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Basic Tips for Selling on eBay

Updated on September 26, 2011

Selling on eBay can seem daunting. It's a big site, with lots of rules and scary sounding things like "final value fees" and "negative feedback". In reality though, selling on eBay is very simple, and once you get the hang of it, it can be fun and quite lucrative too!

The first rule of successfully selling on eBay is knowing your product. This is crucial. I've been selling on eBay for years now, and when I sell things that I am familiar with, things that I'm excited about, everything generally goes well. As soon as I start selling things that I know nothing about, that's when I start to run into trouble. If you aren't knowledgeable about your product, then you can't describe it fully enough to entice the maximum amount of buyers. You won't be able to answer prospective buyers questions adequately, and you won't be able to set the price at the best point. So make sure you're selling items you know something about! It can be something that relates to a hobby you have, a product you use in your business, or even an item that you have made yourself. By choosing to sell something that you are familiar with and know enough about you are going to give yourself a great head start.

Secondly, it's important to pick the best price and selling style for your item. If your item is something that numerous bidders are going to be interested you may want to start the bidding at .99. Those multiple bidders will be enticed by the low starting price, and hopefully will get invested in your auction early and bid it up to a great price by the end. However, if your item is something that will only appeal to a small group of people, you may want to go with the "Buy It Now" option. This will allow you to pick the exact price that you want to get for your product, and when that special buyer comes around they will be lured in by the perk of not having to battle it out with other bidders. Personally, I tend to favor the "Buy it Now" option. That way I don't have the stress and worry that my item will sell for less than I want it to go for. But experiment with both types and see what works best for you and your type of goods.

Another thing to keep in mind, is that you want to have great customer service. Sometimes it's easy to forget that the bidders are real people. They want to know that you are an honest person, that you will not misrepresent your item, and that you will ship it in a timely and safe manner. Once you have established that you are a trustworthy seller, you will be able to get repeat buyers, word-of-mouth referrals, and you won't have the hassle of worrying about negative feedback. How can you establish this type of reputation?

eBay has a few ways to keep tabs on how reputable of a seller you are. One is their "Detailed Seller Ratings" or DSRs. Once you have received at least 10 ratings from your buyers, everyone will be able to see how your customers have rated you in regards to how closely your item was as described, your communication, your shipping time, and your shipping and handling charges. Make people happy and they will give you great ratings. In turn, by having great DSRs, future buyers will have all the more reason to be confident in you, and purchase your items. Great DSRs will also help keep your visibility up within the eBay search engine.

eBay also saves the number of positive feedback that you've received since you've been selling on their site, and also your percentage of positive feedback you've gotten over the last 12 months. The more you sell and keep your bidders happy, the higher these numbers will go and this gives people yet another reason to choose you over sellers who don't care as much about customer service.

Another vital tip that can help people choose your products over others are great photos. eBay may have a stock photo available that shows what your item generally looks like. But people want to see what they are actually going to get. So take well lit, close up pictures of what your selling and add them to your listing. This also helps buyers to see exactly what kind of condition the item is in and will help reduce any complaints.

It's important to use the listing description area and the listing title to describe exactly what you're selling and what shape it's in. This is a vital step in getting your item sold, and in having a trouble-free transaction. In your description, feel free to include any and all details about your product that you think potential buyers should know. Keep your tone friendly but professional, and double check your grammar and spelling to give your buyer even more confidence in you. By using all of the available characters in the listing title you increase your chances of having bidders find your particular product more easily. If you have characters left, instead of using words like "L@@K" and "Awesome!" try putting in common misspellings, or other information people may be looking for like color, size, weight, or condition.

These are just a few basic tips for selling on eBay. Follow them, and you'll find that it can be fun and rewarding to sell online. Have fun with it and you may find that eBay is the perfect place for making a couple of extra bucks or even a living!


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    • dpsimswm profile image

      dpsimswm 5 years ago from Richmond, Virginia

      Nice hub. You might be able to sell coupons really easily on ebay to build up feedback.

    • creamsoda profile image

      creamsoda 5 years ago from Canada!!!

      Thanks aslaught! That's a great compliment!

    • aslaught profile image

      aslaught 5 years ago from Alabama

      Very informative hub. I'm in the process of writing about my experiences of being both a buyer and seller for over ten years on Ebay. I left Ebay almost two years ago as a very disgruntled seller due to feedback changes and after reading your article felt the old stirrings to try it again. Thanks for sharing!!