Chapter 4 Determining What To Sell on eBay To Make Money
eBay connects millions of buyers and sellers around the world. It also can be a great way to make money — whether you are working from home with very little investment or you’re a reseller who sells large quantities of products.
Why Sell on eBay?
There are million eBay buyers worldwide.
It’s one of the largest global online marketplaces, featuring approximately billion product listings on any given day.
Who is Selling on eBay?
There are a few different types of eBay sellers. You’ve got your newbies or amateur resellers, who sell a few items at a fixed price, and then you have PowerSellers. PowerSellers are professional sellers who spend a lot of time purchasing items, packaging products, shipping and receiving goods, and managing auctions.
For example: eBay Ellen — an amateur reseller — has a lot of clothing. She’s a fashionista who goes through trendy clothes quickly. To make extra cash, she turns to her closet and sells her gently used designer threads under a fixed-price listing.
Video Game Vince is a gamer and comic book collector — and a PowerSeller. He scours the internet for comic book collectibles and video game action figures to resell. He has a thriving business on eBay dedicated to reselling exclusives and hard-to-find gaming/comic book merchandise.
Whether you’re a newbie or a PowerSeller, you can flourish in this time of growth of the secondhand economy, getting your products in front of a global audience with eBay.
What Should You Sell On eBay?
Three categories that sell particularly well on eBay are:
- Auto parts,
- Used goods, and
While some eBay sellers focus on a niche product, others follow the trends to sell what is popular at the moment. This will require a bit of research on your part.
Find out what’s trending.
One way to find out what’s hot in the marketplace is to see what is trending on eBay. You can use this tool from eBay to see what buyers are searching for.
Another resource for researching seasonal trends and historical data is Google Trends. You can use it to help gauge consumer demand and determine the best time to list and sell your product.
For example, let’s say your business sells snowboards and snowboard accessories. Type in “snowboard” on Google Trends, and you’ll see a spike in web search volume in late November through early December.
Price your products.
Once you’ve determined what you want to sell, you’ll need to do your research and price your items competitively. You can use the eBay appraisal tool to determine the value or trending price of a particular item in a specific category.
eBay Selling Format
When eBay first launched in , it was a true peer-to-peer marketplace built on auctions. As it evolved, however, eBay introduced an alternative to the auction with its “buy it now” feature. There are pros and cons to each selling method — the one that will work best for you is highly dependent upon your individual business.
eBay rose to fame on its auction-style sales. You run a traditional auction for a specified number of days. At the start of the auction, you list an opening bid, and then buyers will bid up from the opening price. When the auction comes to an end, the highest bidder wins.
This type of selling works great for someone like Video Game Vince because he deals in unique, collectible items. Passionate fans of the comic book genre will feverishly bid up the pricing, allowing Vince to pocket a nice profit.
Pro tip: Set a reserve price — or, the lowest price you are willing to accept for the item. That gives you the control to ensure you don’t sell the item until you can get the amount you believe it is worth.
Also known as the “Buy It Now” method of selling, this enables the seller to declare a fixed price for an item. eBay shoppers know the exact price up front and can buy it immediately — no bidding necessary. This style of selling is efficient and convenient, as there is no haggling or waiting for an auction to end.
Developing Product Descriptions for eBay
On eBay, shoppers search for products using keywords. You can optimize your product description by making sure to include relevant keywords and product identifiers.
Write detailed product descriptions that include these attributes:
- Brand (“Nike”).
- Style or model (“Air Zoom Pegasus”).
- Model number (“Galaxy S10”).
- Color (“Black”).
- Size (“Men’s size 12,” “extra wide,” or “Women’s 8”).
It is imperative that you structure your product attributes similarly to the words and phrases users are typing into their eBay searches. For example, instead of your product title being Converse Chuck Taylor Shoes, a more optimized title would be Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Shoes, Size 9 White.”
You should also be very transparent about any product defects the item may have, and disclose any issues or flaws related to the product.
Additional information to mention:
- What are the item dimensions?
- Does it require batteries and are they included?
- What accessories are included?
Using product identifiers in your listings can help increase your item visibility, which in turn will help optimize sales.
When buyers look for items on search engines like Google or Bing, those search engines look for specific data called product identifiers. eBay requires product identifiers when you list branded products in new or refurbished condition in certain categories like consumer electronics and health and beauty. You can find a comprehensive list of categories here.
Product identifiers are made up of three elements:
- Manufacturer Part Number (MPN).
- Global Trade Item Number (GTIN). A GTIN can include the Universal Product Code (UPC), European Article Number (EAN), Japanese Article Number (JAN), or International Standard Book Number (ISBN).
eBay uses product identifiers to help buyers quickly find items during a search. When you include product identifiers in your listings, your product will be eligible for higher search visibility — on eBay as well as outside search engines.
It will also be eligible for special price alerts (e.g., when your listings are priced below the trending price) and included in more deals and promotions.
Adding product identifiers is highly recommended to maximize your potential on eBay through better product placement and better SEO data for search engines.
Product attribute guidelines and best practices.
Product attributes define the relevant and important facts about a product — such as brand, style, size, and color. You can often find product attributes listed as product “specs,” or specifications.
eBay defines a set of item specifics for each category. Product attributes are created by mapping the product specs to the item specifics of the eBay category.
Providing a very detailed set of item specifics will create a complete set of structured data that allows the search engine to locate and filter products. This improves the relevance of search results to what users are typing in their search queries.
If applicable, include the dimensions of the item in the attributes. The product dimensions should specify the size of the actual product, not the packaging size.
Multi-packs and bundled products.
Here are some important details to remember when creating the attribute list for a multi-pack or manufacturer-created bundle:
- The attributes for a bundled product should include the product identifier(s) assigned by the manufacturer to the bundle.
- Attributes for the bundled product should use the manufacturers GTIN number for the bundle. Dont use the GTIN of the base product or any of the products within the bundle.
- The attributes for a multi-pack must include the product identifier(s) assigned to the multi-pack by the manufacturer.
- The attributes of a multi-pack must specify the GTIN of the specific multi-pack being described.
Another tip is to include product variants on one page instead of multiple. Weve seen that eBay is starting to group products by GTIN, so this will be increasingly more important in your set-up.
Managing Your Product Listings
Once youve decided to jump into the eBay marketplace, how should you manage your product listings?
You could use spreadsheets if you only have a half-dozen items listed, like eBay Ellen. However, if you have hundreds, thousands, or even millions of products, a spreadsheet will be too complicated, unwieldy, and inadequate.
A feed management platform, used in conjunction with an ecommerce platform like BigCommerce, can make your listings much more manageable.
Would-be eBay merchants often ask: Can I take my existing product feed on Google Shopping and use it on eBay? If your products are listed on an ecommerce platform like BigCommerce, feed management platforms can take the existing product feed, put it into the correct format and export it to eBay.
Managing Your eBay Orders
It’s critical that you manage your orders carefully and monitor your inventory. You never want to be in a position where you are listing out-of-stock items on your site.
With feed management platforms, orders are updated and synced to your online store. Its important to keep everything in sync with the shortest lag-times possible, especially if you have low inventory of an item selling across multiple marketplaces.
Here’s an example of how feed management platforms can help:
A client needed help with managing orders for two marketplaces: eBay and Amazon.
This client had multiple products that were low in stock, and they wanted to avoid running into an oversold situation — which can get sellers suspended from eBay. Feedonomics was able to solve this problem by intelligently controlling inventory on multiple channels.
eBay Best Practices
The best practices listed here are much the same as best practices you should follow on any marketplace, as well as on your ecommerce site. But they will be particularly important on eBay, as you’ll need to differentiate yourself from competitors also selling on the channel.
Here are some general tips, with more information to follow:
- Ship within the expected timeframe.
- Process your orders in a timely manner.
- Respond to customer questions promptly.
- Ensure that you follow the return policy listed on eBay.
Take high-resolution photos against a plain white background to make the products stand out. Make sure the lighting is sufficient to feature the item and its relevant details.
Try taking shots of the product from different angles, and get some close-up shots as well to highlight details. Don’t use props — that will only distract your shoppers.
Fast, low-cost shipping.
Cost and speed are top of mind for eBay buyers. Over the years, buyers’ expectations have increased, and they are more frequently looking for free shipping.
