Become an eBay Boss
From broken laser pointers to multi-million dollar yachts to your own life, you can seemingly put anything up for sale on eBay and someone, somewhere, will buy it. The eBay marketplace consists of 169 million active monthly users that spend an average of 150 minutes per user each month on the eBay app. That’s why it’s not surprising to read about someone buying Justin Timberlake’s half-eaten french toast, or Justin Bieber’s hair clippings for substantial sums of money. Luckily for most of us, you don’t need to be in possession of unsanitary items to make some extra cash on eBay in 2017.
If you are, however, in possession of something like a haunted pillowcase or Lebron James’ left sock, I highly recommend you list it on eBay. You never know.
I now present to you, my best tips for selling on eBay. Enjoy.
1. Use the Sold Listings Feature
This is likely the most important tool that every eBay seller should be using and there are a variety of reasons why. The sold listings feature allows you to search for any item that you are looking to sell, and then shows you all of the listings that other sellers have actually sold, the dates that they were sold, and how much they sold them for. Anyone can list a paperclip online and ask a million dollars for it, but that doesn’t mean that paper clips are selling for a million dollars. That’s the beauty of sorting the search results to show the sold listings.
I use this feature before I purchase anything with the intention to resell it on eBay. Since it gives you the dates that the items sold, you get a pretty good idea how frequently that particular idea is sold, and you can get a good idea of how much you can sell that item for. I love this feature so much that I wrote an entire post explaining the benefits, and how to use it like a pro.
Become a Sold Listings Sensei.
Sell Similar Item Feature
Another time-saving feature is the option to find an item similar to the item that you want to sell and then use the sell similar item feature. This auto fills the listing for you with all of the specifications, keywords, category, and the title. Clicking on the sell similar item option and simply adding my images, description, and ensuring that the rest of the details align with the product that you are selling is much better than typing it all in yourself. Plus, this item has already sold so unless you are above average at ranking your items, why not just save yourself the time of filling it out when the groundwork has already been laid for you? Your time is valuable!
2. Let the Images Tell the Story
Now this one is probably self-explanatory, but it’s a big one. Arguably the most important factor on if someone buys, or even clicks on your item, is the images that you provide for the buyer to look at. The best way that I like to describe it to people is to imagine that you were the buyer. What would you want to see in order to feel comfortable about buying that item? If you’re like me, you like it very very much when a seller posts several images of the product. That lets me get a clear understanding of what I’m buying, and the overall condition of the item.
Look at it From the Buyer’s Point of View
For example, imagine that you are selling a pair of pants. What are they going to want to see? For starters, they’re going to want a good overall image of the pants too (both front and back) get a feel for the design, color, and condition. Then they might like a close-up image of the pant size tag and the brand logo to ease their mind a little bit so they know they are getting the real deal. The more pictures you take of your listing the more likely your listing is to sell, so don’t skimp on providing sufficient high-quality images.
3. Be Honest and Transparent
Transparency is very important on eBay. If the shirt you listed is faded, or has a small little tear, it should be noted somewhere in your listing. Don’t omit these facts or put that your shirt is in like new condition when it isn’t. Buyers will still buy your items if they aren’t the greatest condition, and as long as they are informed about what they are buying they are not going to leave you negative feedback, or try to get their money back from you. Avoiding those hassles is as simple as being honest.
4. Provide Top Notch Customer Support
When you sell enough on eBay, people are going to have questions and concerns. Try to do your best to be helpful, and even more importantly be timely in your responses. When a buyer has a concern about your listing before they buy your item, you have a small window of time before they give up and move on to something else.
If they have a question after they buy it that goes unanswered it could lead to bad feedback, the buyer wanting their purchase refunded, etc. When you address their concerns quickly and effectively, then their concerns and doubts seem to vanish and they will feel comfortable doing business with you. You’ll be surprised in how much quick responses matter to people, and you’ll also be surprised in how many of those buyers go on to message you or leave feedback telling how they appreciate your great customer service.
5. Write Good Product Descriptions
They have clicked on your listing and they are at least moderately interested in the product that you are selling so they click on your product description to find some more information about your listing. This is your chance to sell them with an awesome product description! The product description portion of the listing is your chance to write your own copy. It is your chance to answer any anticipated questions and provide detailed product information. This is also a good time to let the buyer know that they can contact you with questions that they may have. The really good product descriptions are HTML coded, so if you have some competency in coding then you should use that knowledge to make a beautiful and informative product description.
