My Top 10 eBay Selling Strategies

1. Research before you buy – don’t get too excited yet.

Just about anything sells on eBay at one point or another.  BUT there are products that sell better…MUCH better.... and there are products that people want to buy and can't find (or can't find enough of).  In order to succeed in you eBay business you need to sell a product that has high STR (Selling Through Rate).  These products are like the magic pixie dust that is sprinkled on the REAL moneymaking eBay sellers!  Ask yourself what are those magical products? Which products create HOT eBay listings?

Research before you buy, only buy those products that will sell quickly and doesn’t have to wait on your shelves for months.  Remember sooner you sell something the sooner you will have money coming in to re-invest into your business.  Know what you are buying.

There are many research tools available on the Internet to find out hot selling products on eBay, some are free and some will cost you a bit of money.  Use these tools and take advantage of them.  One great tool I use is eBay Pulse, it gives me up to date information and it’s free.  So check it out… go ahead... it doesn’t hurt to try.

2. Auction Title – select the best key words

Choose keywords to describe your items and use them in the heading and body of your listings. People can choose to search according to heading (title) or by checking body text too, but few remember to check the box to include this second option.

Most people will find your product by either going directly to category listings and clicking through to their appropriate sub-category or, most likely, by simply keying words to describe the item into eBay’s search tool. This means if your title does not include those keywords your listing will be missed.

Check what keywords are most common when people search for items like those you are listing by going to (or .com or other) and continue through the sub-categories until your product type appears. Now check the most commonly keyed search terms at the left of the screen.

Alternatively, go to ‘Advanced Search’, top right of screen and on the next page use keywords to describe your item and tick the ‘Completed Auctions’ box. From the results choose ‘Price: Highest First’ to locate similar items, check the keywords used in the heading on which to model your own. Be careful not to breach eBay’s stringent rules on ‘Keyword Spamming’.

3. Item Description – fine tune every bits of information

Be clear and accurate when describing your item.  Don’t give false or irrelevant information.  Be honest and if the item you are selling has any defects provide relevant information, remember you don’t want unhappy customers at the end of the transaction.  Include any and all identifying characteristics and features, including the item’s condition, when it was made, and any flaws. Try to anticipate questions potential buyers may ask and address them in your descriptions.

How you describe your goods is vitally important to your chances of making a little or a lot of money from every listing on eBay.  Your listing comprises not only words used in the title and body text; it includes layouts and colours, too, as well as fonts, size of text, even the length of sentences and paragraphs.  Avoid using too much text and when providing technical information about your product use tables and bullet points to display this information.  Keep paragraphs short and always with a gap between them

Avoid using flashy backgrounds, animations and sounds as this could annoy your customers and may also hide important information displayed on the page.  Sounds and animation will distract buyers from reading relevant information on the page.

4. Take Pictures – a picture talks 1000’s words

A picture is a must… NOTHING will stop me from clicking on an eBay auction more than a listing without a picture… Nothing… No Picture, No Click Thru.

No image means the seller doesn't even care if it sells... the seller has no pride in the product... or, worse yet, there is something about the product to hide.

Not interested. Next!

Take a GOOD picture... make it interesting to someone who is looking for that type of product. Make sure the image is clear and IS what you are offering.  Use natural or ambient lighting and a neutral background.

For the record, I don't like images that are copied from the company product page and used as a default image.  They are also copyrighted so you can get into trouble for using them on your listing.

5. Your auction page – be neat

Display all relevant information on your auction page neatly.  Use tables, colours, different font size and layout.  Present information in order i.e. Title, description, features, photos, shipping cost details, terms & conditions, policy, contact details.
6. Pricing

Use common sense when pricing your item or deciding on the start bid amount.  Do some research on the item you are selling and find out what price it is selling at on eBay and on the Internet?  Also try to find out the retail price at your local shops if you can then determine what you are going to sell it for.  I always check the highest and the lowest price it sold for on eBay and then go in between this if I am listing an item as a buy it now item.  Think about you profit margin when deciding on the price.  There is no point listing an item for 100.00 when hundreds of other sellers are selling it for 50.00.  You product will not sell as buyers always checks few auction listing before making any decision to buy.