Fun fact: 71% of products purchased through the eBay marketplace are shipped for free.
Offer competitive shipping prices (low-cost or free shipping is best) to appeal to more buyers and increase your chances of a sale.
eBay offers five different return policy options for you to choose from:
- No returns accepted.
- day buyer-paid returns.
- day free returns.
- day buyer-paid returns.
- day free returns.
It goes without saying that the most attractive return policy for the eBay buyer is free returns.
Strong customer service.
The reviews are in — literally and figuratively! The best way to avoid bad eBay reviews is to maintain good standing with your customers by having customer service.
To maximize your ecommerce store’s potential on eBay, you have to do the research, put in the work, and be patient.
There is nothing quite like eBay, which offers the diversity and the breadth of unique products, giving sellers the opportunity to sell products that you wouldn’t see in any other marketplace.
Is eBay the right fit for you?
You’re feeling pretty excited about your eBay sale: no bites yet, but within just a few hours, five people have added the listing to their watch list.
Someone will surely nibble soon, you think.
A few days pass, and the end of your sales time frame ends—a bunch of people still on the watch list, but no bids and no offers.
While it can be encouraging to see the number of people watching your listing tick upward, it’s not a reliable indicator that you’re going to make a sale. People click watch for a lot of reasons—and not always because they’re actually intending to buy
However, if you do notice a high number of people following your listing, there are some eBay selling tips you can take to increase the likelihood of a sale. The following eBay selling tips will help make your listing more enticing, increase the feeling of urgency for shoppers, and persuade watchers to become buyers.
Why Watchers Don’t Always Equal Sales
Even a crowded watch list for a product on eBay isn’t always going to mean a sale, because the watch list isn’t anything like a shopping cart—it’s a tool that eBay users use to manage their interests.
Shoppers on eBay can bookmark listings they are interested in by adding them to their watch list. This gives them an easy way to follow any changes to the listing, monitor auctions, and consolidate all the products they are interested in for easy viewing.
Users also have the option of receiving real-time, daily, or weekly email or instant message updates about the listings they are watching, so they can monitor deals, price changes, and sales that are ending soon.
Because of these features, there is a wide range of reasons why an eBay user might consider adding a product to their watch list:
- They are interested in the item and considering buying it.
- They are interested, but it’s too expensive, or they want to see how an auction plays out before committing.
- They are somewhat interested but haven’t made up their mind if they want to buy yet, or they are comparing similar items.
- They don’t want to buy the item right now but want to purchase something similar at a later date, so they are saving the listing to remind themselves.
- They don’t want to buy the item at all, but they think it’s cool or interesting.
- They don’t want to buy the item at all, and they are casing your listing. Many watchers are sellers of rival products and are simply checking out the competition to see how their listings perform.
Only a few of those possibilities are likely to convert into sales, and it’s impossible to know which category your watchers fall into. As a seller, you can see how many people are watching your listing under the Watcher column on your active listings page. You can track how many watchers you have on each individual listing, but the identity of the watchers is kept anonymous. There is no way to ID who is watching your sale, or why.
Furthermore, watch counts don’t provide any social proof or sense of urgency to shoppers. eBay recently began removing watch counts on most listings, so only sellers can see the number of watchers on their own listings. Buyers have no idea how many other people are interested in the product, so high watch counts don’t generate any sort of external social proof or sense of urgency for shoppers.
Although you may not know much about who your watchers are or what their motivations are, a rising watcher count is still a useful flag that tells you someone out there is interested in your product. For that reason, it’s worth focusing on and optimizing listings that have generated interest, with the goal of making a sale.
eBay Selling Tips to Convert Watchers
While not all watchers can be converted into buyers, there are things you can do to encourage those watchers who have an actual interest in buying to take the plunge.
The eBay selling tips below will help you create special offers and deals for watchers, optimize your listing to be more enticing, and employ a few psychological marketing tactics that encourage shoppers to act with urgency.
Make Them a Direct Offer
In spring , eBay began rolling out an “offer to watchers” function for sellers. This new selling tactic allows you to directly message auction watchers a lower-price offer. This is the only way that sellers can directly communicate with watchers, so it’s one of your best opportunities for conversion.
This function is available only on fixed price listings; it can’t be used for auctions. Your listing also needs to be at least 10 days old. If your listing meets those criteria, you’ll find the option to direct message your watchers under your Manage Active Listings menu by clicking the tab labeled “Send offers-eligible.”
You have the option to message up to 10 watchers at a time with a new price offer. The amount must be at least 5% lower than the posted price.
Instead of just sending watchers a new price with no context, take advantage of the option to leave them a message. This is your chance to make a personal connection with your potential customer, even if your message is as simple as: “Thank you for your consideration! Please enjoy this 15% discount.”
The offer you send is binding, and it cannot be withdrawn, so make sure you are prepared to honor whatever price you suggest. Watchers have 48 hours to consider your offer. If nobody accepts, and you have more than 10 watchers on your list, you can send out a new offer to any remaining watchers who haven’t yet been contacted. However, you can’t send another offer to the same watchers (this is to prevent sellers from spamming or hassling watchers).
Lower the Price
Direct offers are a great opportunity to connect with watchers. The problem—if you have a hefty watch list—is that you can message only 10 people in a hour period.
But if you lower the price on a listing by at least 5%, eBay automatically sends an update to everyone watching it to let them know the price has gone down.
This is a great opportunity to leverage eBay itself to ping all your potential buyers at once, and lowering your price is possibly the best way to get their attention.
How much should you mark down your product? That really depends on how much you can afford and how much you are already charging. On a high-value item, a 5% price drop might be significant enough to incentivize buyers, but a small-ticket item may require a deeper discount.
Of course, lowering prices means eating into your own profits. It’s a good idea to consider the possible need to discount before even setting your base price. Some experienced sellers build a potential future discount into their pricing structure by setting their base price a little higher. That way, they don’t lose as much money when they offer buyers a 5% (or 50%) discount.
Raise the Price
Raise the price to generate sales? It sounds counterintuitive, but this is a unique bit of sales psychology that many eBay users swear by:
Raising your price can motivate buyers in two potential ways:
First, pricing is an important signifier of quality, particularly for items that have ambiguous value, like art and antiques. Potential buyers may be leery of an item that is priced too low. They may worry that it’s fake or low-quality. Sometimes a higher price tag is enough to ease their fears and establish the object’s value and credibility.
Second, raising the price on your listing by just a few dollars or percentage points can create a sense of urgency. Potential buyers see the price rising and know they must act now, before prices go up again. They may jump on the higher price point or at least message you to try to negotiate a “deal” for the old price.
Just be careful not to play the price-adjustment game too often or too blatantly. Buyers may become frustrated and take their business elsewhere.
Offer A Deal
Another way to draw in potential buyers is by offering a special incentive to customers who act now. We humans love a deal because it makes us feel clever and resourceful. This is true whether or not the deal actually saves us money.
To set up an official sale or promotion, you need to be an eBay store subscriber. From the Promotions Manager page, you can set up five different types of special offers:
- Order discounts. Offer a discount based on order size or amount spent, e.g., “Buy one, get one free” or “Spend $30 and get 10% off.”
- Promotional shipping. Offer free or discounted shipping to qualified buyers.
- Volume price discounts. Offer a discount to buyers who purchase multiples of the same item.
- Sales events. Reduce prices on certain categories or items, e.g., “All sports equipment is 30% off today.”
- Codeless coupons. Send exclusive discounts to specific buyers.
If an item goes on sale after it is added to a member’s watch list, that markdown is displayed on the watchlist with the percentage-off listed. The information will also be included in the “Items I’m Watching Ending Soon” email that is sent to watchers daily, weekly or monthly (depending on their preferences). Instituting a discount is a great way to catch watchers’ attention and entice them to have another look at your listing and potentially make a purchase.
If you don’t want to pay for an eBay store subscription, you can run your own informal sale on your item. It won’t give you the same visibility as an official promotion, but it might attract some attention or sway a potential buyer who is on the fence.
To do this, edit the title or the text of your listing to reflect what you’re offering. “Free gift with purchase” or “Free shipping for the next three buyers.” Make sure the offer is listed prominently at the top of your description, in red or bolded.
