Sunday, June 8, 2008

Ebay Stuff!

Click on image to enlarge.

Illustration 11.5"x 7" Prisma colored pencil on illustration board. Cover art for "Intouch Magazine" ( for Dr.Charles Stanley's Atlanta church ministry and worldwide magazine and devotional guide) I created this artwork in the late 1990's.

Some of you may remember that I opened an Ebay store last Saturday and for those that are curious about how that is going I'll catch you up on the latest.

My first 4 items were listed for seven days and the auction closed yesterday with no sales. I had been keeping track with the activity all week and was hopeful about one of these paintings (Garden Reprieve) that was marked "watched" by three persons. Being watched doesn't translate into "interested in buying" but it still felt nice that someone hit some kind of button when they saw the piece. I've relisted the 4 works for auction for an additional week. If there are no sales for this next week, I don't know if these first items will stay in the store, but if so, they will probably be listed with a "buy now" price.

The next six paintings I listed for 10 instead of 7 days, after reading that this would be a good strategy with the listing fee costing 40 cents more per item for the extra 3 days. To date I've accumulated about $35 dollars to list the 10 items and relist 4. This doesn't inclued the Ebay store fee that is free the first month ($14.95/ month). If an item sells, a percent of the sale price will be assessed and PayPal receives a small percentage for their part. When the current auctions end and I relist items or place new items in the store, of course the fees will increase as I go. I'll need to decide how many items are the ideal number for any given time, but for now, I'm just experimenting. If I could sell just one or two paintings a month to cover these costs, it'd be worth the investment to receive the exposure in the market. I'm sure it takes quite a while to get noticed out there and I'm not producing enough to approach galleries yet. Comments are welcome! It's a real blessing that I have other means to pay bills for now! Seriously, I'm glad I don't have that kind of pressure. I love painting without anxiety! The brush is much happier.

I spent quite a bit of time this week on "managing " the store with some very worthwhile tools provided. Tracking daily activity in the store was fun and educational as I was able to see what items were getting the most interest. Stats are also available for number of visits to the store and how many times each item was viewed. The tools also allowed me to see from where each visit came – whether from ebay searches or from my blog or google. I'll list below some of the types of information provided to manage a "basic level" store.

Stats for the time period of Saturday, May 31 to Sunday, June 8:

275 page visits (or item visits)
99 "visits" as described by ebay: " a sequence of consecutive page views without a 30 minute break" per person. (this is hard to believe!)
82 store front visits

Most visited "pages" or items in order of frequence:
Lake Como (both of two paintings) Note to Jennifer!
Garden Reprieve (garden w/ orange bench)
No One's Home ( garden w/bird house and wheel barrow)
Yellow Onion
Pink Ladies ( camillas in yellow vase)
Santorini Patio
all others

I had 5 "watched " items, some items watched by more than one person.

Referring Domains (or through what engine did they arrive at the store or page):

79% ebay
20% my blog
3% google
4% other

Research led me to different articles with tips and rules for using the most successful keywords and titles for listing items. The listing "title" is most important for search engine key words. There is a limited number of characters, so you should leave out any unnecessary words as "and" & "the". Your name is not as important as words that describe the item unless you are a "known" artist that customers will google or place into ebay's search engine. The title of the painting is useless, such as "No One's Home". My listing title for this piece is as follows:
King: original oil painting 8x7 garden scene/bird house. Another example of how to get more "hits" with search engines, is keep it simple. For example, when I first listed a painting of a villa on Lake Como, I titled it as "Lake Como villa". A better way to list the same information would be to list as " LakeComo/ villa". When the words are separated with " / " the search engine can find all paintings of Lake Como and not just the ones with a villa. My reasearch was ongoing during the week and I got much practice in revising my listings. They were all revised in numerous ways before it was done and at 10 listings quite a few hours were spent.

This just in! I recieved an email (via ebay) about payment options from an ebay shopper. I'm not sure why she wouldn't know from my store info what those would be, but I'm glad to get an inquiring email!!!! Updates to come.


rick nilson said...


Looks good. I want one. Is this a new template for your blog? Thanks for the info. regarding ebay. Few would be so forthcoming.

Marilyn M. King said...

