Improve eBay Sales, Photos, Description, Auction, Action!
I have sold lots of stuff through eBay and surprisingly it's not really that hard. I have sold bags, key rings, old cameras, electronic equipment, cars and a motorbike to list just a few. I found that as long as the items up for sale were in good condition and were photographed correctly then I always found a buyer.
My first few sales on eBay really sparked my imagination and it wasn’t long before I was selling all my old technology that never got used, to absolutely anything I didn’t need anymore to which I still held value to.
I have a philosophy when it comes to buying, which is don’t buy cheap as it wont last long and will probably end up in the back of some Romanians scrap van or in the bin. Always buy the better brand and then look after it, that way you get what you need from it, and somebody else does too if you decide to sell it on. Plus you get some cash back.
Woohoo I here Homer Simpson say.
Photographing Your eBay Items For Sale
I really do attribute a lot of my success selling on eBay to the photography. Its really important, that if you can, you make the pictures as good as possible.
When taking the picture make sure its in focus and that the item your selling has enough light when you take the photo, so potential buyers can have a good look at what they're getting.
Make sure you photograph the item from all angles especially if it is an electronic item, get close up shots of ports and connectors as some buyers may not know the names of the connectors but would recognize them if they saw them.
High light any substantial marks (scratches, dents) on the items. For most items I would suggest at least 2 to 6 photos depending on what your selling. Pick the best photo of your item to be displayed in the main listings. If you can get the photography right then you will increase your chances of getting a sale.
Listing Titles And Item Descriptions
eBay only gives you 80 characters to use for the listing title. A good title will catch peoples attention just as much as the listing photo, so make sure you convey exactly what your item is.
When writing your description its important to describe as much information about it as possible, eBay has lots of options and boxes for you to tick about your item, but it's a good idea to add your own description as well for instance, describe the material, colours and brand. If its an electronic item list the ports and connectors (you may have to do a little research yourself, but it will pay off).
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Sold as seen
Mostly everything you sell on eBay will have more value if you have the original packaging, including user manuals and any accessories that came with your item. This is especially the case when selling electronic equipment.
Pricing Your eBay Items
Before pricing your item calculate the postage first, as the buyer will be adding this cost to the sale. Another option is to include the postage in with your starting bid and offer your buyers free postage. Start the bidding at your bottom dollar, but be realistic or else your item might not sell.
I used to enjoy the 99p auctions in the old days of eBay as the listing was free. Lots of fun watching people bidding on your item. Then people got wise and realized they could get it for a lot less if they waited until the last minute of the auction before bidding, which on eBay is what they call "sniping".
I still do enjoy the thrill of putting an item on at 99p though. Call me strange, and some do, but it feels good to pass on my well looked after items, even if I don’t get much for them, you always get some really good feedback.
One of the best sales I made were 3 Matchbox Red Arrow Jets still in their original packaging. I bought them from a car boot sale for a £1 each and put them on eBay with a starting bid of £5 for all 3. They sold for £30 to a man in Jakarta, Indonesia who bought them for his son.
However I had a very nice guitar which I'd had for years which I priced at £30 hoping it would get more, which sold for £30. Some you win, some you loose. Overall be generous and the karma will come back to you man! In my opinion.
A reserve is setting a price for an item which has to be met before the item can be sold. You can with some items put a reserve on which is hidden from the bidders until that reserve is met.
This can be a good idea on items which are worth a bit of money, and you are at least guaranteed what you ask. And, if the reserve is not met, you have the choice to decide whether to take the final bid at the end of the auction or not.
Time Wasters On eBay
A draw back to hidden reserves is that occasionally you will get bidders come along who will bid and bid just to see what the reserve is, and then if it turns out to be too much they just don’t contact you after winning the item. They usually enter the auction with feedback scores less then 10. This kind of bidder can really mess up an auction and it is important to spot them ASAP.
When I am selling an item and I get bidders who do this or have feedback scores of 10 or less, or just poor feedback, I send them emails asking them to confirm their interest in the item. If they don’t reply or I'm not happy with the reply, I cancel their bids and block them from further bidding on my items. I put a note at the bottom of the auction stating this to deter those unscrupulous bidders or "time wasters" as some on eBay say.
Another situation you might find yourself in is when a bidder contacts you during the auction asking if you would settle for a price and close the auction which eBay does permit, however, they may also ask if you will settle off site from eBay to avoid fees. This is not advisable or permitted by eBay and could lead to your account being suspended.
You can view eBay's policy on this here.
A private sale on eBay does not need a returns policy, but it is important to make it clear within the sale or auction what your policy is, so your buyers know where they stand.
On some items I would have a returns policy of:
meaning the buyer is purchasing what they can see for sale and there are no returns. Or I might add:
meaning that if the buyer was not happy with the item, they could ask me about returning it, but ultimately the decision on whether I accepted the return, or not, was mine.
If you do accept returns make sure you state in the listing that the:
Be clear on returns and be fair.
Postage And Packaging
Postage must be calculated correctly or else you might short yourself on the cost of the postage and make a loss on your profit. You will need to know the exact weight and dimensions so that you can price it properly using the price tables on the Royal Mail website.
The best way to do this is to use some scales. For larger items you can use suitcase scales and for smaller items it would be ideal to have a set of digital scales. If you have neither then all you have is your best guess, in which case put a little extra on top of what the cost is to cover any miscalculations, but not to much as this may put off your buyers.
When it comes to packaging pack your item as well as you can. If your sending your item in a box then wrap it in brown paper, this will give a good impression to your buyer when they receive it. Make sure the item is secure inside the box with a filling. The most inexpensive of box filling is old newspaper. You could send smaller items in Jiffy bags which will give your item some protection in the mail.
Its important to state in your auction listing by which method you will be posting, i.e. first class, second class, recorded delivery, unless of course you are offering free postage by including it in your opening bid or price. You can also let buyers know that they can collect from your direct if local.
Always remember to send your item to the buyer as soon as payment has been received!
The best way to receive payment for items sold on eBay is through PayPal. Signing up for PayPal is easy, but getting your PayPal account verified may take a couple of weeks. Verification is important as this confirms to buyers and sellers that you are legitimate and that your bank account and address have been confirmed by PayPal and is deemed as ok.
If during the sale of your item there is a problem eBay buyers can use the eBay Buyer Protection section. PayPal will suspend the payment while the problem is resolved. It can be hard to contact support for these problems, but in my experience its best to follow eBay and PayPal's procedures and time periods for a resolution.
eBay's customer support section is very informative and where you can search their advice and help topics should any problems with payments and items arise.
If you are going to use eBay for the long term as I am, then you want to make sure you keep your customer satisfied. Customer feedback is extremely important to your sales. Most people when looking at second hand items to buy will check the sellers feedback score to get an idea on whether the seller is any good. If they see for instance:
"item took two weeks to arrive"
"packaging was terrible"
or the dreaded
"item NOT as described"
then your buyers will more then likely be put off from buying your item. What you really want in your feedback scores are:
"A+++++ item arrived quickly"
"Excellent! Many thanks would buy from again A+++++++"
This kind of feedback is exactly the ticket and will generate better sales and install confidence in your potential buyers.
Having been a Power Seller for 6 months and selling through a business account, I know if you follow some of the advice above you will have a much better chance of selling on eBay. Once you begin to list an item on eBay, you will see it has a very intuitive interface which I hope my article will enhance.
For first timers on eBay it may be a little difficult as you will have a low feedback score, but given time that will change. eBay is an excellent way of making money from your old stuff! So…….
Good Luck! And Happy Bidding!
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