For the umpteenth time, this morning I received yet another email from eBay offering me Top Tips for Selling Your Items on eBay. I don’t even read them any more. What may work for your business model might not work for mine. Perhaps offering free shipping to your buyers may work too, but sadly, it doesn’t for mine.
And what about adding a best offer feature to your listing or a sale? I may if I increased my starting price by 50% to allow for low ball offers, no matter how cheap my item was. And this doesn’t take in to consideration about how hard you’ve worked to show your items their best. This usually means laundering, steaming, photoing, measuring, answering questions, posting and dealing with after sale questions and feedback.
But there’s a few things I would impress you considered before you raid your home to earn a bit of extra pocket money (or wanted to make a business out of it).
- Be honest in every listing. I’d rather list all the flaws of my items to prevent disappointment and having to compensate ebayers for return shipping. If something needs dry cleaning, I tell them so too.
- Remember that not every eBayer reads. Any flaws would be best in bold red letters. And occasionally, people still don’t read that.
- Provide measurements for everything. Due to distant selling laws, sellers are legally required to provide a full refund on everything if return (eg, original p&p) which is why I avoid postng heavy items. And offering measurements is a great prevention for a bad fit. However, sadly there’s a small minority that will try to fraudulently return something under ebay’s “item not as described” to get postage back to return too when it should be under “didn’t fit”. If you know you’ve done everything you can to accurately list your item, then contact eBay before refunding as they may be trying to abuse the buyer protection scheme. I report them immediately to prevent it from happening to others.
- Don’t be overly colour specific. Most of us know what blue, purple and green look like for example, but if you start saying “navy blue”, “pea green”, “teal green” (or blue), then it can be up for debate. And debate could mean the item doesn’t match the description. If you can’t work out a colour, say why. Eg, if something looks blue or green, say blue/green. If there’s hints of grey to a blue, say grey with blue hues. If you’re convinced you’ve sold something black, but someone said the picture was green on their screen (fact), then speak to ebay before compensating return shipping. Offering full compensation for a quiet life may also send a message that you were in fact wrong and still lead to bad feedback. This does not mean don’t offer a refund whatsoever though.
- Take clear photos. Take them in good light, close ups of textures, flaws etc. Give ebayers a good idea of what to expect.
- Don’t list at 99p if you’d be unhappy if it sold at that. It’s annoying for the customer and wastes both your time. Set at the price you want on a free listing day or put a reserve on it as a safety net.
- Be fair with postage costs. Many people expect free shipping or don’t like paying a penny more than the shipping costs. You’ll be competing with ebayers who offer it to reach Ebay Premium Service programme. So it’s best to be fair with shipping, otherwise they may complain on your feedback page, even if you’ve charged a mere 30p more to cover the shipping and handling. True story.
- Free shipping may imply free returns. This may sound mad to you, but I have genuinely seen negative feedback given because ebayers expected free returns as it was free in the first place.
- Expect silly offers on Best Offer items. Personally I don’t think best offer works. Most people will offer 50% of the asking price. Perhaps the ebayer would have bought it without but you offended them by not budging on more than a pound. I used to find setting a higher price helped get the real price I want but do like playing games? I don’t.
- Forget low cost vintage or secondhand things as a business. You’ll spend more time cleaning, measuring and inspecting each unique thing that may sell for peanuts. Speaking from experience, sadly it’s not worth most people’s time unless it’s designer. This includes clothes, shabby chic furniture etc. And who isn’t shabby-chicing with Annie Sloan? Anyone can do it and that’s the problem.
- Think again before offering shipping abroad. You need to make absolutely sure your listing is accurate because if someone’s paid a lot of money for something not as described, then you need to pay for the return as well as losing out on the initial shipping costs. It’s safer to use ebay’s Global Shipping Programme. Listings still need to be right but it’s peace of mind that they take care of the shipping and tracking for you.
- It’s not a get rich quick scheme. Ebay and paypal fees aren’t cheap and you need to sell a LOT to make any decent money. It’s definitely been worth it in the past but for the last two years, I’ve seen many people moan on the ebay community that sales just aren’t the same any more. Perhaps more people are making do or mending? It’s just a thought for you.
*All tips are my opinions from experience and have reached 10,000 positive feedbacks
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