can be. Regardless of whether it’s a piece of heavy office equipment or a scratched up iPod, don’t ship dirty items. The labor it takes to either detail clean something yourself or have an employee clean your items will pay you back in spades. Particularly when you are starting out, you have extra time on your hands. Create a cleaning assembly line, figure what processes and cleaning products work best and detail clean all the nooks and crannies. Find a polish spray that suits your products to give them a last minute gleam. Your customer will thank you over and over again. You should also take care to touch them up just before boxing to make certain no fingerprints have been left in obvious places. Bottom line, take pride in your new eBay inventory. It is the lifeblood of your business.
Photo then box right away.
We’ll dig in with an upcoming item eBay photo guide soon (for now here’s a great photo guide by ebay.) I do want to point out this one tip though: Pre-boxing your items as soon as the photos are taken is the best way to prepare them to be sold. This will ensure that no accessories are lost in your work room or warehouse, that what you’ve described will be in the box, and that the item stays clean and safe while waiting to be sold. It will also make shipping a breeze when your item sells. Think about it, would you rather not know how much shipping work you’re going to have to do tomorrow? Or would you rather just box 10 items every day and be able to plan your time better.
Spend a little time and money on your eBay work space.
Even with a very little budget, you should be a constant innovator. Don’t do the same task over and over when there might be an easier way. Invest in some proper shelving or better photo lights. Your business is a machine. Using just a few dollars and a little strategy you can always build a better machine. One that takes new inventory and delivers clean, tested, and organized products, safe and ready to ship and securely warehoused.
You’re self-employed and looking to fill your 40 hours? Use that time wisely to prepare your business for growth. Yes, you can photo it and throw it in a box and hope for the best. But the real strategy here is to find low-cost ways to give your business more life. Have a low shipping day? Break apart the processes for how you handle and prepare your items, and start improving.
A good system to handle your eBay inventory is essential to growth.
Don’t wait until the moment something sells and scramble at the last minute. Build a lean factory to process your new eBay inventory, so you can focus on the big picture without the stress. Your life will be better, and your customer will thank you.
100% feedback and top rated status starts with a plan to deliver your products tested, cleaned, and groomed to travel safe. Look prepared right out of the box and grow your business smarter. Once that’s done you can move onto getting your items higher in search with our eBay SEO guide.