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How to Become a Successful eBay Seller

How to Become a Successful eBay Seller
Written by Oana Schneider

In case you decided to post your items on eBay and sell them like that, there are a few things you should know. First of all, a percentage of your profit will go to the website (based on the price of your items, the amount of sold units and so on), everything you sell will be carefully tracked by the IRS and making yourself visible in the search engine is going to be a real challenge.

Without further ado, this is how to become a successful eBay seller in 10 steps:

1. Post great pictures.

First of all, everybody complains about the products being different from the pictures, so ask a friend who happens to have a great camera to take good pictures.

Post pictures for every color and size of your merchandise and try not to alter anything: if they are chipped, take a picture of the chip and mention this fact.

Also, you may want to make sure that all the pictures are the same size, style and that you don’t abuse filters. No blurry, dark or extremely small pictures or you risk not being noticed and in business this is a disaster!

2. Insert a detailed and honest description of your items.

Here’s what your description should contain: what the product is made of, where it’s being produced, take measurements and be truthful about the size, mention if there are any dents.

You may also want to add a small paragraph at the end of every description to really introduce yourself as a seller and your company, tell people what kind of services you provide, where you’re located and what your company’s policy is.

3. Offer deals and discounts.

Most eBay sellers don’t do this or, if they do, they come up with discounts that never happened in the first place. But you should be honest about this.

If you have a top selling product that costs $20 and one that’s not going very well, priced at $5, you could ask $23 for both of them and call it a day. Yes, you’ll lose two dollars on this deal, but you’ll sell all your merchandise and be able to bring in new items or produce something else that sells better. Fortunately for buyers all over the world, the eBay market is dictated by the demand.

So if people are looking for clothes, you can’t really sell them potato shaver, unless you put them together in the same package and give a small discount. This procedure is called over-selling, when you are selling people more of the same kind of item or a completely different item that is linked to the one they’ve been looking for.

4. Advertise on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

The good thing is that you can create a few social media accounts that are for free, but require your attention. Set up a Facebook page for your business, invite both clients and friends to like it, post something fun about your business and try to show customers that your company is not only a great manufacturer but also a very interesting place to work.

Do the same thing for Twitter, send tweets about your products and fun facts and ask people to join the conversation. On Pinterest you can setup an account and post as many pictures of your products as you want, add a link to your eBay store in the description and be consistent about sending out tweets, posts and pins.

5. Add a small present.

There was this fabric company that always added a tiny scissor necklace with their packages and tied a red ribbon around the fabrics people ordered, which truly made everything look classier and heartwarming.

If you have regular customers, you can invest in greeting cards and send them to their address around holiday season or around their birthday (if you really have a good database that allows you that).

If that idea is too expensive, how about a coupon code every now and then? Or how about a phone call? It only takes a minute to say “thank you for being our customer” and the effects are great! You can bet they’ll tell all your friends about your gesture! In a way, being a good eBay seller has a lot to do with being a kind person and a smart businessman.

6. Be up to date with what’s going on.

Yes, keep in mind that people appreciate discounts on Christmas, Easter, Mother’s Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and every other holiday in the American calendar. In January, write everything down on a piece of paper, from the estimated sales to discount percentage and everything you can offer.

This way, you’ll know just how much money you have coming in, without putting everything together last minute, like some sellers do and then are surprised to see their marketing campaigns failing. Don’t be like that, keep track of everything, raise the prices twice a year by 2-10% and offer clever discounts that don’t jeopardize your business.

7. Set realistic prices.

Before establishing prices, just take a look at what other people are doing on eBay, checkout their prices and reviews. Of course, we all want to make a lot of money, but if your prices are unrealistic you won’t be able to sell anything. And if you do, that person is going to find out in the end and give you a bad review. If you’re selling t-shirts that generally go for $10, you can go as high as $12.

You probably noticed that the same dress retailers for different prices on eBay but nobody wants the highest price, obviously! Curiously enough tough, nobody wants the lowest prices either because a lower price usually means the product doesn’t look like the picture or the shipping takes months.

So always choose the average price and try to emphasize your honesty as well as possible. This way, out of all the other sellers, you’ll be the only one picked by the potential buyer.

8. Don’t denigrate other sellers.

That is the worst kind of advertisement: saying something bad about your competitors doesn’t make you better, it only makes you immature. Instead of saying “My products are better than his”, try going with “probably the best products you’ll find” and raise above mean comments.

