Ebay is an online marketplace and auction house where users can list items for sale, run an online store, or bid and purchase new items. Ebay allows users to upload photos of their item, create a description, and set pricing options quickly and easily. Working with your child to run an Ebay store or list a few items can help teach them about money, marketing, and other valuable thinking and academic skills. We recommend Ebay for kids twelve and older in conjunction with help from their parents because it involves managing real world money and interacting with other customers and businesses. We strongly encourage parents to discuss with their children the real life consequences that can come from mismanaging money and items in their online store.
Arranging and coordinating materials in order to complete a task.
Running an online store, or even just selling a few items from the attic, requires your child to not only organize photos and descriptions of each item, but he must also keep track of messages, shipping information, and packing supplies. Each step of the selling process requires careful attention to detail and organizational strategies. Your child will have to keep his store and items organized in order to buy and sell products in an effective and timely matter.
Understanding our own actions, thoughts and feelings.
When writing the descriptions and taking photos for each listed item, your child will need to think about how his words will be perceived by his buyers. He will also need to think about how his photographs show off the item he is listing, and ensure the online Ebay store is welcoming and draws attention from customers. He will also need to pay attention to his responses to customers and how his words and actions can be interpreted by his customers and other business owners. If customers are dissatisfied, they will give him poor scores which will reflect on his business.
Developing a systematic approach for setting and achieving goals.
Before your child lists anything, he will need to do some serious planning. How much is the item worth? What is a realistic asking price? Should the item be an auction or "Buy it Now" item? How is your child going to ship the item? There are many questions to answer before your child even logs onto Ebay. He will have to plan and research about his items and about what other businesses are selling his items for, as well as be sure he has enough supplies and money to ship items. Without thoroughly planning the selling and buying of items with adult supervision, a child may find himself unable to maintain his store.
While your child will not be writing essays, he will be writing descriptions and communicating with customers via e-mail and Ebay messages. He will need to choose his words carefully so that the description is concise and accurate. He will also need to be polite and respectful with a variety of customers and be able to represent himself in a way that others will read and understand. Like any online interaction, he will need to closely monitor his online written town and how it can be interpreted.
In order to make a profit while running a store, your child will need to figure out the cost of the item (if any), how much it sold for, and how much shipping costs. This way, he'll know exactly how much money he made on each item. He will require more than a basic understanding of math, however -- he will need to understand mark-ups and discounts, how to increase his profits, and how to balance money. It will also require the use of an outside service, such as PayPal, in order for customers to send and receive money and shipping information.
In order to get the most out of using Ebay, you'll need to do more than simply create an account. Try some of the specific suggestions below, and let us know what works for you in the comment box at the bottom of the page.
Have your child gather all the necessary tools for running an Ebay store and set them up ahead of time. Create a stockpile of shipping supplies that your child should keep ready and organized for when items are purchased. He can also set up an e-mail address that is specific to the Ebay business. In this account, he can create folders to selling, purchasing, and archive folders to hold on to for later reference. Your child can also create folders on the computer to temporarily store images of items, and then delete them once the item has been listed.
Your child will need to think about the way others will perceive his online storefront. Does he have featured items that will help draw in customers? Is the name of the store relevant or catchy? Does he have slogan or tag line? All of these questions relate back to good marketing skills, which requires sellers to think about how their items will be perceived by others. His goal should be to create an online storefront that looks appealing to a wide range of audiences, so he should have a variety of featured items that represent what the store is all about.
Start out your Ebay store by creating an inventory list of all the items you want to put on your Ebay store. For each item, decide whether it will be listed Buy it Now or in an auction, and determine prices for each by researching what the item may be worth, or what it may be listed for by other sellers. Since customers will often be looking through many stores for specific products, putting an item at the incorrect price will mean that it may not be purchased at all. From there, have your child can go through and take photos of the items in order and save them to specific folders on the computer. Once he has done this, he can simply go down the list and start listing items on Ebay; he will have all the information and photos he needs and the process will go much quicker.
When writing descriptions, always have your child read them aloud. As he reads them, you should work together to change words to make the description more appealing without being deceptive or inaccurate. It is important your description is honest and presented in a way that people will like, but lying to customers and selling them items they aren't expecting will create real life consequences for your child. Remind him that Ebay isn't a game, but a business.
Whenever someone messages your store asking for more information, it is crucial that your child responds promptly and professionally. He must be sure to use good grammar, correct spelling, and be polite. Ask him how he would like to be spoken to or helped if he was at a store looking for an item. Editing and proofreading are essential before hitting the send button. He should also be careful with his tone and think about how his words can be interpreted by others he's speaking with online as he runs his business.
Come up with a goal profit for each item. While you want to make as much as possible, many items will sit for months if they are not given some sort of a discounted price. For example, it may be worth selling an item for a minimum profit of 20%, rather than having that item sit in your home for months with no interest from buyers because of the high price.
Have your child complete a quarterly spreadsheet, with every item listed with the overhead cost and profit spelled out. He will see a visual representation of the profit he has made, and can even create a fun graph to show to money flowing in. However, because your child will be working with real-life money, not just on a game or a program, he will likely require help from an adult to make sure his spending and selling are managed appropriately.
Ebay is just one option for selling and purchasing items online. Below are a few similar alternatives that offer varying features.
Amazon is another online marketplace where users can buy and sell new and used goods, similar to Ebay. Find out more here.
Etsy is an online marketplace for handmade or antique goods. Many people here create their own items and operate a store through Etsy as their main business. Find out more here.
Craigslist can be a great local option for listing and purchasing items. Craigslist works more like the classifieds section in the paper. However, because Craigslist includes more than purchasing and selling items, adult supervision is required. Find out more here.
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