eBay / eCommerce Selling Tips

Here are some tips I picked up while experimenting with selling physical goods online and on eBay.

  • Include value-added items for free
    For example, if you’re selling something that requires batteries and your competitors say “batteries not included”, sell yours with batteries INCLUDED. You can buy batteries two AAA Duracell batteries in bulk online for $0.28 each including shipping. That’s practically free and will save your customers the hassle of having to look for or buy batteries.
    Example 2,  if you’re selling kites, write a tips and tricks guide and save it in PDF format to email to your customers as a free digital download. This way you don’t have to waste paper and ink printing it and extra shipping costs due to a heavier weight.  Then, promote it as a free value-added item.
  • Offer a variety of combinations
    For example, if your’re selling batteries, don’t just sell one. Sell packs of 2, 4, 6, 10, 20, etc.  Of course, the bigger the set, the cheaper you sell for. And that’s OK. It never hurts to offer a wide variety of packages. Just don’t go crazy like they do in Asia where you they offer you so many options you can’t never make up your mind. Read More

Specifying CSS color with alpha transparency / opacity

Say you want to set the background color of something to black. In CSS, you might write something like:

[cc lang=”css”]background-color: #000000;[/cc]

But, what if you wanted the color to be less dark while showing whatever is underneath it like what you’d get by specifying 50% opacity in Photoshop. To do that, do the following:

[cc lang=”css”]background-color: rgba(0, 0, 0, 0.5);[/cc]

The first 3 parameters are the red, green and blue values and the fourth is the alpha transparency from 0 to 1.

Creating CSS 3 Drop Shadows for All Browsers

To add a drop shadow to an element using CSS, just add the following code to your CSS
[cc lang=”css”] .shadow {
-moz-box-shadow: 3px 3px 4px #000; // for firefox
-webkit-box-shadow: 3px 3px 4px #000; // for chrome and safari
box-shadow: 3px 3px 4px #000; // for CSS3-supported browsers
-ms-filter: “progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Shadow(Strength=4, Direction=135, Color=’#000000′)”;/* For IE 8 */
filter: progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.Shadow(Strength=4, Direction=135, Color=’#000000′);/* For IE 5.5 – 7 */

If a browser doesn’t support drop shadows, it just won’t show them.

To change the direction and size and opacity of the drop shadow, tweak the values. Learn more at http://www.css3.info/preview/box-shadow/

Center Align HTML Elements

Here are some different way to horizontally center HTML elements:

<div style=”margin: 0 auto; width:500px;  height: 500px;”> some text </div>

The div is centered but the text within it isn’t.

<div style=”margin: 0 auto; text-align: center; width:500px;  height: 500px; “>some text </div>

The div and the text within it are centered. Read More

Creating CSS3 Gradients for All Browsers

To add a gradient to an element using CSS, just add the following code to your CSS

[cc lang=”css”] background: #dcd9d1; /* for non-css3 browsers */
filter: progid:DXImageTransform.Microsoft.gradient(startColorstr=’#dbd8d0′, endColorstr=’#f4f3f1′); /* for IE */
background: -webkit-gradient(linear, left top, left bottom, from(#dbd8d0), to(#f4f3f1)); /* for webkit browsers */
background: -moz-linear-gradient(top, #dbd8d0, #f4f3f1); /* for firefox 3.6+ */

If a browser doesn’t support gradients, it will just display the background color.

To change the direction and other values of the gradient, check out http://webdesignerwall.com/tutorials/cross-browser-css-gradient.

Creating CSS3 Rounded Corners For All Browsers

To add rounded corners to an element using CSS, just add the following code to your CSS
[cc lang=”css”]/* 4 rounded corners */
-webkit-border-radius: 10px; // for Safari and Chrome browsers
-khtml-border-radius: 10px; // for Konqueror browser
-moz-border-radius: 10px; // for Firefox browser
border-radius: 10px; // for browsers that support CSS 3
[/cc] Of course, change the values (10px) to whatever value you want to change the corner radius.

If a browser doesn’t support rounded corners, it will just show square corners.

For more information, visit http://www.css3.info/preview/rounded-border/

Some of my favorite quotes

Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.

Thomas A. Edison

If you want to increase your success rate just double your failure rate.

Tom Watson

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

Mahatma Ghandi

Read More

Free Tech & Business Books

Borders Books has gone out of business. The ebook revolution is here. If you read technology and business books like myself, you’ll be happy to know that you can access a lot of free, new books online at Safari / ProQuest. The catch is you need to access the site as a member of your local library.

For the San Francisco Public Library, the link is at



Read More

CSS Rounded Corners on Images

I just found a quick and cool way to create rounded corners on images using CSS.  I don’t have time to write about it but you can read about it here:


Here’s how to use it:

1. Add image to your web page

[cc lang=”html”]

Read More

eBay Tricks for Success

Yesterday I got a call from eBay’s Seller Outreach department. They gave me some useful tips on improving my sales. Here they are:

  • Optimized Title 
    Put keywords closer to the beginning of your listing titles than at the end. e.g.
    BAD:  8GB RAM Quad Core Processor T420 Thinkpad Laptop by Lenovo
    GOOD: Lenovo T420 Thinkpad Laptop Quad Processor, 8GB RAM, other selling points
  • Offer FREE Shipping
    You can price an item $5.00 and charge $2.50 for shipping or you can price the item $7.50 with FREE shipping. By offering FREE shipping, eBay will automatically give you 5 stars for your shipping and handling rating category. Plus, people like “free”. Of course, free could just be for the cheapest shipping. You can charge extra for priority or overnight shipping.
  •  Custom Fields
    When creating a listing you can add many custom fields  like Condition: New, Material: Wood. Adding custom fields will help you get found.
  • Put Links To Your Website From Your “About Me” Page
    eBay doesn’t allow external links in product listings. But, you can put external links in your “About Me” page.
  • Offer Discounts
    Create a Facebook Fan page and link to it from your “About Me” page. In your product listings, tell customers they can get 10% off by going to your “About Me” page and “fanning” you. Then, they can notify you when that’s done so you can apply the discount before they pay.
  • Use 30-Day Good Till Canceled and Don’t Let Listings Expire
    Each listing shows the number sold. The larger this number, the higher the listing gets in search results. Don’t let listings expire so that this number continues to grow.
  • eBays Apps
    Browse eBay Apps and use some apps like the “Analytics” app to help you manage.
  • eBay Advanced Seller Guide
If you sell at least $3000 worth of items in a 12 month period and have an overall rating of no lower than 4.6, you will automatically get “Top Rated Seller” status which pushes your listings to the top of search results. This will obviously lead to increase visibility and potentially more sales.