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Lean Tips – Clever Selling on eBay

Friday is tip day, here at The Lean Times. Today’s topic is how to make money with eBay. Last week, the tip topic was Clever Shopping on eBay, so with eBay you can save and earn money.

There are lots of people that use their brilliant taste to hunt down vintage items at charity shops, car boot and garage sales then sell these found items on eBay at a great profit.  Some of these thrifty shoppers made a nice little income from it.

I have made a list of tips to help if you want to embark on this type of venture or if you just want to get rid of the stuff hanging around your house.  Children’s clothes is a great thing to sell, so often your children are given gifts that don’t fit or they have a growth spurt and miss out on wearing a size so go dig in the closets and find some money.

1. Before you begin selling, you should research successful, similar items to get the best idea of  category and description to use.  If it worked for someone else there is a good chance it will work for you.

2. Take good photos – this is your main selling point in online auctions.  Use more than one if you need to show a detail or a fault. If you are selling something that you can get a manufacturer’s photo to go with one and one of your own to show integrity.

3. Make sure your auction gets the most visibility – if you think your item would sell well in the US or Europe or Asia, pay the extra fee to get it seen there.  Certain fashion items do well in other countries like Japan.

4. Postage – this is a tricky one that it could cost you a lot, so get a kitchen scale, weight your item and factor in the weight of the packaging. You don’t want to lose a percentage of your earnings on postage. Don’t ask for too much postage as you might lose a buyer if they think you might be taking advantage.

5. Timing is everything – think about when your target customer will be shopping. I find Sunday evenings a good time to list items as that is when a lot of people are at home and bored.  I also find Tuesday evenings quite good. If it is a particularly special item it might be worth doing a ten day auction, listing it on a Sunday so you will have two weekends to get bidders.

6. Utilize free listing days – listing an auction can be costly especially if your item has a high start amount so wait for Free Listings Weekends  – eBayUK is having a Free Listing Weekend this weekend 30th and 31st July 2011.

Happy selling!

If you have any other hints or tricks for selling on eBay please leave me comment.


6 thoughts on “Lean Tips – Clever Selling on eBay”

  1. When buying and selling clothes online, good photos mean everything. Photograph clothes on a real live model, rather than laying them flat on the bed – it makes all the difference

  2. That is a great point! I also think using a mannequin or tailor’s dummy works well too. Thanks for commenting.

  3. Love the tips Viviana! Thanks so much!

    I’d also say that pricing is super important- within your research, make sure you get a really good idea of price (and I mean the going price as opposed to the original price!) It’s amazing how many people over price on eBay!

  4. If you’re selling something like a TV, how about filming it to show it is all in working order, and then uploading the “evidence” (lol) to YouTube? For expensive items there’s often a burden of proof on the seller.

    You can embed videos I take it into your eBay listings page? I’ve used custom HTML but haven’t tried embedding flash video. I bet it would work.

  5. An interesting post. Louise and I have used eBay to buy (and then sell) learn-to-read books for the kids. It’s also useful for selling of baby equipment such as pushchairs and toys once they’re beyond being needed.

    Points that we’d add are …

    Make sure your’re entirely honest in your description of the item. If there is a scratch, a tear or a mark then tell people about it. People will understand if there’s reasonable wear-and-tear, but be furious if they think they’ve been mis-sold.

    Set your starting price lower than the level that you hope to achieve. You need to accept some risk that you won’t quite achieve your price aspirations in order to build up an auction. Buyers want to see competitive bids being placed and be part of an auction process. If an item sits there with no bids because its so tightly priced, people will be suspicious that it’s actually over-priced and will be reluctant to bid.

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