Add an “Or Best Offer” Option
Instead of obsessively fiddling with the price, trying to find the sweet spot for potential buyers, why not just let them make you an offer? Give customers a chance to tell you how much they want to pay by adding an OBO option to your listing. Potential buyers can then make you an offer, which you have 48 hours to leverage a counteroffer, accept, or decline.
While eBay won’t automatically notify watchers that you’ve added this option, it will be clear from looking at your listing. You could also update the title of your listing to include the information, as in the example above.
Scarcity is a psychological trigger that can persuade potential buyers to snatch up a product before it disappears forever. People hate missing out on an opportunity, so simulating the idea that your product may sell out can be a powerful motivator.
Reduce the number of items you have available to simulate scarcity. If you have more items in stock, sit on them for now, then list them again later. If you have multiple similar listings, consolidate them into one. You want to give potential customers the idea that this is your last handmade purse (or china bowl, or refurbished laptop), and that it’s urgent to act now.
You can amp up the drama by adding a note in the title of your listing so that watchers immediately see it as they scroll through their list. Something along the lines of “Only one left” or “LAST ONE.”
Optimize Your Images
Adding better pictures can make your product look more enticing to prospective buyers. Visuals are the most persuasive part of any eBay listing, so it’s important that your images convey the quality and unique advantages of your product.
eBay Selling Tips for Image Optimization
- Take your own photos. Shoppers will know if you are using the same generic stock photo as every other seller on the site. Using stock photos erodes trust because buyers know they aren’t seeing the actual product they are buying. Even if your photo isn’t as high-quality as the stock photos available, it will be more persuasive because it’s real.
- Use photos per listing. Every listing can have up to 12 photos free of charge. This may seem like a lot, but eBay Seller Outreach specialists recommend taking advantage of this number and uploading as many different angles and feature photos as possible.
- Take better photos. You don’t need expert photography skills to take decent product photos. eBay’s own Photo Center Guide offers a ton of tips that anyone can follow. These include:
- Use a plain, uncluttered backdrop.
- Fill the frame with your object.
- Turn off the flash, and use a diffuse light (like standing near a window) to prevent harsh angles and shadows.
- Take photos from multiple angles to give viewers a full view of the product.
- Show scale with a ruler or other standardized object (like a dollar bill).
- Focus on what makes your product unique. Upload a variety of photos that show the most interesting details about your product.
- Use images to tell a story. Most people are visual learners. Use your images to support the text of your description by placing them throughout the listing.
Elevating your images is the most important thing you can do to make your listing more appealing. Ask yourself, “Would I buy this object based on these images?” If not, start creating better ones.
It’s possible that your watchers are interested in the product but are holding off because they don’t have enough information. Updating your descriptions can help answer any remaining questions bidders have.
Make sure you initially write your descriptions with search intent in mind. But once you’ve attracted potential buyers, focus on updating your text to be more persuasive and informational.
eBay Selling Tips for Description Optimization
- Highlight your product’s benefits. Grab people’s attention right away by listing the main selling points for your product at the top of the description. Specifically focus on anything that makes your product stand out from the competition. If your watcher is already primed to buy, making the benefits the first thing they see is a good motivator.
- Focus on both tangible and intangible value. Remember that not all benefits are straightforward features and functions. A lot of the psychology of selling involves emotion: Will this product make you feel cool or stylish? Will it make your life easier or potentially happier in some way? Make your listing more persuasive by using wording that conveys the emotional value of purchasing this product.
- Include all important details. Make sure that buyers have all of the information they need to make an informed purchasing decision. List out exactly what is included, and list any dimensions, color information, and descriptions of any wear and tear. Depending on the object, you may want to include a sizing chart or color wheel. Also make sure that your description touches on your shipping and return policies; don’t make buyers search for that information.
- Make formatting clear. Your descriptions should be easy to read and look professional. Break up huge walls of text with bolded subheadings or bullet points. Avoid typing in all caps or using too many text or highlighter colors, and make sure to do a thorough read-through for spelling and grammar errors.
- Stay streamlined. The more text in your description, the less likely someone will read it. Include all important information once, and eliminate anything that doesn’t serve a solid purpose or function.
Here’s an example of a great description that meets all the criteria described above:
This description is easy to read and makes great use of images. It’s short but full of important information, including the object’s dimensions, origin, and packaging. It focuses on both tangible benefits (great for holding your favorite flowers) and intangible, emotional ones (bold, vibrant, will brighten up any home). It tells you everything you need to know, and nothing more.
Check Out Your Competition
Watchers may be trying to decide between your product and one from a direct competitor. Perhaps they are watching both listings. So spend some time doing opposition research so you can optimize your listing to be more competitive.
To find your closest competitors, search for similar items using the same keywords you’ve used in your own listing. You can also check out the “People who viewed this also viewed” list that appears at the bottom of every post.
Once you’ve identified some similar listings, measure how you stack up on the following:
- Price. This is likely the most important factor for most people deciding between two listings. If your competitor is charging the same or less than you, you might consider undercutting them by sending your watchers an offer, creating a sale, or simply lowering your price.
- Perceived quality. You and your competitor might be selling the exact same thing, but are you presenting it the same? Do your photos and text properly convey the quality and value of your item? If you don’t want to lower your price, you could also experiment with raising it to increase your item’s perceived value (as discussed above).
- Shipping Policy. Thanks to Amazon Prime, people really hate paying for shipping. If your competitor is able to offer free shipping, you may want to build that into your pricing structure as well.
- General listing appearance. Are your pictures just as attractive and informative as your competitors’? Is your description useful and easy to read? Do you convey overall credibility and trustworthiness?
You probably can’t directly undercut every rival store on eBay, and doing so would drive down prices for everyone. However, you can compete on the quality of your listing and the perceived value of your product and brand.
If You Don’t Make a Sale: Try Again
Some watchers will never convert into buyers, no matter how hard you try to entice them. Your product might be out of their price range or just not what they want. Or maybe they never had any intention of buying in the first place.
It can be maddening not knowing why you didn’t make the sale. But if, after all that tweaking, you still don’t attract a buyer, don’t despair. Simply re-list your product and try to reach more motivated shoppers. Remember, listings are an ongoing process with room for continual improvement. All of that work you did wasn’t for nothing: you just created an attractive, well-optimized listing that, hopefully, will speak to buyers next time around.
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There aren’t many online marketplaces in the world that can claim to reach almost million active buyers worldwide – but that’s how many shoppers eBay saw in just the first quarter of Reaching even a fraction of this number would be considered a huge success.
Setting up a store is fairly simple, but if you want to sell more on eBay you’ll need to focus on the details. To increase eBay sales, understanding what pushes some stores to the top is key. Much of it has to do with the way eBay’s search engine, works.
eBays search engine helps customers find the items that are most relevant to their search. Just like Google’s search algorithm, the precise formula is kept secret to prevent manipulation. However, there are a few tested techniques that are known to impact ratings and drive conversion.
Follow these tips to push your store to the top of the search results and increase your eBay sales today!
1. List new items every day
Stores that are active and offer new products on an ongoing basis are rewarded. The algorithm favors sellers that list new products often, so keeping your listings fresh will help you to increase your sales on eBay. Additionally, new items show up at the top of the “Time: Newly Listed” option on eBay’s search.
If you can’t list every day, use the scheduling feature and schedule items for those days you know you won’t have time.
There’s a workaround if you can’t add new products to list every day. End some current listings that you’ve prepared ahead of time and release them later on. You can tweak them slightly so that they are not exactly the same as the previous one – simply change a word in the title or edit the description slightly. The priority is to have as new content as you can, as often as you can.
An RSS feed (Really Simple Syndication, or Rich Site Summary) also comes in handy here.
eBay instantly sends information about the site’s listings to Google using RSS, but a cheeky way to push your products higher in search results is to refresh your feed by turning it off and then on again.
To avoid using duplicate listings by accident, make sure you remember to go to your ended items and delete the original one.
2. Try an eBay promoted listings campaign
eBay promoted listings are a quick and easy way to increase your eBay sales. With fantastic targeting options to display your listings to relevant shoppers, promoted listings receive 36% more views than organic listings!
