eBay stores are the secret weapon for knowledgeable eBay shoppers. First, of course, you can consistently find great deals. But you can also help small businesses make it against larger behemoths. Sellers open eBay stores to make searching merchandise easier for buyers; stores also help save sellers money because sellers don't need to set up private e-commerce Web sites. Translation? Sellers can list items in their eBay stores for even lower fees, thereby passing their savings on to you, the savvy bargain hunter.
Before you buy any item from a sale at eBay, check to see if the seller has the small, red stores icon next to his or her User ID. If so, be sure to click the icon before you bid on the item. Most sellers run auctions for items to draw people into their eBay stores, where you may be able to purchase the exact same item you're about to bid on — for a lower amount.
You can find the eBay Stores hub from the eBay home page by clicking the eBay Stores link under the Specialty Sites heading. You can also get there by typing in the Web address, www.ebay stores.com. The eBay Stores hub is shown in Figure 15-1.
On the eBay Stores hub you'll see a small group of six store logos in the center of the page. These store logos change every few minutes as eBay rotates its anchor stores through the area. Store owners pay a considerable amount to have their stores listed as anchor stores. (If you're unfamiliar with the anchor store concept, think of it as the high-rent district of eBay stores. When you go to the mall, the big department stores like Macy's or Bloomingdale's are the anchor stores.)
Below the store logos is a list of clickable links to stores. These are featured stores. You guessed it; this place has a higher real estate value than a regular eBay store.
You can find more stores, including the smallest ones — the cottage industry sellers — by clicking one of the stores' categories links on the left side of the page.
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I refined my information, added notes as things came up and took out old or outdated information. Each time I discovered a new little tip or trick as I was making money with EBay, I added that information. Today, I bring home anywhere from 500 to 2000 each week with EBay. Thats not too shabby for someone who was just a year ago afraid to even purchase something from the site.