Processing On The Fast Track

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An item's journey through your eBay business follows a typical flow, as shown in Figure 3-1. The main processing centers include:

• The Acquisition Center logs a new item into your inventory database (this can be a simple notebook; a dedicated database/spreadsheet program, such as Microsoft Excel; or auction management software, such as Selling Manager Pro) and includes sales cost, date of acquisition, and source, and assigns an inventory number, if applicable. The information gathered during the acquisition phase can be integrated into your inventory accounting system.

• The Listing and Management Center photographs and describes the item, researches similar items for pricing and category selection, and creates and submits the contents of your listing form to eBay or to your auction-management system. Listings are monitored for bidding activity, and responses are provided to bidder/buyer inquiries. The management portion of this center works with your accounting system to process incoming payments and releases items to the Shipping Center when funds have cleared.

• The Shipping Center provides materials and equipment for easy and professional packaging. Liaisons and accounts with shippers are established to maximize convenience (daily pickups) and minimize costs.

Insert items...

Figure 3-1: Items need to travel, virtually if not physically, through a prescribed path in your eBay business.

Your eBay Business Machine!

Figure 3-1: Items need to travel, virtually if not physically, through a prescribed path in your eBay business.

Process Incoming Items

Chapter 2 describes several strategies you can use to acquire items. But once you've purchased the merchandise, what do you do with it? Quite a bit, actually, although the norm is closer to just placing the item in the nearest available space on a shelf or on the floor. The more time and energy you devote to get merchandise properly introduced into your system, the greater the efficiency dividends you will receive during the time the product spends with your business. The upfront time to establish inventory controls and attend to accounting details will quickly become the "gift that keeps on giving."

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