There is something about kids going back to school and holiday decorations adorning store shelves that make me want to clean house. While many people follow a tradition of spring cleaning, I always find myself eyeing a pile of barely used items around my home during the fall season. This year I have found a plethora of purses, a few necklaces and even an eReader that has not been touched in over a year.
While I love putting together bags of health products, clothing and toys to donate; I also utilize online auction sites to clear out items and save money for those looming holiday shopping trips. I choose to sell items on eBay; since I feel that in most cases I can get the most exposure and bang for my listing buck.
When I began the process, I signed up for an account on eBay as well as one on PayPal that is linked to my checking account. Over the past few years, my online sales have been a journey steeped in trial and error. Now when deciding if something is worth selling on eBay, I always consider three things. First, I ask myself if I will be okay if this item leaves my home for the minimum amount that I set in the start of the auction. I then determine if the item I am selling is relatively easy and inexpensive to ship. Finally, I take into consideration the appeal of the item (i.e. condition, age and brand name) to potential buyers.
Before I list an item for auction, I always search to see if similar products are being sold. This way I can know the price point that others are setting, as well is amount that the item is actually selling for. I then try to list my item for a bit less than the competition. I’ve noticed that keeping the starting point low (I’ve listed a Pandora charm for a low as $1) makes buyers feel that the item is a great deal and worth watching. I also fight temptation to only list my item for a day or two, opting to give potential buyers 5-7 days to watch and ask questions about my item. It is hard to not feel anxious for those first few days, since most of the bidding takes place in the last 24 hours.
When the roles are reversed and I am the online shopper, I always immediately look at the shipping cost. I even seek out retailers with promotional codes and deals that will waive shipping. Because of this, I know that if a product is going to cost more than a few dollars to get to its new home, it is not worth listing. Imagine finding that coveted game system or pair of boots at a bargain price, but then scrolling down the page to find that what seemed like a bargain at $50 is going to cost you another $25 in shipping.
As buyers begin a search for a product online, they often start with the brand name. While I absolutely love my clothes and bags from discount stores, I have learned that it is often easier to sell a gently used brand name purse, than an equally attractive bag that does not have a recognizable name. This works the same way for most things from fashion to electronics. If applicable, I try to include details like size of the item, color and condition. Do not forget to be honest when describing the item. Like most things in life, selling items with ease for a profit will come with positive buyer feedback and trust of the online community.
I always try to include at least 2-3 vibrant photos that provide buyers with honest proof of the condition of the item. When photographing an item, I try to use my actual camera and position myself in well-lit room, where I can take a picture on a clean surface without other objects in the frame.
Better pictures make things sell for higher!! Learn tips on how to make more money on Craigslist or Ebay.
Anything else that is captured in the picture will remind buyers that the item is attached to another person and in turn detract from the sale. My usual listing includes a variety of details about the product. I often list how much it was used, the original cost, notable features that I think make the product great and the condition in which it was stored (i.e. in a box or in a smoke-free home.)
In the name of full disclosure, eBay can sometimes feel like a frustrating business partner, taking 7-13% of my earnings depending on the type of product that I am selling. However in these less than perfect economic times, they do try to incentivize sellers. Even as a person who only sells a few items a month, I am currently able to list up to 50 items without being charged a listing fee. I remind myself to not get caught up in eBay extras like pricier listings with bold font or extra-large photos, since all it does is pull extra money out of my pocket. If I feel that my listing needs a boost of exposure, I use my social media accounts for some free advertising. Tweeting (once or twice – no need to go overboard) about a product, allows like-minded consumers to know about a sale even if they aren’t perusing eBay. Over the past few years, I have sold items that have helped to set me up for a successful gift giving season that is a bit less stressful.
This article was written by WUC Contributor Nicole