Back when the boys were little, I did quite a bit of selling on eBay. I’d become a diaper bag collector and found there was a huge resell market (being honest… I only found that because I was always so interested in buying.) Well, buying and buying led to selling and, pretty soon, I learned how to sell bags, clothes and movies, CDs… Not only did I learn all of that, but I started to get good at it. It becomes sort of old-hat. The more you do, the better you do. And with each sale you realize you can make more money doing it.
So, Saturday night while out with friends we listed out the many items we no longer need in our homes: lots of baby gear, some baby movies, old DVDs and games people had stopped watching and playing, books… And one of the girls mentioned that she’d downloaded the eBay app. “It’s so easy!” she shared with us. It’s as simple as point, scan, answer a few questions and boom! Another item is up for resale on eBay. I’ve been talking about it for months, but I hadn’t actually used it, yet. But this time of year is a great time to try out the app, you know? A little extra money in my paypal account can go a very long way.
How to be a great eBay seller
Include at least one picture, the more the better. This is a lot easier with the app because you can take pictures as you’re creating your listing and they’ll automatically be included in your listing. Additionally, many products, when scanned or matched through a search, already have manufacturer’s images loaded into eBay’s system, so you’ll also have the “official” image with listing. You can list up to 12 images in each listing. No need to overdue it, but make sure your images are clear.
There’s nothing wrong with selling a product that is used, after all, eBay was once considered the world’s biggest garage sale. So make sure your description is honest. If there’s a tiny scratch but the CD works fine, describe that in your listing. If your home is a smoking home, be sure to say so. For buyers, there is nothing worse than receiving your win in the mail, opening it, and finding it’s not exactly what you were lead to believe you purchased. Buyers who are let down will definitely share their disappointment through eBay’s rating system, and if you’re dishonest, you’re credibility will be shot.
A savvy buyer doesn’t just consider the price of the item she’s bidding on, she’s also considering the shipping. While it seems more regulated, there was definitely a time when people would offer items for an exceptionally low winning value, only to charge $80 in shipping. Do not get caught overcharging for shipping. Shipping is not an area to make money.
Along the same line, a savvy shipper has several boxes in her home, as well as a small postal scale. (I bought mine years ago on eBay and, wow!, the prices have dropped incredibly!) Prior to listing an item, I suggest you package and weigh your product so you’ll have an idea of how much the item will be to ship. Just like you don’t want to charge too much to ship a package, you also don’t want to lose money. Recently, a friend sold an item for $12, which was about the right value. But she’d only charged $3 shipping because she guessed that it sounded about right. She came home from the post office dragging her feet–it cost her more to ship the item than she’d made in the sale.
A sale doesn’t just end when you receive the Paypal. One of the biggest responsibilities in selling on eBay is shipping, and the faster the shipper you are, the better your ratings will be–buyers love speedy shipping and reward for that. Plan at trip to the post office (or UPS or FedEx) the after you sell the item, if you can’t make it the day of.
Look, we’re all human, and things happen. If something happens and you can’t get to the post office the next day, or if the item you sold suddenly breaks, tell the buyer immediately. Yes, she’ll be disappointed but it’s better to communicate and work things out together than to anger the buyer. Again, the ratings (and simple goodwill and human nature.)
It’s also important that when you list an item you keep your email address updated to one you check often. During the time of your listing, you’re likely to receive questions from potential buyers. Don’t be slow to reply. Most buyers are ready for the win and do expect their answers as soon as they ask the questions.
No matter how precious an item is to you, it’s only as valuable as the one that sells before it. Before I list something on eBay, I watch similar items to see what they’re receiving, how they’re listed and what the shipping prices are. If a buyer has a choice between Susie1987’s red Kate Spade Baby Bag for $64 with shipping of $8 and JoJo876’s red Kate Spade Baby Bag for $87 with shipping of $2, I’m pretty sure she’ll buy Susie’s, even though shipping is higher. So price your items at a true selling price.
Also keep in mind that, depending on the item, there are good and bad times to list your item for sale on eBay.
If you’ve never sold on eBay, do not start today, unless you’ve bought before. It’s much easier to get a feel for what a buyer wants by being a buyer. So, go ahead. Do a little research and shop for something.
Then start selling.
eBay and eBay Mobile are clients of Splash Creative Media, of which I am a partner.
© 2012, Julie Meyers Pron. All rights reserved.