I try to include ebay tips in most of my posts, however you have to read through every post to read the tips, so I decided to create a page dedicated to just ebay tips that I have learned along the way. This way even if you missed a post you won’t miss an ebay tip that could help you. So I am going to start at the very beginning and I will keep adding to this tips page as I add new posts.
TIP: When listing an item I would suggest keeping it simple, personally I like to list facts and keep it simple, I use large font (24) and all caps so the ad is easy to read especially if the buyer is on their phone. When someone is reading a hundred listings I don’t want to confuse them with extra information they are not going to remember. I also usually include 3 to 5 pictures, I feel people get bored if they are reading something or looking at something for too long. I provide enough pictures to give the buyer a clear idea of what they are purchasing.
TIP: I was told to print my own labels through ebay, you save money printing from your printer and you receive a discount from ebay. Also definitely get a mail scale, any digital kitchen scale will do, I did not use one for my first dozen items and I know I over paid for shipping. Most of my items are below 84 inches in combined length and weigh less than 16 ounces so I can ship them USPS first class which is very inexpensive, but I later learned there is a price difference between every couple of ounces, example 10 ounces is $.75 more than 8 ounces. Also if you are too far off on your weight the girls at the post office told me the post office will return the item back to you, which would be devastating. So by entering your exact weight you will pay the right postage and will not have to worry about the package getting returned.
TIP: If you take your item to the post office and want to ship it first class it must weigh 13 ounces or less. If you purchase your first class shipping label through ebay your item can weigh up to 16 ounces. I have so many packages that weigh 14-16 ounces, if I did not print my labels through ebay I would have to pay for parcel select through the post office which is much more than first class.
*Media mail is the cheapest, if you are shipping books, movies or any other media type item ship it media mail. Personal items like home movies and photo books do not qualify. I read somewhere that you cannot include an ebay packing slip because it is advertising for ebay and advertisements are not allowed, so if you are shipping media mail do not include an ebay packing slip. You ship exactly the same way as your other packages except when you purchase your shipping label through ebay you select media mail instead of USPS first class.
TIP: When you print your shipping label via ebay, they automatically upload the tracking number. This is great because it eliminates human error and it guarantees your information is uploaded within the one day handling time as long as you complete the label purchase within 1 day of the sale date. You want to print your label and drop your package off at the post office as soon as possible, the quicker you do this the quicker your customer will receive their package which will result in a positive feedback score. You can achieve a top rated status someday if you meet the requirements, this status gives you a discount on ebay fees and one of those requirements is a certain high percentage of your tracking numbers have to be uploaded on time.
TIP: Start your auction on a Thursday and run it for 10 days that way you end up with 2 full weekends, the weekends are when the most people are on ebay.
TIP: If you live on the east coast, like I do, keep the west coast in mind; you don’t want your auction to end at 6pm Florida time because that is 3pm California time. Moving forward I will have my auctions end at 9 or 10pm east coast time.
TIP: When there are imperfections with an item, list them, try not to miss a scratch. The last thing you want is to have to issue a refund because you missed a detail.
TIP: I did read on ebay’s website that if you offer free shipping, a good shipping service, and you have a 1 day handling time they will stamp your ad with “fast and free.” Ebay claims there is an 11% increase in sales for the fast and free ads vs the ads that don’t have this stamp. It is important to select the correct shipping service so ebay can stamp your ad. At the beginning I did not select the right one because I didn’t know what service I was going to use and I didn’t know ebay did this, maybe some of my items would have sold faster if I selected the right service, so pay attention to the shipping area it could boost your sales according to ebay.
TIP: If you do choose to offer free shipping make sure you offer your free shipping to the lower 48 states only. You do not want to end up shipping your package to Alaska for free.
TIP: If you do choose to offer the item price plus a shipping fee I would suggest being reasonable with the shipping fee so you avoid a negative comment. We all know a negative response could really affect your sales for the worse. You want to maintain 100%, it is the only way you will be successful on ebay. Plus if your score gets high enough you can see a reduction in fees which means more mommy money.
