eBay is one of the best ways to sell your unwanted stuff and therefore a big part of the decluttering process. But nobody wants to go to the bother of listing stuff only to have it sell for a pittance. I’ve successfully listed lots over the years, so here are my tips for making the most money from stuff you sell on eBay.
FIGURING OUT eBAY
I have been using eBay for years to sell stuff we no longer want or need. I’ve also used it to sell stuff I bought from local designer outlet stores when I lived in Hackney, East London.
One of the biggest concerns I had years ago, was how to make sure my stuff didn’t end up selling for 99p.
It did happen once and it was really quite galling having to spend time wrapping the thing up and sending it, having already spent time photographing it and listing it. Nevermind knowing that I was literally giving away something that had cost me a lot of money in the first place. I know, I should have had a little heart, but I can’t pretend it didn’t sting.
Over the years I’ve honed my selling skills and I’m pretty adept at making the best money I can from each thing that I sell.
If you are a novice with eBay or if you have ended up selling stuff at prices that don’t fill you with joy, here’s a quick guide on how to make the most money selling on eBay.
HOW TO SUCCESSFULLY SELL STUFF ON eBAY
1. BUY BEFORE YOU START SELLING
Part of the whole eBay experience is the trustworthiness of the people you are doing business with. We are all much more likely to purchase from someone who has a proven track record, via eBay ratings, rather than someone completely new.
So, if you’ve not sold on eBay before or are starting a new account, it is well worth buying a few bits on the site and getting some ratings before you start to try selling.
eBay is starting to rival Amazon on what it sells new, so there are plenty of opportunities to buy things you actually need, rather than just buying stuff for the sake of it, which would, of course, defeat the purpose of selling stuff!
2. IS IT LIKELY TO SELL ON eBay?
The first thing I always do if I’m thinking of listing something on eBay is to check recently sold items to make sure it is something that will a. sell, b. is worth my while listing because it will sell for a good price.
Unless you are really up against it financially and need every penny, I think it’s really important to weigh up the time it will take you to list and send out something compared with how much you’re likely to make from selling it.
The best way to check sold item prices is to search for the thing you’re planning to list, using as many keywords as possible – so brand name, whether it’s got original packaging, new / used, etc.
Then use the filter options to check the ‘Sold Items’ box. You can also look at ‘Completed Items’, but I prefer to go with sold items, as completed doesn’t necessarily mean they’ve sold.
I also use the location options to make sure that I’m not getting a false sense of what something will sell for if I’m going to list it as collection only.
3. SELL SEASONALLY
If you’re in serious declutter mode you may just want to get stuff listed and out the door. But if you are able to, consider whether selling an item at a certain time of the year would make you more cash.
For example, kids’ bikes sell well in the Spring and also in the run up to Christmas. Winter coats will sell for more in the autumn. You get the idea.
4. PHOTOGRAPHY IS EVERYTHING
Think of the online stores you visit online and how they photograph their products. Even if there are lifestyle shots, there is usually at least one shot of the product on a neutral background. This is what I tend to go for when I’m photographing stuff for eBay.
The star of the photo has to be the item you’re selling, don’t have anything in the photo that will draw the eye away from the item.
We have white painted floorboards in our house and a lot of white walls, so I tend to find a clear space and use it to create a mini still life studio.
You can post 12 photographs for free with every listing. Make the most of them. I try and cover off every aspect of the item, plus I photograph any imperfections that I mention in my description.
I also make sure to lay out any attachments or separate pieces that form the item I’m selling.
In short, leave nothing to the imagination, capture it all within your 12 photographs.
Here’s a selection of photos I did recently for some Sylvanian Families kit.
5. BE CLEAR AND HONEST WITH YOUR DESCRIPTION
Be absolutely crystal clear when describing your listing. I tend to look up branded products online to see what I can take from online store descriptions. If you use the exact brand description of the item it is more likely that people will discover your listing.
You should also be totally honest about any flaws or imperfections. Mainly because it’s the right thing to do. But also because you don’t want to end up dealing with an unhappy customer who either wants a refund or writes a negative review of their experience dealing with you.
6. CONSIDER PACKAGING AND SHIPPING COSTS
You can name your shipping costs and terms. What you don’t want to happen is to offer super low or free shipping and then have the cost of it to you wipe out any money you have made.
It is always worth looking back at the sold items to see what the general cost is for shipping. It’s also worth noting if successfully sold items have sold with free delivery.
Consider what the packaging costs will be. It is really important that anything you are sending via courier or post is well packaged to avoid it getting damaged en route.
If you really don’t have anything suitable, look for the most cost-effective packaging option and then factor that into either your shipping cost or the minimum offer cost you would accept.
You can use companies like Parcel2Go to get a good idea of shipping costs.
What I’ve learned over the years is that it is better to start with a low price – I favour 99p – and to NOT have a reserve.
I guess you have to think of it from a buyer’s perspective. They want the best chance of snagging something at a good price, so anything that encourages them to bid is a good tactic.
The more watchers and bidders you have, the more likely your item is to sell for a good price.
The best way to ensure the item sells for a good price is to use all the tactics I’m listing here, rather than starting the bidding at a high price or slapping on a reserve price.
The one place I do add in a high price is the automatically rejected offers section. I want to see any really solid offers, but I don’t want to be bothered by offers that I wouldn’t be happy selling at.
I would also suggest always using PayPal for payments. Yes, there is a small fee, but it’s worth it to keep things straight-forward and to protect yourself from scams or disputes.
7. LISTING TIMINGS
Sunday is peak buying time on eBay and Sunday evenings are particularly busy. I like to give my items a good amount of time to be seen, so I tend to schedule them to go live on a Thursday evening and stay live for ten days.
This means that the sales end on a Sunday evening. Plus the listing is live for two whole weekends, giving it plenty of time to be seen during peak time the first weekend and to be bought the second weekend.
8. ANSWER QUESTIONS PROMPTLY
If someone is asking you a question it’s because they want to buy your item. So make like a good salesperson and be charming and helpful. Answer questions as honestly as possible and where relevant, choose the option to post the question and answer on your listing, to help other sellers who might have the same query.
9. SHIP IN A TIMELY MANOR!
Once the money is in your account you want to get that package out of the door as quickly as possible. This will help ensure a happy customer and hopefully a positive review.
Always make sure you have proof of postage of courier collection.
10. use the app
I tend to use my laptop when I’m listing items, but I like to use the app to do my research and to keep tabs on my listings. Download the eBay app here.
11. Be charitable
eBay gives you the option to donate a percentage of your sales to charity. It’s a super easy way of combining being charitable with decluttering and earning some extra money.
Given that huge amounts of stuff donated to charity shops ends up in landfill perhaps it’s a better way to give a little something back.
TIME TO GET LISTING!
I hope these tips come in useful. Something that I’ve found this year as I try to cut back on my spending, is that selling on eBay is a great alternative to shopping!! Yep, instead of getting a dopamine hit from buying stuff, I’m getting a buzz from selling it and saving my money!!