One of the most obvious things to do when you’re trying to make some extra money is to sell old items laying around the house. In most circumstances that will mean you’ll be taking a trip to eBay! So, to help you out, we’ve put together a selection of the most useful tips to help you sell anything on eBay for some extra cash.
10 Tips to Help You Sell Anything on eBay
Sign-Up and get familiar with eBay’s features
Firstly, if you haven’t done so already, sign-up to eBay! It’s really easy, you’ll be greeted with a similar page to the one above. You don’t need to worry about any additional details at the moment, just set up your basic account.
Once that’s done, familiarise yourself with the selling and buying areas of eBay. It’s relatively straight forward but like most things it can be daunting at first. Take a few moments to search for items you like and view auctions similar to items that you think you might be selling.
TOP TIP: Check the categories section to give you an idea of what eBay has to offer. EVERYTHING!
Buy a few things to get a better understanding of the process
There’s no better way to understand how eBay actually works than to start buying a few items. It doesn’t matter if they’re cheap, it’s the same process as more expensive items. There are a few reasons for doing this:
- Allows you to walk through the buying/selling process from A to Z.
- Let’s you see how a customer will buy or bid for your item.
- Makes you more aware of the differences between a good and a bad advert.
- Gives you the chance to use PayPal (If you aren’t already signed up, you MUST do it).
- You’ll see how much items generally sell for compared to RRP, based on how old they are/if they’ve been used often or not.
- Keep an eye on the emails you receive from the seller, how fast your item arrives, and how it’s packaged (particularly if you buy items from individuals, not companies/eBay businesses)
TOP TIP: Buying between 5-20 items before you sell helps build your profile and increase your reputation as a genuine eBayer. The more positive feedback you have the more likely people are to buy items from you.
Practice by selling a few old items laying around the house
Once you’re signed up to eBay and Paypal, and you’ve developed a confident understanding of the buying/selling process you should try to sell 2 or 3 old items that you never use currently laying around the house. It could be anything, you will probably have success selling it!
If you want to keep things really basic sell a few DVDs or CDs. They’re easy to post and generally hold their value quite well.
Play around with auction length, use the Buy-It-Now option and take these first few sales as an opportunity to find your feet with your approach to the product imagery and descriptions.
Think back to your experience as a buyer on eBay; would you have purchased an item that was advertised with poor images and a vague description? Probably not, so don’t expect your potential customers to do it.
TOP TIP: It’s fairly common practice to start most, if not all, auctions at £0.99. You ideally want to get your listing on eBay for free, or as little as possible, so don’t worry about your items not reaching the price you expect if you start them off at a very low price. Provided you set up the listing without any clear errors it will almost certainly reach the value it is expected (realistically).
Take advantage of Free Listing Days and understand your fees
It’s important to understand the fees you’ll be charged when you sell items on eBay, and even more importantly, to know how you can avoid extra charges/take advantage of cheap listing days.
Ebay will occasionally run free listing days. Why are these some good, you ask? Well, normally you’d be able to list 20 free items per month, skipping the ‘insertion fee’. Crucially, goods listed during the free listing period do not count towards your monthly quota. So if you know that a free listing day is approaching make sure to make the most of it by listing as many products as you can on that day.
You’ll have to pay a ‘Final Value Fee’ for every item you sell. This comes in at 10% of the total sale price (capped at £250 for a £2,500 sale). The other fee you’ll be charged will be for using Paypal and that is 3.4% plus 20p transaction fee.
End listings on Sunday evening or late afternoon
When your listing ends, especially if it is an auction format, can be crucial. The last few hours, particularly the final 15 minutes of an auction are when most of the bidding occurs. If you’ve set your auction to end at 4.30am on a Wednesday morning you’re going to lose out on so much value!
Aim for all listings to end on Sunday afternoon or evening. 7pm might be a good place to begin with as most people will have had their dinner, and either be relaxing before the week ahead, or doing bit and bobs around the house.
TOP TIP: Don’t panic if you’re listing is way below what you expected with an hour left. Most bidders, or at least, people who really want to win the product will put in their highest offer in advance, or bid at the last minute/second.
Take consistent, clear photos and boost your sales
Photos are your way of showing the buyer that they’re buying a product that’s almost as good as new. You can back up your claim that you’ve never used a pair of shoes by taking a selection of photos which confirm this.
That being said, don’t try to disguise any marks or damage to products by not taking a photo of it. Be honest in your photography and description of ALL goods. if you aren’t it will only come back to haunt you i.e. products being returned, negative feedback, and a loss of money rather than profit!
Use a white background and try to keep the style/surroundings of all your images the same. This not only adds a professional touch to your listing, but it shows the buyer that you genuinely care about the product.
TOP TIP: Natural light is king when taking photos of items. Try to get a well-lit location where you can take images displaying all angles of the product you’re selling.
Write your listing to match the needs of the customer
Always remember that you’re trying to sell products to other people, so it’s important to understand how they think, or at least, how they search for things.
An easier way to address this is by using the eBay Pulse tool which allows you to check what the most popular search terms for each category are. The example above shows search terms for ‘business, office & industrial’ goods. You might notice that generally the search requests are specific and to the point.
There isn’t much point listing your ‘Men’s XL Blue Shirt’ as ‘Lads slightly dark blue slim XL flamboyant formal shirt’ because no one is going to be searching for that… or at least, not as many people as would be searching the former.
TOP TIP: Once you start buying to sell you should use this tool to help you discover and focus on products which are currently popular. Pay attention to the time of year as that can impact what people buy significantly!
Make sure you price the postage before you list the item
Make sure you weight your items before your post them and allow a little more weight for the actual packaging. It’s an easy thing to forget but there is nothing more annoying than arriving at the post office and having to pay £2-3 more for postage because you didn’t weigh it first.
TOP TIP: Pick up a weight/postage price guide leaflet the next time you’re in the post office. Failing that check the Royal mail website for further information on the prices of packaging within, and outside of the UK.
Show off with your packaging and impress your customer
The packaging of your items is the final part of the selling process, so it’s a good idea to make it a memorable one for the buyer, for the right reasons!
Collect brown paper, bubble wrap, and cardboard boxes. Brown tape, as well as clear sellotape, is also a must have, and in large amounts! String also adds a nice touch to some parcels but if you don’t have any or it’s a large parcel don’t worry about it.
Think about what you put inside the parcel as well. Most businesses will have their business card, an invoice, and maybe some special offers or incentives for the customer to buy again. As a more personal level, you can put in a little thank you note to show your appreciation for the buyer.
TOP TIP: Always post the item to the address that PayPal provides you with. This is a verified address which will have been confirmed by PayPal when the user signed up to their services (just like you did), so don’t fall for any fake addresses that may be a scam.
Start an eBay business if you’ve got the hang of it
Ebay is an extremely effective way of making some extra cash on the side to help fund a holiday away or pay the bills. However, if you’ve found your feet and have been able to develop a strong profile over a period of 6-12 months, you might be suited to setting up your own eBay business.
It gives you the freedom of working from home whilst also having a steady income, so it’s not difficult to see why thousands and thousands of people do it. Don’t be put off starting your own business, the benefits can be amazing!
TOP TIP: Have a look at businesses currently selling large quantities of products per day and see how their processes and business approach differs to yours. Is there anything you could do differently to improve your business?
Hopefully, you’ve found these 10 tips to help you sell anything on eBay useful! It’s a fantastic way to not only get some extra cash in the bank but also to tidy up your garage and house that can often get full of clutter!
We’ll be adding to the list over the coming months so keep checking back for more eBay related tips and hints.