TIP: Odd stuff sells on ebay, when a store cannot find a buyer for an item; chances are someone will want it on ebay. Shopping clearance sections for weird items is a great way to find inventory at cheap prices.
TIP: Before I buy an item, I always check out the competition first then I check sold listings to know what the item is selling for. I then re-check this info before I list the item, ebay changes daily, what sold yesterday may not sell today for the same price.
TIP: I was told once, when an item is sitting dormant, do something different, lower the price, break the price down, take different/better pictures, write a better description, if you want a different outcome you have to do something different. For example maybe start with the total price of $16.99 plus free shipping, and then if it doesn’t sell after 7-14 days go to $14.99 including free shipping, ebay sends out emails to people who viewed your item and alerts them that the price has been reduced, great marketing technique to take advantage of at no cost to you. If it still doesn’t sell maybe re-list the item at a broken down price $10.99 plus $3.99 shipping, $14.98 total, for another 7-14 days. Every product and buyer is different, so you can decide for yourself what approach to take.
TIP: Other reasons why an item is not selling is it was priced too high to begin with, don’t forget to do your research, the pictures were not good enough, the description was too vague, no one in the world wants it, or it is very specialized and it will take a long time to find the right buyer, the market may be flooded, just to name a few. Don’t forget to look at all factors if you have an item that is not selling, it may not be just about price; however from my experience it is always about the money.
TIP: Everyone says find a niche, something you know, and go deep. Going deep can help protect your territory, but I would add keep an open mind and stay diverse. When you go deep into a niche you are limiting the number of buyers because you are specializing in a specific concept. I try to find products that appeal to many people and I try to be competitive on the price so I continue to sell consistently and quickly, but if you find unique patterns and/or colors you can hold strong and possibly get more for your items. You don’t want to have all of your eggs in one basket, you never know when a product is going to get flooded and/or someone is going to undercut you. If you have diversity in your product portfolio then you should experience success year round. After all you don’t want to be able to visit Chuck E. Cheese’s this month and not be able to visit next month and have to explain to your kids that someone on ebay started ordering your same product from China and are now selling it at half the price so you can’t buy tokens anymore.
TIP: Bundle items if you can, I love this technique it saves on shipping fees and makes an item that was not really worth selling now worth it. It is hardly worth buying a pair of socks for $2 and selling them for $6, between fees, shipping, and the cost of the item there is maybe $1 left. However by bundling 3 pairs of socks you are now able to make a profit that is worth it.
TIP: Before you buy something, of course check current and completed listings, but also check how often that item is selling. This is something I learned the hard way. Before I realized I could buy inventory from a store and make money, I was searching online for something I could buy at wholesale prices. I came across this wholesale silver jewelry website. On this website I was able to choose my chain and my pendant. They had thousands of pendants to choose from, many of them family and hobby related, people love to where jewelry representing something near and dear to their heart, so I was really excited. I checked ebay and necklaces like mine were selling for around $20. I could buy them for around $10, after fees and shipping I would end up making around $6 per necklace. They were small so shipping was extremely inexpensive plus they did not take up a lot of space to store. So the website had a minimum order of $75 to receive free shipping so I ordered 8 necklaces. I chose a nicer chain than other sellers and the pendants I chose represented very popular concepts. I thought I was going to have no problems selling them; I listed them on ebay and waited, and waited, and waited….. Nothing, what was going on, I didn’t understand. So my husband who is always right about everything or so he thinks, says to me how many sold on ebay over this past month, I said what? He wanted me to check how often the necklaces were selling. So I checked and maybe one sold over the previous month, uuuggghhh. Needless to say I still have 8 necklaces for sale on ebay, I do now at least have 2 being watched, however they now are priced at $13.99 including free shipping that is the lowest I can go without losing money on them, so I will continue to wait… My point, always check to see how often an item is selling. The only time I will deviate from this rule is when I find something for an unbelievable price and I can wait a while to find the right buyer because the profit margin is really good.