The costs of promoted listings on eBay are appealing for sellers as well. Rather than an upfront pay-per-click model, promoted listings involve giving eBay a percentage of the resulting sale. This is great for minimizing risk and experimenting with it as a new marketing tactic. Be careful though, the amount youll be paying to eBay depending on the category of the item youve sold.
Related article: 5 Ways eBay Promoted Listings Will Boost Your Sales!
3. Use keywords to attract views
Consumers generally search for very specific items on eBay. Ask yourself what words people are likely to type into a search engine when looking for what you’re selling. Also, make sure you research to see some common searches related to your products.
Once you have three to five keywords, it’s important to use them in your store description, custom categories, page titles, meta tags, image alt tags, etc. But avoid keyword spamming (using words or details that have nothing to do with your items); it violates eBay’s policy.
4. Ship fast and free (whenever possible)
Offering free shipping is another great way to increase eBay sales – but make sure you only offer it once you’ve checked the cost.
Have a look at the options available at your country’s postal service. Usually, small and light items can get sent for a fixed price which expedites eCommerce shipping. By adding that to the price you can cover the shipping expense without the need to add shipping fees.
Customers like seeing the things they bought are on their way as soon as possible, so have a system in place that ensures a speedy delivery. For example, you can save time every day or every week to send your products. Check out eBay’s shipping options to see what’s available through the platform.
Related article: Are You Spending More Than You Should On Logistics?
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5. Remove negative reviews
Theres more to building a positive rating than getting loads of five star reviews. You have to minimize the negative ones as well!
Like the previous points, quick and effective customer service goes a long way to help. There will be occasions, however, when youll be left a negative review its just part of online retail. Perhaps the wrong order was sent, maybe the item broke in the post, or the customer could even have left the review on the wrong product accidentally!
If youve been left a bad review dont panic! You can remove negative feedback on eBay in some cases, or fix the situation to encourage the customer to take it down themselves.
If you can reduce your negative feedback, youll be surprised how much it increases eBay sales.
Related: How to Remove Negative Feedback on eBay
6. Get eBay Top Rated Seller status
If youre a seller that provides excellent customer service and fast shipping on a consistent basis, you could be eligible to become an eBay top rated seller. If you dont meet the criteria then this is definitely something to aim for as it really helps to increase your eBay sales.
eBay top rated sellers are entitled to several great benefits including greater visibility for your listings, $30 credit towards your promoted listings every quarter, and discounts on shipping when you use eBay labels.
Top rated sellers in the US that offer a return policy of 30 days or more are able to take advantage of a range of additional benefits. These include:
- Shipping label credits when a buyer returns an item, falsely claiming that its listing was not accurately described
- Refund deductions of up to 50% for used or damaged returned items returned by the customer
- eBay will even remove negative or neutral feedback related to two scenarios outlined above
Related: eBay Top Rated Seller Status: How to Get it and Keep it!
7. Offer a generous return policy
A strict return policy is a pretty big turnoff when you’re considering making a purchase. If you buy a sweater and you aren’t sure about the size, the risk you take in order to buy is big. If it doesn’t fit, you might end up losing your money.
eBay offers a Money Back Guarantee for those items that don’t arrive, are faulty or damaged, or don’t match the listing. However, outside of those circumstances, you as the seller can choose whether to offer returns or not.
While dealing with returns can be painful as a seller, it’s also a necessary evil: eBay will boost listings that offer a return policy of days or more. And it penalizes those that offer a return policy of fewer than 30 days (or no return policy at all).
Being generous makes business sense – increasing the return policy to something like 60 days is not likely to affect the number of returns but it’ll boost your sales.
8. Share your listing on social media
Selling Scandinavian chairs? Video games from the ’80s? Icelandic poetry books? There’s probably a Facebook group for that.
Outside of eBay, there are plenty of large groups interested in specific items, not just on Facebook or Instagram but also on Twitter or Pinterest. Use those already-formed communities of interested potential customers to your advantage.
Spending a little time on each platform to announce the items you have on sale will be worth it: you’ll have quality views on your listening and will increase the chance of making a sale.
Related: Selling on Instagram: A Channel with Massive Potential
9. Use the markdown manager tool to run sales
Potential customers love bargains and the eBay algorithm knows that. Use the markdown manager so you can run easily sales.
Running a discount every so often helps to increase your eBay sales and creates a lot of happy customers. This is useful for increasing positive ratings and maximizing positive reviews. As mentioned previously, these are essential ingredients to your listings performance and will go a long way to increasing your sales on eBay.
Refresh your store using ‘bulk edit’
If your store has thousands of products, you’ll probably be familiar with eBay’s bulk editing tool, which saves you time by editing multiple items at once. What perhaps you didn’t know is that you can also use this tool to boost your listing.
All you have to do is edit your items in batches instead of editing them all at once. No need to do anything else!
This is technically considered a refresh that will trigger something in the eBay algorithm that knows when there’s been a change. In turn, it’ll help boost your listing. Boosting your listing will in turn help you to increase eBay sales.
Use email marketing
eBay offers a suite of email marketing features that can help keep customers interested in your store and product offerings long after their first purchase.
Buyers can subscribe to receive updates by adding you to their Saved Sellers list or by signing up via the link on your store’s homepage. Using eBay’s email design tools, you can create regular newsletters that promote your latest listings. To attract more subscribers, you can add a sign-up box to your store.
Once you have a decent sized email list, you can run email marketing campaigns to increase eBay sales by bringing people back to your listings. Send them reminders, special offers, cross-sell or up-sell opportunities and more!
Sell at the right price
The fact that price is a crucial factor to seal a deal probably comes at no surprise.
If you had to choose between two similar products you’re likely to choose the cheaper one, right? That’s especially true if you’re selling a popular product, where competition is high.
You have to take several factors into account when setting your price, however. Firstly, and most importantly, you need to protect your margins. Theres no point in selling thousands of products if youre making minimal profit on them.
Secondly, you need to make sure your prices on eBay are in line with your prices on other marketplaces youre selling on. If you also sell on Amazon and your prices on eBay are cheaper, you risk your Amazon listings being suspended.
Related: How to Master Multichannel Pricing on Amazon and eBay
Maintain great seller ratings
Would you go and eat at a restaurant if you knew it had one star on TripAdvisor? You probably wouldn’t take the risk. It’s the same thing on eBay – reviews matter, a lot. Only 53% of consumers buy from a business with a rating under four stars.
While the exact formula of what goes into eBays search algorithm to show some sellers on top isn’t public, we know that ratings are a deciding factor. Additionally, eBay rewards sellers that maintain consistently good ratings. That’s why your feedback score will impact your rankings.
Getting eBay stars and achieving tons of positive reviews doesnt happen overnight, though. As mentioned previously, you need to provide excellent customer service consistently. If youre selling at scale on eBay, you really need an eCommerce helpdesk to help you solve questions quickly and accurately.
Theres some great eBay software out there that directly helps you to increase your positive feedback. With targeted feedback software, you can selectively target customers to ask them to leave a positive review. When you do this on an automated basis, at scale, youll significantly increase your positive ratings. Naturally, this helps you to increase your eBay sales in a big way!
Include enough high-quality images per product
As a buyer, you want to have a clear idea of what you’re buying before you decide to spend your money, right? Grab your camera and take photos from different angles, including close-ups so that it’s easy to see each item in detail.
eBay allows you to upload 12 pictures for free – even if you think your listing doesn’t need that many, make it a point to upload as many photos as you can.
On eBay, each great image is worth a thousand words. Excellent images will not only help your customer see your product looking great, but it will reduce negative reviews from confused customers.
Great images help you to increase eBay sales and maintain a positive reputation. Plus, in case of a complaint, you’ll be able to show that you were transparent about the items appearance. It’s a win-win!
Provide great customer service
Americans tell an average of 15 people about a poor service experience, versus the 11 people they’ll tell about a good experience, according to the American Express Customer Service Barometer. It might be tempting for online sellers to ignore customer service and focus on eCommerce marketing instead, but customer service actually goes a long way to increasing your sales on eBay.
With so many competitors on eBay, one of your differentiating factors is how well you treat your customers. That’s why offering exceptional eCommerce customer service is so important. Responding to questions fast, addressing problems quickly, and having a polite attitude will help you sell more.
