I’ve been eBaying for more than 10 years! That sounds much more impressive than it actually is, because I still have a feedback rating of under 100. That’s because I go through phases with selling on eBay.
(And before we get into the details, I’ll put this disclosure right up front: I used to work at an agency that worked with eBay. However, I eBayed before that, taught the staff how to do it while I worked there, and still continue to use the site. These opinions and experiences are my own.)
So here’s how I eBay:
I start by getting annoyed with toys that the kids don’t play with anymore and the plethora of clothing they’ve outgrown. We might upgrade a phone and still have the old one.
Then, I start piling things up and eventually sort to donate and sell piles. When I’m ready to think about listing, I look on the calendar to make sure I’ll be home when it comes time to ship. No one wants to wait for their stuff for too long.
I then do some research on eBay to see if the item is worth selling. You can do this by going to advanced search and checking “completed listings” to see what the same or similar items have sold for.
The most difficult part for me is usually finding boxes for shipping. For example, my dad had a couple of pool cues he didn’t want anymore, so it took me a long time to find a box long enough to ship them.
One of the best investments I’ve made is a postal scale. One $20-ish purchase (on eBay of course) and I no longer play “do I profit or do I owe after shipping.” By providing the measurements of the box and the weight on the scale, you get a more accurate estimate of the shipping cost.
I take photos with my phone, and now eBay lets you post multiple photos without additional fees. When taking photos, make sure you get multiple sides and zoom in on anything that might be important for buyers to know (including imperfections – they’ll find out about them eventually so be up front about it).
Then, I write out the descriptions for each item. It helps to add “pet-free home” or “smoke-free home” if applicable because you may get those questions from potential buyers. When you originally enter your item, eBay will pull up descriptions based on the product. However, I also like to add additional details to make the item more interesting or tell a story if there is one. (For example, I had a set of new cleats that my son never wore because he grew two shoe sizes in a summer. That helps buyers to understand why you are selling something brand new.)
When I’m ready to list, I usually put them all up at once so they end at a similar time and I can take and mail them in a batch, instead of on different days. I usually try to list on a weekend when I know I’ll have more time to answer last-minute questions.
The social-sharing feature on eBay is important. My views go up by a significant amount after I tweet an item. However, I don’t really like how eBay’s pre-populated tweet says “Look what I found.” Instead, I change the description to the title of my item and add “selling” at the beginning.
Don’t be dismayed if you have a seven-day listing and don’t have any bids on day 5. I’ve found that the majority of the bids come in near the last 24 hours because people want their item quickly and now they won’t have to wait and see if they’ve won the auction.
When shipping, it’s up to you to choose to add insurance or delivery confirmation. I’d recommend it for electronics or high value items. You could also add in a copy of the confirmation from eBay or a thank you note.
If you eBay, what else do you recommend? If not, what’s holding you back?