TIP: We talked about checking how many items similar to yours sell per day, but also check how many people are selling your same item. For example 10 items may sell per day on ebay which sounds good however if there are 100,000 people selling that item, no bueno, I would find something else, chances are you are going to get washed away in the flood and no one is going to find your listing, unless you pay for the exposure, which is expensive, and you will end up with no money left to be made.
TIP: I have experienced a lot of success with men’s Nike Dri Fit socks size 8-12. They are a little harder to find, but come in more colors and designs so you are able to stand out in the crowd a little better. 3 pairs typically sell for $16.99 including free shipping, and you can find them at off priced retailers between $7-$8.50 including tax. You end up making $3-$4 per item after all fees are paid, but they sell quickly. I have had success selling woman’s Nike Dri Fit socks too, but they take longer to sell. Men’s Nike Dri Fit socks sell within a week vs Women’s Nike Dri Fit socks which sell within a month.
TIP: If you have any old Halloween costumes sitting in your closet that don’t fit your children anymore, they might sell on ebay quickly. I was always told if an item sells too quickly it was priced too low, however in this case it was pre-owned and you could buy a new one for $4 more, I think it was priced perfectly. I felt like I found the right buyer at the right time and he/she purchased the costume.
TIP: Save every box that comes your way, this will save you a lot of money in shipping supplies. You still will want to buy specialized boxes, but you never know when a previously used box will fit your item perfectly. In this case the old Fed Ex box was a perfect fit.
TIP: You cannot reuse any kind of priority box from the post office. Someone sent me a package in a USPS priority box, I ended up keeping the box. Eventually I sold something that fit that box, so I packed up my item in the priority box, however my shipping method was USPS first class. When I went to drop off the box the post office guy said I could not send the package first class in a priority box. I told him, “but the box was already paid for when it was shipped the first time,” it even had original post office markings on it from the first time it shipped. The post office guy said it did not matter, crazy. Anyway don’t wrap up your item in a used priority box, supposedly you cannot recycle them.
TIP: I learned along the way that by including just a little of your home’s surroundings in your pictures can help sell your item. Make sure the part of your home in the picture is clean and neat, this gives the buyer a feeling that the item they are purchasing is coming from a nice environment. You would not want to buy something from a dirty messy house and neither does your customer, but your customer does not know your house is well kept unless you give them a glimpse. If you do not choose to include a little of your home in your pictures make sure the surface you use is neutral, you don’t want to take away from your item. I have seen people use their granite counter top as their back drop which looks nice, just make sure it is not too busy looking.
TIP: I really like kid’s socks because they weigh and cost less than men’s socks and they have a retail value that is similar. However they do take a little longer to sell.
TIP: When choosing an item to purchase a good rule of thumb is to ask yourself can you sell the item for 3 times more than what you are buying it for, especially if your item is under $10. If the item cost is over $10 I still want to mark it up at least 3 times, but if it is a quick seller you can get away with marking it up 2 times and you will still make money, just not as much.
TIP: I have always thought of Abercrombie, American Eagle, Express, and other mall brands as higher priced items and they hold value with me, but they do not resale well at all.
TIP: Visit a Goodwill or thrift shop in the nicest part of town. The more money in an area the nicer the items will be. I find unbelievable brands at our Goodwill and a lot of the items I find still have tags on them.
TIP: If you purchase pre-owned clothing look it over very closely, make sure there are no tears and/or stains and make sure all the buttons are intact. I think people on ebay buying pre-owned clothing want near perfect condition. Also, you may not like this one, but smell the item, make sure there is no funky smell. Since the item has been in a neutral store setting it should smell fine, but you never know. A cigarette smell can be strong, so you don’t want to buy a smokers shirt and have someone buy it from you and return it because it smells like an ash tray.
