One of the simplest ways to make money online is to sell your products on eBay. Hence, here at Potters Magical Money we want to give you some tips and advice in How to sell things on eBay to make the most money for the items you have for sale.
Whether you’ve just bought a job-lot of factory seconds that your looking to make a quick profit on or your simply clearing out your garage, loft or wardrobe, there is a customer out in the big wide world that wants that item and is willing to pay for it. By far the easiest and biggest platform to reach that customer is eBay.
Below is a step-by-step guide of How to sell things on eBay and effectively reach the 182 million potential customers for your item(s). After all to make money online, the first thing we need is a customer.
If you’ve never sold on eBay before, don’t worry! It really is quite simple.
We all want to make the most money possible for our things, so the pointers in this step-by-step guide will direct you along the right path to selling your things on eBay for the best possible price.
Step 1 – Create your eBay Account – Your shop window
Before you are able to start selling your things, you will need to create an eBay account, if you don’t already have one.
If you do have an eBay account but have only ever bought items, then you will need to set-up your selling preferences.
To create an eBay account. you’ll need to register and decide whether you want a personal or business account. The majority of us will initially start off with a personal account.
The official advice from eBay is that if you plan to sell casually, like selling items you no longer need or want, a personal account is the best option but to pick a business account if you want to sell large quantities, or have items that you’ve made or bought to resell. In reality the difference between the types of account can be a minefield, especially in the UK, due to the different fees based on your items category listing. By far the simplest account type to manage and understand, is the personal account and we recommend using this type, at least to begin with.
To create an eBay account:
- Navigate to the eBay.co.uk site.
- Select register to go to the registration page.
- If you want a personal account, then continue on this page otherwise choose Create a business account at the top of the page.
- For personal accounts, enter the required details and select Register Or use the Facebook or google links to register with those details.
- Now click ‘Sell’ at the top of any eBay page. Doing so will step you through all the steps required to list a product, including the initial seller registration.
- When entering your details for the initial seller registration, you will need to include telephone numbers, address and an automatic payment method (such as PayPal) for any eBay fees.
- eBay imposes selling limits, which are quite low on newly registered personal eBay accounts. Do not be fooled by the ‘1000 free listings’ advertising. It will take quite a while before you have built up a selling reputation that enables you to use this full quota.
Step 2 – Researching your Product – Determining your Price
Whilst we will all probably have an ideal price in our heads that we want for our things that we are going to sell, it is important to do a little research first to make sure that we are being realistic, not wasting effort and not undervaluing our items.
The simplest and most practical way of researching our things, is to use eBay to check how much your competitors are or have been selling similar items for.
- Use eBay’s standard search function to help you find similar current listings.
- Use eBay’s ‘Advanced Search’ function to help you find completed listings (previously sold items).
Time is money, as they say. Therefore, once you’ve determined your sales price, you should decide whether it is worth your time to list the item individually. Inexperienced eBay sellers will typically spend between 15 and 30 minutes to research, photograph and fully list the things they want to sell. Spending 30 minutes of effort to sell an item for a fiver is not really worth your while.
Therefore, we recommend, that if your selling price is going to be less than £30, rather than spending the effort listing the item on its own you should consider grouping items together or batching listing together.
Grouping items Together
This does NOT necessarily mean that you have to list all of your items together. There are 4 different options to group items together, which simply save you time and effort and therefore make it worthwhile to list your items.
- Group items together as 1 listing. This should only be done if the things you are trying to sell are related to each. i.e. baby clothes and/or baby bath set. This may result in reducing the individual selling price of your things, but saves time and effort whilst listing and dispatching and can also save your customer a considerable amount on postage, therefore making the items more attractive.
- Group the exact same items together and sell as a bulk quantity on auction (see step 5) This option usually results in you reducing the individual selling price of your things, but does save considerable time and effort in the listing process.
- Group the exact same items together and sell individually on auction (see step 5). This is done by using eBay s function to ‘list similar items’. You save considerable time and effort in creating the listings with such aspects as being able to use the same descriptions and photographs, but do not have to reduce the individual selling price.