6. Accept Payments Via PayPal
Some sellers may try to avoid offering PayPal to buyers due to the fact that they charge you an additional 3.9% fee for using PayPal. My advice is to absolutely offer PayPal as a payment option to buyers. PayPal is a secure way to check out and it is how the majority of buyers prefer to pay for their items on eBay, so by not offering it as a payment option can lose you a lot of sales and make your eBay sales almost non-existent. You can whatever checkout options that you would like, but in my own experience, the PayPal method is a must if you want to move your items on eBay.
7. Package Sold Items Up Nice and Neat
If you want to really stand out as an expert eBay seller, you need to learn the importance of packaging. You can’t just throw your item in a box and hope for the best. Your product could be damaged in shipping which will result in you giving the buyer a refund for damaged goods. You also have one less item in inventory that nobody wants. Buyers are much happier when they receive a nice, neat, secure package. You want to come across as a professional. Improper packaging of your products is a dead giveaway that they are dealing with a careless seller.
The best way that I have heard this described is to imagine that you are sending a birthday present to your dear old Grandmother. You wouldn’t send Gam Gam that nice vase you picked out for her in a big box and hope for the best, and you shouldn’t do it to anyone else either. Make it look good. Packing materials are relatively cheap to acquire so do yourself a favor and pack your items up securely. Avoid the negative feedback, and keep those customers coming back!
8. Don’t Get Beat Up on Shipping Costs
Knowing your options when the time to ship the item arises can save you loads of money. There are plenty of options when it comes to shipping, so be sure that you pick the option that is best for you. Don’t get caught in a bad situation where you sold an item for $20, but then turn around and pay $15 to ship it out leaving you with little or nothing at all to show for it.
The way that I prefer to ship items is to just ship them through the eBay site. They make it easy for you to see compare shipping options and get an instant cost quote for using that method. You get a slight discount when you ship this way as well. Simply input the weight and dimensions and select the cheapest method available to you. You can instantly print out your label right from home, slap that bad boy on your package, and walk into the post office to drop it off like a boss. No more wasting your lunch hour in line at the post office!
9. Understand the eBay and PayPal Fees
The Basic Fees
Making a profit on the items you sell requires an understanding of the fees associated. Whenever you sell an item, eBay will charge you a final value fee of 10% of the overall sale price including the price that the buyer paid for shipping. In addition to that, PayPal will take another 3.9% of the final value fee for a grand total of 13.9% of whatever you sell on eBay going to eBay and PayPal.
To simplify, if you sell an item for $90 + $10 shipping for a total of $100, you will receive a total of $86.10 for your item after the eBay and PayPal final value fees.
Other associated fees include insertion fees which are an additional $0.30 for each item that you list. You get 50 free listings on eBay each month and the $0.30 insertion fee only applies to each listing over your 50th product listed on the site. Assuming you’re using a standard seller account. This will vary based on if you are a standard seller with no eBay store, or if you have a basic, premium, or anchor eBay store subscription.
Reserve Fees? Use Buy It Now Instead.
Another fee that you should be cognizant of is the reserve price fee. A reserve price is used when you auction off a product online, and you don’t want to sell it unless it gets to at least the reserve price. If your reserve price is between $0.01-$74.99, then you will pay a $3 fee for having a reserve on your item. Anything over $75 will cost you 4% of your reserve price, with a maximum charge of $100. Personally, I think that avoiding the reserve price altogether is the best way to go. It’s as simple as starting your auction at the minimum amount that you are willing to take.
Other fees include advanced listing fees such as a subtitle, gallery plus images, listing in extra categories, and promoted listings.
Click HERE to learn more about the different eBay stores, what they offer, and if it could be right for you.
Click HERE to view all eBay fees in more detail.
Click HERE to access the eBay fee calculator to get a personalised overview of the fees that would apply to your situation.