TIP: I check the no returns box on all of my items. I list all of my items very accurately and I have confidence in what I am selling. I have a sales background and I was always taught never present rescission. If anyone ever had a real problem with something they bought from me of course I would make it right and fix their problem, but I don’t advertise returns. Maybe I would sell more if I stressed that I accept returns, maybe I would sell the same and have more returns, I don’t know, but the way I have been doing it seems to work well for me. I do know that if you reach a top rated status and you want a discount in ebay fees you do have to accept returns. I don’t know if the discount in ebay fees would out-weigh the headaches from handling returns, I have not walked that path. Maybe someone who has can provide their feeling on the topic. Ultimately it is your choice, do what is best for you.
TIP: What is better an auction style listing or buy it now listing? I choose to auction an item when I have very little money in it, I am not sure what the value is, and/or I want the item to sell in 7-10 days. I offer an item at a buy it now price when I have a new item that has a small range in the sale price. If you have a new item and there is a large range in the sale price, then it is up to you. Great example, these shorts are selling anywhere from $30-$50 on ebay. I chose a very competitive buy it now price so they would sell quickly. My other choice would have been to offer my item as an auction, start the price at $19.99 and see if people would bid them up. Typically my new items are buy it now and I will auction my pre-owned items that I know are popular and will get a lot of traffic. These shorts could have been an exception. They are very popular and there is a huge price range that they sell for. In the future I would definitely try to offer a pair like these as an auction just to see what they sell for. Regardless they sold for a good price in a quick amount of time and that is the goal.
TIP: If you buy pillow cases, buy them in the clearance section for $10 or less. Brands I would buy would be Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein both sell on ebay in time, however for me the profit is not enough for what is invested so I do not plan on purchasing anymore pillowcases/linens.
TIP: I did not know at the time when I bought this shirt how much people liked the RLX brand. If you find anything RLX for the right price buy it, the brand sells great on ebay.
TIP: Almost every pair of Oscar de la Renta sunglasses that I have sold end up with about 20 page views over about a week and sell for around $23.00.
TIP: Take good pictures, I say good and not great because I like to over deliver. I don’t want to have a professional picture of an item and have the customer expect the world. I sell quality products, but I would rather the customer see the real item so they have realistic expectations of what the item looks like. However in this case I don’t think the picture represented how cool these glasses were and I think they would have sold faster if my pictures would have been better. So my point is take your time when taking pictures, make sure your pictures are clear, your angles are good and check your lighting. I battle with lighting all of the time. I can take a picture of a shirt with a light on then take another picture with a different light on and the color of the shirt looks totally different. Find the light that works for you, but make sure the light you choose projects the most accurate colors, sometimes for me it is different lights for different colors. I feel it makes a difference between selling an item vs. not selling an item or in this case selling the item faster rather than slower.
TIP: Kids sports related clothing sells great on ebay, adult sports related clothing does not. On one of my shopping trips I found an adult Nike padded football shirt, it had a retail price of $98 and was on sale for $9.99, it appeared to be a great deal. It took forever to sell that shirt, I had to reduce the price so many times, finally someone bought it, but it only ended up making me a couple of dollars, I would not waste your time or money. It makes sense there are a lot less adults playing competitive sports, therefore there is not a huge market for sports clothing.
TIP: I was unsure if these glasses would sell for the price that I wanted since there was no tag and/or sticker, the only tag that was on them was the Marshall’s tag which I removed. However in my opinion they sold quickly and for a good price. Don’t be afraid to buy something new that does not have a tag if the item is priced right, I think the missing tag only hurts the value by a few dollars. If the item is cool enough people will pay for it.
TIP: What I learned here is don’t be afraid of an imperfection, almost everything that I sell is in like new or in great condition, but if the brand and type of clothing is right and it has an imperfection I will buy it. As long as you clearly describe and picture the flaw(s) your item still will hold value to someone.
