a few eBay tips




Kate Spade Flats for sale soon!


A few of you wanted to know if I had any tips or suggestions regarding selling on eBay.  I am by no means an expert. Selling 20 items on eBay does not make anyone an expert but I'm getting the feel for it and if you have things sitting around your house that you'd like to sell, you should give it a try.  Here are a few things I've learned...

First of all, getting set up is easy.  This link can get you started.  They offer extremely easy guides for you to follow. I think it took me about 20 minutes to complete all the steps.  You also need to hook up with PayPal, that's easy too.  I only use PayPal and I request that the item is paid for within 1 to 3 days of the auction end.  Once you are set up, go into your closets and basement or attic and find something to start with.  I highly suggest you list something that is not too valuable. This way you can get a feel for how things work.  If it sells quickly then yay for you but if you have to relist it (which I've done a few times) then you can do some more research and see if your item was priced wrong. We all think our things are more valuable than they actually are. :)  It doesn't seem like getting $20 for an old blouse would be worth the trouble but it all adds up,

You also must get in the right frame of mind as far as letting your stuff go.  Rarely will you get exactly what you paid for it.  Unless, that is, if you have lots of stuff that you bought at yard sales and charity shops.  But if you paid full price for a shirt at a retail store you will be doing good to get 1/2 of what you paid for it.  But that's ok because you've already worn and used it and now you'll be getting a small portion back into your wallet.  It's a good thing when it works out.

eBay makes it so easy for you to price things too.  During the process of listing they make suggested prices to you based on what similar items have sold for.  If you are happy with their suggestion you just plug in their number.  I normally do that.

I think everyone agrees that shipping costs are the most tricky part of selling.  eBay does a good job at that too now. If I'm unsure about what it would cost to ship a pair of shoes to Wisconsin then I usually post the priority flat rate box prices.  That way I don't have to pay out of pocket for shipping.  I'm sure as I sell more I can learn more but this is what I do now.

I also try to package my things nicely.  I always wrap clothing in tissue paper and tie it with twine. I recently sold earrings and the lady who bought them said one of the earrings was slightly damaged but that she was able to fix it easily.  She was super nice and I was glad she told me because in the future I know to wrap more carefully.

Brand names sell well on eBay.  J.Crew lovers know their stuff and are quite savvy shoppers. Every single J.Crew item I've listed has sold fast.  Right now I have a London Fog coat listed and if it had a J.Crew label it'd be sold already.  Be as descriptive as possible when listing the item - that way you'll attract more buyers.

I also list winter things in winter and summer things in summer.  I don't know if you remember the good deal I got on my vintage riding boots in the middle of summer a few years back but if the seller had listed them in the fall she'd have gotten twice as much as I paid.

The main thing I'd suggest is to just go for it. If your stuff is just sitting there and you feel like someone else would like it then just list it.  If it turns out to be too much work or not worth it to you, donate it. Since I'm in the process of letting go and paring down it's working for me.  Keep in mind that there are at least 10x more buyers than there are sellers on eBay.  Really you have nothing to lose...give it a try.

If you want more tips just google eBay for beginners and lots of articles will come up.  I'm just a beginner and it works!  I just wanted to give you the courage to try.  Happy Selling!



38 comments

  1. Thank you!

    Not an expert by any means but my additional comments are:

    1) you will be surprised by what will sell and what will not--frequently the item I expected not to sell is the one to go. So just list it and let the market decide

    2) photos photos photos--take a lot of photos that are clear, accurate and in good lighting so the prospective buyer can see what they are getting

    3) highlight ANY flaws. Any. However tiny. And take a photo. It is not a deal breaker if there is a pulled thread or a bit of wear on the heel...unless it comes as a bad surprise when the package arrives

    4) Pricing--this is the hardest and very personal. Some people start very low to attract bids but it is not worth it to me to sell something for 99 cents. I put the lowest price I would be happy to get as the starting price. Sometimes I add a "buy it now" price and if the item is in high demand for some reason, someone may just snap it up for that. I know that I have bought things on ebay using Buy It Now myself when I wanted it.

