[SELL IT] Power Tips for Ebay Success

Category: Shopping

Are you trying to sell some unwanted items to make a little extra money, but your attempts to sell on eBay have not worked out very well? Check out my power tips for eBay sellers to help you succeed. Read on…

Tips and Tricks for eBay Sellers

Looking to make some extra cash? eBay provides a number of ways for you to sell products or services quickly. It's become one of the largest online marketplaces for several reasons. First, almost anyone can use it, making it an even playing field for the small, one-person seller as much as it is for a big corporation. Second, eBay helps you promote your items, and you can take advantage of certain eBay features to control and predict your success. Third, it saves on the cost of owning a website, marketing, and much more. You pay only the minimal fees eBay states on the website.

You can take advantage of this great opportunity by doing several key things. You will probably want to sell the item fast, and probably you want to sell the item at the highest price you can get for it. Here are some eBay seller tips to get you started.

Check Your Timing

If you were selling a used car, you'd be more likely to sell it, and get a good selling price, if you parked it on a busy street. Likewise, if you're an eBay seller, you want your auction to end when the greatest number of people are browsing and bidding against each other at eBay. So, to get the highest prices when selling your items at eBay, schedule your auctions so that they appear on the first page of eBay at the busiest times at eBay.

Ebay tips for sellers

There are some exceptions, but in general you'll get the greatest number of bids and the highest selling prices if you schedule your auctions to end during the peak eBay traffic periods on Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Research Is Key

Research can come from looking at eBay itself. Don't just look at current products and see what similar products are selling for now. You can check with eBay to see what products have sold for in the past, as this is a more accurate look. Just because something is up for sale, doesn't mean it's selling. Just because someone placed a bid for $10 on a pair of jeans, doesn't mean it sold for that.

You can get a more accurate idea of how to price your items when you use the Completed Listings check box feature in the advanced search features. To learn more about advanced search options, visit: this page. I used this method to price and sell an IBM PC Jr computer that had been gathering dust in my closet for years. Looking at completed listings for similar items also helped me determine the correct shipping rate for a heavy item such as this. (More on shipping below...)

You should also think about keywords when listing your item. Populate your title with as many relevant keywords as possible, so that people searching on eBay will find your listing. For example, don't make your listing title "Apple iPhone." Instead, go with something keyword-rich like "Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max - 512GB - Space Gray (Unlocked) A2161 (CDMA + GSM)".

According to Good Housekeeping magazine, three iPhone-related items sell on eBay every minute. Other popular items are home decor, TVs, fitness gear, collectibles, and clothing. These articles lists the Top Selling Items on eBay in 2021, and which items you should probably just toss, recycle, or donate.

Sell Quickly

If you need money quickly, you can change the number of days your bids are up. You can place the bid date as low as a couple of days. This encourages bidders to act now. You can also put up a Buy It Now button with a set price. This feature allows you to set an ideal price, and people can purchase the product outright instead of having to wait until the bidding is over.

Photos Are Everything

No matter how beautiful your description is, more products are sold based on pictures. Take plenty, at different angles, close up, and make them clear. Use a white background for dark objects and plenty of light. Use a dark background for a white object, etc. All eBay sellers know that if you want to sell anything, the photo is the most important part of it. Even eBay offers assistance on how to take better pictures on their website. Be sure not to hide any flaws in the product when providing photos, or you’ll be dealing with returns and getting bad seller reviews.

Start Small, Build a Reputation

If you're a new seller, many bidders might not give you their trust yet. Sell a few items at low prices and give your all to quality when you first start out. Offering lower prices on a few of your products at first will encourage bidders to purchase.

Be honest with what you have. It's better to be honest about it in the notes about dents or damages, than to have it come out in the rating and comments section. People reading such things in the review section will be glad you were honest, and they will praise you even more if it was better than described.

Buyers will appreciate if you put measurements in the listing, especially for clothing and other articles that may be hard to judge from a photo. Use a ruler, yardstick or other reference item, and lay on or near the item before taking pictures. Include those measurements in the description as well.