10. Get Specific About Used Items
One of the quickest ways to scare potential buyers away when you’re selling used items is to be cryptic about the condition of your item. It’s very simple to sell used items and do well with it, lying about the condition of an item or concealing certain facts WILL come back to bite you. The more open and transparent you are about your used items the better you will do selling used goods on eBay. You also get to avoid dealing with enraged customers and giving refunds. Life is stressful enough already, you don’t need any extra stress over something so avoidable! A great piece of advice based on what I see many top level sellers do on eBay is to develop a rating system for your products. Try adding something like this to your descriptions:
Overall Condition – 4
1-For Parts/Materials, Not Functional
2-Fair Condition/Fully Functional with Some Signs of Use
3-Good Condition/Fully Functional with Limited Signs of Use
4-Like New Condition/Fully Functional with No Noticeable Signs of Use
5-Brand New Condition/Still in Original Packaging
11. Auction or Buy It Now
When it comes to deciding on whether to list the item as an auction or with a buy it now price I use a simple method that I will share with you.
You should consider listing your item as an auction if:
• You are selling a rare or collectable item that is difficult to put a set price on.
• Not many items like yours have sold on eBay recently, and you don’t know how much you can get out of it.
• You are selling an item that is trendy and in high demand with limited supply. Think new iPhones, game consoles, the latest Nike shoes, etc.
• You listed the item as a buy it now and it just isn’t moving and you’re ready to get rid of it.
• The pure thrill of it. Some buyers like the possibility of a bidding war leading to selling the item for much more than originally thought. Plus it is pretty fun to get those notifications that people are bidding on your stuff!
You should consider listing your item as a fixed price if:
• You know how much you’re going to get out of it.
• The item has been moving quickly on eBay and you don’t want to wait for the duration of an auction-style listing.
• You aren’t going to take any less than what you’re asking for the item.
• Fixed price listings allow sellers to get paid quicker if they choose the option to require immediate payment.
• You have a trendy item that is in demand with consistent sales
• You can give the option for the buyer to make you an offer that you can accept, decline, or counter.
Why Not Try Both?
Don’t forget that you can always offer both an auction price and a buy it now prices on your listing, but be aware that once a bid is placed on the item, the buy it now option is no longer available.
12. Feedback Matters
Like a lot. Many people including myself check the feedback of the seller prior to buying the item. I check seller feedback on every item that I buy on eBay. Trust me, having poor or no feedback will turn away buyers. It doesn’t matter how good your listing looks. This is especially true if you are selling an item that is a little bit pricier. The more money that someone is getting ready to shell out the more they want to be sure that they are dealing with an established eBay seller. No one wants to be one of those rare stories you read about where the buyer paid $500 for a big box of kitty litter.
Building eBay Credibility
If you are just starting out on eBay I highly recommend making a few little purchases on eBay in order to get some positive feedback established. If you do find yourself in a situation where a buyer has left you some negative feedback, try your best to work with the buyer to rectify the situation. You will find that many buyers will work with you and change that negative feedback to positive by just talking to them.
13. Ship Sold Items ASAP
One of the critical components to getting that positive feedback and having a happy buyer is to ship items as quickly as you can after the item has sold and the buyer has paid. Try for the same day if this is a possibility. If you are like me and work a full-time job it can be challenging to achieve this. As long as you ship the item out within two business days you will typically be alright. If you’re in a position where you know it’s going to be awhile before you can ship out the item, contact the buyer and let them know what is going on. An informed buyer is a happy buyer…or at least a less likely to go into rage mode buyer.
14. Save Money by Bundling
This is one of my personal favorite tips to help you keep a little more money. Bundling is when you save money shipping by combining two or more products to sell and shipping them in a single convenient package to the buyer. Bundling can save you a substantial amount of money on shipping costs. This works well with pretty almost any item, but it works even better for smaller sized items that you can cram into a flat-rate box and ship for less than $10. I have had most of my success in bundling video games, DVDs, and clothes. Have a few related items to sell? Try it out and keep a little more of that money in your wallet!
15. Know What Products Are Hot
Trends come and go, and you never quite know when you might have a hot product on your hand. I just saw the other day that Nintendo NES gaming systems are selling for crazy amounts of money right now. If you didn’t think to look this up prior to selling it however you may be surprised at how fast your Nintendo system sold for $50, when unbeknownst to you they are selling like crazy for $200-$250. Unless you’re the lucky buyer who just scored a cheap new Nintendo, you’re going be a bitter Betty. Never be a bitter Betty. Can you guess the easiest way to avoid this? You guessed it, check the sold listings!