    5) Shipping--we happen to have a great digital kitchen scale so I put the item in the box I plan to use and weigh it--then you can enter the actual weight into the ebay "shipping calculator". Sometimes I have got it wrong. A few times I had to pay a bit more myself to ship, but whenever I have inadvertently overcharged for shipping I refund the difference to the nearest dollar. Somehow it bothers me when sellers pad the shipping costs.

    6) Use the title to provide descriptive terms that someone may search on. No one searches on "gorgeous" so don't bother with the glowing description. Just the facts and as many as you can fit in (brand, style, size, colour, material, condition)

    7) There seems to be no relationship to the number of people "watching" an item and the likelihood of it selling. Weird but true.

    8) List items when you/they are likely to be online. Many sites say that Sunday night, Thursday night and midday Monday are best but I do not know how much that really matters.

    9) Do not be discouraged if it does not sell. Check price and decide whether to relist at a cheaper price. Or if the original price is really fair or a good deal just press the relist button (soooo easy to relist compared with the original work of listing). Sometimes no bids the first time then 4 bidders the next week. Just depends who is online that week.

    10) And finally--50 free listings per month. Though they are not actually free. Both ebay and paypal take a cut of the selling price and the shipping charges.

    Occasionally there is a bad apple. But mostly I have had very nice interactions with both sellers and buyers. Good luck and enjoy it. If you calculate your hourly rate selling on ebay, it makes no sense (better to flip hamburgers) but if you realize that you are having fun, decluttering and sending things to people who will be delighted that they got a great deal, it may be worth doing.

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    1. thank you so much for all these tips. you should have written my post!!!

      pictures really are so important. esp of the flaws!

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    2. Thank you both for tips on this topic. I have been wanting to try my hand on selling on Ebay but the main thing for me is the postage costs. I don't have clothes to sell, mainly household items, wedding gifts in fact...packaging is the problem as there is crystal, crockery and cutlery involved.
      Linda C.

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  2. Very interesting. Have been thinking have doing this but not been brave enough, thanks for your tips.

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  3. se you sold the JCrew Charlie jacket.. how come? Looked good on you

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  4. Hi Janet - Thanks for the tips! I've bought and sold on ebay in the past (ok, more buying than selling!!) and it's worked out well. You've got me thinking about some clothing and shoes I should sell -- nice, quality brand names I've (foolishly) bought and only worn one or twice. Fortunately, I'm no longer an impulse buyer. I bought a small sunburst mirror for less than $20 on ebay and I'm expecting to receive it any day. Hopefully, it won't disappoint and maybe I'll post it on my blog.

    xo,
    Deborah

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  5. Thanks for these tips. A question for you (and the well informed anonymous) I have a mannequin I can photograph clothes on (long story). Should I use "her" or hang them on hangers for the photo's? I've just set up an acount and I'm ready to try it.

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    1. my answer would be YES. i wish i had one! good luck!

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    2. You can buy one on eBay for $48!

      http://www.ebay.com/itm/35-x26-x34-Female-Mannequin-Dress-Form-Clothing-Display-W-Base-Black-/200958138971?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2eca09da5b

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    3. Thanks Gail. I already own a vintage Rootstein, full body mannequin. She's amazingly real looking. Full face makeup and hair. Prettier than me:-)

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  6. Hi Janet! Thanks to your encouragement of selling on ebay, I sold over $700. in the spring, and I sold $165. this week selling some of my gently used handbags! Plus, I'm decluttering and making a little money. I was so intimidated to get started, but I'm so glad I took the plunge. Thanks for the tips!
    P.S. My tip is to include in each listing to "Check out my other listings".

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    1. great tip. i need to figure out how use that feature.

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    2. I just type it in at the end of my description :)

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  7. I started selling on ebay back in the late 1990s. I researched artists from Cape Cod and Cape Ann and then I'd buy art at auctions and sell it on ebay. Sometimes I'd even buy stuff on ebay that was just really badly photographed and/or marketed and I'd relist it during busy times (now through Christmas) and usually make a profit. Anyway, when I wanted to get rid of all my furniture and start from scratch, I listed all of my furniture in one listing and sold it almost immediately to a woman who lived in Connecticut and had just moved back from Europe. She also bought most of my art that I hadn't even listed. She arranged for a mover and picked everything up with a few days. It's crazy now that I think about it. But it's fun and quite addictive.