Forget the Small Stuff

Don't bother with products that sell for less than a few dollars. Also, do research on every item that you own. If people aren't buying what you're selling, don't bother putting it up for bid. You'll pay a lot in eBay fees when you list items that aren't selling, and you'll lose money on a deal if you sell stuff for only $1.

Ship Smart

And finally, be smart about shipping. Accurate shipping rates are often what bidders are looking for. Smart bidders know that it doesn't take $10 to ship a paperback to the next state. Offer alternative, lower cost shipping if possible, offer to let the buyer pick up if local, and get approximate, realistic shipping costs. If you don't know, buy a metered scale from your local post office. This will help you save time and your customers will be happy knowing they aren't getting ripped off on shipping charges. You might also think twice about offering shipping for heavy items, which would require expensive shipping. Local pickup is a good idea for large items. USPS offers a tool to help customers figure out their shipping costs.

The Facts of Life

As a seller, you must accept three facts of life. First, that all shippers will throw packages around, even if the word "FRAGILE" appears on the box. Your packages need to be sturdy enough to survive being dropped from the second story. Add the optional insurance when shipping an expensive or fragile item.

Second, understand that eBay is a buyers market. If an item goes missing in transit, the seller is responsible. If the buyer is fickle and wants to return an item for refund, the seller is accountable. High-volume eBay sellers that I know, tell me that glitches like this are rare, but you must be prepared to handle them if they do happen.

Speaking of returns, successful eBay sellers have found that offering free 30-day returns seems to
boost listings in eBay’s search results, and gives buyers more confidence as well.

And third, there's the potential tax liability issue. Online payment processors are required to issue a Form 1099-K to sellers with more than 200 transactions, or total sales of more than $20,000 in a year. But even if your sales are below those limits, you may still receive a 1099-K. Last year I sold less than five items, with sales of about $1000, and I got one. Apparently, there are some fuzzy rules about when eBay reports sales to the IRS. Bottom line, if you get the 1099-K, be sure to report it when filing your tax returns.

Starting out selling on eBay takes research, patience and keeping a cool head. Find out what products are selling for, and offer accurate shipping prices. Respond quickly to questions left by bidders, ship quickly, and provide the type of customer service you'd want if you were the buyer.

Got any hot tips for selling stuff on eBay? Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "[SELL IT] Power Tips for Ebay Success"

Posted by:

17 Aug 2021

I somewhat gave up on ebay. I had some success in selling collectible items, however the last transaction involved some Beatles collectible sheet music, and the buyer was in France. I got a very good price, and the shipping was paid by the buyer, however not until the merchandise was received and accepted by the buyer. I was a little annoyed to have them hold up the payment to me until that little caveat was fulfilled. after that, I got the impression that they made up rules as they went :-(

Posted by:

17 Aug 2021

I have an Ebay store and have been selling on Ebay for many years and they unfortunately have made it more and more difficult to sell on there. They are constantly changing their requirements and policys which makes it very frustrating and are making changes to things which cost the seller more to sell and we are told it is a benefit to us when in fact it is not, but is a benefit to ebay but only in the short term. They truly need to subscribe to the K.I.S.S. principle in their business policys. Their search is absolutely the worst I have ever seen and has gotten worse over the years making it difficult and/or nearly impossible at times to find what you are looking for with tons of unrelated items showing up in search results or nothing at all? Also, when looking at sold items history, the numbers are not accurate in most cases. I.E. if something sells for best offer of say $60 on an item that was listed for $89, in the history it will show it sold for $89 not what it actually sold for so it is very misleading and inaccurate info to base your price on. They also now charge thru their managed payment system instead of Paypal the final value fees on everything, cost of item plus shipping plus sales tax and a transaction fee on every transaction. And now if you sell internationally, they ae charging you another fee for that. They do have traffic but I believe that it is much less than it used to be. I am still there because have not built up another site enough yet to get off there. Is sad they have been going down hill for the last few years. They tend to hide behind policy instead of doing what is logical and right at times.

