I have been successfully reselling on eBay for 11 years now and I get asked questions all the time about it, so I wanted to share some helpful tips that can help one to get started in this, what can be, lucrative business.
Here’s my store if you want to check me out: Jewellsboutique
Like most businesses, the more you work at it, the better you will do. Throughout the years, I have had lulls here and there, depending on what is happening in life, and as soon as I start putting work back into it, the profits begin to rise.
Whether you are thinking about doing some spring cleaning around the house or you are looking to start a new business venture, these tips will help you as a beginner eBay seller
1. The first thing you need to do is set up an eBay account. eBay is pretty user friendly and they have an app that you can use on your phone. Here is a good place to get started. https://www.ebay.com/help/account/account-getting-started/setup-verify?id=4191
I do not recommend subscribing to a store right away. I didn’t have a store until I was a few years into it. Some of the benefits of having a store include, getting more free listings, saving on final fees, boosting traffic, having the ability to put your store on vacation and more. When you get to the point that you are listing a lot of items and you have steady sales then maybe you should consider a store, but it is not necessary to have one.
2. Once you have your account all set you need to decide what you are going to sell. I started with just selling things right from my closet. I remember making sales and then looking for more things around the house to sell. Once I ran out, I started to thrift and resell. This became my passion. I have found so many amazing things over the years that I have sold for a great profit. I also have sold a lot of “bread and butter” items that don’t make a whole lot but they keep your store going, plus, I have found that when you make a sale it may help the algorithm because when I make a sale I usually end up getting more sales immediately following that sale. I have learned to buy unique items, things you can’t just find anywhere, even strange or odd or well known brands. That is what sells best. Don’t just pick what you would buy. Think outside the box…It amazes me what people will buy.. I bought a pair of worn out Nike Tennis Shoes from the 70s for .50 and sold them for $100. I still can’t get over that one!
List as many things as you can! The more listings you have, the more you sell! I try to keep at least a couple hundred items in my store at all times. It takes awhile to get there but once you do, keep it going. Also, list regularly. I try to list at least one item per day. It helps keep you at the top…list, list, list!
3. Listing an item. The best way for me to explain is how I do it. First, I make sure the item is clean and wrinkle free. Who wants to buy a wrinkled, dirty item? Not me. I try to imagine if I was looking at the item to purchase. I sell mostly clothing, it’s my niche. You may sell something different, still, make sure it looks presentable. I use a mannequin, I have an assortment now, but when I started, I just used the hanger the clothes were hanging on. Make sure you have a clean background. Don’t have stuff in the background, think about when you are shopping online. What do you want to see? You want the attention on the item. You can just use a plain wall or do a flat lay on a piece of fabric but make sure it looks pleasing to the eye. Photos are very important! Show the item from various angles. If there are flaws, show them. You don’t want a case opened against you. You want to build great reviews, that’s how you get more sales! You want to present the item as it is. Use great lighting. If you don’t have a light kit, use a window. Make sure photos are clear and bright.
Create an accurate description. This is super important. This is what draws traffic to your listing.
In the title you want to use the 80 characters to describe what the item is. Don’t just say “blue dress”, put the brand, gender, size, color, what it is in the title. Ask your self, if I was googling this item, what would I put in the search bar because that is what everyone is doing.
In the description box add key words that people may search for. Put the measurements there. Disclose all flaws in the description, super important! When I buy things to resell I make sure they are great quality and free of flaws unless they are a rare item. I’m obsessed with getting 5 star reviews!
4. Auction or Fixed Price? I rarely do auction. Only pick auction if you have a rare or highly desirable item, and even then be careful, you may get burnt. I am content with listing my items at a fixed price.
5. Pick the most appropriate category for your item. I sell a ton of vintage items. I always make sure they go in the appropriate vintage category.
6. Offer competitive pricing. Research your item. Look it up on eBay and see what others are pricing theirs at. You can also filter what items like yours have sold for. Someone could be pricing a blue dress for $100 but that doesn’t mean it will sell for $100. Check the “sold” category…it may have sold for $20.
7. Shipping… you can offer free shipping, flat rate shipping or calculated shipping. I do all three depending on what the item is. Generally, if it is less then 1lb, I will offer free shipping. When you offer free shipping, you are responsible for paying. I have been doing this so long that I can estimate what it will cost so I will add a couple of bucks into the price to help equal it out. If you choose flat rate, there are free boxes, both flat rate and regular priority boxes that you can get from the post office. You can get them delivered right to your house from the USPS website. Make sure you use the right box with the right label. You don’t want to use a flat rate label on a regular priority box or it will come back to you. I use flat rate for heavier and will fit in the boxes to save me or the buyer money. If you use calculated shipping, make sure you know what the item plus the package you ship it in weighs. You will need a shipping scale. You can put the info in the listing and depending on where it goes, eBay will calculate the cost for you. You will get a discount when you buy shipping labels from eBay vs. the post office.
8. Once your listing is complete, wait for the sale. If you have done all of the above, you should have no problem making the sale. Sometimes, I go in and if an item hasn’t sold in awhile, I will tweek the listing and adjust the price.
Cha-Ching! If you are using the phone app, you will get a “cha-ching” sound when you make a sell and let me tell you after 11 years it is still as exciting of a sound that it was on day one!
So, what now?
9. Ship your item! Don’t delay, people want their items…First, carefully package your item. Again, think about how you would like to receive an item. Do you want a wrinkled blue dress wadded in a ball and thrown in a bag? I don’t. I choose to fold the item nicely, wrap it in tissue and add a thank you business card. If it’s a hard good item, use bubble wrap to protect it. Make it look nice. You do not have to do this but these little touches will send you repeat customers…Weigh your item. You will need a printer to print your labels. I used a printer for years, it works fine. I now use a Dymo 4XL printer, it saves a ton on ink over the years…worth it!
After you purchase your label, print your label, affix it to your package and drop it off at the Post Office or you can even have the mailman pick it up. USPS wants you to ship the item the same day that you print your label, especially for Priority shipments. Once the item is scanned into the system you and your customer can track it.
10. Payment. When you set up your eBay account, you will set up your payment. eBay pays out daily. Whatever you sold that day gets sent to your checking account. I have a separate account set up just for this so I can keep track. You will have a monthly fee, yes you have to pay eBay for using their services. The fee differs depending what you sell and for how much. The fee will be withdrawn from your checking account, this is why you have to keep track. You can see your fees on the eBay seller hub. Your shipping fees will also be withdrawn. Once you sell a few items you should be able to figure out a system that works for you and it will flow. It’s all completely secure. I’ve done it for years with no issues. If you are planning on selling more then just getting rid of a few items around the house, you will need to think about paying taxes. I am no expert in that area so I won’t give much input but if you are making money you will need to pay taxes. I would recommend doing research in that area for yourself.
Here is a list of items you will need to get started:
- Merchandise (the obvious)
- Packing supplies. I buy shipping bags from Amazon, they come in lots of sizes. I use them for clothing. USPS Priority boxes. If your clothing is over 1lb, there is an amazing free envelope you can get from USPS called the Tyvek envelope. I get them delivered in bulk! Holds a lot and waterproof. I also collect various size boxes from things I get shipped to me and the packaging in the boxes, bubble wrap, peanuts, air pillows etc. Be green, reuse, recycle.
- Packing tape
- Bubble wrap, tissue paper, packing paper etc.
- Printer or label maker
- Shipping Scale
I hope to do a part two to this soon. There is so much more info I can provide but I think this will help you get your start. Happy Selling!!!