- Jun 14, 2018
eBay has been around long enough for people to actually make selling stuff on it their full-time job. Several people I know have told me that it’s such an enjoyable e-commerce platform that they can actually see themselves doing it long-term. This made me realize that it’s not just for those who will only try it for immediate financial reasons - AKA people who make a habit of flipping stuff whenever they need quick cash.
If you’re thinking about selling items on eBay for the long haul, you can refer to the site’s own best practices list to guide you. However, I thought of listing down five major takeaways from being an eBay seller, based on my own and my friends’ experiences. I hope this helps you!
1. Map out a plan
As with all business-related undertakings, you first have to have an organized system. Having a system in place will be like providing a backbone for all the things you need to do when you sell something. This includes doing research (looking at other eBay shops as pegs is a good start), choosing your listing format (are you going for a fixed price or allowing bids?), knowing which eBay seller fees to pay for each listing, and mapping out a schedule for shipping, pick-ups, photo shoots, preferred banking hours, etc.
If you feel like having a separate bank account, contact number or other details will work best for you, go ahead and set those up prior to selling. Use a calendar app, a virtual (or real-life) planner, and other organizational tools to keep track of what needs to be done on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis.
2. List down all the things you need for selling
At first, I thought that whatever gently-used or brand new items I have that didn’t need anymore can be easily featured on my eBay account without much thought, but I discovered that I need to do more stuff for me to become an effective seller. Making a list of the items is a good first step. Then knowing how much to price them requires either referring to the item’s price tag (if intact), and adjusting the price based on how long the item has been in your possession, plus its overall quality and rarity.
I learned that a good way to gauge your items’ value is to refer to eBay’s completed listings. If you want to get a fixed or base price for them, figure out the most common amount buyers have paid for a similar item (whether it’s brand new or slightly used).
3. Curate the stuff you’re going to sell
Based on personal experience, some of the best eBay shops I’ve bought from or have followed are those with specialized items. I would look for designer handbags from a trusted seller with great feedback on quality, communication, and delivery times. Or I would go straight to a shop specializing in carefully curated vintage jewelry or clothes because it just shows how much thought and pride have gone to sourcing out these items, pricing them, and getting the best pictures for potential buyers to browse through.
That’s not to say it’s not a good practice to sell a variety of goods in your shop, because some of the most interesting eBay stores actually offer a hodgepodge of items to attract a diverse clientele. In this case, it pays to categorize your items very well so that they will show up on searches. eBay will flag or suspend accounts that violate their categorization policies though, so practice caution during listing.
4. Specify your terms of service and buying guide
Now it’s time for the nitty-gritty, which involves coming up with terms of service and a buying guide for you and your clients. Doing this will protect your shop from fraud and a whole lot of wasted time while ensuring a smooth transaction with your clients.
Many buyers discourage “joy bidding”, which is when a potential buyer keeps bidding for a certain item but doesn’t follow through on payment (in case this happens, visit the eBay resolution center to guide you). You can include the requirement of having a certain number of positive feedback before a buyer can bid for your item, or list your items with a Buy It Now option because this requires that the buyer pays for the item before it’s considered sold.
It’s also wise to include a Returns policy because this will give your customers the idea that you’re a serious and honest seller. Just make sure to list down important details such as what conditions you will be accepting returns, and who will handle shipping fees in case of a return.
5. Promote, promote, promote!
Guess what? eBay actually allows users to share their listings on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter! If you have a dedicated blog for your items, you can also share your eBay link on it to promote your wares and get more mileage for what you’re selling. Other sellers take advantage of online platforms like Facebook Marketplace to increase potential sales, though you have to keep track of sales so you can update the different sites you use accordingly.
As I mentioned before, these are best practices based on what I’ve experienced as an eBay seller who makes a decent amount of money every month. It’s not a definitive list by a long shot, but I find that being an organized and thoughtful seller will go a long way in making you a favorite among repeat buyers. The right tools and apps also help.
Click to Zoom
Are you currently an eBay seller? Do you have tips on how to be an effective seller and make money from the platform? Please share them with us.
Last edited by a moderator: