You have probably heard people making six-figure incomes selling their wares on eBay. Its popularity has skyrocketed, and the momentum isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. If you are ready to join the fray, here are some tips to make the most of your online auctioneering.
Registering to sell on eBay is pretty straightforward. If you are a new user, you will need to provide some basic personal information. If you are already registered as a buyer, it’s even easier: just log in and click the Sell tab. Either way, once you are registered and logged in, you are on your way to selling your first item.
First, shop the competition. When you have items to sell, start by searching eBay for similar items, noting the categories other sellers list their items under, how much they are asking for them, what descriptions they use, and the photos they provide. Take note of what you like and dislike about the product descriptions, and if the photos make the item seem more appealing.
Choose a category. Choosing where to list your item is a critical part of the auction process. If users can’t find your items, they can’t bid. More market research can help you here. Look at other auctions for similar products to find logical locations for your items.
If still you are unsure about which category to use for your listing, eBay can suggest categories during the listing process. You will be prompted to further narrow down the category through subcategories and add optional additional categories for more exposure.
Write a compelling description. While choosing a category is relatively easy, writing good product descriptions is not as simple as it seems. Your title needs to catch a potential buyer’s attention, get them to click on your item, and bid on it. EBay’s search engine uses the auction title to index items for sale, so don’t waste precious title real estate with words like “wow” or “L@@K!” Searchers aren’t looking for these terms, so you are much better off using every character of your title to describe the item. Think of every related term someone might look for when looking for an item like yours, and include as much information as you can.
For an additional fee, you can increase the visibility of your listings by adding bold text, highlighting, gallery status, and other techniques. EBay is constantly looking for ways to help you make your listings more prominent — and charge you for the privilege. Depending on the items you sell and the categories you list in, you may want to consider these option.
For additional tips, read Write Effective Copy for Your eBay Listings.
Select a selling format. In addition to the classic auction format, there are other ways to sell: you can add Buy It Now to your auction, sell the item at a fixed price, or use a Dutch-style auction to sell multiple identical items in the same listing. There are some minimum feedback requirements to use some of these formats.
Set your price. Depending on the format you have chosen, setting a price can get complicated. But one way that eBay makes it easy to list and sell is offering the option of setting a reserve price: a price below which you won’t sell your item. If you paid $10 for an item and want to resell it on eBay you can, for a small additional fee, set the reserve price at $10. Unless the bidding meets or exceeds the reserve, the item will not sell. Some buyers are understandably wary of auctions with reserves, so take that into account when you list.
The insertion fee is also partially dependent on the starting price you pick for your auction, so keep that in mind as well. Read Getting a Handle on eBay Seller Fees for more information.
Determine the auction length and specify location. Seven days is the default length, but there are lots of reasons to select different lengths, including trying to engineer the best ending time for your auction. You can opt to have your auction run for 1, 3, 5, 7, or 10 days.
Next you will specific where your item is located. This is important for shipping reasons and for heavier items that make sense only for local buyers to purchase.
A picture is worth 1,000 words. The next, and possibly most important, step is to upload clear pictures of your item, taken from several angles. Because bidders don’t have the opportunity to look at the item in person, pictures factor heavily in their decisions about whether or not, as well as how much, to bid.
Payment options. The forms of payment you accept may determine whether or not someone chooses to bid. The more forms of payment you accept, the bigger your potential pool of bidders will be. Payment options include personal checks, money order or cashier’s checks, CODs, escrow, cash (in person), and PayPal, a service owned by eBay that allows you to accept credit card and checking account payments online.
Decide shipping costs and who will pay. Shipping costs can be listed as a flat fee, or can vary by location. There are also interactive shipping calculators you can include in your listing so buyers can calculate their own shipping costs. Most sellers require the buyer to pay for shipping costs, but offering free shipping is one way to get your listing to stand out.