The Atlanta event was held downtown at the Omni Hotel. I attended the local meeting with Bob Gilliland of Gilliland's Memorabilia. His eBay store is located at http://stores.ebay.com/Gillilands-Memorabilia, and you may know him from his music blog or radio appearances about vintage vinyl.
Friday night, March 19, we registered and had a couple of hours to meet and greet other sellers. It was fun mingling and talking to others about their selling experiences. We really enjoyed the networking event that Danna Crawford of Powerselling Mom (http://powersellingmom.com/) held at Latitude's Bistro and Lounge. We enjoyed meeting eBay CEO John Donahoe at Danna's event.
Saturday was a busy day. It started at 7:30 with continental breakfast and a chance to pick up tickets for limited seating (100 person) breakout classes throughout the day.
The first session I attended was Strategies to Grow Your Business by Sarah Brubacher. Sarah is an eBay employee, and her session was full of helpful tips! Sarah mentioned the importance of adding a link to your eBay store in each eBay auction description. I did not know we could link to our store within our listings and I want to do this ASAP. She also talked about the new Unpaid Assistant Tool which allows you to auto-file for unpaid items on eBay. This is so helpful and such a time saver! Information on this tool is located at http://pages.ebay.com/sell/UPI/upiassistant/index.html. I have already signed up to auto-file for unpaid items after 8 days.
The next session was The Art of Customer Attraction by Mike Michalowicz. Mike is a very dynamic and entertaining speaker, adding lots of humor and anecdotes to his presentation. He was great at motivating sellers. He had some really innovative ideas, like adding buyer testimonials to your website, including a note with each package sent, and sending a survey or follow-up to buyer after purchase, which puts your name in front of the buyer again. He also suggested that sellers take one new idea from the conference and start practicing that idea. (I love this suggestion and am planning to choose my one new idea on Monday!)
Then there was a panel discussion called Top-Rated Seller Secrets, moderated by Jim "Griff" Griffith, with Lynn Dralle, Jordan Insley, and Cindy Shebley. It was really interesting to hear how these top sellers deal with everyday issues like finding items to sell, storing inventory, and the dreaded "high maintenance" buyer. Lynn mentioned that she has an ongoing goal to list 100 items a week. I really like this idea, and am thinking about adapting it to my own eBay schedule. I always have a backlog of items to list, and know that it is important to offer new inventory to buyers weekly. Lynn is a fan of Best Offer (as I am, as well), and talked about raising prices and adding Best Offer. Cindy mentioned the importance of making sure that RSS feeds are turned on at eBay, and making sure accurate and descriptive keywords are included in each title and description. Cindy also talked about looking at our own feedback as sellers to learn from both positive and negative comments.
After a lunch break, I went to the eBay Customer Service room where I was able to talk, at length, with an eBay representative about my store. We pulled up my store on the computer. My store is located at http://stores.ebay.com/Birdhouse-Books. The eBay customer service rep, Art, was complimentary about my store design, layout, categories, and auction design/content. I told him that my greatest interest is finding a higher sell-through rate, and, of course, making higher profit from my eBay sales. Spending about 20 minutes talking one-on-one with an eBay representative was invaluable. He offered several tips that I plan to utilize:
- Loss leader (with links to my similar eBay items) offered weekly - i.e. starting at 99¢
- HTML link to my store within descriptions (this is available at Manage My Store on eBay)
- Best Offer - raise prices
- Tuck-in with each purchase (include information about my newsletter, and a note letting buyers know I offer special sales and promo codes to newsletter subscribers only)
- Promotional flyer - printed from eBay newsletters page
The final session of the day was called I Just Tweetered on FaceSpace by John Jantsch. I love social media, and enjoy my blog (thanks for reading it!), a Facebook fan page (http://www.facebook.com/birdhousebooks) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/birdhousebooks). I also have a personal Facebook page to chat with friends, relatives, and keep up with my all-important Farmville crops! John Jantsch had a great session with so many fun and motivating ideas about social networking and eBay business. He talked about the importance of creating a hub (i.e. your eBay store) and directing your social media attention back to that hub. One idea he mentioned, and that I would like to try, is starting a flickr account with vintage treasures and descriptions. He also talked about the importance of blogging 3 - 5 times weekly. I tend to blog once every 7 - 10 days and I need to get in the habit of blogging more frequently.
eBay work is fun but sometimes isolating. I do my vintage shopping with friends and relatives (and it is the most fun part of my "job"), but photos and listings are done at home and on my own. It was great fun meeting so many other eBayers, and especially meeting longtime online eBay friends like Kat Simpson and Louise Dietershagen Sanchez. It was fun to meet eBay superstars Griff (Jim Griffith) of eBay Radio, and Lynn Dralle, who wrote The 100 Best Things I've Sold on eBay series (very highly recommended -- so inspirational!).
In addition to everything else, I was reminded that parking downtown Atlanta is a bear, the city skyline is spectacular downtown at night, and it is important to break in new shoes before wearing them to a 2 day conference!
I'm really glad to have attended this conference. Future eBay On Location events are in Dallas, Chicago, and San Jose, and I highly recommend them to other sellers: http://www.ebayonlocationevents.com/