- Group the exact same items together and sell the selected quantity (individually) as buy-it-now items (see step 5). You save considerable time and effort in that you only need to create 1 listings for all your exact same items, but are still able to sell them individually and therefore do not have to reduce the individual selling price.
Batching Listings Together
This is a method to save you time and effort when listing and dispatching your things.
- Select a time of the day/week when you can set some time aside to do everything together. Then in one-go gather all your things together, research them, photo them and list them.
- When selecting to auction (see step 5) your items, determine the best day that you will be available to package and dispatch your items. Then use the eBay function to set the start date/time of your listings to correspond so that the auction will end on the day you are available to package/dispatch them.
- When selecting to list your items as buy-it-now (see step 5), determine the best day that you will be available to package and dispatch your items. Then use the eBay function to set the start date/time of your listings and the eBay shipping options to state when your orders will be dispatched.
Step 3 – Setting Your Title and Description – Your USP
Your USP (unique-selling-point) on eBay is most definitely your title The majority of eBay searches result in listings where the search words are found in the title, therefore it only makes sense for you spend some time and effort in creating a title that will both be found by the eBay search facility and be attractive to your potential customers.
The eBay title length is 80 characters, and hence your title should fit within this constraint but also be as informative as possible.
The title should contain the make, exact model, size, colour, quantity (if bulk sale) and condition of the things you are trying to sell.
The eBay description for your things, should also not be under-estimated. Having a good description can lead to many more conversions from potential customers to real buyers.
The description should contain :-
- A repeat of the item’s title. Like other search engines, eBay’s search engine will use keywords to find the most relevant listing for the search input by your potential customer, therefore repeating the title will most likely identify your listing higher in results returned.
- An honest description. It is vital that you are honest, detailed and accurate about the thing that you’re selling, especially the condition. This way, your potential customers will know exactly what they are getting and you can expect a smooth, transaction from start to finish. Failure to provide a decent description will potentially result in questions (pre-sale) or complaints (post-sale) which will take time and effort to deal with and sometimes result in costing you money.
- The manufacturer’s description. When stating the formal product description, it is important to use the actual manufacturer’s description rather than any other company’s sell-on description. This way you cannot get into any trouble for misrepresenting the original product description.
- Any extras that you’re including. If your selling a used-item in its original box, then state it. All the extra’s you include (i.e. electrical leads) need to be stated as they potentially may add value to the sale and therefore result in a higher rate of conversions.
- Any extras that you are NOT including. This could be just as important, as it can prevent any disagreements at a later date. If your selling a battery-powered item without batteries, then state the batteries are not included.
- The product serial number. This is the one part of the description that is often missed out by many sellers, but simply including it could add value to the integrity of the sale or even save you lots of money later-on. Unscrupulous buyers have been known to return items and ask for a refund even though the item returned was not the actual item you sold. Stating the product number in the description can go a long-way to stopping this happening.
Finally, with regard to the Title and Description, the eBay specification should be completed as fully as possible. Completing the options for colour, size, condition etc will allow your item to be found when potential customers are using the filter functions within eBay search.
Step 4 – Photos – The First Impression
Presented on eBay, alongside your USP (your title) is your item’s photo(s). After a potential customer has been presented with a list of item’s that possibly match their criteria, the photo will often be the first impression they get of the thing your are selling. Therefore, it makes sense that the photos you take, need to be used effectively to sell your item.
On saying that, you don’t need to be a professional photographer with a top-of-the-range camera, and you shouldn’t misinterpret your true product description by glorifying your photos etc. Most mobile phones nowadays have the ability to take a good picture that can sell your item honestly.
Following these simple guidelines should enable you to show your item in the correct way and attract more potential customers directly to your listing.
- Display your item on a neutral background (preferably white) with no patterns etc to deflect away from the product.
- Ensure the photo is taken with good exposure / light with no shadows or reflections etc.
- Photographs should be clear (not blurry).
- A True Honest Picture. Do NOT Photoshop out any scratches etc.
- Take photographs of all sides of the item. i.e. from all angles.
