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ebay
how to sell on ebay
baseball cards
first tip
collecting dust
garage sales
projectors
many things
Successful Ebay Selling
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I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit this, but until January of this year I had never even been on ebay.  Yes, it took me about fifteen years to find that huge online marketplace!  I bought a couple of things and then started thinking "if other people know how to sell on ebay, maybe I can too."  I started selling a few months later, and have found it to be great fun, and profitable.  About 85%-90% of the items I list on ebay sell, and quite honestly, I find it rather easy to make a successful sale.  Much of it has to do with commonsense and good old fashioned customer service.  Here are my thoughts on things I've learned selling on ebay, practices that I have used for successful ebay selling.

What to sell and where to find it.  The first tip for ebay selling success is to start by selling what you know and what you have around the house.  Start looking around and you'll be amazed at what you have collecting dust that someone will want!  I'm a middle-aged guy who lives in a small condominium, and I was amazed at how many things I found that I could sell.  I started off selling some old baseball cards that were sitting in the closet, and never looked back. 

Estate sales and garage sales are excellent places to find items to sell.  What helped me was to zero in on a few types of items to specialize in (once again, focusing on what I know) and becoming a highly knowledgeable seller of that item.  For me, my niche is vintage movie projectors.  It's amazing how big the market is for that type of item!

Accurate product description.  For successful ebay selling, this is critical, particularly if the item is used!  You don't want an upset buyer demanding a refund because in their opinion the item was not described accurately.  The first key, as you might guess, is a good picture, or perhaps several pictures.  Also, when you describe the item, point out its flaws, but don't overdo it.  State it once and move on.  And of course, describe the good things about the item.  I recently sold a large collection of model airplanes on ebay, and each time, I always made a point to mention that all the parts, instructions, and decals were still factory sealed (and with the few models where that was not the case, I mentioned that as well).  If the box was a bit banged up, I was sure to mention it.  Be honest with the description!

Establish a reasonable price.  As far as ebay selling advice goes, this one is huge!  Have you ever looked at an ebay listing, liked the item, but thought the price was ridiculous?  Yep, me too.  The best way to know fair market value for an item on ebay is to check the completed listings.  See for yourself what other sellers sold the item for.  I regularly check successful ebay sales to get some tips on writing a good listing, establishing a reasonable price, and accurate shipping costs.  Keep in mind there are a lot of ebay sellers, so if your price is not competitive, the buyers will look elsewhere.  Knowing what an item will sell for on ebay is also important to knowing what to pay for the item when you see it at an estate or garage sale.  When I started with the movie projectors, I would see one at a garage sale for say $30, and think "is that a good price?  If I buy it at that price, can I sell it on ebay and make a profit?"  If I wasn't sure, before I would buy an item, I would go home, check ebay completed listings for that item, then go back and buy it (or not, if the price was too high!).  Once you become more familiar with your niche item, you'll know the good deals right away. 

Another important issue that goes along with price is listing the item as an auction or fixed price.  If there is high demand for an item, go with an auction.  I love doing auctions, because I get a thrill out of seeing people bid up the price of my item!  If it is more of a specialty item with less demand, go with a fixed price, but always include the best offer option!  Buyers love being able to set their own price; it lets them feel in control of the transaction.

Understand shipping costs.  Ebay selling is highly competitive, so your shipping charges need to be in line with other sellers.  If you have your item at a fair price, but your shipping charges are higher than your competition, will buyers buy from you?  Probably not.  Buyers always consider (with good reason) shipping charges to be a part of the price of the item, so you need to at least be competitive, or even better, undercut the competition on shipping!  I do this all the time with my listings.  Do I sometimes have to pay some of the shipping charges myself?  Yes, but I have found I consistently make the sale, at the price I want, so it's worth it!  If you have a small item that is inexpensive to ship, consider free shipping.  Buyers love that!

Provide excellent customer service.  Ebay sellers depend on getting positive feedback from buyers, and excellent customer service will make that happen.  Ship the item, at a fair price, quickly after the sale, professionally packaged.  Describe the item accurately and price it fairly.  Provide a return policy that is clearly stated in the listing.  My return policy is simple: the item can be returned within three days of receiving it, but the buyer must pay return shipping.  Here's another thing I've started doing: when I ship the item, I send an email to the buyer, thanking them for their purchase and telling them the item has shipped and giving them an estimate on when the package should arrive.  Little things make a difference!

Hopefully, with these ebay selling tips you will be on your way to being a successful seller.  Remember, anyone can do it, even some middle-aged guy who took 15 years to even find ebay!  Best of luck!

 


Street Talk

Thanks Jordan...I have never really tried to earn money with ebay. I do well with adsense,clickbank and amazon. I guess I don't like the idea of having to deal with a physical product myself. Great article!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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