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50 Best eBay Selling Tips & Tricks for Beginners

Do you run an eBay business and want to increase your sales on eBay and move products fast? If YES, here are 50 eBay selling tips & tricks for beginners. Quite a lot of items in your home which you no longer use can be worth a lot of money if you decide to put them up for sale on the right platform. But in order to do this you would need to know where and how to sell them off. If you are in search of a side hustle or you have some items lying around that you would like to sell for cash, then eBay may just be the platform for you.

The famous auction site, eBay has brought a lot of changes in the way we sell our goods (both wanted and unwanted). You do not have to sell from your car booth again when you can sell them right from the comfort of your home, thanks to the internet. Also, on eBay, there is always a customer that is willing to buy whatever you have to sell. From mobile phones, game consoles, fur coats, cooking utensils to Legos.

EBay is an online market place that brings buyers and sellers together to trade on almost anything. The website which was launched in 1995 by Pierre Omidyar has over 170 million users today with 25 million of them being sellers. Increasing the volume of your sale on eBay may sound simple enough in theory, but in reality, it takes a combination of business acumen, psychology among other skills to achieve it.

Whether you are a seasoned seller or you are still new to eBay, here are 50 tips and tricks that can help to boost your sales and business on the platform.

50 Best eBay Selling Tips & Tricks for Beginners

  1. Always be honest

People are a lot more willing to buy items that are not new or in perfect condition as long as you are upfront and honest with them. If it has any flaws, you should take a picture of it and include it in the description so that they will check it out for themselves.

The last thing you want is to spend your money to ship the item and then when they receive it they will send a message saying that this isn’t what you described. You should bear in mind that the buyer can ask for their money back if the item appears to be different from what was listed on the website.

You should also take you time to examine any item that you want to sell on eBay. You may be enthusiastic to start right away with selling anything that you can get your hands on, but if you sell a defective item or an item that is missing some crucial parts, you will get bad reviews and ratings which could end your selling career faster than you can imagine.

  1. Build your profile first before selling

Lot of would be sellers think that opening an account and commencing sales right away is the way to go on eBay, but this is not the best strategy. It is most advisable to be a buyer first so that other users of the website can see that you have an eBay history. You can just purchase a few cheap items to get started, pay promptly and then drop a feedback. After you have built up your eBay presence and have got good buyer ratings, you can then proceed to choosing a username.

Your username is basically the name of your mini business so choose a name that is professional. Usernames like Slaydivalicious will probably not instill trust of your brand in a lot of buyers. You should go for a username that is simple yet professional. You can go for a variant of your name or a name that is related to what you want to sell. The latter option has an additional advantage of making you easier to find in eBay search.

  1. Count the cost of selling on eBay before you start

Before you start making sales, it is best that you try to work out how much an item is worth and how much cost you will incur in selling it. It is normal to want to make sizable profit, but there are additional costs that are unique to eBay that you have to consider when selling on the platform.

Here are some eBay seller costs to consider:

  • The first 20 items you list is free of charge, however after that you will be charged an “insertion fee” per item.
  • Added extras like listing in two categories or having more than one photo per listing attracts additional charges.
  • eBay takes 10 percent of the total sales.
  • If the sale is made via PayPal, it will attract a fee per transaction and will take an additional 3.4 percent of the total sales price.

From the above instances, it is clear that it is not simply a case of posting items online and waiting for the money to roll in. You will have to know the right price to charge in order to sell at a profitable rate

  1. Start bids low to catch the eyes of bargain hunters

As tempting as it may be to list your items high initially, it is advisable to start you bids at a low price as it will get you better sales in the long run. Low starting bids allow your goods to attract the attention of a lot more people and will further help to encourage a competitive bid as the item reaches its last days of bidding. This tip should however be disregarded if the item you are listing is a niche product that only an avid collector will search for.

In addition, eBay allows you to add a “minimum price” if you are worried that the end bid may be low. With the minimum price option, the item will not be sold unless it reaches a minimum amount set by you.

  1. Take engaging photos of the item you intend to sell

Research has shown that items that are listed with pictures are ten more likely to sell than items with no pictures. A photograph of the item which you intend to sell makes it seem more credible to the buyer and they will be more likely to continue bidding if the feel that they have seen a decent representation of what you have to offer.