16. Have High-Quality Images
This one shouldn’t present many people with too much of a challenge. It’s 2017 if you still don’t have a smartphone, what are you doing with your life? My technologically challenged parents have smartphones. You can get a cheap camera or smartphone with the ability to take quality images for less than $50. So once you have the proper equipment, all that is left to do is to have an appealing background, good lighting, and to make sure your images are rotated and cropped properly.
17. Become an Expert on Your Products
Learn all the bells and whistles of the product that you’re selling. Being an expert allows you to understand your customers better, which allows you to know how to sell to them better. It will allow you to write better descriptions that your buyers are going to want to see before they buy. This doesn’t mean that you have to be an expert in everything you list on eBay by any means. My advice though is that it pays to do a little research. The more you know the better off you will be.
18. Offer a Return Policy
Don’t run away at the thought of this! Many people don’t like to offer returns because they are scared of everything being returned to them. In my experience of selling on eBay, the returns are almost non-existent when you offer a return policy. Offering a return policy will put a buyers mind at ease and could be the extra incentive that they need to make a purchase.
19. What Would You Search For in a Title
The title is how potential buyers will find your listing. What is the easiest way to come up with the best title for your product? Think about what you would type into the search bar if you were looking for that product. It’s also very important to have a title that is easy to understand, easy to read, and proper grammar should go without saying.
A good example of a title for a brand new Xbox controller would look something like this:
Microsoft Xbox One Wireless Controller – Black – Brand New
It’s simple, clean, and people scrolling through know exactly what it is.. Don’t overcomplicate it.
20. Sell in Peak Season for your Products
So you did a little spring cleaning. Now you have a big box of the most random things that you want to get rid of. Problem is that it’s March, and those Christmas collectables aren’t going to do as well in March as they will in December. My advice here is to wait until the right time to sell your items. Get more out of your possessions! That box of junk has already been sitting in your closet for 3 years. Why not wait a few more months? Knowing that certain items sell for more during certain times a year should help you see higher sales. So just remember, sell your swimsuits in March and your Christmas tree decorations in December!
21. Opt For Longer Auctions
If you do decide to list your items in an auction, try to opt for auctions with longer durations. Auctions that last longer give potential buyers more time to find your listing and get in on the action. The more interested buyers bidding on your listing, the more money in your pocket. Waiting a few extra days can help you scrape out a little extra cash for your items.
22. Make Sure You Have Proof of Delivery
Much like pants, proof of delivery will help you to accomplish the same goal in a less literal way. The goal, of course, is to make sure you cover your ass. Without proof that the product you shipped out arrived at its destination you are at the mercy of the buyer. Better start hoping that they are a decent human being! If it were me, I wouldn’t take any chances. Nothing is more frustrating than having someone open a case declaring that they never received their item. You then get to make a long, infuriating phone call to eBay seller support trying to resolve the situation. (Do not recommend)
The moral of this story…make sure you have a valid tracking number for all of the products you ship out.
23. Avoiding Scams
While we’re on the topic of hoping that every person you sell to will be a good person…
Let’s talk about scams, and what you can do to avoid being a victim.
The Sad Truth
When you sell enough on eBay, it is an unfortunate realisation knowing that some sleazebag will try to scam you. Some scammers are pretty clever too. They probably gather at the world douchebag headquarters where they think of new ways to scam people. The best way to reduce your risk is to ensure all transactions are made through eBay. DO NOT agree to accept payment directly through PayPal, personal check in the mail, or whatever else. If you don’t make the transaction through eBay, there is nothing that eBay can do to protect you.
Also, you want to ensure that you ship the item only to their PayPal address and nowhere else. If someone messages you and asks you to send the item to their “new address” don’t do it. They could take your item, run to eBay, and claim that the item was shipped to the wrong address. They could very well end up with both the money and your item. This is not a common issue so don’t let it scare you out of selling on eBay. Overall, just stay vigilant, and make your transactions on eBay and you should be okay.
P.S. Buyers can get scammed too!
24. The Internet is Your Friend
We live in a pretty incredible time, where virtually anything that you want to know is at our fingertips. You can learn new information sitting in your basement in just your underwear as long as you have wifi. The future can be a pretty cool place to live sometimes. Use Google to answer questions and learn new information that could help you to become a more efficient eBay seller. Just like checking the score of a basketball game from a decade ago to prove your friend wrong. It’s the same concept here.
Did I leave something out? Let me know in the comments below and I’ll update the list!