When listing using auction style don’t be afraid to start the bidding at 0.99p if you know the item is very popular and you will get a lot of potential bidders.  For example if I was to auction an apple iphone on eBay I won’t be afraid to start at 0.99p as I know most of them sell on eBay for well over 200.00 if you are selling it new.  I could give a guarantee that the iphone will not go for 0.99p or even 100.00

7. P&P – your item is cheap…but why is the postage so high?

Be honest and ethical when running your eBay business.  That’s my advice.  I have spotted many eBay sellers charging way too much for postage and packaging.  The reason why they do it is to make profit through postage cost not the product cost.  Many sellers will list an item for 0.99p which will excite a buyer for few minutes until they hit that payment button and find out that the cost of postage is 19.99, by that time they will have no option but to pay as it is against eBay’s policy not to pay for an item after buying it.  This leads to unhappy customers and a bad feedback on your profile with comments such as “this seller is a con” or “it’s a rip off, high postage cost, avoid”.

Always be fare on the postage cost, its ok if you are over by a penny but it’s not ok if you are charging someone 10.00 extra.  Remember postage cost is printed on the stamps when you post an item at the post office and buyer can easily find out how much it is.  You can find out the cost of postage in advance by going to the courier or postal services web site and your post office can also provide a leaflet will details of all costs.  Buy a postal weighing scale which can determine how much it will cost and give you an accurate quote to make sure you are not charging too much or too less.

Honesty is everything when running any business and at the end of the day you would love to see customers returning to you to buy more.  Loose that trust and you will lose business.

8. Post your item today (not next week).

Once you sold you item be prepared to pack and post it as soon as possible.  If you can, try to post it the same day you sold it, if not the next day is a must.  If there is a delay due to some problem then let you customer know about it and tell them when they will receive the item.  Once posted inform the customer that the item has been posted and provide them with a tracking no if possible.  Delay in posting an item is one of the greatest problem buyers have on eBay and this is when a transaction could get ugly and customer will eventually demand a refund from seller.

Shipping is under the control of the eBay seller, but some methods of shipping are better than others when you're selling on eBay. You want to find the best method of shipping for your product in terms of expense and reliability and then specify that shipping method in your eBay listing. (And don’t forget to include the shipping cost in your shipping information for potential buyers.)

9. Communication – listen, act and respond

Wake Up and Answer Your Email! Asleep at the Auction?!?!? No Sale For You!!!

Listen and respond to customers as many eBay sales can be lost if you simply don’t answer questions relating to the item you have up for auction or sale.  An email from a potential eBay buyer means you are most likely within inches of a sale.

10. Is it legal? – Think twice

Make sure that you’re following all the business rules that apply, such as registering your business and properly charging and remitting taxes. Selling on eBay is just like any other business; to become an eBay success, you need to follow the rules and provide the kind of customer satisfaction that will translate into increased eBay sales.

Make sure you understand eBay’s sales policy and terms & conditions.  Spend some time reading them on their web site.  Pay attention to prohibited items and eBay’s listing policy, as breaching these will cost your business.  The last thing you want is your eBay account being suspended due to breach of any of the eBay’s policy.   Remember eBay can restrict, suspend account for a period of time and permanently suspend your account if you do something that is against their selling and buying policy, so avoid this at any cost.  I can remember when my account was suspended for one full month because I listed an item that was not allowed it was a frustrating one month as I was out of business for full month and on top of that it was during Christmas when I had a lot of Christmas stock to sell.  At the end of the year I was short of one month earnings and not only that eBay put a restriction on my account which prevents me from selling certain items and this restriction is still imposed on my account.

Do not make any attempt to sell counter freight items, its illegal and unethical.  If you want to do business do it professionally, follow business rules and be business like.  Provide honest, reliable and fair service that will build your business and reputation.  

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kellyteam 3 years ago from Michigan

this is such a good list of tips. Seems like it can be fun and profitable. Really good tip to run it as any other business. Sometimes homebased may give the idea that you can run it any way you want, but that is definitely not true. thumbs up and sharing.

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