Posted by:

Stukahna Sandbahr
17 Aug 2021

Concur with Ed! I don't now recall what the tiny glitch was that precluded my selling of an HO scale train car, but it was totally FRUSTRATING! Ended up selling it to a local hobby shop at the same price.

Posted by:

17 Aug 2021

As an example of how bad the search is on Ebay, many many times in searching for something on Ebay was unable to find anything and then when using Google, I found an Ebay listing with exactly what I had typed into the Ebay search, but ebay's search couldn't find anything but Google then did and on Ebay no less. I have even searched for my own listings and at times could not find it, then going into my store was able to find it right away. Then the ability to organize what you do find is so limited as to be not only useless but annoying. I have explained to Ebay CS that the bottom line is this, if people do not find what they are looking for quickly and easily without having to go thru multiple pages of stuff, they will simply go some place else where things are easier to find and buy it somewhere else. This is both bad for both sellers, buyers and Ebay. Ebay just doesn't seem to ""get it""

Posted by:

John Nelson
17 Aug 2021

I think you'll find the 1099-K goes out to sellers with 200 or more sales AND over $20,000, not OR. Just thought you would like to know.

Posted by:

Robert K
17 Aug 2021

I used to sell on eBay, but not anymore. The fees that they charge are egregious.

Posted by:

Robert T Deloyd
18 Aug 2021

After reading the comments I need to ask: is there another place besides eBay to sell products?
I will be standing by for a reply :)

Posted by:

18 Aug 2021

Agree with Ed (been selling on eBay since '05) but still better than flea market bourse, trade shows if you're selling collectibles. Their selling prices realized glossary is misleading if you do not know your product line. What I sell has much competition from counterfeiters. Ebay will not differentiate counterfeit price received versus legit sale price realized. If you're on this platform you must know what you have, sells for. Other platforms: Amazon (more totalitarian than eBay), Mercuri (haven't tried), etc. I stick with eBay because it's familiar but I am cutting back on inventory, selling account profit margin shrinkage and paperwork.

Posted by:

18 Aug 2021

Thank you BobRankin for another great topic coverage.
I have no intention of selling anything on eBay but I found your content in-depth.
Recently, while searching for replacement feetsies for a turntable; I landed at picclick website which provides eBay image searches and seems to do a pretty good job. To my surprise they have been around since 2008 and substantiates the power of good photos as you discuss. Using a Metric/English tape measure on the photos is all that I can add.

Posted by:

18 Aug 2021

Response to Robert T Deloyd. I also have an account on Bonanza and have had for some time but just recently started importing from Ebay to their site. There fees are so so depending on what you are willing to spend. I have it set for a max of 9% which limits my views I believe but they have pros and cons as well. They do only charge fvf on the actual price of the item but on Ebay they charge on everything including tax and shipping. However I sell a lot of small engine stuff and actually a little of eveything but if I ship first class package, Bonanza's shipping cost doesn't include tracking which I have been working with them to fix that because without tracking you are taking a huge risk because the buyer can simply say they never received it and you have no recourse. I can't say how I do ship but I use a different site to do so for less money and includes tracking. Bonanza at this point now is pretty much in real time, meaning if it sells on Ebay it goes off Bonanza and vice/versa which it didn't used to do. I'm playing them for now and will see how things work out for me.

Posted by:

18 Aug 2021

"Do this to save electricity" listed on your Australian newsletter, links to "VoltBox". The VoltBox information looks like a scam to me. Anyone else think the same?

Posted by:

Robert T Deloyd
18 Aug 2021

Thank you Ed for your response :)

Posted by:

18 Aug 2021

Answer to Leigh on "Voltbox" If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. Same is true when it comes to recognizing a scam with a capital S.......Definitely a SCAM!

Posted by:

James Smith
10 Sep 2021

Power Tips for Ebay Success

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