Want to make a killing on eBay? Or fancy having a clear out and making cash on the side? Maximise your sales with these smart tips.

Following on from our tips for buying on eBay, we thought we’d flip the coin and share our advice for those looking to declutter their homes and wardrobes and list their belongings for sale on the site. Will it make you a millionaire? Probably not, but if you’re seller savvy, you can have the double satisfaction of a spring clean, and a little pocket money on the side. Here’s how.

In It To Win It

When writing your item’s title, make it as descriptive as possible and do think in the terms that a buyer might search for. Obviously if you are selling a branded item, include that but also include colour, material, size and product type. For example: Anya Hindmarch large navy leather tote bag.

First Impressions

When taking images, clarity is key. Use natural light if you can and do show a variety of shots from all angles – full length as well as close-ups. Take pictures of any flaws and try and shoot with something in the image to show scale. It could be a coin if an item is small. If it is an item of clothing, it would preferably be shown on a mannequin or model.

Customer Is King

Be prepared to answer any queries about your listing promptly and courteously. Good communications will give any prospective buyer confidence and, consequently, they’ll be more likely to bid. Plus, once you do sell, you are more likely to get glowing feedback if you’ve been easy to deal with and have communicated well with your buyer.

Know The Lingo

Don’t go overboard as newbie buyers won’t have a clue what you are selling, but here’s a few of the common abbreviations used in listings to make you look like a pro:

BN: Brand new.
BNWT: Brand new with tags.
BNIB: Brand new in box.
BIN: Buy it now.
VGC: Very good condition.
NWOT: New without tags.
NWOB: New without box.
HTF: Hard to find.
NR: No reserve.
VTG: Vintage.

Price Is Right

Now, the old adage that ‘something is only worth what someone is will to pay for it’ could have been written for eBay sellers. Don’t get hung up on the original retail price of an item, nor the sentimental value. Do do your research (search eBay for similar items and look at ‘sold prices’ for accurate sums items have recently gone for). If you've got something with a barcode on it and want to know what it's worth quickly, simply open the eBay app, scan the barcode and it will immediately bring up the identical item so you can compare prices. eBay takes a flat fee 10 per cent commission, but do keep your eyes peeled for ‘£1 max final fee’ offers, where you can sell any item and never pay more than £1 in commission. Finally, end your bidding on a Sunday evening when traffic is at its highest.

That’s Your Lot

To auction or sell ‘fixed price’: that is the question. When listing your item, you will have to choose whether you want it to go to bids, in which case you will have to set the starting bid at the minimum price you are willing to accept for it, or put a reserve price on it. Auction bids with a modest starting price tend to end up for selling for more than those that have unrealistic starting bids, so bear this in mind when setting your price. Fixed price items generally take longer to sell, but the formula of a fixed price with a ‘make an offer’ option (where buyers can barter with you and offer a lower price) tend to attract higher overall sale prices.

Be Clear

Write a clear, honest, full description. Do not scrimp on the details, give full measurements, materials and details of any flaws or imperfections that a buyer would want to know before purchasing. Also be clear when creating your listing about how soon you can dispatch a sold item; what your returns policy is; and, if you are selling a number of items, do invite buyers to view your other listings to encourage multiple purchases.

Postage Priorities

Don’t guess P&P as many lazy sellers will often do. In turn, this will either lead to them getting bad feedback for overcharging (buyers can see how much you paid on the envelope), or will leave them out of pocket with unexpected costs. Re-using packaging is perfectly acceptable when sending out items (and more environmentally friendly). Just make sure it is well protected. Before you list, get yourself organised so once an item has sold you can pack, print address labels and send promptly. Keep your buyer up to date when an item is dispatched for extra brownie points.

Feedback Friendly

If you are starting out, you will have zero feedback which will make buyers nervous. A good idea is to buy a few items through eBay to build up a few good reviews (you are rated as a buyer AND as a seller) before you start selling. Also mention in your listing that you are a new seller: honesty is always the best policy.

By Lydia Mansi
March 2020


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Lydia Mansi

Lifestyle Editor

Lydia is an all-round lifestyle guru, tireless champion of women in business and our resident expert on beauty.