Usually, there is a silent war going on between people who sell the same merchandise, so be prepared for a dirty fight! They’ll probably try and steal your photos, setup a fake account in your name and draw negative reviews in your name.

9. Expand your business gradually.

If your eBay business is going well, how about opening an online store? You will need a web designer and someone to take orders, but since you’re expanding, that’s well-spent money!

Don’t try to expand if your capital is still shaky or if you have a massive bank loan, mortgage and so on. Unless you are going for something small, of course, a small number of products and other things that you can manage yourself with the help of your family, maybe.

10. Get a great agreement with a shipping/delivery company.

This might cost you a bit, but it will make customers really trust you. For this, you’ll have to keep in touch with the shipping company constantly, create a database with all your orders, customers, receipts, and the list goes on. If you’re not a very organized person, you will soon become one, for sure! Also, don’t leave anything out of your tax return and be honest about your business.

Follow these 10 steps and you’ll become a successful eBay seller and be able to expand your business in a short amount of time. It’s all about communicating your product, establishing durable relationships with your customers and that magic touch, whether it’s a small gift or a marketing strategy, make people feel good about your products and the money will come!

About the author

Oana Schneider

Oana Schneider is a published author located in Chicago, Illinois, who currently works for DontPayFull.com as a communication specialist and blog editor. She writes about lifestyle, family budget, has a degree in Communications and advocates for women’s rights. Her future plans include getting a Labrador and losing a few pounds.

10 Comments

  • All great tips. Pictures are really the key to selling items successfully. People want to see detail in every picture. It is also helpful to have a high feedback percentage. I personally do not like to buy anything from a seller who has under a 96%. If you sell enough items and are considered a top rated you get quite the discount as well. I liked your advice on setting realistic prices. The lower the price is, the more action you will have on it.

    • You can definitely sell a lot more items by pricing them well. In fact, you can even undercut the competition to lock down more sales. However, you always have to keep in mind your profit margins, and too many discounts or low prices can really hurt your bottom line over time if you’re not paying attention.

  • Everything but number five should be followed by eBay sellers today. It makes no sense to send a greeting card around the holidays to your buyers, unless you’re including it with the package by default. You shouldn’t go out of your way to include such things because eBay buyers care far more about simply getting their packages than receiving a card. It doesn’t benefit the sellers in enough ways to make sense.

  • I’ve always wanted to become an eBay seller, but the concept of people who could lie and say they’ve never received the item, really troubled me. I know for sure that if I would open an eBay store, I would only sell tracked items with shipping fee because I want to guarantee that the item did actually arrive without any problems. I think everyone should think about it. I also think these are great tips, thank you for them.

  • These days on eBay what buyers would call reasonable prices comes to about $1 per hour for hand made goods, sometimes even less. I gave up because of the competition from China. I can’t sell a hand knit baby cap that took me all afternoon for $5 with free shipping.

  • I have learned so much! From #1 through 10 doable tips! Thank you. I’ve been thinking of doing eBay as a seller who believes and practices honesty. But I do not know how to set up. So, I haven’t moved up to Step #1.
    I also wonder if I can be a distributor of products at eBay? #9 “Expanding… ” is some business venture I am encouraged to envision my eBay should be.

    • So, easy to set up Ebay just go to their website and follow instructions. Sure you can be a distributor of products. Do your homework and see what is selling on ebay

  • Fantastic tips! Well, description and a good photograph resonate well with me. An honest description and correct specification will establish you on eBay. Combining items for a reduced price is a good strategy, albeit an old one, but still holds water. Using social media gives a good advertising to your products. A lot of research is needed in the pricing mechanism, though. As with any other job, one must persist with it to see results.

  • I can’t place enough emphasis on the importance of a good picture. The difference may lie in whether you make that sale or not. So make the product look very good, get some proper lighting and make sure you have a camera that gives you the necessary editing options. People generally buy what they see and if that is the product is all about, then that should be the focus.

  • I do sell on eBay occasionally, and also shop there quite a bit, as do my friends. These are some great suggestions, and I’d only add a few. There is a way for buyers to limit their searches to those offering free shipping, so if you want to be seen by more people, that’s one way to go. Also, many shoppers in the U.S. don’t want to wait forever for a package to arrive from across the world, so it’s good to state where you are located.

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