The hobby gets tossed into a time warp of sorts during the National Sports Collectors Convention. It’s the one time of year when avid buyers and sellers turn their attention toward a card show than selling online. At this year’s show in Cleveland, though, eBay is one of the exhibitors. Company representatives have been talking with buyers and sellers, listening to feedback and dishing out some free $10 buyer coupons, free listings and hosting a kids’ case break, among other things.
eBay has had a presence at the National before, but it’s been awhile.
“I wanted to really get in touch with customers whether they’re buyers or sellers. We invited a couple of our help specialists here to assist anyone who might have questions,” said Gordon Cheng, eBay’s Manager of Sports Cards, Memorabilia and Apparel. “And also we want to get involved and participate because this is the biggest show of the year in the sports collecting world.”
The opportunity was a unique one for attendees, offering some one-on-one attention from the online giant rather than the usual method of contacting customer service through an online form.
Cheng and Audrey Zwibelman, eBay’s Director of Merchandising, offered some tips for sellers.
One of those that seems basic but often results in missed opportunities for sellers is making sure you’re ahead of the curve when it comes to selling items of specific players and hot teams. The resulting interest on eBay often comes from beyond the realm of avid collectors. It’s true of any collectibles market.
“The most important things are stay on top of pop culture and by that I mean current trends and events,” Cheng suggested. “If a player is really hot, like Shohei Ohtani this year or Aaron Judge last year, just make sure you stock up on their items and have plenty of them to sell.”
He cited the immense sales numbers for Tom Brady last season as he chased another Super Bowl. While Brady has sold well for years and ultimately fell short of history, players who have an opportunity to add to their legacy through championships or records often see tremendous spikes on eBay. Being prepared to meet the demand of player and team collectors as events play out is an important factor in making money online.
Cheng and Zwibelman also encouraged users to take advantage of promoted listings and promotional tools offered inside the seller hub, noting that eBay will highlight such listings.
“It can be 20 percent off, a buy one, get one free sale or anything that would set your listing apart.
There are a lot of different creative ways that you can utilize the promotion manager. And using it actually helps elevate (the online visibility of) your listings a lot.”
Getting the word out about promotions via social media, forums that allow promotional posts and an email list can also lead to increased sales.
eBay’s size has sometimes made it a target for complaints from collectors and dealers about a lack of action when it comes to listings that offer fake autographs or altered cards. Zwibelman insists eBay doesn’t take it lightly but needs the collecting community to help identify such items.
“Authentication at eBay in general, and not just this category, is near and dear to our hearts,” she said. “It’s a huge priority for us.”
eBay says its most trusted buyers and sellers can help with the identification of fake items but only if they take the stop of using the ‘report this listing’ or ‘report this buyer’ options. eBay has a security team which reviews those reports on a daily basis.
“We highly encourage that,” Zwibelman said. “The more eyeballs that we have on the site from trusted sources who can say ‘this is absolutely a fake’ and report that (is helpful), so we really encourage that because the authenticated products are then able to rise to the top.”
Several months ago, eBay added a link to PSA’s quick opinion service to enable collectors interested in buying an autographed item to receive feedback from a professional authenticator.
In addition to handing out freebies and talking with customers, eBay sponsored a kids’ case break and a charity break that raised nearly $2,000 for the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland.
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