Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Getting started

Anonymous said...
amy,any tips on how to get started from scratch as an eBay seller?

9:42 PM

I got this message yesterday about how to get started on eBay.

First find your items that are hot sellers on eBay, unique or valuable.

Then research. I can't say that enough. There are a couple ways to research how well items similar to yours are selling. You can go to the BUY option and see how items similar are currently selling, how people are wording the description, what they are offering, how they accept payment, how they are shipping and charging for it. All of these things impact how well your item will sell. Now you can watch items that are about to end or you can select to watch the item (that option is in the right hand side when you are on the individual item's page) until it does end and watch how it does. For a faster way you can also see how past auctions have gone for similar items. Go to the SELL option. On that page you will see Research (this option is new and currently has a new symbol beside it) select Research. This will take you to a page that looks similar to BUY, but when you type in your description it will only bring up items from past auctions. Search for the same details. All of this will help you familiarize yourself with what does and doesn't work for auctions.

Now you've researched your item(s). Now it's time to set up a couple accounts. The first is to set up your eBay account. Simply register. Make sure all of your information is accurate so that when a potential buyer has a question they can contact you. Then I highly recommend that you also get a PayPal account. This will make collecting payment for your items faster and easier. Under MORE EBAY SITES there is PayPal. Click on that and register.

Okay, you have your accounts set up lets make some money! Go back to SELL. Click on Auction or Fixed price (I recommend auction unless you are selling a new product that you manufacture, then fixed price is a great way to sell your product). Now you need to find a category to sell it in. Use keyword to find a category. You can select a category if you know where you want to sell it, but I recommend, especially if you are new at this, that you let eBay help you determine where your item is most likely to sell. However, keep in mind eBay is not always correct. Use a little common sense when selection a category. EBay is just there to help. Sometimes one category isn't enough. If you have a vintage or antique item then you may want to post the item in a category that fits the item, but you will definitely want to post it under antique for people only looking for antiques. More exposure for some items is a must.

From this point on it's pretty simple. EBay walk you through it one step at a time, but here are a few tips.

Title: Make sure it has every key word in it that people could use to search for your item. You want to be sure that when some one puts a description into the search for an item like yours that yours gets pulled up for them to look at.

Gallery: Always display your item in gallery. When someone is searching for items similar to yours they are more likely to look at an item that has a photo in the gallery with out having to go to your individual page. It costs a little more, but I can guarantee your item will get more hits with it.

Photos: One photo is always included in you cost of posting the item. Each additional is 15 cents more. Use it when necessary. Sometimes all you need to show is one photo, but if you have an item like a jewelry box, you will want to show the box closed and open. Or if there is damage to an item sometimes it's a very good idea to show a photo of the damage so that you avoid an issue of "you didn't' disclose this" later.

Shipping: I highly recommend using UPS for shipping. Not just because I work there. I've done some comparison. USPS charges extra for insurance. By the time you add that on you are near or over the cost of UPS. UPS on the other hand includes insurance up to $100 in the shipping cost. Not only that I haven't been happy with packages getting lost, and USPS not able to tell you everywhere that package has gone. All they can tell you is where or not it has been delivered. UPS on the other hand can follow that package and tell you if there has been some sort of delay or misrouted or whatever is the problem. Be very clear to your potential bidder how you are shipping and what the shipping cost is if you are going to do a fixed amount. I prefer to do the shipping calculator, so that if they are near by they don't pay as much for shipping as the person clear across the country, and you don't lose money that way either. If you are going to add shipping and handling charge don't be stingy. Regular ebayers know when you have an outrageous amount for shipping and they won't bid on your item. I also choose only US shipping, and I'm clear to people that I will not ship world wide, only in the US. This limits me to the people willing to bid, I'm sure, but I do not want to mess with international shipping. You have to decide if you want to deal with that. Just be sure to be clear on that to potential bidders.

Payment: Select the types of payment you are willing to accept. I only accept PayPal (which I express is my preferred method) and money order. Again be very clear on this as well. I choose not to accept personal checks. With the kids and only one vehicle it's not easy for me to run to the bank and verify funds. So I just prefer to avoid the potential issue of a bad check. But if you have the ability to run credit cards, or check aren't a problem because you have a store of some sort then you will probably have more bids on your item because you are offering more options.

description: Be very very very clear in your description of your item. If there is any damage disclose it. Do not hide anything. If you hide anything it will come back to bite you. One thing eBay does is Feed Back reports. If a customer has a bad experience with you that will give bad feed back, and you don't want that. However if they know exactly what they are bidding on then hopefully you can avoid a headache later. That doesn't mean there isn't the occasional coocoo out there that will be a pain in your butt.

Feedback: Feedback is critical as a seller for two reasons. It gives you credability as a seller, as well as your potential buyers you can find out if they routinely bid on things they don't pay for. You can check out someone's feedback by clicking on the number in () beside their screen name. If they look like a problem bidder you also have the right to kick them out of your auction. I've never used this, but it's nice to know it's there.

If you are interested in checking out my feedback or items that I have listed our seller name is jamessnapon ( You can go to Communtiy and enter jamessnapon and then click on Find a Member. This will take you to the next page where you can select to view our profile, feedback, or our current listed items. Check us out. I hope all of this helps those of you interested in posting items on eBay. I love it I can sell things I no longer want with out dealing with a yard sell, and the icing on the cake is shipping through my own employer!


Anonymous said...

Amy, thanks for a great explaination! I have a houseful of stuff that someone out there would love to own.
I'm going to give it a try.

Jane Q. Citizen

The Heimlich Maneuver said...


My wife and I have found that children's clothes that are in gently used condition sell very well on Ebay. We've been doing it for nearly year and made about $700 for our daughter's college fund. It's also the perfect place for those Christmas presents you get from out-of-town relatives that you can't exchange! Good luck! IF you're looking for clothes for a 3 - 4 year old girl look up our items (our ID is sooner2719)

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