Keep a positive attitude not only when you receive good reviews but also when a customer is unhappy. Make it easy for customers to contact you and respond quickly when they do. Strike to provide a solution as fast as possible and acknowledge when you’ve made a mistake.
If you have multiple stores and social channels it can be difficult to keep track and manage all queries. An eCommerce helpdesk like eDesk centralizes all your customer communications from every channel you sell on. This makes it easy for your customer support agents to keep on top of messages and resolve issues quickly!
Related: eBay Stars: What They Mean and How to Get Them
Write clear descriptions
Just like images, using powerful descriptions helps your potential customers have a better idea of what it is that you’re offering and its condition.
Descriptions need to be accurate, clear, and easy to read. Don’t write wordy descriptions that contain irrelevant information. Keep it short and sweet.
Lastly, know that a lot of customers will be judging your professionalism by how you write. Make sure your listening is free of grammatical or spelling errors by using a proofreading editor. Sloppy descriptions can negatively affect your reputation and certainly wont help you sell more on eBay!
Having a well-written description improve your conversion rates and help eBay to rank your products in relevant searches.
How to Add Your Other Items for Sale in an eBay Listing
By Michael Cox
The Marketing Tools setting in My eBay enables you to add a listing of other products to post-sale pages, cross-selling or up-selling to those who have just bought one of your products. To enable this cross-sales tool, sign in and navigate to "My eBay," choose "Marketing Tools" from your "Account" tab, click "Settings," choose "Cross-Promote My Items" and select "Cross-Promote in Checkout." You may also choose to cross-promote in other areas, such as on the page bidders see when they lose an auction.
"Other Items" Link
Using your ability to add HTML links to your listings, you may include a link to a list of your sales. The easiest way to do this is to perform a search for your own listings by clicking "Advanced" beside the eBay search box, clicking "By Seller," entering your user ID and clicking "Search." Then copy the URL from your browser's address bar and use it as an HTML link with your choice of anchor text:
Check out my other listings!
To add HTML code to a listing, click the "HTML" tab in the "Describe the Item You're Selling" text box and enter the code you want to use.
Ebay to Go
Using a free widget called eBay to Go, you can embed a slideshow that showcases your listings anywhere you can paste the HTML, including other listings within eBay. To add eBay to Go, navigate to togo.ebay.com and click "Okay, Let's Go" to begin creating your widget. Follow the steps in the wizard to create a Seller widget with your eBay user ID. When you're done, copy the HTML code. You can now paste this code into any new or active listing.
If eBay to Go isn't what you're looking for, a number of third-party developers have created widgets that use eBay's API to display a listing of products. You can find a number of options, both free and paid, in the eBay Apps Center "Marketing and Merchandising" section. Most applications and widgets that generate HTML to display your listings on a website may also be used to cross-sell within eBay.
Michael Cox writes about lifestyle issues, popular culture, sports and technology. In a career spanning more than 10 years, he has contributed to dozens of magazines, books and websites, including MSN.com and "Adobe Magazine." Cox holds a professional certificate in technical communications from the University of Washington.
Ebay put item on sale
12 eBay Selling Tips to Maximize Your Profits
If youve got a house full of clutter and no money in your wallet, its probably occurred to you that you could kill two birds with one stone by selling some of this stuff on eBay for extra cash. However, turning your grandmas silverware and your old baseball card collection into dollars isnt as simple as slapping up a listing and waiting for the money to roll in. It takes time and effort to list, photograph, package, and ship your items. And the fees you pay to eBay can cut into your profits.
To get the most from your eBay sales, it pays to be strategic. By taking care with what you list, how you list it, and how you deal with your customers, you can you get the best return on the time and effort you invest. Whether youre new to eBay selling or a long-time seller looking to boost your profits, these tips can give a lift to your bottom line.
1. Choose the Right Items
The first question to ask yourself before listing your items on eBay is whether this is really the best way to sell them. There are many other places to turn clutter into cash, including Amazon, Craigslist, consignment shops, garage sales, and even tax-deductible charitable donations.
The best items to sell on eBay are:
- Permitted Under eBay Policies. There are many types of items that you arent allowed to sell on eBay, including weapons, live animals, fireworks, drugs, and any type of alcohol other than wine. Some of these items are banned for safety reasons, others to comply with local laws. Before listing any item on eBay, check the sites selling policies page to make sure its allowed.
- Easy to Ship. Books, clothing, and knickknacks are all easy to pack and ship. Bulky items, like furniture, are not. A large set of delicate china, which requires each piece to be wrapped by hand, could also be more trouble than its worth. If you want to find buyers for items like these, consider using the local pickup only option. This limits your pool of buyers to people who live close enough to come to you, but it will save both you and your buyer a huge amount of hassle and expense.
- Rare. People dont tend to shop on eBay for everyday items like socks or school supplies, which are easy to buy in a store. They visit this site when theyre looking for a specific item thats hard to find elsewhere. Items that will appeal to collectors, like rare books, vintage clothing, and sports memorabilia, are all good bets.
- Popular. The best items to list on eBay are hot-ticket items that will attract multiple bids. According to Good Housekeeping UK, perennial bestsellers on eBay include home decor items, garden accessories, electronics, fitness gear, collectibles, books, and high-fashion clothing. You can check eBays trending products page to see what items are particularly popular with buyers right now.
- Worth Buying Online. Experts say there are some items you should always buy online to get the best price, such as books, electronics, and exercise gear. However, there are other items you should never buy online according to experts, such as furniture, mattresses, and musical instruments. These are products that you really have to see and test out in person to decide if you like them or not. If youre not sure whether your goods fall into this category, heres a good rule of thumb: If you would hesitate to buy this product online, other buyers probably will too.
2. Create Standout Listings
Deciding what to sell on eBay is only the first step. According to eBays own statistics, there are currently billion live listings on the site, and many of those are sure to be for items similar to yours. If you want buyers to choose your items out of all the others on the site, you need a way to make your listings stand out.
Use the Right Keywords
The most important thing you can do to help buyers find your items is to use the right keywords in your listing. The title is especially important. The more descriptive terms it includes, the better the chances are that it will show up in searches.
Failing to include the right terms can cost you big money. David Seideman, writing for Forbes, tells the story of an eBay dealer who sold a vintage baseball glove for $, a good $80 less than it was worth. The problem was that the title of his listing RARE Vintage HOH Ken Boyer Personal Model TG 15 Trapeze Glove OH BABY! did not include the word baseball. Since most sports fans were searching for a vintage baseball glove rather than just a vintage glove, they never found his listing.
To make sure this doesnt happen to you, keep these pointers in mind:
- Research Keywords. A good starting point is to write down all the terms you might use to describe your item. For instance, instead of just Xbox , write down Xbox Video Game Console System Controllers. However, dont limit yourself to your own imagination. Search listings on eBay for items similar to yours, especially listings that are attracting a lot of activity, and see what terms they include. Another good way to find search terms is to take advantage of Googles autocomplete feature. Type a basic description of your item say, Xbox into Googles search bar and see what popular search terms pop up related to that description. This will tell you what people are searching for and help you steer them toward your listing.
- Craft Your Title Carefully. Once youve decided what keywords to use, dont just string them all together at random. You need to include keywords so that search algorithms can find your listing, but you also need to create a title that human beings will want to click on. To do that, put your keywords together in a way that flows naturally. New Xbox Video Game Console System Controllers sounds much better than Xbox Controllers Console System Video Game New.
- Include Keywords in the Description. The title is what gets people to click on your listing, but if the description itself doesnt hold their attention, theyll click away within seconds. To catch and hold a buyers attention, make sure to include all the most important keywords right at the beginning of your listing. However, dont make the text just a long list of keywords. Organize the terms into complete sentences that fit together in a way thats easy to read.
3. Make Listings Look Professional
Using the right keywords will attract attention to your description, but it takes more than that to convince people to buy. To do that, you need to look like the kind of seller they want to deal with. The more professional you can make your listing, the more likely people are to trust you as a seller. Products like inkFrog can help make the process of creating your listing simple. They offer over different listing templates, or you can create your own with their design tools.
