5 Tips for Selling on eBay

eBay is just one of several sites created to help you sell your unwanted items. Selling unneeded belongings can be an easy way to clear and reorganise your space and make a little money at the same time.

For anyone planning to sell on eBay for the first time, the website includes walkthroughs to help navigate the process. That said, as an eBay seller myself, I know there are pitfalls, tips and tricks I only discovered through experience.  Here are just a few of them!

Check Out “Sold” Prices

One thing many sellers do is search the website to see what asking prices others have set for a similar item. This gives a good idea of what asking price to set an item at. 

Tip! Take it a step further by using the advanced search option to filter sold items. I compare the condition of sold items to the one I intend to list to get a realistic idea of what my item will actually sell at. I ask myself whether I want the best price possible or simply to get rid it quickly and, with this knowledge, I price accordingly.

Know the Postage Costs

Royal Mail fees are based on a package’s dimensions as well as its weight so it’s not entirely straightforward. If you make the mistake of underestimating the postage charge, it can devour your profits!

I prefer to set asking prices with postage included as this is what I look for as a buyer. This means I must ensure all my fees are covered in my minimum asking price before I start counting my profit.

Tip! Prior to listing my item, I package it up as if ready for posting (there’s no need to seal it). I measure and weigh it and insert these figures into Royal Mail’s Price Finder or my chosen courier’s website to find their postage cost. This point also offers a good opportunity to compare carriers’ prices and study any restrictions they may have. 

Be Honest

If you’re a frequent shopper on eBay, you may well have received something that was not as described, e.g. an “as new” clothing item with an unexpected hole. A strength I like to harness as an eBay seller is this experience as a buyer. If I exaggerate the condition of an item or forget to mention its defects, chances are I’ll end up paying a refund.

Tip! I take my photos in natural, bright daylight. I’m sure to show and describe an item’s good features and any defects. The buyer should have a clear idea of what they’ll receive, good and bad.

List Job Lots

A quicker, simpler way to shift a large number of similar items is to sell them as a job lot. While the overall profit may be less (although this is certainly not always the case), there are a number of benefits to listing this way: I will have a single parcel to pack and ship, I will be able to bundle in less sellable items with the popular ones, and I’ll only have one transaction fee and one buyer to deal with.

Tip! If I’m listing different items of the same type in one lot, I always share relevant individual details in the description. For example, if I’m selling a bundle of films on DVD, I know buyers want to know the titles and region codes for each one. I mention the most popular items in the lot in the title.

Use a Fee Calculator

For each successful private sale, eBay takes a percentage of the sale price plus a percentage of any separate postage cost, otherwise known as the final value fee. Although eBay no longer promotes Paypal as the best way to pay, there is still an additional fee to the seller for the processing of payment. Simply put, in the most popular listing categories, eBay typically takes 10% of the sales price, 10% of any separate postage charge plus a 30p transaction fee. 

Tip! Fee calculators are the quickest way to work out what my final profit will be after all the above fees have been taken. Using a fee calculator helps me work out a minimum asking price that will cover all my costs and give me the kind of profit I’m after. It can also help me identify when selling an item won’t be worth the effort!

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