6 Steps to Selling on eBay

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As a wannabe Stay at Home Mom, I am constantly looking for new streams of income that I can grow to replace my current income.  I do lots of things on the side, but one them has gained more interest that the others so I thought I would share some info with you.


When I want to see a near immediate turnover and profit, I sell things on eBay.  Lots of people do it, but I have found that there are way more who find the process daunting.


By no means am I a guru or even a top seller.  I do this very part time and often in spurts when I need money or when I come across a bunch of things that I would much rather sell than donate.


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1.  Choose your item(s):  I try to sort things seasonally in my home, so I might decide that If I have nearly brand new shoes (or sometimes absolutely never worn brand new shoes…) I will gather them up for selling.  I sell a lot of my kids Holiday clothing or toys that they have never played with.  For a while I was selling my Mother In Laws nicer handbags from years past.  They were in great condition but not really trendy anymore, so we listed them.  Something that I haven’t much gotten into is buying things specifically for resale.  I want to, but it requires some knowledge about what will really sell (because you don’t know until you list it want interest there will be, so there is a risk involved) and you need the money to put up from for the purchase.  I just watched a documentary about the Kardashians last week (don’t judge) and this is something that Kim did back before she was famous.  She would borrow money from her father and promise to pay him back with interest.  She would purchase high end clothing on sale and sell it for just under retail.  She made her money back plus a profit and began selling things for her friends to make money.


2.  Research similar items:  Go on eBay or another auction site and look you your item or something similar to see how much the seller is selling the item for.  Also, try to see if the item has ever sold and how much the auction ended at.  This will give you an idea of whether setting up the sale is worth your time.  If the item isn’t selling at all or for less than you are willing to part with it for, hold on to it for a different venue or donate it.  If the item sells well and the price is reasonable to you, go for it!


3.  Take good pictures:  Pictures can make or break the sale.  People want to see the actual item you are selling so that they can judge for themselves whether the price is right.  The more pictures from different angles, the better.  Show the item’s weakness so that there is no surprise when the buyer receives it.  People can be unreasonable, but if there is a scuff on shoe that you didn’t disclose, you are wrong.  


All that said, you can make an item look more appealing in it’s presentation.  The simplest way to present an item professionally is to use a neutral background (preferably white) and natural light.  This post by Freshstitches is a good basic tutorial.


4.  Cost of Shipping:  This is where you decide how you will ship the item, if it is worth the money to ship the item, where you are willing to ship the item and how much you will charge to ship the item.


Will you ship UPS?  USPS?  FedEX?  Is the item worth shipping?  How heavy/how big is the item.  Will shipping cost too much to make it worth anything?  If the item is a good deal, people will want it, but if shipping is too much it is no longer a good deal.  Are you willing to ship overseas?  Or just the US and Canada?  


Advertising free shipping is a great draw for people.  If you can finagle a way to adjust the price of the item and add shipping in there without making the price too high, you can say FREE SHIPPING and it will be well received, but if it doesn’t make sense for you or the customer it won’t work in your favor.


5.  Create your post:  Set up an account with eBay or online site that you are looking to sell on.  This usually means you will need to provide your contact info, email address and payment information.  You can decide here how you want to be paid.  I use Paypal as my primary method because it is easy and safe.  I don’t have to worry about giving away my address to receive a check or wait for a money order.  In my experience, the buyer usually pays me immediately after the sale or within 24 hours.  You can also send an invoice if you do not hear from the buyer first and you can print all of your shipping information from there, too.


Next, follow the step by step instructions to setting up your sale.  Include as much information as possible so that there are no questions or discrepancies.  The buyer wants to know everything:  Size, shape, weight, smell, are the items in house where there are smokers or animals, etc… A lot of people will advertize things like “stored in air-tight container in climate controlled storage” or “pet hair and smoke free.”   


Also, keep an eye on your email and/or messages in your eBay dashboard.  If a customer has a question they can send you a message or email.  NOT getting back to them will ensure that they do not buy the item.  I have made this mistake and it sucks.


6.  Shipment and feedback:  Yay! Your item sold!  Be sure you receive payment before shipping the item.  If you do not receive payment within the authorized number of days, send the buyer an email or invoice.  If they do not pay, inform them that you are relisting the item or taking the sale down.  


Usually, once I receive payment, I email the buyer and thank them for their quick payment and let them know I will be shipping the item out asap.  Package your item professionally.  Don’t send it out in a reused box with other writing all over it.  Recycling is fine, just make it presentable.  It is also  nice to wrap the item in a clear plastic bag or tissue paper to protect it during shipping.


When the item is shipped, I will let the buyer know how it was shipped and give them a tracking number if it is available.


Once the transaction has been completed, rate the buyer. This can be found on their profile page.  This gives them a score and will tell other sellers that they are a good or bad customer.  In return, they should be rating you.  Having a positive score as a seller can get you more bids.  People will see your good score and know it is ok to trust you.  If your buyer does not rate you, you can send them an email asking them (nicely) to do so.


I hope that this eases your fears about selling online.  There are lots of venues that you can sell from other than eBay.  Just google online auction sites.  Etiquette is similar on all of them.

Have a great week everyone!



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