Here are a few tips for creating a professional listing:
- Write a Complete Description. As noted above, your description should include all the details about the item that buyers are likely to want to know, such as the product type, brand name, model, size, color, and condition. However, a truly compelling description goes beyond the bare facts. Focus on the specific benefits of your product the reasons a buyer would choose it over a competing product. For instance, if youre selling a sweater, talk about its comfort, warmth, and fit. Also, if the item has an interesting back story, make sure to include it. For instance, you could say, Pictures show my grandmother wearing this hat to parties back in the s. I found it years later in a trunk in her attic, still in great condition.
- Include Good Photos. A professional listing includes good, clear photos. Its crucial to include real photos of your specific item, not just pictures of a similar item taken from a catalog. Savvy buyers can spot this trick, and it will make them wonder what you have to hide. Consider also including a video, or a link to one, if its useful to show buyers how the product works.
- Break Up Text. A big block of text is hard to read and will put buyers off. To improve readability and make your listing more eye-catching, break up that text with bulleted lists that include bite-sized chunks of information on each line. You can also use boldface or italics to highlight important words and vary the text size where appropriate to add visual interest.
Creating professional listings doesnt have to be a lot of work. You can use eBays selling templates feature to create and save templates that include your formatting, photos, and other details. Then you can simply reuse these templates for all your listings, changing the text each time.
4. Take Good Photos
Photos are key to selling an item online. Since buyers cant physically handle the item, the photos are their best clue to what to expect from it. Here are some tips for taking professional-looking photos:
- Take Shots From Several Angles. This gives buyers a more complete picture of how the item looks. However, dont overwhelm your buyer with images. For most items, three pictures are enough to do the job.
- Get a Clear Image. Use only sharp, clear pictures in your listing, and discard any blurry ones. One trick Forbes recommends for getting clear images is to use the flash all the time, even when youre shooting in full sunlight. This guarantees that the entire image is lit up, instead of partly lit and partly in shadow.
- Use a Neutral Background. If you shoot your picture in your messy kitchen, all the clutter in the background will distract viewers from the item youre trying to sell. Put the focus on the item itself by shooting it against a plain, neutral background. A white sheet usually works well, but black or brown can be better for light-colored items.
- Show Scale. When a photo shows an item all by itself, it can be difficult to tell how big it is. In cases like these, its helpful to include another item for scale. For instance, you can photograph a smartphone in your hand to show its size. You can also photograph the item next to a ruler or, for very small items, a coin.
- Show Any Flaws. If there are any flaws in the item, such as a crack in a piece of china, be sure to show them in the photos as well as including them in the description. That way, buyers can decide for themselves if the flaw is serious enough to be a deal breaker. It also reassures them that youre being honest about the items condition.
5. Time It Right
Your success on eBay can depend on not only how you list your items, but also when. For example, seasonal items are more likely to find buyers at the appropriate time of year, such as Christmas decorations in December and swimming or diving gear in the summertime. Likewise, if youre selling sports memorabilia, the best time to do it is right before the team in question has a big game. Lots of people will be paying attention to the team at that time, so demand will be higher.
However, even for items that dont seem time-sensitive, your listings are likely to do better if you start them at a time when lots of people are browsing. For just $ per listing, you can schedule your listing to start at the exact time you want, up to 21 days ahead of time. That way, you dont have to be at your computer at a specific time to create your listing and activate it.
According to PC Magazine, studies have found that Sunday evening is usually the best time to start and end your listings since lots of people are shopping online at that time. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings can also be good choices. Avoid ending an auction on Friday or Saturday when many people are out.
Setting the exact hour for your auction is a bit trickier, especially if you want to attract buyers across multiple time zones. In general, though, experts say its better to have your auction start and end in the evening when people are at home. Whatever you do, dont end your auction in the middle of a weeknight say, 3am on a Tuesday when most people are asleep. If you do, youll miss out on the flurry of last-minute bids that hot-ticket items often get.
6. Price It Right
If youre selling your item in an auction, its a good idea to set the starting price low. Even if you expect your item to sell for $, setting the initial price at $50 will cause many buyers to lose interest right away. Start low and let the demand drive the price up. If it ends up not getting to the $ you expected, you probably wouldnt have gotten that price anyway.
Setting the right price for a Buy It Now listing is trickier. However, a little homework can help. Search eBay for completed listings of items similar to yours, and see how much other buyers have been willing to pay.
If youre still not confident youve set the right price, you can hedge your best by accepting counteroffers. Under the Buy It Now price in your listing, click the check box marked Let buyers make offers. If a buyer comes along who isnt willing to pay the $ youre asking but would be willing to pay $80, they can offer you that price, and you can decide whether to take it.
You can even tell eBay to automatically accept any offer above, say, $75 or to automatically decline offers below $ That way, you wont have to respond to every offer individually.
7. Use Free Listing Offers
One way to maximize your profits on eBay is to minimize the fees you have to pay for listing your items. If youre a fairly small-scale seller, this is no problem, since your first 50 listings each month are free. However, each category you sell an item in counts as a separate listing, so if many of your listings go into multiple categories, you can burn through those 50 free listings pretty quickly. After that, you start paying an insertion fee of $ per item per category.
However, theres a way around this problem. From time to time, eBay offers promotions that give you a certain number of free listings over a fixed period sometimes a couple of days, sometimes as long as a week. If you sign up for eBays free listing email alerts, you can get notified whenever one of these promotional periods comes up. By saving up your listings for these times, you can avoid listing fees that cut into your profits.
8. Maintain a High Seller Rating
Whenever you sell an item on eBay, you pay a percentage of the sale price to the site. For most items, this fee is a flat 10%. However, eBay charges an additional 4% on every sale to sellers who dont get good ratings from buyers. If a significant number of buyers give you poor ratings, or if a lot of them return items because theyre not as described, you could get hit with this fee.
Thus, one of the most important things you can do to minimize fees on eBay is to maintain a Top Rated ranking as a seller. As a bonus, being a Top Rated seller will also make your listings more appealing to customers and help you make more sales. Here are a few tips on how to keep your ratings high.
The No. 1 way to avoid dissatisfied customers is to be % honest with them about each item you sell. If there are any flaws in its condition, like a scratch or a dent, mention them in the description and include a photo of the damage. True, this will mean that some buyers will reject the item, but theres always someone out there whos willing to overlook the flaws.
In fact, Seideman says that selling a damaged item in as-is condition is often better than trying to fix it yourself. He relates the story of a collector who found a rare baseball glove hed been seeking for years, but by the time he showed up to buy it, the store owner had ruined it by soaking it in neatsfoot oil in an attempt to repair some minor damage. He also recommends against attempting to restore vintage baseball cards, since this actually reduces their value.
In any case, if a buyer will be turned off by an item thats in less-than-perfect condition, its much better for them to know about it before they buy. Having them click away from your listing does much less damage than having them return the item or leave a negative review.
Have Clear Policies
Another way to improve your reputation with buyers is to have clear, written policies on shipping and returns. By being open about your policies up front, youll avoid wasting time dealing with upset customers. Buyers will know exactly what to expect ahead of time, so theyll have nothing to complain about.
Its a good idea to make your return policy generous. Customers are more likely to take a chance on your item when they know they can return it if theres a problem. In addition, your return policy is one of the factors in eBays Best Match algorithm, which it uses to rank search results. That means having a generous return policy will increase the chance that buyers will see your listings.
However, there is such a thing as making your return policy too generous. For instance, if you allow buyers to return items at any time and cover their full cost for return shipping, people could pick up your products on a whim and easily return them if they later decide they dont like them. That will cost you a lot of money and time. A good compromise is to accept returns within a week after purchase and cover half the return shipping costs.
9. Keep Shipping Costs Down
Speaking of shipping, theres nothing that puts buyers off so much as inflated shipping costs. Some eBay sellers try to make their auction prices look low by charging a dollar or less for the item, then tacking on a ridiculous amount for shipping. The site has attempted to put a stop to this practice by setting limits on how much sellers are allowed to charge for shipping for different types of products. However, youll still see some people abusing this policy by charging right up to the limit for shipping when they dont need to.
A good way to avoid running afoul of eBays policy is to charge your customers exactly what you pay for shipping no more and no less. To calculate this amount, weigh your item in the box you intend to use for shipping, complete with any packing materials that could add to the weight. You can then provide a shipping calculator in your listing to show buyers the exact shipping cost for their area. Just select Calculated: Cost varies by buyer location in the Shipping section when setting up your listing.