TIP: Obviously it is not worth going to a thrift/consignment store to buy just one item it would not be worth your time and gas, so when I go I try to find 10-20 items and I usually do. When I first started I know I passed by a lot of items that were worth money, but I just didn’t know. Now that I know what sells it is easy to find enough items to make the trip worth it.
TIP: The kid’s clothing at the Goodwill by me is $1.49 per item. $1.49 sounds like a very appealing price point, but most children’s clothing is worthless, so you have to be careful and choose the right pieces. The item that you select has to still sell for at least $10 to make a decent profit.
TIP: Make sure the coat that you buy is a major popular brand, brands that have worked for me are Roxy, The North Face, Under Armour. I still have a boys Guess coat and a toddler Timberland coat that have not sold, both are really nice just not enough people interested.
TIP: If you find anything Under Armour buy it, it will make you money every time. However be careful with adult sweatshirts, the weight of the adult sweatshirts can weigh over one pound which means you cannot ship USPS first class, you have to ship either USPS parcel select or FedEx smartpost. Due to the package weighing more the shipping fee will double if not triple depending on where it is going. So make sure if you are purchasing an adult sweatshirt it is going to sell for over $20 so you don’t waste your time or money.
TIP: I feel like women’s clothing does not sell as well as men’s or kid’s clothing on ebay. I have sold some women’s pieces, but it usually takes twice as long to find a buyer and the items do not sell for as much as similar men’s or kid’s items. The North Face brand is an exception it sells consistently and for a fair price. Other women’s brands I have done well with are Under Armour and Victoria’s Secret. I re-sell men’s and kid’s Nike clothing and do well, but for some reason women’s Nike clothing does not sell at all or if it does it sells for hardly anything. Mall brands like Express, Abercrombie, Limited, and Old Navy just to name a few do not sell for very much on a secondary market, unless they are new.
TIP: I have had a couple of issues with women’s clothes that you should be aware of. The first is knowing if the item is women’s or junior’s. I had a really cool Guess jacket size large, I did not even think about the difference between women’s and juniors, I listed it under women’s, sure enough the person who bought it wrote me letting me know that the jacket was actually a junior’s large. I told her she could of course return it, but she ended up keeping it for her niece. The other issue is if an item is pre-owned and there is even a little fabric fading clearly state that the fabric is faded. I had another North Face jacket it was black, in the listing I stated it was in good condition with some fabric wear, which I felt was an accurate description. With fabric wear comes slight fading and I felt the pictures were very very close to the right color. Anyway I guess she was expecting the jacket to be jet black and it wasn’t so she wanted to return it, I didn’t even try to argue, technically she was right because I did not say the jacket had minor fading, I said fabric wear. I offered her a partial refund that equaled what I would have paid in shipping and re-selling fees and she accepted. So long story short, if I would have added the fabric shows minor fading she would not have requested the return because she would have expected some fading. So be very specific in your description and don’t assume the person reading the listing is going to understand what you are trying to say. I assumed fabric wear would include minor fading and it did not and it cost me money, I still made money on the item, but just not as much.
TIP: The iphone 5 and 6s are worth money even if there is no power, cracked screen, and/or icloud and network locked. The iphone 3 and 4s are worth $10-$20 per phone broken.
TIP: I recently had a package returned to me from the post office, this was the first time this ever happened to me, apparently my package was off by 1 ounce. I could not believe the post office accepted the package if their intention was to return it back to me. I was not happy, I had to re-pay for shipping and the package was obviously delayed to the customer. So my advice is if you weigh your own package and purchase your label off of ebay make sure when you drop it off the post office scale weight matches yours. I also noticed that usually I can increase the weight of my package by an ounce or 2 and the price stays the same. For example it does not matter if your package weighs 6, 7, or 8 ounces each weight costs $2.77 to ship USPS first class, so if I have a package that weighs 6 ounces I will input 8 ounces, it costs the same and I am ensured that the weight is good even if one post office scale is different from another post office scale.
