[SOLD!] Tips for Ebay Sellers

Category: Shopping

A reader asks: 'I am trying to sell some of my stuff on eBay to make a little extra money, but my previous attempts to sell on eBay haven't worked out very well. Can you give me some power tips for eBay sellers to help me succeed?' Well, yes! 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 tpo price your items when you use the Completed Listings check box feature in the advanced search features. To learn more about completed listings research, visit: this page.

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 7." Instead, go with something like "Apple iPhone 7 Plus 32GB Unlocked Space Gray Verizon"

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. This article lists the Top 10 Best Items to Sell on eBay, 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.

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.

And third, there's the potential tax liability issue. Online payment processors such as eBay 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.

Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Most recent comments on "[SOLD!] Tips for Ebay Sellers"

Posted by:

04 May 2018

Quite right, shipping charges are a BIG deal.

It's pretty obvious when a seller is gouging

on shipping charges.

Also, I buy lots of things on Ebay and I see

the same item from different sellers in prices

ranging from, say, $20 to $80 so guess which I


Posted by:

04 May 2018

I have been selling on EBay for a while. Only complain I have is EBay fees. I understand nothing is free but not knowing the fees before you sell something is risky.
Give yourself a 10-15% allowance to cover ebay fees.
Free shipping helps sellers and buyers but know your cost before offering.
Last, beware of crooks who will ask for refund claiming item was damaged or not as described.

Posted by:

04 May 2018

The idea that eBay is a buyers market is laughable. The company is interested in one thing and one thing only: maintaining the flow of listing and final value fees. That means they need to keep *sellers* happy.

I once spent many hours on the phone with eBay’s Philippine customer service center in a futile attempt to resolve a dispute with a seller who lied about having an expensive item in stock, posted a fake tracking number, shipped the wrong item, and suckered me into paying return postage.

eBay claimed that they “asked” the seller to repay me, but ultimately they applied no pressure to the seller and told me to pound sand.

The lessons are thus: Be very wary of sellers with low numbers of transactions or less than stellar feedback. If anything goes wrong, use ONLY eBay’s official dispute process, no matter how much the other party tries to get you to handle it outside eBay. Finally, don’t believe for a second that eBay customer service will help you if a transaction goes badly wrong, unless you’re a high volume seller paying lots of fees.

Posted by:

04 May 2018

Allow 10% for eBay fees and around 6% for PayPal fees, these fees are also charged on the shipping part of the payment.

Never start the auction at a lower price than you are willing to accept. List at $1 and if you only get one bid you have to sell at that price.

If you make an error calculating the shipping cost, NEVER ask the buyer for more money, learn from the experience. Errors are usually because of the size of the package, not the weight. Be sure to put the dimensions in the shipping calculator so you get it right on the listing. ALWAYS use tracking.

You'll save money using eBay shipping over retail at the Post Office. Get a scale and you'll need a printer. Have the mail carrier pick up from your home or workplace when they deliver the mail .. it's free.

You'll need to decide when to leave feedback for your buyers. Some say wait till you know there will be no issues, others leave it at time of shipping. Both ways are correct, both can be wrong, you decide. If you wait too long you may not receive feedback, and it really matters for a seller, it really doesn't for a buyer, but a lot of buyers still want to see that glowing reference on their account.

Consider having a separate account for buying and for selling. Use your current buying account to start selling (it already has a feedback score) and open a new account for buying (different email address is needed).

As Bob wrote, photos are everything. I would add, for electronics etc. that have a serial number, one of the photos should show that number. It stops a bad guy from considering buying your item with the intention of returning to you his own item that is broken/faulty.

Use your own photos, not eBay stock photos whenever possible. Buyers want to see the actual item that is being sold.

A HUGE put off to most buyers is a whole page of rules and regulations on a listing. Keep it simple and write a full description. Be honest about any flaws, and show them in the pictures.

I would say only ship to your own country until you are very experienced, then check out eBay's own Global Shipping.

Posted by:

04 May 2018

ALWAYS check your PayPal account for the buyer's payment before shipping.

The email you received may be a fraud and not from PayPal at all.

Sad to say there are many out there thinking up ways to separate us from our hard earned cash.

Posted by:

04 May 2018

I've been an eBay'er for over a decade and have watched the once consistent site become one where scamming abounds. 3 of my last 5 transactions ended up being shady, more than my entire eBay experience combined before that. I've since learned that shady operators are almost everywhere on eBay and the risk now of an adverse transaction is far greater than times past, especially if dealing with hundreds or thousands of dollars.
I consider myself a savvy buyer and seller, but the odds of successful transactions have lowered considerably, to the point of where I've taken most of my business to Amazon. I will only buy or sell low cost items on eBay now.

