Selling on eBay is fun and it’s a great way to earn extra money. Some people even earn a living by selling on eBay. I’ve done pretty well for myself as an eBay seller and have therefore decided to share information about the things that I did in order to start my eBay career. I’ve included some basic guidelines for becoming an eBay seller along with some of the tricks of the trade that I have learned over the past couple of years. Good luck, and happy selling!
How To Sell On eBay For Beginners
1. Sign up for a free eBay account. Click here to get started.
2. Sign up for a free PayPal account. Click here to get started.
3. Buy 10 things on eBay from 10 different sellers.
Building and maintaining a strong feedback score is essential to your success as an eBay seller. When you open a new eBay account, you naturally start with a feedback score of zero. You need to at least have some positive feedback associated with your eBay account before you should even consider trying to sell on eBay. The easiest way to establish your credibility on eBay is to purchase 10 things from 10 different sellers (they can be small and inexpensive items) that you either need or want. Pay for these items quickly and leave feedback for the seller. In return, the seller will leave you positive feedback which will help you to earn the trust of other members in the eBay community. I specifically recommend purchasing 10 items because when you reach a feedback score of 10 you’ll earn a gold star which will appear next to your eBay username. Quite simply put, this will look good to your potential eBay customers.
You should also take note of why you chose to buy your 10 items from their respective sellers. Perhaps it was because their eBay auction listing looked better than their competitors listings? Maybe the seller offered free shipping? Was it because you asked the seller a question and he or she just seemed like a friendly person when they responded? You’ll also want to pay careful attention to how the seller packaged and shipped the item.
4. Research what you are going to sell on eBay, start by selling YOUR stuff first!
Now that you’ve completed a few transactions on eBay and have earned some positive feedback you are ready to begin selling. The easiest way to start selling on eBay is to identify items around your house that you no longer use and put them for sale on eBay. This will help you to “get your feet wet” as a new eBay seller and won’t cost you any money up front because you already own what you are going to sell. Eventually however, you will run out of things around your house that you can sell so you’ll have to look elsewhere for your inventory. The best way to do your product research is on eBay itself. If you have the ability to purchase an in demand product for a relatively low cost and then sell it for a profit on eBay, you are well on your way to becoming an excellent eBay seller.
5. Research how you are going to ship BEFORE you list your item on eBay.
This is a critical part of the eBay auction process because shipping and shipping materials cost money. Your profits will suffer if you do not learn how to control your shipping costs. Make sure that you are getting the best deal possible on your shipping materials BEFORE you list anything for sale on eBay. You’ll want to have your shipping materials on hand by the time that your auctions end so that you can ship as efficiently as possible.
6. Take pictures of the things that you are selling on eBay.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Grab the best digital camera that you can get your hands on, find a room with excellent lighting, and then take pictures of your items. eBay allows you to upload one photo per auction for free. There is a small charge if you need to use more than one picture for your eBay listing. If you’re serious about selling on eBay and you don’t have a good digital camera then you really, really should go out and purchase one. Poor photography is by far the most efficient way to ruin a perfectly good eBay auction listing!
7. List your item on eBay and be specific!
Make sure that you describe the condition and the details of your item as accurately as possible. If you are selling an item on eBay that is brand new then the condition of the item will pretty much speak for itself. You may however add additional details such as “It was my birthday and I received two identical items as gifts…” This can help to encourage cautious buyers to go ahead and purchase from you. If you are selling new clothing and your item still has all of the original tags, you’ll definitely see an increase in profit if you specify that your article of clothing is new with tags (NWT.)
If you’re selling used items on eBay then you really need to be sure to describe the condition of the item as accurately as possible. Your buyers will expect and understand that used products will have some degree of wear and tear. Don’t however take advantage of this… For example, if you are selling a used cell phone, don’t describe it as “having minor wear and tear from normal use” only to have the buyer receive the phone and find that it has a crack in the screen. If you are selling something on eBay and the condition is questionable, then make sure that you document as such and provide photographs of the specific problems with your item.
You should also site your return policy, payment policy, and turn around time in your eBay listings as well.
7. Answer buyer’s questions.
If a buyer emails you with a question be sure to answer it as quickly and as accurately as possible. Customer service is everything on eBay even though you and your potential buyer might live thousands of miles apart.
8. Ship your product quickly and carefully.
Be sure to ship your items as quickly as possible. You need to make sure however that you are not sacrificing quality in order to get a product out the door quickly. Take the time to carefully package your items before you ship. Your buyer will really appreciate your attention to detail and it will reflect in your feedback score.
The secrets of my eBay success.