TIP: I would suggest auctioning your pre-owned clothing to keep your inventory moving, however there are pieces you should consider listing at a higher fixed buy it now price. Even though you are going to store the item longer it should be worth the extra profit. I think these new Tahari pants should have been one of those items. They had a $229 price tag on them, I think I could have listed them for a buy it now price of $69 and waited for the right buyer. If they didn’t sell for that price I could have lowered the price or moved them into an auction at any time.
TIP: I do not buy most jackets because they weigh over 16 ounces. A package over 16 ounces is shipped USPS Parcel Select, FedEx Smartpost, Priority which is more expensive.
TIP: Adidas golf shorts also sell, but they take twice as long and sell for 25% less then Nike based on my experiences. When I see Adidas golf shorts I always think twice because I will only make a few dollars on them and they take up storage. I usually buy them, but they are not my favorite.
TIP: When you buy electronics on www.shopgoodwill.com, read the description carefully. Sometimes they test the electronics and sometimes they do not. From my experience the best lots are the untested ones, other bidders are scared that the items are untested and may be broken so the price stays low. Just about every lot I have purchased that was untested has been in good working condition, with the exception of a tablet here or there. Even if you end up with a broken item it is still worth something so don’t be afraid to sell it, just make sure you list it as broken and describe it correctly.
TIP: If you buy lots that include more items you will end up with a lower price per piece. After I completed this lot I started looking for lots that included 5 or more tablets. I try to keep the price at around $5 per Kindle/tablet so I make at least $10 off of each piece. What is cool about the Kindle/tablet lots on www.shopgoodwill.com is you do not always know what the model numbers are so some of them can be newer and worth more money. I just purchased a lot of 10 kindles the other day, some are older, others are newer, some models are unknown, and they are all untested, but the entire lot was only $51.89. It will be exciting to find out what I bought, but at $5 a tablet I can’t go wrong.
TIP: If you find anything Calico Critters, buy it! I was so sad one day I was treasure hunting at a thrift store and this woman who was strolling in front of me found the entire Calico Critters tree house. I don’t even know what it was worth, but I know it was a lot. If I only would have arrived 10 minutes earlier, oh well maybe next time!
TIP: Only buy kids jackets if they are a major high priced brand, skip the Osh Kosh/Carter’s brands, from my experience they do not re-sell very well at all.
TIP: I buy adult and kid’s clothing, but I love kid’s clothing because it costs less, usually $1.49-$3 per item, if I can find pieces that re-sell well my profit margin is better on kid’s items than adult items.
TIP: I was unsure if this Christian Dior sweater was going to sell when I bought it, one it had a defect and two it was old. Don’t be afraid of a defect if the item is cool enough and vintage designer items sell. Now I know I don’t have to think twice when I come across items like this. However I don’t know if this sweater should have been auctioned, I think I could have sold it for more if I listed it for a higher buy it now price and waited for the right buyer, it was a cool piece.
TIP: The Nike running tops and bottoms have reflectors on them, so I started taking pictures of each item with the flash off and the flash on so bidders can see the reflectors shine. I feel like since I started using the flash on these items I have been receiving higher bids.
TIP: I did not know at the time I shipped this jean jacket, but I should have used a padded flat rate 9.5 by 12.5 envelope, it would have fit in the envelope and it only would have cost $6.30. The Post office does not put the padded envelopes out, you have to ask for it or order at www.usps.com. It is flat rate so anything that fits will ship for $6.30, weight does not matter.
TIP: Under Armour kid’s clothing has a Y before the size, example YXL. I find a lot of Under Armour kid’s items in the adult section. So if you know that kid’s Under Armour is marked with a Y, you will pay the kid’s price.