Tips and Tricks for Selling on Ebay

Ebay has been referred to as the world’s largest garage sale, and that makes sense, many items offered on ebay are similar to what one might find at a garage sale. Ebay serves the same purpose as a garage sale for many people – it allows you to get rid of items in your home you no longer need and make a little money in doing so. The benefit of ebay being that you can take your time. Unlike a garage sale, with ebay you are able to sell one or two items at a time. There is no preparation for one big day, signs in the neighborhood, stacked tables in your driveway and fingers crossed for sunshine. However it does still take an investment of time and effort to sell on ebay. If you are going to put the time in, you want to make some money. Here are some tips for successful selling on ebay:

Create a PayPal Account. The majority of transactions on ebay are paid for through PayPal. If you don’t have a PayPal account, get one. PayPal allows buyers to pay you online without the hassle of sending money through the mail. It is quick, easy, and free.

Buy something. If you are planning to sell something on ebay, chances are you have bought something on ebay already and have a good feedback rating (the number next to your username when you login). However if you are completely new to ebay, it is a good idea to buy a couple of things so others can you see you have a trusted track record on the site. You can buy small things – a pair of earrings, an umbrella, a book, etc. Just make sure you pay on time and the seller will leave you positive feedback. You don’t need a lot of positive feedback to be trusted, but it is hard to sell something when you have an overall feedback rating of zero.

Do your research. Before you invest the effort to list something for sale, take a minute to see if similar items seem to be selling well, and if so, for how much. Search for the item you are selling. Once you get your results, choose the option to show only completed listings. Scroll through the completed listings to see how much items like yours have sold for recently. This will give you a realistic outcome for what you might hope to get for your item. You can also use ebay’s What’s it worth calculator to get an overall range of what items like yours have brought in recently.

Take pictures. This is a must – it is very difficult to sell anything on ebay without pictures. The exception being media like books and DVDs – ebay offers stock photos of these items you can use and will bring them up for you as you go through the selling process. For all other items, you want to take enough pictures so it is clear what the buyer is bidding on. For example, if you are selling clothing, take a pictures of both the front and back. Take care in staging your photos. A picture of a pair of shoes on hardwood floors has a higher end feel than a picture taken on cement. Crop and brighten your pictures so prospective buyers can see your item clearly.

Create an item title that will generate interest. Other than pictures, the title is the most important aspect in the successful sale of your item. Don’t be tempted to impress buyers with your title by using words like great, cute or awesome. Your title should contain keywords that buyers will be searching for to lead them to your auction. For example, if you are selling a sweater from The Gap, you want to include the brand name, size, color, style, the word sweater and who it is for (boy, girl, man, woman). A great way to find out what keywords buyers are searching for is by checking the What’s Hot list on ebay. This allows you to drill down into the category of the item you are listing and see what keywords are most searched for within that category. If these keywords apply to your item, use them!

Invest in a postage scale. If you only have one item to sell, this may not be worth the cost. However if you do plan to sell items on ebay regularly, it is a good idea to have your own postage scale so you don’t need to run to your local post office to figure out the price to charge for shipping each item. You can even buy your postage scale ON ebay! They typically cost less than $25, so it is a reasonable investment. If you know the weight of your item, you can print your shipping labels directly through ebay – very convenient!

Buy an auction template. This is another item that you will want to consider if you are planning on listing items regularly. In doing your research, you likely noticed that many listings have a more professional appearance, with attractive borders and designs. You can pay ebay a fee with each auction for use of their listing designer, or you can purchase an auction template for a one time price of just a few dollars. Auction templates are sold on ebay. Search for “auction template” and you will receive thousands of results. You can page through them or narrow down your search with the style you desire (funky, vintage, pink, etc.). Once your purchase is complete, the seller will send you the html code to copy into your listing with directions on how to personalize it with your item description and pictures. It really is much easier than it may sound, and allows you to create very attractive and saleable listings.

Package your item well and ship quickly. You aren’t finished when your item sells and you are paid. Not only do you still have to ship your item, you want to package it well and live up to any promises you made in your listing regarding shipping time. Don’t ship your item First Class if your listing stated Priority Mail. If your item is breakable, protect it with bubble wrap so it does not sustain any damage en route. Remember, your buyer will leave you feedback so your reputation is at stake.


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