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Antiques & Collectibles Business News For September 7, 2011
Antiques & Collectibles Business News For September 7, 2011

A little help getting more people to pay attention to your online antiques & collectibles business.

In this issue:
1. The Holiday Shopping Season Just Started. How to Sell More Inventory...
2. The Top 10 Google searches containing the word "Antique"
3. Alert the media - How to write a "Microrelease" in 20 minutes or less
4. Online customers are looking for the best price.
5. The Top 20 Selling Categories of Antiques & Collectibles for August 2011
6. Open An Online Shop at TIAS.com This Holiday Shopping Season

1. The Holiday Shopping Season Just Started. How to Sell More Inventory...
Clear, sharp and well exposed photographs will sell your inventory for you. By far the biggest mistake made by merchants selling antiques and collectibles online is that the customer does not have a good photograph of the item they are considering purchasing. It is not difficult to take good photos of your merchandise and the results could significantly increase your sales. Here is a very basic online tutorial to help you with your photos http://tias.com/other/promo4.html .

The next big problem is captions....
Here is a basic formula that seems to work rather well for on-line antique stores. Feel free to vary the order that I have given here. You may not be able to supply all of this information, but try to give as much as possible. The more information you can give the customer, the better. Above all, be as accurate as you possibly can.


Start out with the obvious: tell what the item is. If it is a doll, the first word should be "doll", if it is a vase, the first word should "vase." The first word should be the broadest description of what the item is.

Tell what the item is made of. Is it wood, cut glass, ceramic, porcelain, ivory, etc. If you are not sure, give your best guess, but say "My best guess is that this is ****".

Tell who the manufacture of the item is. If the item was hand made by a 16th century monk, then say so. If it is made in Japan, then say so. If you have a best guess, then say "my best guess is that it was made in ***** by ****". Again, give as much information as you can.

If you know the specific name and/or model number of the item, give it here. If you are not sure, say so. It is difficult to fudge something this specific, so don't try if you don't know.

What is the condition of the item? Check the item over carefully. Are there any flaws? No matter how insignificant the flaw may seem to you, make sure that you mention it in the description. If it is perfect, then say so. If it is "MIB" (Mint in box), then say so. Always give as much information on condition as possible.

Give the size of the item. Some people include a ruler when they photograph an item to give the scale. The height is usually enough, but you can include the width and the depth. Some folks also include the weight for shipping purposes.

Date of manufacture. When was the item made? If you don't know, give a best guess but say "my best guess is that this item was made around ******".

Use the last part of your description to "sell" the item. What is it about this item that is so special: is it rare, is it cheap, is it one of a kind? Let the customer know! Are you selling it below book value? Then make sure you say so and tell what book you got the price from. If the item is a bargain, let the customer know they are getting a great deal. Give them a reason to buy the item. Every item has a selling point. All you have to do is let the customer know what it is.


2. Google has an interesting tool where you can find out how many times a specific term or word has been searched for on their system over the course of a month. Here are the top 10 results found by people searching for the keyword "Antique", followed by the number of times that term/word was searched for in a one month period.
a) Antique - 11,100,000
b) Antiques Antiques - 6,120,000
c) The Antiques - 6,120,000
d) About Antiques - 6,120,000
e) Antique In - 6,120,000
f) Antique Antiques - 6,120,000
g) Collectors - 3,350,000
h) Antique and Vintage - 1,500,000
i) Collectibles - 1,500,000
j) Collectible - 1,220,000

3. Alert the media - How to write a "Microrelease" in 20 minutes or less.
Press releases are VITAL to your Internet marketing strategy. They let the public and the media know about the latest news at your TIAS store. Publicity attracts new customers and increases sales.

The complaint I hear the most about writing and posting press releases is that it takes too long. The potential benefits are huge, so either hire someone to write a proper press release for you or take 20 minutes and write a quick & to the point "Microrelease". This can be broken out into the following elements....

1. Title - Maximum length of no more than 140 characters that tells what your press release is about.
2. Summary - Maximum length of no more than 200 characters - Gives slightly more detail than your Title
3. Press Release - Minimum length 175 words - Be sure to include all keywords and phrases that are pertinent to your business and this news event. The body of the release has smaller parts including...
a) Dateline - Date and location - when and where the release was sent from
b) First paragraph - More detail than Summary
c) Second paragraph - Additional detail about this event
d) Third paragraph - This would be your "About Us" paragraph that gives details about your company. This is sometimes called the "boiler plate". You use it at the end of all your press releases, so this can be used over and over again, cutting down even more time for creating future microreleases.
e) Contact Us - The name of your company, the name of the media contact person at your company, followed by the postal mailing address, email address and phone number for the media contact.

OK, here is an example of a quick microrelease based on the above info....
Online Antiques & Collectibles Mall TIAS.com Guarantees All Online Purchases

Customers who purchase antiques & collectibles from merchants at TIAS.com are now covered for up to $500 of the purchase price.