Why thanks, Rick. I just felt like redecorating and chose a new template and my favorite blue. I think it looks fresh.
Glad you appreciate the info, it's for you and Jenn.
You sure sound serious this AM, back on the meds, huh?

Anonymous said...

Oh, Marilyn! I did not realize you were opening up an official shop on eBay. I think that is usually only done when you are selling hundreds/thousands of items, so that people can come into your shop and search by category and such (and I'm sure there are tools to make it easier to list and manage so many items).

You do not have to have an official 'shop' on eBay to sell things, and I don't think it looks bad at all if you do not have one. People can still click on a link to see all of the items that you currently have listed, the only real difference is the storefront and the categories.

I would definitely drop it if it does not pay for itself quickly.

Oh, and I thought of one more thing in answer to your questions recently on my blog (Ok, I thought of few more things, but I don't remember them now). On Etsy it only costs $.20 to list an item for four months (and you pay a percentage if it sells), the price does not differ based on cost. I've heard a lot of griping about eBay raising it's rates lately, sellers talking about boycotting and such.

I'm not saying either eBay or Etsy is far superior to the other. The best thing to do is list some items in both, see how you do, and go with what brings you sales. ;)

Marilyn M. King said...

Tiffany, thanks for the info about Etsy. As I look through items on Etsy, they seem to be lower priced and smaller purchases than the paintings I want to sell. Maybe I'm wrong and need to check it out more.
I have a "basic" store at Ebay and really like the features, so I hope to sell enough to make it worthwhile and then some. Most of the artists who sell "daily" paintings are utilizing the "store" and I felt that a store front would be more professional and official. We'll see.
See you on Father's Day? Hope so.

Jennifer Young said...

Very thorough post, and helpful to me, as one who has only toyed with eBay. I've been stalled "in the planning stage" to try the auction thing in a more serious way for a while; but as you've stated it takes sooo much time, and then there's the learning curve. I still hope for possible development of this goal some time this summer (project goal number 586!) Very interesting breakdown of your stats too. Thanks Marilyn!

BTW, just wondering why you don't link to your auctions in your individual blog posts? It took me a while to figure out where to see the auctions. (Then again I worked on my garden last weekend in 100 degree weather and I think I've fried my brain!)

I've tried Etsy but I have to agree with you about the prices. I read a recent article that said the average sales price there is $15! Of course there are surely *some* making a success of it there with higher prices than that. Artist Mandy Budan comes to mind, though she mainly sells prints and repros on Etsy, I think.

It's my understanding though that with any of these sites, regular listings are key to keeping your auctions visible and fresh. I have also read that auction listings on eBay are searchable where static store items aren't. If so, this may be the reason for Tiffany's comments about the store (that and the expense). If true, regular auctions are probably more important for the freshness/searchability, while the store is a nice placeholder for all of your auctions, as well as your higher priced paintings with "Buy it now".

Do you know about ArtByUs? It's an auction venue just for artists. It's currently free to list there but doesn't have the Paypal integration or the nifty shipping features. A side by side comparison would be interesting. They have stats but I don't think they're as thorough as what you've detailed.

While I'm sure the traffic currently doesn't compare with eBay's, I still hope that this site will gain momentum. I like the idea of an art-only auction venue.

Marilyn M. King said...

Jennifer, thanks for all thoughts and comments, very helpful!

I just haven't gotten to the task of linking the "posts" to the specific auction yet, next on the list. Sorry you had trouble but good to know.

I am going to rethink the "store" front purpose. Tiffany is right that I can do without it and save the cost. It's nice to try it out for free and be able to gain the information from the tracking tools. No contract is signed, so as far as I can tell, I can opt out any time. It could be very worth the $ to keep it for a couple of months just to see what items are noticed more than others and from where the visits originate.

I've not heard of ArtByUs but I also like the idea of an auction venue just for the art community, will check it out. Someone mentioned Multimedia Artboard. Have you heard of this? Haven't checked it out yet.

Jennifer Young said...

Yes. That someone was me. :-) Check my comment on one of your previous posts. I'll also be posting my thoughts on this surface on my blog some time this week, as I used Multimedia ArtBoard as one of my substrates on my trip to France.