Like many others, Ebay-selling was my “gateway platform” to earning from home. I used to sell a lot on Ebay, and I made a lot of money. I didn’t have great products or a wholesale account anywhere. I just listed odds and ends I found here and there for the millions of people around the world who go to Ebay and pay top dollar for used stuff. I can’t explain it–Ebay just kind of works.
Ebay Selling Tips/Tricks for Beginners
Where to find things to sell on Ebay
Yard sales & flea markets..
The key to making profits on Ebay is in finding good stuff to resell at low cost. Unless you already have your product or service you can profit from, you can go out a
nd find cheap stuff at yard sales and flea markets to resell. I used to go to storage auctions and buy entire contents of storage units. You might have to sort through a lot of trash to get to some good sell-able stuff, but you will usually make a hefty profit this way.
Wholesale or Drop-Shipping..
You could buy items in bulk for wholesale prices to resell on Ebay. Or, you could go with a drop shipping company, which is basically a wholesale company selling items at almost wholesale cost without the huge minimum order requirement. Using drop shippers is a great way to get good, quality items to sell on Ebay with little-to-no start up costs.
If you are completely new to selling online, it will take a few mistakes and bad purchases to learn what sells and what doesn’t sell on Ebay. But after you start doing it, you will learn how to spot those things that you can make money on.
Getting Started with Ebay and Paypal
Sign up for an Ebay account at ebay.com. If you don’t already have one, this is a very easy process. You will have to enter a credit card for a seller account. This is ultimately used for your monthly seller fees, if you opt to pay them that way.
If you don’t already have a Paypal account, you will need to sign up for one. Paypal is basically an online checking account that makes you a merchant. They allow you to accept credit card and checking account payments from customers without having to ever swipe a card or even see their numbers. Paypal does it all for you. There are other similar sites that do this, such as Authorize.net. Ebay requires that you offer one of these as a payment option on all your listings, and Paypal is the most widely used. Paypal also requires a credit card or checking account for identification verification.
Do your research with Ebay’s Advanced Search
When you are ready to sell an item on Ebay, do a little research first. Some things sell on Ebay and some things don’t. Before you waste money on seller’s fees, you want to know if people are actually buying other items like yours, and how much they are willing to spend on that item. You can do a search to see all the listings that have already ended in the recent past. Within Ebay, go to “advanced search” and type in the item you want to see, then click “completed listings”. You will get a list of all those similar items that sold or didn’t sell within the past 15 days. Those that sold will be in green, and those that didn’t will be in red. If all of these are mostly red, you know that your item probably will end without being sold as well. If they are all green, then you will be able to tell how much yours is worth by looking through these final sales prices. For example, if you are searching to see how much your UGG boots are worth, and all of the same model UGG boots sold on Ebay for around $50 to $60, then you know you can start your listing at about this same price and expect it to sell for this amount.
Create an Ebay listing
The setup for actually placing a listing on Ebay is quite easy. I think they have a good system in place for walking the beginner through the process. It’s basically two full pages of fill-in-the-blank sections, including title, description of your item, how you’ll be shipping the items afterward. You’ll get varying questions depending on the category you’ve chosen to place your listing in. If it’s a clothing item, you’ll place it in the appropriate category, and it will ask you size and material questions. If you’re selling a book, you’d list it in the “books” category and fill in answers to: ISBN number, hardback or soft cover, etc. This section is usually self explanatory and quite easy to figure out.
Auction-style or Buy-it-now
You can sell different things in different ways to suit your needs, with auction-style or buy-it-now options. If what you’re selling has the potential to get bids higher than what you expect, or if you’re not sure what to expect, then listing it as an auction might be a good option. This allows the buyers to bid the price up. Often, you will be surprised by how much a listing will ultimately get raised up to.
As an example, if those other UGG boots just like yours had sold on Ebay for varying amounts over the past 15 days, and you can’t be sure what yours will go for, then you could list them in an auction-style listing, starting at $49.99. If they sell by the end of the listing term (usually 5, 7 or 10 days, whichever you decide), you might get bids up to $100 or more, but at the very least, you will have that initial $49.99 from your price start.
If you know pretty much what your item will sell for in the end, or if you are in a hurry to sell, you can just set a price to it in a buy-it-now listing. This is basically just a “here it is for sale at this price” listing. Any Ebay buyer can click to buy it at any time instead of having to wait for the end of the listing.
Shipping your sold items
After an item sells, you follow instructions to print a shipping label directly from Paypal. This cost automatically comes out of those funds that customer just paid yo
u with, and the label prints out with his name, address and delivery confirmation number pre-posted on it.
All you have to do is package up your item and tape the label to it. Paypal takes care of notifying the customer that his package is being shipped and how they can track it if they want.
With your package paid and ready to go, you can just drop it off at the post office. I used to have a deal with my mail carrier to grab my packages off my porch; I would just leave her a little note on the mailbox to “please take my packages”. As long as they are prepaid with labels attached, they are happy to do this for you. Just let them know when you have some ready to go.
Ebay-selling tips/tricks all beginners should know
Start your auction-style listings in the evening time. The time that you choose for your auction-style listing to begin is the exact same time that they will end. And since most bids come in at the very last few minutes, you’ll want your auction to be ending at a time when there are a lot of people online, shopping on Ebay. I used to start mine around 9 o’clock eastern time on Tuesdays. I have no scientific method behind this, but it seemed like I would get a lot of bids on Tuesday evenings.
A good picture can make the sale
Take good pictures! You will have to add photos of your item in your listings. Ebay makes this an easy process for you. But keep in mind, a lot of times, it is the photo you add that makes the buyer’s decision, so make sure you have plenty of light and you capture it from a bunch of different angles. When it doubt about whether an image will be good or not, just get as close a shot as possible, and then get a little bit closer…
Be upfront and truthful with every listing
With each Ebay listing, you’ll have to provide a description and specific details of your item. It’s too easy to just not mention a flaw here and there. But after learning this the hard way over and over again, I recommend that you just be honest in your description, no matter what. If a buyer gets his item and disputes it with Paypal because he didn’t get what you described, they will give him his money back almost every time. Ebay and Paypal are both very “buyer friendly”. This can become a big headache, especially in those cases when you know you are right and the buyer is wrong. It’s best to go in with honest and upfront communication in all your dealings–not giving any reason for your customer to be disappointed with his purchase.
Protect your feedback
Your feedback rating is based on each customer’s personal experience with you as a seller, including details likeshipping cost, shipping time, communication efforts, and item descriptions. Most Ebay buyers have an option when deciding which seller to make a purchase from, and most will go with a higher priced item IF that seller has a better feedback rating. If you follow the “upfront and truthful” guideline from above, your feedback should never suffer..
For a little extra guidance in getting started on Ebay, here’s a great slideshare for beginners..