Let me start off by saying that I have been selling on eBay for years and that I have done very well for myself as an eBay seller. I have actually even been invited to join eBay’s Powerseller program! I declined to join the program for the specific reason that I really only sell on eBay during the holiday season because it’s very profitable, and in February and March because the local economy in my area comes to a grinding halt during those months. I will also of course sell things on eBay when I feel that I have too much “stuff” lying around collecting dust. Needless to say, I wouldn’t be able to make the eBay Powerseller’s sales volume requirements hence my reason for not joining the program. Having said that, I make REALLY good money on eBay during the times of the year when I do actively sell which lead me to write this how to sell on eBay guide for beginners. So pay careful attention the secrets to my success that I am about to share with you!
1. The trick is to find the right items to sell on eBay at the right price.
Use eBay to determine what’s hot and what’s not. Even if you can obtain an item for a low price there is no guarantee that you can actually sell it especially if no one wants it! One of the markets that I’ve had the most success with is what could be called the “hot holiday items market.” For example, Two years ago Nintendo had stated in August that the Nintendo Wii was going to be in short supply for the holiday season. I bought as many Wii’s as I could in September and waited until December to sell them. I made $125-$150 per unit! Clothing can also be a lucrative market because nobody wants to pay full price for clothes. Just wait for the right department store sale and then buy as many in demand brands as you can. List the clothing that you just bought on eBay as soon as the sale ends. I have also had very good luck selling baseball cards on eBay. This however has changed since the economy went sour. If you have collectibles to sell, wait until the economy has fully recovered. One last word of caution for people who are beginners at selling on eBay; don’t go overboard when paying for your inventory until you are positive that you can sell it off for a profit!
2. Watch your time and get your shipping costs under control.
Shipping and handling is probably the most time consuming process of selling on eBay. If you don’t control your shipping costs then you can kiss your profits goodbye. I ended up purchasing a package scale (with up to a 50lb capacity) as well as a Brother P-Touch QL-500 label printer so that I could print my own postage at home as opposed to waisting time standing in line at the post office. I also found an online wholesaler that specializes in selling bubble mailers in bulk. These were significantly less expensive than the bubble mailers that the post office sells. I was able to drastically reduce the amount of time and money spent on shipping and handling with these simple investments. Of note, I tend to use the good ole’ USPS to ship my eBay auction items as I have found their costs to be the most reasonable. You can use this article to get more help with shipping on eBay.
3. To ship for free or not to ship for free; that is the question.
Buyers naturally love free shipping but to sellers it’s just another cost of doing business on eBay. Some sellers claim that by offering free shipping you can typically recuperate the shipping cost in your auction price because people will bid higher when an auction has free shipping. Here’s what I do; If free shipping is the norm for a particular product then I too will offer free shipping if I am trying to also sell THAT particular product. Electronics items for example, are usually sold with free shipping because competition amongst sellers is pretty intense in that market. If however I am selling a product such as baseball cards where the buyer typically pays for shipping then I do not offer free shipping.
4. Start your auctions at a low price.
A low auction start price will attract more buyers and will cost you less money in eBay listing fees. I start all of my auctions at .99 cents and I never use a reserve price. Do your research in this department however, there are some markets where you would want to start your auction at a higher price and or use a reserve price.
5. Schedule your eBay auctions to end on a Sunday.
Sunday is by far the best day of the week to end an eBay auction. To do this, you’ll have to either start a 7 day auction on a Sunday or start a 10 day auction on a Thursday. Remember that you can always use the auction scheduler so that you can create your listing on any day of the week and schedule it to start when you desire.
6. Use an HTML template for your listing.
eBay allows you to customize your listings using HTML. I would highly recommend that you take advantage of this feature. You can design your own HTML template, find a readymade HTML template, or higher someone to build your HTML template. An HTML template will make your listing look more professional which will attract more buyers. I took the time to build a stunning HTML template and my sales went up tremendously afterwards.
7. Do your shopping on eBay.
You can save time and money by doing your shopping on eBay plus you’ll receive positive feedback for each transaction that you complete. I do all of my Christmas shopping on eBay each year which keeps me out of packed malls and helps me continue to build my feedback score. Additionally, I earned eBay bucks for each purchase that I made which I then used to purchase a little gift for myself at the end of the year.
8. Get other people’s opinions and read, read, read!
Even as a beginner you’ll quickly come to realize that everyone has his or her own opinion regarding how to sell on eBay. Listen to them, especially if they’re an experienced seller! Here are the links to a couple of my favorite books about eBay. They’re on my bookshelf, and if you’re serious about selling on eBay then they should be on your bookshelf as well!