Press Release:
December 29, 2010 - Garden City, New York - TIAS.com the Web's largest online antiques & collectibles mall today launched their "TIAS Trusted Merchant" program. When a customer buys from a "TIAS Trusted Merchant" their purchase is guaranteed by TIAS.com for up to $500 of the purchase price and they may return the item for any reason within a minimum of 7 days of their purchase (program details are available online).

TIAS had recently launched a number of initiatives that were designed to make buyers more comfortable purchasing from TIAS merchants. The company had found one of the biggest obstacles customers had when buying antiques and collectibles online was the lack of "trust" when buying items from independent online merchants that they were not familiar with. To address this issue, TIAS launched the "TIAS Trusted Merchant" program.

About TIAS - (Note that you can use this same section again in your next microrelease)
TIAS serves approximately 800,000 unique visitors each month. About 400 merchants sell through the TIAS system, listing well over 630,000 items for sale online. The company has been building e-commerce systems for merchants since 1995.

For more information contact:
Phillip Davies,
TIAS.com Inc.
The above microrelease has 184 words, not including the title and the summary. This might take you 15 to 20 minutes to write. Possible topics for a microrelease about your business might include...
a) New Inventory just posted to your online store or auction.
b) Recently listed unusual item(s).
c) Upcoming show/auction dates
d) Insights into market trends
e) insights into antiques & collectibles that you specialize in.
f) Brief articles about care and maintenance of specific antiques or collectibles
g) anything unusual or newsworthy that would be of interest to the public or the media.

Once you have completed your microrelease, create a free account at http://News-Antique.com or one of these other free press release distribution services http://www.bignews.biz/blog/?p=6 and they will feed your press release to writers, editors, bloggers and collectors.

If you still need some help figuring this stuff out, contact me at Phil@tias.com

4. Online customers are looking for the best price
When someone buys an antique or collectible online it takes them just a few seconds to find similar items and compare prices from other online sellers. So determining the current online value of your merchandise is incredibly important when setting the prices for your merchandise.

Before you post an item for sale online, act like one of your customers and research prices for similar items. Be sure to include completed eBay auctions in your research as well as asking prices on Google shopping, Google search, Bing search and Yahoo!. If everyone else is selling their "thing a ma jigs" for $20 and you are asking $30, the $20 item is going to get sold.

Also, if you have had items for sale online for over 6 month and have not checked on the current market value of your merchandise, it's time to check your asking prices and adjust them to the current market value.

5. The Top 20 Selling Categories of Antiques & Collectibles for August 2011

1. Vintage Jewelry -
See: http://www.tias.com/showcase/1/Jewelry/1.html

2. Memorabilia -
See: http://www.tias.com/showcase/1/Memorabilia/1.html

3. China & Dinnerware -
See: http://www.tias.com/showcase/1/China_and_Dinnerware/1.html

4. Porcelain & Pottery -
See: http://www.tias.com/showcase/1/Porcelain_and_Pottery/1.html

5. Glass -
See: http://www.tias.com/showcase/1/Glass/1.html

6. Kitchen Collectibles -
See: http://www.tias.com/showcase/1/Kitchen_Collectibles/1.html

7. Vintage Clothing -
See: http://www.tias.com/showcase/1/Clothing/1.html

8. Vintage Sewing Items -
See: http://www.tias.com/showcase/1/Vintage_Sewing/1.html

9. Books -
See: http://www.tias.com/showcase/1/Books/1.html

10. Cultures & Ethnicities -
See: http://www.tias.com/showcase/1/Cultures_and_Ethnicities/1.html

11. Hobbies -
See: http://www.tias.com/showcase/1/Hobbies/1.html

12. Photographica -
See: http://www.tias.com/showcase/1/Photographica/1.html

13. Lamps & Lighting -
See: http://www.tias.com/showcase/1/Lamps_and_Lighting/1.html

14. Dolls -
See: http://www.tias.com/showcase/1/Dolls/1.html

15. Paper & Ephemera -
See: http://www.tias.com/showcase/1/Paper_and_Ephemera/1.html

16. Militaria -
See: http://www.tias.com/showcase/1/Militaria/1.html

17. Textiles -
See: http://www.tias.com/showcase/1/Textiles/1.html

18. Toys -
See: http://www.tias.com/showcase/1/Toys/1.html

19. Figurines -
See: http://www.tias.com/showcase/1/Figurines/1.html

20. Autographs -
See: http://www.tias.com/showcase/1/Autographs/1.html

6. Open An Online Shop at TIAS.com This Holiday Shopping Season
Since 1995 TIAS.com has been building online shops for merchants just like you. Need more info? give Phil a call at 1-888-653-7883 or drop us an email at support@tias.com. You can also get more information online at http://www.MakeAShop.com

Questions? Comments? contact support@tias.com

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