Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why (and How) I Sell On eBay

I began selling on eBay over the summer when we had decided for sure that I would be going to school full-time.  After deciding not to shop for the next year last winter, I resolved that I would spend the year purging my closet of all the things I didn't actually wear over the course of the year.  I figured that if I didn't wear something in a whole year with no new clothes, I never would.  Once I started cleaning out my closet, I couldn't get enough of it.  I realized how overstuffed my closet was and how many clothes I wasn't wearing or didn't even remember I had.  It was actually embarrassing to think how long I had gone on with so many things I didn't need.  But now I'm off the subject - why I began selling on eBay.  (For more on my year without shopping, which is drawing to a close, read here.) 

I decided to try selling my clothes on eBay because it seemed a shame to just get rid of all of my clothes and things in perfectly good condition go to waste.  I decided some would go to Salvation Army or Goodwill, and others I would try to sell.  Anything that was faded, outdated, or in bad shape got thrown away.

Selling on eBay is not nearly as difficult as I had anticipated it would be, especially if you have a Paypal account and a digital camera.  Yet after a few listings, I realized that I had to learn how to really sell my things to attract the most interest.  I did a little research and learned a few tips along the way.  I am sharing these tips to help those of you who already sell but want to attract more viewers and interest in your items, or to help those of you who haven't thought about selling your clothes be encouraged to give it a try!  Most of all, if you decide to go for it, don't get discouraged.  If worse comes to worse, you can donate your things to a good cause and try again with something else.  

Find sellers who are offering similar items successfully and take note of what they do.
I found the most helpful tips by observing fellow bloggers who sell on eBay and other sellers who were selling similar items and getting them sold at a good price.  This is what I noticed these sellers had in common:
  • They listed brand names first then followed with simple details such as size, color, and fit.  They didn't add lots of gimmicky phrases or describe how great it was, they gave the brand name and details that someone would be looking for in a quick search.
  • If it is an expensive item, include the original price in the title.  This will grab people's attention and increase the likelihood that they will click on your listing to find out more. 
  •  In the description, be honest about any flaws with your product, but also make a point to minimize them in comparison to the overall condition of the item.  I noticed that items were still selling if the sellers honestly mentioned any flaws in the item's description, but the sellers made a point of minimizing the flaws.
Feature a great picture - but you only need 1 or 2.  You don't need to have lots of pictures (this costs more) to sell an item - you just need to have a good, clear picture (or two) that shows the item's condition and a good angle.  Hanging your clothes up against a solid background is a simple way to make your pictures look more professional.  If you need to, iron the item and use a tape roller to get any dust or lint off of it.

Advertise your listings on your Facebook wall, your blog, or via your Twitter account.  Simple as that!

Offer reasonable shipping costs, even if they're less than it actually costs to ship it.  (Don't go too low though...)  Many browsers look for reasonable shipping when comparing items to buy.  Often people will be willing to pay a little more for an item if the shipping seems reasonable.  Buyers are also willing to wait a little longer for an item if the cost is not ridiculous.

Be honest about the handling time.  I learned this the hard way.  I tried to have a turnover rate of 1 day for shipping sold items, but I realized this often was hard to do.  I've found 2-3 days of handling time to be more realistic.  If an item gets sent out any earlier, the customers are thrilled that it came earlier than expected, which can only be a good thing!

Pay the extra 70 cents for delivery confirmation when shipping a package.
Buyers really, really appreciate having shipping information to track their item as it's shipped.  This is a small extra cost to pay for a happy customer!  It is simple and relatively quick to upload the tracking information on eBay. 

Give eBay a shot, and good luck selling!


  1. I want to try ebay and similar stores (since I'm not from the States) because I'm moving and I want to get rid of as many things as possible. thanks for the tips! and I really like your blog. :)

  2. Thanks Masa, I appreciate it! I'd encourage you to go for trying eBay - it's worked well for me so far!