It might be hard to believe but the largest and best known online auction site in the world – eBay – is over 20 years old. And in the two decades and counting that the site has been around millions of people have made money selling goods of all kinds on eBay. But the site has changed a great deal over the years so earning money with eBay is far more complicated than it was back in 1995 when the first sale made on the site was by founder Pierre Omidyar – a broken laser pointer he sold for $14.95.
Despite all of the growth and the rule changes it is still perfectly possible to make money on eBay, you just have to go about selling in the right way and be willing to put in a little extra effort beyond merely just creating an item listing. In this blog post we attempt to answer the question – “How to sell on Ebay”
Earning Money with eBay – Deciding What to Sell
These days there are really three types of sellers earning money with eBay. The first are those who are only very occasional sellers looking to make a few bucks on items they no longer use. The second type of seller is someone who actively looks for items to sell – often by frequenting thrift stores, yard sales and even sites like Craigslist – and lists a number of auctions on a regular basis. Then there is the third type of eBay seller, the eBay store owner. An eBay store offers both auction style listings and Buy it Now listings and they are generally devoted to a certain niche of products. Indeed over the years eBay has provided a great retail outlet for clothing designers, craftspeople of all kinds and increasingly these days even as an extra retail outlet for bricks and mortar stores.
Earning Money with eBay – Getting Started
However you plan to sell on eBay the first step is opening an eBay account. This is not a complicated process and only takes a few minutes. You should also sign up for a Paypal account if you do not have one already, as it is now a requirement that all sellers offer Paypal as a method of payment collection.
Listing items for sale on eBay involves a number of different charges – some are upfront in the form of the listing fees and others come in the form of a final value fee after a sale is made and this is a percentage of the final selling price.
Creating a Basic eBay Listing
As long as it cannot be classed as a living thing you can probably sell it on eBay, although the company does always reserve the right to pull any listings it deems to be overtly offensive, deceptive or otherwise unacceptable.
The listing process to add an item for sale on eBay is a fairly straightforward one but in order to have the best chance of actually selling your item and selling it for the amount you were hoping then you should take each step slowly until you are more familiar with the process. Here are some basics about creating a great basic eBay listing that can help make your item, whatever it is, more saleable:
List your item in the right categories
There are hundreds of different sales categories (and subcategories) on eBay and listing your items in the most appropriate ones will help you get your item seen. Take some time to look through the categories to determine which best suit your item. Imagine you were searching for your item on eBay – what category would you look in?
Every eBay seller can list their item in one category free but you may want to consider paying the small extra fee to list in another category as well.
Create a great headline – A good headline for your eBay auction is important both in terms of catching people’s eye and for search purposes. A good eBay auction title is short, to the point and contains the keyword that people will be searching for to find items like yours.
Make Sure the Pictures You Use are Good Ones
Pictures are a very important part of a good eBay listing but a bad one can damage your chances of making the sale. Buyers want to be as sure as they possibly can that they are getting a good deal and good photos go a long way towards helping them feel that they are. Also if you are listing an item that has small faults make sure you add a picture that clearly shows them ( a worn knee in a pair of jeans for example) Used items sell very well on eBay but to avoid disputes after the sale has been made it is very important that the buyer understands that they are not getting a perfect item.
Proofread your Copy
While you do not have to be a Madison Avenue caliber copywriter to create an eBay listing it should be clear, concise and honest. You also need to check your grammar and spelling as mistakes do tend to put some buyers off.
Set the Right Price
eBay allows you to set your own starting price for an auction and this is one aspect of your listing that you need to think about carefully. Do not forget to factor in both the listing cost and the final value fee when you are determining your price and set the opening bid at a price you could live with if you only ever receive one bid at that price and if you do decide to add a “Buy it Now” option as well the that too should be one you are happy with receiving.
Think about Opting for Upgrades
There are a number of upgrades you can add to a basic eBay listing including adding additional pictures, listing in extra categories, highlighting your listing with bold lettering and more.
Opening an eBay Store
If you have a number of items to sell on eBay on a regular basis opening up your own eBay store is a logical step. You can still choose to use the eBay auction format for some listings if you like and many store owners have great success earning money on eBay using a combination of both auction format listings and Buy it Now offerings.
However you choose to sell on eBay the real key to long term success is providing great customer service as a good Feedback score is very important and great customer service will turn into repeat buyers. You do not have to do anything too fancy – simply make sure that the items are well packed, that they are mailed with a tracking number of some sort and that they are sent out as soon as possible after you have received payment for them.