Selling on eBay – Your questions answered….

selling on ebay

Hands up those of you who have used eBay at some point to sell your unwanted things?  If you haven’t, you’re missing out on an easy way to make some extra cash!  I wrote a guide to using eBay before Christmas as a guest post on the lovely Melaina’s Transatlantic Blonde blog and I’ve also mentioned eBay on here a few times so I often receive e mails and tweets asking me questions about how to use eBay to sell unwanted items and make some extra money.

The most common questions are below with my answers but if you have any other questions (or answers), please feel free to let me know in the comments and I’ll update the post….

How do I sell items on eBay?  It really is easy, I promise.  I use the eBay app on my iPhone usually but I also list using the main site on my laptop.  I prefer the app as you can take a picture of the item on your phone as you’re listing it which saves me a bit of faffing about.  You can register for eBay here if you haven’t already and you’ll also need a Paypal account which you can register for here.

When you click on ‘Sell’, you are taken through the selling process step by step by eBay and there’s little I can add here other than to say make sure you have a great title and photo of your item.  The best titles are the most specific and descriptive ones.  You’re limited with the number of characters you can use so it’s also a good idea to use some of the well known eBay abbreviations:

  • BNIB – Brand new in box
  • BNWT – Brand new with tags
  • BIN – Buy it now
  • VGC – Very good condition
You’ll find that an item with the description ‘BNWT Girls Next Red Velvet Party Dress, Aged 10’  will usually sell better than ‘Lovely red dress for 10y/o, brilliant for parties and special occasions’ as you’ve included more search terms in the first title.

Also, don’t forget that there are charges involved in selling on e bay – you can read more about them here.

How much can I charge for postage?  As you know how about how much your item is going to weigh, you can check the Royal Mail price finder site to see how much it’s going to cost you to send the item.  You can also factor in the charges you will incur from eBay and Paypal and also the cost to you to package the item safely but a word of warning, people may be put off bidding if you charge too much.

Do I use the Auction or Buy it Now option?  I tend to only use the buy it now option for higher priced items  that I have a set price in mind for.  I prefer the auction option for most items as I think people often pay more than they would if they saw the buy it now price because they get caught up in a bit of a bidding war if someone else wants the same item.

What happens after I’ve sold something?  When a buyer wins one of your auctions, they will receive an e mail telling them that they’ve won and giving them a link to follow to make their payment by Paypal.  Paypal is the most common method of payment as it’s so easy and convenient.  Paypal take a small percentage of the payment amount which you can read about here but basically for payments up to £1500 they will take 3.4% + 20p for each transaction.  You will then receive an e mail to say they’ve paid and providing you with their address to post the item to.  I try and do this as soon as possible but certainly within 3 days of receiving the payment.  I always us a tracked method of postage in case the buyer doesn’t receive the item.

When the buyer receives their item, they will have the opportunity to leave you feedback, either positive, negative or neutral although strangely, you can only leave them positive feedback.  Your feedback profile can be viewed by prospective buyers so the better it is, the more confident they will be in bidding on your items.

What will sell well? There’s no hard and fast answer to this one but you can use eBay Pulse to see what the current top search terms in each category are.  For example, if you select the home and garden category which is one that I often use, you can see that the most popular search terms in this category today are Next, Laura Ashley, Ikea and John Lewis.  If you  do the same thing in the clothing category, the most popular search terms today are Karen Millen, River Island, Topshop and Dress.  This shows you that people search for named items more than anything else so if you have any branded items then they’re more likely do sell well.  This is only a general guide though as unbranded goods still sell and often sell for good prices.

From experience, new items sell better than used items and harder to get hold of items sell for more than everyday items – it’s all common sense really, isn’t it?

Can I sell something that isn’t working?  Yes, you can sell items that are damaged or not working as long as you are clear about it.  I make sure that if I sell something that is not 100% I add ‘Spares or Repair’ and that I list exactly what is wrong with the item in the description.  If possible, I take extra pictures of the fault as well to include in the listing.  You’d be surprised at what people buy – we sold a first edition ipod not long ago that wouldn’t even turn on.  I presume people either fix them and sell them on or that they use the parts for something else.

What’s the best way to sell clothes? As a parent of two fast growing children, I often use eBay to sell children’s clothes.  I find that particularly nice or branded goods (usually bought from eBay in the first place) sell better individually but I sell any other clothes in small bundles.

Make sure your bundles are the same type of clothes in the same size. People are less likely to bid on a bundle that includes a Winter coat and a pair of shorts for example but if you bundle a few pairs of shorts or trousers together then you’re more likely to get more bids.  It’s also not a great idea to sell Winter clothes in the Summer and vice versa.

For those of you who already sell on eBay, I apologise as you will probably have known everything above and more and I’d love to hear your top tips for selling on eBay.  If you haven’t used eBay before to sell your unwanted things and to make some extra money before, I hope this has helped you a little and if you have any extra questions, leave me a comment and I’ll add to the post shortly.

Saturday is Caption Day....
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  1. Emma rose says

    I started selling clothes and bags, some have been mine (ok ok most have been bought becoming a frugal parent)but I also trawl the charity shops and have found great items that have sold well. Like you say above things that are next,Laura Ashley,Boden type sell well, I also donate a lot of items to charity shops so do not feel like I am stealing from their fundraising.

  2. rationingrevisited says

    MrC sold his limited edition doc martins on EBAY recently, made a nice bit of £££ which was recycled into some new wardrobe items. We also sell our old DVDs, CDs, Games and Books on (you set your own price) …. which is better than allot of the online places that claim to give you the best price. We've made just over £90 selling my old limited edition SIMS 1& 2 games (was a collector in college). Thats a nice addtion to next years holiday fund 😀
    Goes to show every bit counts 😀 Also show one mans tat … etc etc


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