Whether you’re just looking to make some side cash or wanting to declutter your closet, selling items on eBay is a great option.
In an earlier post, I mentioned how I have been a casual buyer on eBay since 2007 and love every dwindling second of online auctions that I bid on – the adrenaline rush is real, people. Not to mention, I only buy clothing and accessories that I get for a good deal. Fast forward to 6 months ago, and I turned my attention to selling on eBay.
Why did I start selling on eBay? Quite simply, I had wayyy too many clothes in my closet, so I finally went through and decluttered it. Then I took my clothes to a few second-hand clothing stores and quickly realized that no consignment shop or second-hand retailer would give me a fair price for any of my barely used, on-trend clothes, which pissed me right off. No, Buffalo Exchange, I will not sell you my $80 last season ALDO flats for $3. Sick of being low-balled, I thought to myself, “You know what, I’m going to sell these clothes on eBay, and make more than anyone of these resellers are willing to give me.” And that my friends is exactly how I got started selling on eBay.
So what exactly does it take to sell your stuff? I was nervous to become a seller because I knew there was feedback for shipping costs/item description/quality/etc. and I didn’t want to receive any bad feedback! I scoured eBay’s website to find tips on how to sell and find this really useful article on how to get started selling. You should definitely read this guide if you want to become an eBay seller! Today I’m going to share my insider tips for how I am a 100% feedback seller (the best possible!).
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Pre-work: Take Clear Photos
You need to take photos of whatever you are selling so you can upload them to your online listing. Make sure the lighting is bright and natural. Because I mostly sell clothing items, I suggest using a clean background for the clothing item to hang or be placed flat. I use a nice wooden hanger to hang tops for photos. I also make sure the everything is lying flat and looks neat when taking photos; clothing that looks wrinkled seems old and doesn’t sell as well, I promise.
You should always take clear photos of the following:
- The overall front view of the clothing item
- The overall back view of the clothing item
- A close-up, zoomed in view of any special detail on the clothing item (embellishments, special buttons, etc.)
- The brand name and size tags
- The inside tag with material and clothing care instructions
- If applicable: a closet-up, zoomed in view of any defects or imperfections on the item
Therefore, each clothing listing should have at least 5 images uploaded. It doesn’t take long to get into a groove of setting up the piece of clothing and snapping the photos. It takes me less than a minute to take all the photos needed for each item I’m going to sell.
Write Detailed Product Listings
After you add the images of your item it’s time to describe exactly what it is that you’re selling. Be as detailed as possible to help buyers fully understand what it is they’re looking at. In my own listings, here’s what I write:
Note: For the sake of time, I do NOT post exact clothing measurements on each clothing listing that I post. This is the one thing I typically get asked by buyers – to provide the measurements of a certain item – but those requests are few and far between, so to me it’s worth the one-off measurements instead of taking a lot more time to take photos of the measurements for each item I’m selling.
Research Competitive Prices & Selling Formats
This might sound like a no-brainer, but I wanted to reinforce how important it is to do your research about pricing items on eBay. eBay offers 2 selling options – auctions and “Buy it Now” formats. An auction is where an item is up for bidding for a set amount of time like 5 or 7 days. In that set amount of time, buyers can bid on your item. I’ve realized that nothing really happens in auctions until the last day, so I started listing my items for auction for 5 days (it’s the shorter auction time that is free; if you want an item to be auctioned for just 1 or 3 days, then you have to pay an eBay fee. Read more about eBay fees here).
Since I am a pretty savvy shopper, I get most of my clothes for really good deals (clearance, coupons, online second-hand shopping, etc.). For auction listings, I start them at the minimum price that I’m willing to accept for the item. “Buy it Now” is different. This option is a direct buy option, so I set Buy it Now prices at the price I want to get for the item, which is different than the bare minimum I’m looking to get in auctions (I highly prefer selling through the Buy it Now option for this reason). Now that I’ve been selling for 6 months, I typically make anywhere between 35-50% back from my clothing item’s original price. A couple times I’ve made the same amount I paid for the item on sale and more, which was really exciting. #smallthrills
Like any other business, what your customers say about you matters. That’s seriously the only thing that matters on eBay. Be prompt and nice to people who are interested in buying your stuff! Download the eBay app on your phone so you can get notified when a potential buyer has sent you a question.
To show thanks to my customers, I print out a thank you note and place it in the shipping envelope. I always make sure to write their names in my own handwriting to show them that yes, I am a person, and yes, I value their business. Here’s my thank you note template:
Weighing Clothing & Mailing Options
You really don’t know how much clothing weighs until you have to know for shipping purposes. When I was getting started with shipping items, I used this website to help set my clothing weights for my eBay listings which has worked out well for me. Because I sell mostly clothes, First class mail is where it’s at! It’s the cheapest option for shipping items 13 oz. and under, which my tops and workout clothes are all under. Jeans, coats, and sweaters are going to weigh more than 13 oz. I recommend using a USPS flat-rate legal-sized envelope to ship these items if they’ll fit. All the jeans, work pants, and sweaters (thinner fabrics) that I have sold have all fit nicely into the flat-rate legal-sized envelopes.
I am about to invest in this small food scale to start actually weighing all of my clothing items before I list them, although my weight estimates have been within ounces of the actual weight!
Print Shipping Labels From eBay
eBay offers some great discounts for buyers if you choose to print shipping labels through the site – seriously, just do it.
Use Great Packaging
What’s the best packaging option for shipping items through First-class mail? I personally use these green poly mailers that hold up great (I’ve had no complaints about them ripping or getting destroyed in the mail), and you get 100 for $12 – can’t beat it! Plus, who doesn’t love getting a bright-colored package in the mail?! I always make sure to use this clear Scotch shipping tape to ensure the shipping label is secured and to seal the poly mailer or any other shipping envelope that I use. Tip: Only use clear tape when securing the shipping label – other tape may obscure the shipping addresses and barcode.
Finally, you want to send out your items sold as quickly as possible. I give a 2-day handling time, but I almost always ship the item within 1 day of the item selling unless I am physically unable to (out of town, working late, etc.). To date, my best feedback is about super fast shipping time!
Giving & Getting Feedback
The good ‘ole f-word again. I know a lot of sellers won’t give their buyers feedback until they’ve received the item and all is well, but I typically give feedback as soon as the buyer pays. It’s just faster for me to do it this way. In my thank you note, I make sure to ask my buyers to leave me feedback, and to ask me any questions that they have before leaving feedback. If a buyer hasn’t left me any feedback and it’s been a decent amount of time (1-2 weeks), I will directly message them and ask them nicely to leave me feedback based off of the product they received. It’s worked out pretty well for me so far.
Whew, that was a lot of eBay selling tips! I hope you have found this as a useful resource for getting started selling on eBay and earning that 100% seller feedback we’re all striving for. What other eBay seller tips have you read about or have questions about? Ask in the comments below.