084: Appealing Signs Through The Years – Rich Siok

Rich and his wife Nila have been selling on eBay since 2001. They have owned a commercial sign business for 20 years. They realized many years ago the power of e-commerce and with help from their sons began to pursue this new world. They currently have 2 e-commerce websites and sell on both eBay and Amazon. After many years of selling online, they now teach others to sell on eBay. They have had a Meetup group in Chicago since 2006 for anyone interested in selling on eBay, Amazon, & their own website, etc. They're Meetup group has approx 1200 members. Rich began the ecomChicago Conference which has been held in Chicago area for the last 3 years. This event will be held this year, 2016 on October 21-22. This conference is for sellers of all levels and all platforms.

Interesting Notes

  • The couple maintains three websites. One is for their eBay and Amazon business which is Appealing Signs. Then another for their yearly eBay conference which is ecomChicago. The third is for their education training for eBay which is Bidding Pros.
  • Their online business deals with personalized signs for all occasions and for all uses.
  • Most of their products are custom made. They usually give parameters as far as the size that would fit in. Like in the case of a window lettering on the back of the car. Generally, it is 32 inches wide x 25 inches high. But, if a buyer wants a different size, the buyer can always email them.
  • The couple has a lot of fun making their products. Rich would come up with a lot of ideas. Then they would talk and figure out the different graphics that might work. After which, Nila would go ahead and design it.
  • Rich gets into many ideas so that nothing gets bent in the process of packaging and shipment.
  • Everything that they make has to fit into a particular type of packaging. They get their packaging needs from Bubble Fast. Bubble Fast ensures that the packaging for Rich's products must fit on a type of material to pack. This way, Rich's products get to their customers in good shape.
  • Rich is also giving an eBay class. He requires his students to open up an eBay ID before they come to his class. Then he requests them to bring three items. Among the lessons he teaches are:
    • 1. The process of researching the items using their eBay ID.
    • 2. How much the items would be worth on eBay.
    • 3. How to display the completed listings and find out the best item that may sell.
    • 4. How to describe and photograph the items.
    • 5. How to weigh, pack, and put an eBay label to the item.
  • In summary, students taking Rich class go home with answers to what they need to know and learn.
  • The couple also headed a meetup group in Chicago.
  • Rich and his friend Mark of Bubble Fast came up with an idea to put an eBay conference in the Mid West. It must be at a time when it is not so crowded with all the conferences going on throughout the country. Thus the birth of ecomChicago!
  • ecomChicago is now in its third year. Their conference is on October 21 to 22, 2016. It aims to get people working in the internet world to network live. So there is a lot of interaction that is going to happen. There are the meet and greet on Thursday night at Real Time Sports Bar. And the Karaoke party on Friday night.
  • The conference is also a great way to learn strategies that work for other people. There are different speakers on different levels. One speaker is Lynn Dralle, The eBay Queen of Auctions, who has 15,000 items listed on eBay. Lynn does everything she got from Estate Sales and Garage Sales. The conference also has Jason Smith, who is a Thrifter. Jason would be taking the group out for a whole day of thrifting and teach them what to buy.
  • The ecomChicago's conference is a great opportunity to meet, interact, and learn from people on large selling scale. To join, you need to register first. Just visit their website.

Advice, Tips, and Tricks

  • 1. If you are a beginner on eBay, try to reach out to somebody and take a class of some sort.
  • 2. Use your iPhone or an Android Phone to start listing. Then, save it as a draft. Then go back and finish it on your computer or a laptop.
  • 3. To be a Top Rated Seller, you have to have a one-day handling/shipping of your products.
  • 4. Feedback is extremely important. The couple wants to make their customers happy, not because of eBay but, because they are their customers. They want their customers to come back. So they do everything they can to make sure that their customers have a good buying experience.
  • 5. They practice slipping a note inside the item along with the instructions on proper care. The note states that if there is an issue or any problems, everything is 100% guaranteed. They have a 30-day money back guarantee with no hassles.
  • 6. They also work with the buyers on any problems.
  • On working out the problems, the couple's policy is: “No further questions ask”. If somebody tells them that it did not come their way, they don't ask the buyer to send it back. They won't ask for pictures anymore. They will either send a replacement or send the money back.

Quotes

  • “It's all about getting the products to the customers in good shape and save us from money in shipping as well. “
  • “You have something positive that would make a difference to somebody else.”
  • “We hustle. We get it done. We do it well. We get it shipped.”
  • “Feedback is extremely important!”
  • “We want to make our customers happy, not because of eBay, but because they are our customers.”

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