Another good option is to offer free shipping, especially for small items. Covering the shipping cost yourself will eat into your profit a little, but chances are, youll still come out ahead because people will be willing to pay more for your items. Everyone loves a bargain, and numerous studies have shown that people spend more when they think theyre getting something for free. For instance, when Amazon started offering free shipping on orders worth $49 or more, its total sales went up.
Ship Items Promptly
Buyers dont only care about the cost of shipping; they also care about how long it takes. Amazon has made two-day delivery the new standard, and buyers will click away from your listings if they see that theyll have to wait much longer than that for their items.
Federal Express, UPS, and the U.S. Postal Service all offer shipping services that can get your products to buyers in two days or less. If you use one of these services, and youre a high-volume seller with a turnaround time of one day or less, you can qualify for eBay Guaranteed Delivery, which makes your listings more visible and more appealing to shoppers.
Pack Items Securely
Even if your buyers pay nothing for shipping and get the item within two days, if it arrives broken or damaged, theyll be unhappy. Youll have to deal with the hassle of a return, and your seller rating could suffer.
To avoid this problem, make sure you pack all items securely, especially fragile ones. Small items can go in a padded mailing envelope; large ones should go in a box with plenty of packing material. Bubble wrap, styrofoam peanuts, crumpled newspaper, or shredded paper can all work.
Also, dont forget that packages can get wet in the rain during shipping. Items like plastic toys will come through all right, but books, clothing, and electronics can all suffer damage. If theres any chance moisture will harm your item, wrap it securely in plastic to protect it before putting it in the box.
An extra touch customers appreciate is including a packing slip listing the contents of the package. It reassures customers that theyve received the right item, and it keeps any small items in a larger package from getting discarded by accident. Include your contact information on the slip in case customers have any problems or questions.
Treat Customers Right
Even if the items you have to sell arent unusual or special, you can make yourself a standout seller by providing top-notch customer service. Heres what that means:
- Be Polite. Treat your customers with the same courtesy youd expect when shopping at your favorite store. Even if customers are rude to you, dont respond in kind; stay calm and professional. Remember the old sales slogan, The customer is always right, even when you privately think theyre wrong.
- Be Flexible. Try to accommodate any reasonable request from your customers. For instance, suppose a customer is buying several items from you and wants to know if you can combine them into one shipment and reduce the shipping cost. Saying yes to this request doesnt cost you anything, and the buyer will appreciate it. However, one thing you shouldnt negotiate about is receiving payment promptly and securely. Make sure all your transactions go through eBays system so you arent at risk of fraud.
- Keep Customers Informed. As much as you can, keep customers in the loop about whats going on with their orders. Send an invoice as soon as possible after the auction ends, and let them know when youve received their payment and when the item is on its way. If you can, provide a tracking number and a link so they can keep an eye on their shipments progress. And if you dont hear from them again, follow up after a few days to make sure they received the item and were satisfied with it.
- Be Responsive. Whenever a bidder contacts you with questions, make a point of replying as quickly as possible. Even if you dont have an answer for them yet, let them know you received the message and youll get back to them with an answer as soon as you can. Sometimes buyers contact multiple sellers at once and order from the first one who gets back to them, so being prompt can help you make the sale.
- Provide Details. When you respond to queries from customers, give them as much information as you can, even if its more than they asked for. For instance, if a customer writes to ask you about the size of an item, dont just repeat the information thats already in the listing; measure it and give exact specifications. Giving customers more information than they asked for shows them youre engaged and will make them more willing to trust you as a seller.
- Ask for Feedback And Act on It. Always ask your customers for feedback on their shopping experience and how satisfied they are with the product. If their feedback is negative, or if they contact you with complaints, dont get mad; look at it as an opportunity to improve. Seideman shares two stories about customers who contacted him with rude comments about the quality of the photos in his listings. Instead of snapping back at them, he thanked them for their feedback and posted better photos, and bidding prices for both items promptly shot up.
- Show Appreciation. Finally, let your customers know you appreciate their business. Always leave positive feedback for buyers youve had a good interaction with; chances are theyll return the favor. If someone has purchased a high-ticket item, consider adding a handwritten note to the package thanking them for their business and urging them to contact you with any questions. Little touches like this mean a lot.
Getting started on eBay is easy, and many people spend years using the site to sell items on a casual basis. The tips listed here will help you get the most profit out of these occasional sales.
However, if you want to ramp up your online sales and turn them into a side business, eBay has additional tools you can use to make it a success. For instance, if you have lots of copies of the same item to sell, you can use eBays bulk listings tool to put them all up for sale at once. As your sales volume climbs, you can consider opening an eBay store, paying a monthly subscription fee in exchange for lower listing and final value sales fees.
Are you a new eBay seller or an experienced user? What are some of the most profitable items youve ever sold through the site?
10 Important Tips for New eBay Sellers
New sellers often look for tips to short-cut the process of getting started selling on eBay. The eBay marketplace is a vast ocean and can be complicated at times. If you are brand new to eBay, it is best to start slowly, learn the landscape, read the rules, find out about the fee structure, and grow your eBay hobby or business methodically. Here are some top tips for new sellers just getting started on eBay.
Learn to Price Items for the Most Profit
Before posting anything on eBay, understand how to price your item. One of the biggest mistakes new sellers make is looking at retail value, active eBay listings, or going by what they paid for an item recently or any number of years ago. Since eBay is its own universe, you will be very disappointed if you assume that you will sell items at retail prices.
True to the nature of an auction, an item on eBay is only worth what someone will pay. To find out what eBay buyers have already paid for items similar to yours, look at completed listings, which shows historical sales data (not asking prices). It works just like real estate—a realtor prices a home according to what similar homes have sold for, not what someone is asking. This video explains how to gather price data using eBay's completed listings filter.
Finding Things (Inventory) to Sell
The average American home contains thousands of items from paper clips to automobiles. You already have plenty to sell without having to buy anything. You just don't know which of the items in your home have value on eBay. Start going through your home room-by-room and looking up items on completed listings. Look up everything, even if you don't think it is worth anything. You will be shocked! Some examples of items that have value on eBay but don't seem like they would sell for much include:
- Lids from pots and pans
- Empty perfume bottles (people collect them or use them for home decor)
- Any kind of craft supply (sewing, Perler beads, scrapbooking)
- Broken jewelry and watches (people buy them for parts)
- Pantyhose (used for crafts, gardening, computer fan covers)
- Unopened cosmetics, razors, batteries
- Anything new in the package
- Empty printer cartridges
- School supplies
The list is really endless.
Choose items that will sell for less than $ Since you are a new seller, you don't want to be a target for a scam. Also, learning while selling inexpensive items will take the pressure off. You're going to be learning how to ship, answer customer inquiries, and navigate your seller dashboard, so it is best to work with low-dollar items at first. Furthermore, choose items that are easy to ship. Avoid breakables, very large items, or items with multiple pieces. Keep it simple at first while you learn.
Improve Your Feedback Score
Every member of eBay has a feedback score based on their trading experience. The number is a combination or both buying and selling transactions. The more feedback you have, the more trusted and authentic you appear as a community member. It is very difficult to get sales with a low feedback score.
If your account is new and you have less than 20 feedbacks, you can earn feedback by purchasing a few inexpensive items on eBay so that sellers can rate you. Buy things you will actually use like small cosmetics, office supplies, stickers for your kids, or dog treats. (Don't waste money just to get feedback!) After receiving an item in satisfactory condition, leave feedback for your seller and ask that they leave it for you. Twenty feedbacks is a good solid number to have before trying to sell anything.
Understand Seller Limits
eBay places selling limits on all sellers, but they are more strict for new sellers. eBay wants sellers to establish a positive selling history, and it places certain limits to prevent some level of fraud. New sellers have account limits, category limits, and item limits. Learn how to find your selling limits here. After you have sold a few items, you can request higher selling limits.
