TOP 10 eBay selling tips updated for 2013

2013.05.16 UPDATED!

If you are like me, you have some stuff that you never use and that it would be nice to get rid of. If so, then eBay can be a great place to sell your unused stuff so you get some extra cash and someone else gets some productive use out of the item(s)!

So, without further ado, here are my top eBay selling tips:

#1 Make sure the item is worth selling

Not just worth it money wise, but worth it time wise. If can take quite a bit of time to photograph the item, do the listing, answer potential buyer questions, get the item packed, get paid, get it shipped…

So, I recommend setting some minimum amount of money that will make the listing justifiable to you. This could be $500, $100, or $25… but at some point it is probably not worth your time to list certain items.

Normally I try to list “big ticket” items that have a high demand and are pretty easy to sell. Some examples: high-end digital cameras, newer laptops, computer parts, iPods (or almost any Apple product), camera lenses… these items can recoup a lot of their cost and they are easy to sell because they are in high demand.

I try to avoid things that are in low-demand, complicated to list, or particularly difficult to ship.

#2 Consider donating items: For items that you are not sure if you want to sell, but that could be helpful to those in need, consider donating!

#3 Do your research: Completed Listings search will tell you what items similar to yours sold for in the past, this can help with #1… determining if your item is a hot commodity or a dud!

Don’t take my word for it, here is what eBay says:

Find out What It’s Worth: If you know what you want to sell, you can get information about the item such as the recent sales activity and price, appropriate listing category and key words, and examples of good descriptions. Simply do an Advanced Search on your item and clickCompleted Listings. If you want to find out what is selling on eBay, check out the eBay Pulse.
Source: eBay.com

#4 Emulate the experts, “Sell one like this”: when viewing Completed Listings, look for the listings that stand out from the crowd and sell for a premium. Those are the auctions that you want to base your item on. At the very bottom of most listings there is a “Sell one like this” link that will let help you create a listing similar to the one you are viewing.

#5 Maximize the title: use all the characters you have available and try to think what people will be searching for. Example: list both laptop and notebook in the title, not just one or the other… the two terms are synonymous and different people refer to them as one or the other

#6 Anticipate buyer questions and answer them AHEAD of time. This can save you oodles of time, so as you tweak your auctions over time keep a mental note of what people ask and include that information in your future listings!

#7 Offer free shipping (or flat rate) shipping.

I recommend Free Shipping for big ticket items. Generally the auctions or “Buy it Now” listings with Free Shipping seem to command enough of a premium to cover the shipping costs. NOTE: this especially applies to compact items like mp3 players, camera lenses, or even laptops. It does NOT apply to heavy or bulky items!

Likewise, flat rating shipping can be a boon for both you and the buyer. They (and you) don’t have to worry about calculating postage and it is simple and easy for everyone involved. If I cannot offer free shipping on an item then I at least try to list a LOW flat rate (I might list $5 flat rate, even though I know it will be closer to $7.50, because I know that will be an attractive/reasonable price to many buyers).

#8 Consider listing/shipping internationally

There can be a bit more hassle shipping internationally, but the increased sale price can be worth it for some items. I particularly like selling to the UK and other countries that have currencies stronger than the weak US dollar. They will often outbid their USA counterparts.

#9 Take advantage of peak buying seasons!

Around Christmas time is seems like ANYTHING will sell well. :-) If you can, time your auctions to take advantage of peak demand.

Examples: sell your laptop during “back to school” buying season. sell your AC unit during the “summer heat”.

Conversely, try to avoid slow times of year  when people are outside playing or on vacation…

#10 Don’t be discouraged

Some items simply do not sell. It could be timing, it could be the listing, or it could be the item. But don’t get discouraged, learn from your experiences and you will bounce back stronger than ever!

#11 Good quality photos

I know this is supposed to be a list of 10 items, but if you have read this far then you deserve to know one of the most important factors in a successful listing: good quality photos!

Taking the time to take high-quality photos of your item can greatly enhance the ending value of your item. If you don’t have a nice camera, consider borrowing one. If the item has parts/areas that people are going to want to inspect, make sure to include that angle!

It is amazing how many people ask high-priced sums for an item and include terrible photos with it. Those items never seem to sell, or they go for drastically less than similar auctions with better photos. Do yourself a favor, work hard to take good photos!

BONUS: treat your customers well

Please always treat your buyers, and potential buyers, with respect and courtesy. If you go out of your way to make their experience a pleasant one, good things will result. :-) Conversely, if you don’t treat them right it can generate all sorts of problems for your eBay endeavors!

I am proud to have 100% positive feedback since 1999 and I strive to keep that percentage. I have no doubt you can do the same!


More eBay selling resources:

 

 

 

 

 

eBay Seller Information Center: How To Sell – Tips & Tools – Top 10 Tipshttp://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/howtosell/top10.htmlTop 10 Tips Follow these simple and effective tips to attract more buyers and get the most cash for your items. Find out What It’s Worth: If you know what you want to sell, you…

Tips for successful selling

Tips for successful sellinghttp://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/seller-tips.htmlIf you’re new to selling on eBay, learn about getting started selling on eBay. Whether you’re new or an experienced seller, consider using these tips help you succeed.