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  8. Thanks for the info ! I have been thinking of selling some things on ebay lately and have been a little nervous about doing it. Sounds like it is fairly easy.

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  9. Thank you so much Janet!
    Good ideas and advice...now it's time for me to dip my toes.

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  10. Thank you so much. I absolutely have stuff to sell that hasn't worked for me, especially cashmere sweaters:).

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  11. Thanks Janet! Do you have a hard time uploading the pictures to ebay? I would like to just use my iPhone camera but wonder if that is good enough...
    Jill

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    1. no jill i haven't had any problems with that. many people sell with just their iphones.

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  12. I've had an eBay consignment business since 2000. I'm always surprised at what does and doesn't sell and once in a while something sells for so much more than expected. I love eBay!

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    1. oh wow, i bet you have a few tricks up your sleeve!

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    2. Japolina--spill the beans! we would love your insights too

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  13. Thank you, Janet. Not only will I try this, but will try using eBay to score some clothing/purse bargains as I lose weight. Oh, I know that you don't have to buy a new purse to accommodate a weight loss, but what the heck! Now if I just had some time to do this.......!

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    1. it is a little time intensive that's for sure.

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  14. Janet, thank you so much for this post. I've always wanted to try selling a few things on eBay, but the packaging and shipping of items seems like it would be such a daunting part of the process that I've felt too intimidated to try it.

    I know people sell all kinds of things on eBay (even furniture!), but how do they handle the shipping? How does one learn more? Then it occurred to me this morning . . . YouTube! People post all kinds of how-tos on YouTube, so I thought maybe there are some videos there with more information. And sure enough, there are dozens of videos there on how to pack and ship the items you sell on eBay! Just do a search such as:

    "shipping eBay items"
    "packing and shipping eBay"
    "shipping eBay"

    and all kinds of videos will come up. I'm off to learn more! Hope this helps someone needing more information.

    Thank you for all you share with us.

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  15. Whatever; the ugly reality of eBay Inc.:
    eBay's crooked auctions marketplace ... bit.ly/11F2eas
    The clunky, unscrupulous "PreyPal" ... bit.ly/UVXx53
    The ongoing joke of it all ... bit.ly/YvxFEg
    Fun quotes from the eBay executive suite ... bit.ly/12xvzyA

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    1. I think it is very inappropriate and rude of you to invade this lovely blog with your self-promoting spam, and I wish Janet would remove your post. Perhaps you should take your agenda to a more appropriate forum.

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    2. Spam? Best you look up the definition of "spam".

      Regardless, you have a problem with anyone warning about the endemic fraud on eBay "nominal-start" auctions, do you? ... bit.ly/11F2eas

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  16. This post is just what I needed. Am clearing my life of so many things and while charity is fine, would prefer to get a little money back. Hope you'll post updates as you learn more! Thank you!

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  17. Great tips, Janet! Thank you for these and the other comments. Yes, there are paypal frauds out there so one must ensure to avoid those links that come to your inbox. (I think that's what Philip was warning us of). I recently donated a bunch of things...which I feel good about and I'm probably too lazy to set up on ebay. I don't even shop on there... I'm missing out!

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  18. Thank you so much for these tips. I'm also cleaning out my closet with a lot of Eileen Fisher etc. I've been stymied because I didn't know what to do with the clothes. Very helpful post.

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  19. My first time to comment here.What a great post, Janet.I completely agree with Anonymous at number one's comments.Especially about refunding postage to the buyer when it turns out to cost much less to ship.People are always thrilled when you do this. Wrap everything you sell beautifully and with care.Also, don't worry if you don't receive feedback.Quite often people leave feedback weeks later.I've no idea why this is.I love selling on Ebay and see it as recouping some of my initial outlay only.Sue

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  20. Someone who sells on eBay told me that if I sold something on eBay that I'd purchased from a thrift store it was absolutely required that I disclose that it came from Goodwill, Salvation Army, etc. Can anyone tell me if this is true?

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    1. i have never heard of that before. i don't think it is required.

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kindness is never out of style.

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