When Clinton Appliance and Furniture owner Dwight Horne came across information provided by the Clinton-Sampson Chamber of Commerce introducing a class on e-Bay being taught at the Small Business Center at Sampson Community College, he began to think about the possibilities. So, in October, Horne and his store manager, Jason Smith, along with saleswoman Maritza Mendosa signed up to take the class. The trio were surprised at what they learned and the possibilities that were before them through eBay.
“We had no idea of the scope of eBay,” acknowledged Horne. “The instructor shared that at any given time, 90 million people are on the website. A car is sold on eBay every eight minutes. After the first class, we began to think about how we could benefit from utilizing the website,” added Horne.
Horne said that after the first class the three of them began to discuss the possibilities that eBay held for the store. Then, after the second class, they decided to put some items on the site that had been just sitting on the shelf for some time.
“We put up things that we would sell, say one every now and then, but when we put them on eBay, we sold the entire lot in less than a week. We thought that this might be the perfect way to move some items that were odds and ends or parts that we have and did not use any longer, such as satellite parts, because we no longer sell them,” explained Horne.
According to Horne and Smith, the store has sold over $1,500 in merchandise that was just sitting there and now has found a home. Horne explained that through the sale of these items, it would reduce the store’s overhead and that would help hold costs down for the customer.
“We might have several of one particular part and only might have use for one every now and then. We will put them online and there will be someone out there looking for that particular item. We had some wireless radio earphones that we might have sold one and we put them online and they all sold out in one day. I think someone in Texas bought them,” explained Smith.
Mendosa has the responsibility of managing the input of items on eBay. She writes the descriptions and puts on the photos for the items they offer.
“Putting the items on the website is really quite simple once you get to doing it. I just have to measure the item, weigh it and describe it for the site. The whole process is easy now that I have been putting things on and monitoring them move out,” stated Mendosa.
Smith explained that the process has been very simple.
“Once we find something we have to offer on eBay, Maritza writes the description, the item is weighted and the items is measured for size and a photo is made. Once she gets it on the site and it is sold we put the item in a box provided from the U.S. Postal Service and print out the mailing label from the eBay site and attach it to the box. The postal worker picks it up when he delivers the mail and it is a done deal,” explained Smith.
The store manager stated that the U.S> Postal Service provides about five different sized boxes that most items will fit in and the shipping charges are included when the buyer makes the purchase. Items up to 60 pounds can be sent via the U.S. Postal Service. Other items weighing more would have to be sent by a shipper but that would all be handled by eBay and paid for as all transactions through PayPal.
“It is like having an invisible salesman,” cited Horne.
“We are really excited about what we have seen so far. I am so grateful to Cliff Ireland from the Small Business Center and Janna Bass from the Chamber who were instrumental in getting this program offered. I was disappointed that more people did not take advantage of the course,” asserted Horne. “Not only did eBay provide the instructor, they provided assistance for us to understand how the process works. The instructor was great and shared many of his secrets of selling on eBay.Something he had done for over 16 years,” added Horne.
The class ended after three sessions in late November.
“We currently are looking at adding other items such as special buys and overstocked items. We are now looking at establishing an eBay store on the website. That is something we are hoping to add in the near future. Eventually we may even offer regular traditional floor items but that is in the distant future,” remarked Smith.
The trio shared that since they started putting items on eBay they have sold at least one item per day.
“We see eBay as a means of transacting business in the future. It will not replace the traditional store but it will provide us a means to expand our business without the cost of having multiple stores. It will also allow us to move merchandise that might not sell locally. It has been and will expand to be a win-win situation for both our customers and us,” remarked Horne.