Pro tips for selling on eBay? - ebay novice tutorials | Ask MetaFilter

Pro tips for selling on eBay? – ebay novice tutorials | Ask MetaFilterhttp://ask.metafilter.com/13856/Pro-tips-for-selling-on-eBayAs a moderately experienced ebayer, my advice would be along these lines: 1. Don’t underestimate the time/expense it takes to properly and safely package and ship an item.…Put up good photographs. As a buyer this is what I look for. I really like to see what I’m going to buy and generally pay more for auctions with a good display. Also, stay away…

77 Tips and Tools for Selling on The New eBay

77 Tips and Tools for Selling on The New eBayhttp://www.skipmcgrath.com/auction_sr/77-tips-tools-selling-ebay.shtmlWhether you’re a casual seller, or looking to build an eBay business, you will first need to master the “basics” of successful selling. These tips, techniques, and…

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

I hope these eleven tips, and the bonus tip, were helpful to you! If you have some eBay selling tips of your own, be sure to comment below. Thx :-)

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8 comments

  • Great tips I especially agree with #1 many people give advice on selling on Ebay but the truth is that selling on Ebay is not that hard it’s finding things to sell that is hard. Keep up the good work.

  • #10 maybe simple but it couldn’t be more true, I just had a bad week of selling but I’m looking forward to making the next week even better.

  • jen

    What tools would make ebay easier and quicker to list items? Type of laptop? Camera ?

    • Hi Jen,
      Thank you for your comment. There are a variety of tools/tips that can help make listings easier, here are a few that I am familiar with
      +a dedicated space set aside for cleaning, photographing & packaging your items (it doesn’t have to be a big space, just someplace)
      +a light cube/tent for putting your products in when photographing them
      +a nice flash for your camera that is capable of ‘bounce flash’ (bouncing the flash of the ceiling etc.) or a ‘soft box’ for nice diffused lighting [not quite as important if you have a light tent, but still handy for large items etc.]
      +a tripod for keeping you camera steady (optional)
      +user name props or watermarks on your images (these help let people know that you actually too the photos in your auction, and they aren’t just stock photos or even photos taken from other auctions!)

      As for the type of laptop/camera questions, I am not 100% sure what you are asking.

      However, if you are asking what kind of camera is good for eBay product photography then I have a few features to look for:
      +a good macro mode (makes getting close to small items like stamps/coins/CPUs etc. easier)
      +a flash hot shoe or remote flash control (so you can really control the lighting in your photos)
      +manual controls (not required, but handy as your photography prowess increases)

      If you are asking about what makes a good laptop for listing eBay products, then these would be my criteria:
      +a reliable well built machine that can hold up to extensive use
      +a nice sized screen so you’re not squinting as you create your listings
      +a good keyboard so you can type quickly and accurately
      Things that are not critical:
      -a super fast CPU is not really necessary
      -a super large hard drive is overkill, though an SSD can really improve responsiveness!

      If you are also asking for software tools for eBay listing, I am sorry that I am not very familiar with the 3rd party tools. I generally use eBay’s built in listing tools which tend to be reliable and gradually improved over time.

      Thanks again for your comment Jen, happy auctioning!
      -JD

  • Adam

    Hey JD, great tips.

    #9 has always fascinated me. I’ve seen several articles about how much demand goes up during peak buying seasons, but I’ve never seen an article about how much supply goes up during a peak buying season. That information would be useful to me both as a buyer and a seller on ebay.

    Thanks for the article!

    • Hi Adam,
      Thank you for your comment. You present a very intriguing question!

      In an ‘eBay’ context, I am certain supply does increase some amount during peak buying seasons but nowhere near enough to meet demand IMHO. The average seller, me included, often does not have the patience to wait months before selling an item that they want to get out of the house NOW ;-)

      Whereas if we are talking walmart and their ‘seasonal’ sales then yes supply likely increases lockstep with demand. :-)

      Similarly, with large companies, new product releases tend to trend toward the ‘holiday buying season’. This is particularly true in the tech arena which makes summer a rather dull time for people like me that enjoy following the latest and greatest gadgets ;-) Case in point Google just had a big conference yesterday and they released virtuall no new hardware. :-( Perhaps I should just spend more time outdoors instead of at the computer! :-)

      I know you carefully follow guitars and musical instruments, have you noticed any seasonal variations in that category?

      Best regards,
      -JD

      • Adam

        Really I’ve only paid close attention to guitars for one year during the holiday season, (which would seem to be the peak buying season for musical instruments) so my observations provide little more than anecdotal evidence.

        It seems to me that demand goes up for things that are likely to be given as gifts (like guitars.) But for things that are unlikely to be gifts (broken guitars, lot of various guitar parts, etc.) the demand doesn’t seem to rise, and might even fall as people spend their discretionary income on gifts. However, it seems that supply goes up on nearly everything. I suspect the rise is partially because people think it will sell best, and partially because people are trying to earn a little more money for gift buying.

        So my observations would suggest that Christmas is a great time to sell things likely to be given as gifts, and a great time to buy things that are unlikely to be given as gifts. But, like I say none of that is based on any data outside of my experience.

        • Your observations and conclusion seem dead on: “Christmas is a great time to sell things likely to be given as gifts, and a great time to buy things that are unlikely to be given as gifts.”

          Carrying that thinking onward, I assume you will be stocking up on guitar parts this Christmas? ;-)

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