Posted by:

Lady Fitzgerald
04 May 2018

If you are an Amazon fulfilled marketplace vendor also listing in eBay, please disclose that in your product descriptions and/or your vendor description. I don't do business with Amazon anymore because of the numerous times I've received the wrong products, the products arrived broken because of unbelievably poor packing, and Amazon's inept delivery "service". It really bites my ample asset when I order something on eBay only to have it come from Amazon, usually with problems. As far as I'm concerned, if you are an Amazon Marketplace vendor and you list your products on eBay with disclosing that, you are a despicable liar!

Posted by:

04 May 2018

Just to clarify: eBay is not a payment processor and does not send 1099-K forms. PayPal processes the payments and from the PayPal FAQ on IRS requirements:

Will all sellers receive a Form 1099-K?

No. Only sellers who exceed the IRS thresholds will receive Form 1099-K. Sellers exceed the IRS thresholds when they receive over $20,000 USD in gross payment volume for the sale of goods or services AND receive over 200 separate payments for goods or services in the same calendar year.

Posted by:

stephen d
04 May 2018

I think Lady Fitzgerald meant to write was '...you list your products on eBay WITHOUT disclosing that..."

Posted by:

04 May 2018

Gosh! Maybe things are different here in Australia. I have bought many items on eBay. Only two needed refunds and that went without a hitch. As for scammers they are few and far between.

Posted by:

05 May 2018

The number of problematic transactions is infinitesimal compared to the number of transactions in the US, so there are likely a higher number of bad ones, but maybe as a percentage they are the same as other countries.

Personally, we had one bad sale, the very first one, when as innocents we sold an electronic item on our brand new account with no feedback. We lost our item, our money and our minds. But we rallied, learned from the eBay Community chat site and had no further problems.

We just sell our own stuff, minimal sales, so we are not an average seller. Just trying to make a few bucks off things we no longer use that still have a lot of use in them.

As buyers we find more problems with Amazon Marketplace sellers, and eBay sellers who use Amazon as their personal warehouse and use free prime shipping to send us things they have bought and had shipped to us as a "gift".

Posted by:

05 May 2018

I have been using Ebay in the UK for many years to buy & sell a few things and it is important to be honest with the item's description. If it has faults mention them. I have been impressed with Ebay's responses when I have had problems, we all get a few but they have been resolved easily & quickly, it is a pleasure to use their site, they make it easy to sell & buy safely.

Posted by:

Granville Alley
05 May 2018

eBay is notoriously Buyer Friendly / Seller Unfriendly so check carefully the rating of any buyer on eBay. Do not sell to people with no ratings. This may seem unfair but fraudulent buyers are far more common than fraudulent sellers. And eBay ignores fraudulent Buyers, they never side with sellers no matter the evidence provided.

For example, my wife sold a Miele Vacuum Cleaner in absolutely perfect shape, we took pictures of it in the shipping box video'd the sealing of the box, had recorded the serial number of the vacuum, had dated video of the vacuum working immediately before shipping.

Buyer claimed the vacuum did not work and insisted on returning it, eBay authorized the return, and we got back a completely different, broken vacuum cleaner with a different serial number. We informed eBay of the fraud by the buyer. We provided them with our proof of purchase all the various photos and videos and they still reversed the $400 payment the Buyer "made" and left us stuck with their broken vacuum cleaner and left them with our almost new vacuum cleaner.

eBay does not provide any protection for sellers, but huge protection for fraudulent buyers. It is almost not worth selling anything of real value on eBay. Again unless a buyer has a very high rating and lots of ratings I strongly suggest you not sell to them. We are very experienced eBay sellers and have had a high volume eBay store which we have subsequently closed as eBay continues to favor fraudulent buyers over honest sellers.

Posted by:

Granville Alley
07 May 2018

One other thing about eBay, I don't believe there can be any doubt that eBay is the nation's if not the world's largest marketplace for stolen goods. Perhaps this has always been the case but it certainly is the case today.

With the rising opiod epidemic burglaries, robberies, breaking & entering and home invasions have become more and more common throughout the USA and when combined with the push back against serious sentencing for "minor" crimes, a nationwide marketplace for pawn shops, junkyards, thrift stores and just straight up stolen goods fences to quickly dispose of stolen goods, you create the perfect self reinforcing, self sustaining opposite of a virtuous cycle. Perhaps we should call in a criminal conduct non-virtue cycle.

Posted by:

29 Dec 2019

I don't understand this part of the article:
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.

If I don't pay fees for posting an item, and the item doesn't sell, why would I be charged?
Is this referring to only cases where I had to pay a fee in order to list an item? Thanks.

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