An Emerging Market in eBay Consignments:
The eBay Trading
Post (Part II In A Series)
In 2002, the eBay consignments business was born, referred to by eBay as the Trading Assistant Program.
It's possible that eBay didn't foresee just how much they
would benefit form their eBay consignments program. Designed to
unite experienced eBay sellers with people who want heir
merchandise sold on eBay without having to do it themselves, the
Trading Assistant program has enjoyed enormous success.
As big as eBay had become -- larger than all other online
auction venues combined -- they were still missing out on a large
segment of the population; the technophobes. These people would
sell goods on eBay if they had access to a computer and a digital
camera, and had the time and inclination to learn how to run an
auction. But they either don't have the technology or they lack
the desire to become auctioneers, or both. Since they're not on
line, they're not likely to learn about Trading Assistants who
advertise primarily through eBay. And even if they saw the ads,
they probably wouldn't trust them.
You see, people active in the online community are already
comfortable with the environment, which has an element of
anonymity. But a non-computer person is more likely to want to
deal with a real, brick-and-mortar retail business. They may not
trust someone who runs auctions out of their home.
How to reach these people? Introducing the concept of the
A Trading post is to eBay consignments what the typical
consignment shop is to the average community. It's a drop off
location that allows consumers to drop their stuff off and have
it sold for them as a service. It's a retail location that
markets itself to consumers as a local, experienced eBay
consignments seller -- a Trading Assistant with a
While any eBay trading assistant can establish an eBay
consignments service out of a retail location, only a Trading
Post can put the eBay brand on their physical storefront. (A
trading assistant can only advertise inside their store). With
this privilege comes a higher standard, ie, eBay has "raised the
bar" on their requirements.
A Trading Post must meet the following additional requirements:
-Offers a staffed drop-off location or storefront with regular
drop-in hours, so that clients can visit the location without
-Has a feedback score of 500 or higher
-Has at least 98% positive feedback
-Has sales of at least $25,000 on eBay each month
Online, clients can search for Trading Posts specifically, and
Trading Posts may receive priority placement in search results.
(Yes, even some online clients prefer the retail setting). Also,
Trading Posts are displayed with a special icon next to their
User ID. If you're a Trading Assistant who also meets the
requirements, you automatically qualify as a Trading Post and do
not need to take additional steps.
Walt Duflock, Director of the eBay Trading Assistant Program
and a real life trading assistant, has announced eBay's intention
of having "secret shoppers" and "customer satisfaction surveys"
to see if there are certain Trading Post locations eBay would
like to support more than others.
Regardless of your status on eBay, there are tools that
everyone can use to build their success as TAs, available on the
eBay site. I've found many of them quite valuable. For example,
among their efficiency tools, they recommend using contact
management software. eBay regards this as a great tool for
getting "a better understanding of how many prospects it takes to
actually create one new client and how long it takes for a client
to go from initial contact to hiring you as a TA."
And as far as support, some of the Trading Posts have become
so large that they no longer rely on eBay for help. Some have
developed their own proprietary systems for tracking customers
and inventory, and managing their auctions. The largest and most
successful eBay consignment business will even get you started
with your own franchise which includes the use of their
proprietary systems. All you need to come up with is $55 K plus
But, never fear. You can start your eBay consignment business
on a shoestring, and this is how the majority begin. Since 1998,
eBay and similar auction sites have been growing by leaps and
bounds. eBay consignments are still in their infancy, but I
predict a very bright future!
© Copyright 2004 Carolyn Schweitzer DDS. Dr. Schweitzer
was a family dentist for 20 years and is now owner and editor of
several websites. You can learn more about where to find specific
links to the Trading Assistant and Trading Post programs by
visiting her website at
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MORE RESOURCES updated Wed. April / 25 / 2018
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