Avoid Selling Problematic Items
Unfortunately, there are plenty of unscrupulous and dishonest people waiting to pounce on new eBay sellers. Protect yourself and don't fall victim to their scams. The best way to avoid getting scammed is to stay away from high-risk items. These include:
- iPhones and smartphones
- Designer handbags
- High-end designer clothing and shoes
- Anything with multiple parts or components that could be removed and the item returned
- Autographed items without COA
- Event tickets
- Commonly counterfeited items including designer handbags, designer sunglasses, expensive designer jeans, Nike shoes, Ugg boots, Otter Boxes, high-end cosmetics
It is best to establish yourself as a seller first before trying to sell any of these items. Also, if you sell a designer item on eBay and it is a fake (such as a handbag or other designer clothing item) you can be suspended on the first instance. Don't let greed drive your eBay selling motivation. Slow and steady wins the race. Learn more ways to protect yourself from eBay scams here.
Get the Right Supplies
You do not need a lot of expensive equipment to sell on eBay, although the internet will have you believe otherwise. Veteran sellers have done just fine since with just the basics—before the "after eBay market" appeared with a plethora of listing tools, photography equipment, photo editing apps, and research tools. All you really need is:
- 2 pieces of plain white poster board to make a solid background for photos
- A scale to weigh items when listing and when shipping
- Shipping supplies (get free Priority supplies from USPS, order poly mailers on eBay for first class items)
Choose the Right Listing Type
Auction or fixed price? Which is better? Well, it depends on who you ask. There are advantages and disadvantages to each. Auctions aren't what they used to be on eBay, so make sure you start your auctions at an acceptable price even if you only get one bid. Fixed price listings may take longer to sell, but you can often get a higher price if you wait for the right buyer. Read more about which listing is right for your unique eBay business based on pros and cons of each type.
Is Free Shipping a Good Idea?
There are two camps on this issue. Experienced veteran sellers are really divided here. Free shipping isn't really free—you will build the shipping cost into the price of the item. Calculated shipping is really the fairest way for the buyer and the most accurate way for both buyer and seller.
If you are selling items that will fit into a padded flat rate mailer or box, you can charge a flat rate for shipping, or offer free shipping and increase the selling price by the amount of the flat rate shipping. eBay charges fees on both the sale price and the shipping cost, so you won't save any money on eBay's fees by offering free shipping.
Definitely never offer free shipping on large or heavy items. You can take a big hit on shipping if the item ships to a buyer geographically far from you. Always enter the dimensions when listing a large or heavy item as oversize charges may apply. If the shipping fees are too low, and you didn't charge enough, you will have to absorb that cost.
Learn to Package and Ship Items Properly
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for new sellers is packaging. This is a skill that anyone can learn with practice and patience. Thankfully, there are thousands of tutorials on YouTube that show how to ship different kinds of items using creative materials like pool noodles and egg cartons.
Offer a Fair Return Policy
Many new sellers don't like the idea of offering a return policy, but under the eBay Guarantee, all sellers have one whether they like it or not. eBay wants buyers to feel confident purchasing on the site, so they guarantee that if an item isn't as described or doesn't arrive, the buyer will get a refund. As a seller, you want to do everything possible to outperform the competition and persuade a buyer to choose your listing over the competitors. A fair return policy does just that for a few reasons.
eBay rewards sellers who offer a day or longer return policy by giving them a boost in search results. So if you have a day return policy, you will automatically place higher in search than a seller who does not offer one. This is an easy way to get some free SEO.
Buyers also look for sellers who offer a return policy as this builds trust. Sellers who don't offer returns may be viewed as sketchy, dishonest, or unaccommodating.
Don't worry, you won't be giving refunds left and right. Most buyers who ask for a return never get around to doing it. A large number of return requests are closed by eBay because the buyer failed to ship the item back. You can also include this verbiage in your return policy:
Item must be returned in original condition, new in package if applicable.
This disclaimer keeps you from being scammed. If you receive your returned item in the same condition as you shipped it out, just go back to your Sold Items folder, hit re-list and your item will be up for sale again. Returns are a part of being a seller, so accept it and keep listing.
eBay is a great way to make some extra cash from the comfort of your own home. It is accessible to anyone, there are no barriers to entry, and eBay is a household word. Make sure you take the proper steps to educate yourself about eBay policies and rules before jumping in.
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6 Ways to Post eBay Listings Faster
While it's one of the world's largest online marketplaces, eBay has some issues that are slow and cannot be automated. The major issue that keeps people away from eBay is that listing one-of-a-kind items, used items from thrift stores, or just random items around the home is a slow, laborious, and time-consuming process.
The Listing Process
The listing process goes like this:
- Take photos of the item.
- Log into your eBay account.
- Complete pricing research to determine what to charge for the item.
- Begin completing the Sell Your Item form.
- Choose the listing type: fixed price or auction.
- Write a keyword-rich descriptive title for the item.
- Fill in all the item specifics provided by eBay.
- Write a keyword-rich item description.
- Upload photos of the item to a computer, or list directly from a mobile device.
- Choose the shipping method and assign a shipping cost.
- Submit the listing.
Listing on eBay takes time because of the nature of the task—most sellers are offering items that must be explained and priced individually. There are several ways to list faster on eBay; it just takes some organization, focus, and a plan. Remember, the more items you list, the more items you will sell, so it is definitely in your best interest to learn all the possible methods for listing eBay items faster.
Don't Multitask: Focus on Listing Only
It is better to give % attention to the task at hand, complete it, and move on to the next task rather than try to juggle multiple tasks at once. Eliminate as many distractions as possible, concentrate on a listing, and your productivity will dramatically improve because you will be focused.
Time blocking is dedicating a chunk of time to accomplishing one task in order to increase focus and productivity. For example, in the eBay world, you could dedicate 10 a.m. to noon every day to taking photos. Or 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. for listing. You may also choose to base it on what your schedule and workload are for the day. The objective is to plan what you will do and stick to the plan. If you have dedicated two hours to take photos, don't do anything else during that time, and don't allow yourself to be distracted unless it is a true emergency.
Work With Small Batches
Biting off more than you can chew is a surefire way to get discouraged easily, feel overwhelmed, or give up. Setting small achievable goals can help limit these feelings. You may currently have items that need to be listed but feel too overwhelmed to even begin. The key, and often the hardest part, is getting started. Pick up some items and get busy; once those items are photographed and listed, get some more items, and keep the momentum going. If you set small goals and consistently achieve them, you will feel productive and keep going. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.
Work With Similar Items in Batches
eBay goes a lot faster if you work with like items in batches. Keep this in mind when sorting and storing unlisted inventory. For example, if you have a lot of sweaters, pick 10–20 for a batch. Prepare them all at once, photograph at once, and list at one time. You will be in the mode of working with that type of item and won't have to switch back and forth a lot. You can also use the Sell Similar feature on eBay so that information will carry over from one listing to another and you will only have to change small details, photos, and prices. eBay category, store category, item specifics, and the description will basically be the same.
Get the Family Involved
If there are family members in the home who can help, assign them jobs. Younger kids can sort items, remove price stickers, and possibly steam clothing before photos are taken. High school kids can learn to photograph, list, and even ship sold items. Spouses can help in some way—just find out which tasks appeal to them and delegate. eBay can be a great family project. Everyone can get in on the work and then everyone can enjoy the rewards as sales increase.
The great thing about eBay is that there are many pieces to an eBay business and some of them can be outsourced depending on which parts you don't like, don't have time for, or would just rather have someone else do for you. Having an eBay assistant come to your home is one option; however, the drawbacks include:
- Security issues (theft)
- Inconvenience (lateness, no shows)
- Liability (accidents, injuries)
Virtual eBay help is a safe and time-efficient way to outsource the computer part of an eBay business without the hassle of having a stranger come into your home. Experienced virtual eBay assistants can list items quickly and perform these tasks:
- Write titles and descriptions optimized for SEO
- Price items quickly and competitively
- Point out options and features not being utilized
- Make sure all eBay policies are followed (to avoid account suspension)
- Help new sellers avoid making mistakes
- Help sellers choose the most economical shipping option
- Crop or edit photos
- Help correspond with buyers who have questions
The Bottom Line
Your at-home eBay business can be anything you want—a hobby, a part-time gig, or even a full-time job that pays all the bills. Regardless of why you are selling on eBay, one thing all sellers have in common is the desire to make money on their own schedule from the comfort of their home. The key to leveraging your business is discovering how to list eBay items faster. The more items you have listed, the more you will sell, and the more money you will make.