- Take photographs of any extras that your are including with the item (i.e. box).
- Ensure all photographs are cropped to the product size. Maximise the space you have available to display your product.
- Ensure all faults/ scratches etc are shown in the photos taken, but do NOT over-emphasise them. i.e. take natural photos of the whole side(s) of the item.
- Include a photo of the serial number to prevent any ambiguity.
Step 5 – Choose Your Selling Format – Auction?
eBay has 2 principal selling formats which you can use. Either the ‘auction’ or the ‘buy-it-now’ option. Choosing which selling format you should use is important in trying to get the best price. The selling format you should choose will depend on the things your are trying to sell.
The Auction Option
If you are confident that the item you are selling is in reasonable demand and that the price you have determined is reasonable then the auction option is probably the best way forward.
The auction option allows you to excite potential customers with the thought of getting a bargain and utilise the free advertising that comes with the option. By setting the starting price low, the potential is for plenty of customers to show an interest is the item. Each and every eBay user that either follows or bids on the item is notified (for free) every time a bid is made or a mile mark is reached in respect of the auction period.
For products that are in demand, the likelihood is that a bidding war will occur and you will get the best possible price for your item.
By listing your items in batches (see step 2), you are able to be super-efficient when listing and dispatching.
We recommend, where possible that items are listed with a low start price (preferably £1) and listed for 7 days, from Sunday to Sunday evening. This enables you to utilise the whole weekend for your bidder notifications, the common time when most people are available online.
If your not totally confident of the item being in demand or have an absolute minimum price that you need to achieve, then you can always take the option of setting a start price equivalent to this minimum to prevent you losing out.
If you believe your item is not in high-demand and that you may struggle to get interest or you need to sell the item in a hurry, then the buy-it-now is probably the best way forward.
The buy-it-now option allows you to set an exact price for the item, ensuring you can not lose.
Whilst it doesn’t offer the excitement of bidder wars, or the free advertising involved in notifications, with a little of forward thinking and organisation you will still be able to gain from the efficiency savings involved by listing in batches.
Step 6 – Delivery Options – Cover your Costs
Whilst eBay does give you the option to list items for collection only or items where the price includes the delivery charge, this step really concentrates on setting a separate delivery cost. The majority of items you list will need to include a delivery option, as you really are promoting your items UK wide rather than locally. Only very large and/or expensive items can really sensibly be listed as collection only.
In respect of charging for delivery, whilst there are large companies that offer free delivery where their delivery cost is basically hidden inside the product price, it is far easier for smaller individuals such as ourselves to separate the product price from the delivery charge. The majority of UK customers still expect to pay a reasonable price for delivery.
The UK has the distinct advantage of being a reasonably small country in respect of area, and therefore postage costs are reasonably easy to calculate. Most courier companies deliver to 99% of UK for the same fixed price.Therefore, based on the weight and size of the item you are selling, find a suitable courier company and use their price as the basis of your delivery cost.
In addition to the postage/courier cost, you must also calculate and include the packaging cost within the total delivery cost.
Once you’ve calculated the total postage and packaging cost, within eBay set the ‘other courier’ economy (2 to 3 days) option and enter the value.
Once your item has sold you can try to reduce your actual delivery cost by :-
- shopping around for a delivery company that may be offering special offers or may be slightly cheaper for the specific area that you are delivering to
- keeping boxes / packaging from items you’ve had delivered online to re-use for your customers
- obtaining free boxes / packaging from local supermarkets or corner-shops to re-use for your customers
- keeping old newspapers / magazines etc to re-use as packaging.
Well Done – Sold For a Profit
Congratulations by following the above step-by-step guide of How to sell things on eBay, you should of either just sold your first item for a profit or at least be ready to go.
Remember there is effectively 182 million potential customers for the item(s) you post on eBay and so by being efficient and choosing the right options, you really can sell your items for the right price and make some real money online.
Hopefully here at Potters Magical Money, we have helped you along the right path to selling your things on eBay for the best possible price.
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Good Luck with your endeavours and please take the time to bookmark our site and come back for some more great money making ideas or tips.