You should also include extra components of the items you are listing such as boxes, instruction manuals, batteries, packs et al. To get clear pictures, you can make use of natural daylight or light from an artificial source (just make sure that you do not capture any shadow).

Even though stock pictures are not advisable to use, you should bear in mind that taking a pictures yourself can do more harm than good if it is pixilated, out of focus or blurred.

Good pictures increase the chance of selling an item for more but top-end graphics software can cost hundreds of dollars or even more! Instead you can make use of free photo editing software that allows you to touch up, polish, crop and resize pictures before uploading it on the platform. However, you should ensure that you do not cover up any defects with photo edits.

  1. List at the right time

Just like everything in life, timing is of the utmost essence. Before you post your listings, you should first know the right time to do so. Normally, the best time to end an auction is on a Sunday because it has been proven that most casual buyers go for a browse on that day so it is the time that things heat up at auction. In that vein, if you intend to go for the maximum 10 days auction (it is advisable that you do so) it is better to list it on a Thursday evening for maximum exposure to buyers.

7. Make sure that your product description is as detailed as possible but keep it concise

Writing a product description is one part of selling on eBay that should be treated with the utmost meticulousness. This is because a description can make or break a deal. eBay allows sellers to have up to 55 characters on their title so you should make the very best out of it by making it clear, concise and packed with keywords.

You should avoid using all capital letters and try your best to avoid typographical errors by any and all means necessary. Check and cross check as many times as possible to make sure that it is error free. Like mentioned previously, you should be very honest about the state of the item that you intend to sell.

8. Accessories can translate to higher price

Items that you put up for sale on eBay can command a higher price if they come with instruction booklets, the right packaging, tags et al. So make sure that you mention them in the listing.

9. Terms and conditions

If you have any terms and conditions, make sure that you list them along with the deal as this will save you a lot of headache in the future.

10. Always make use of the right category

What do you get when you look for groceries in a car shop? Definitely not groceries. The chances of selling an item drop drastically when it is listed in the wrong category (for obvious reasons). If you are confused as to what category to place an item, you can simply search for what you sell on eBay to see where it is listed by other sellers.

11. Promote the use of PayPal for payment

As mentioned earlier, using PayPal attracts additional charges, yet, it is still the preferred option because it is very safe. It adds an additional layer of security so people can’t scam you of your products.

12. The job is not completed when the sale is made

Don’t just relax after you have made a sale. You should send the buyer a confirmation email as soon as possible and invoice them the full amount along with the postage charge.

After this, you should send them another email when you have received their payment and when you send out the item. Although this may sound tedious, buyers prefer it when you keep then abreast with how the transaction is progressing and if they don’t hear from you for a while, they may get suspicious and report you. Ensure that you send out their packages as soon as possible once payment has been made. After you are done, remember to give the buyer a good feedback so that you will receive the same.

13. Always get proof of postage

It is expedient to send every item you sell by recorded delivery or via an alternative that can get you a proof that the item was actually sent. This is because there are some eBay scammers who may claim that they did not receive the item even though it was delivered. Make sure that you have evidence in case you needed to present it.

14. Offer more delivery options

eBay shipping can sometimes be difficult to predict for buyers, so it is not uncommon for buyer to avoid such items if the need them for an emergency such as a birthday or holiday. If you can be able to make the delivery the next day once the payment has been made, then you can command higher prices for your items.

Buyers usually feel safer if you can provide them with a shipping number and this will ultimately translate to getting more customers and more money. Furthermore, like stated earlier, making use of a recorded delivery option makes resolution of conflicts very easy because it is difficult to claim that you did not receive the item when you signed for it.

15. Offer free delivery to boost your sales

Nothing entices customers like something that goes for nothing. If an item is of high value, you can attach a free delivery clause to it in order to get more customers.

16. Answer buyers question

If your product becomes popular on eBay, it is inevitable that people will have questions or areas that they will need to be clarified on. These questions will be delivered to your inbox and your registered email account. Always insure that you answer these questions as quickly and as clearly as possible.

The questions and answers you provide can be seen on your listing by any one. In addition, the question that your customers ask should make you ask yourself if the answers to them should have been in the description in the first place. This will guide you when you want to write your description in the future.

17. Don’t inflate your shipping costs

Inflation shipping costs and using the buy for a penny ship for 30 bucks methods is bound to put customers off. No one wants to go for an item that obviously has a ridiculous shipping cost (moreover, it is against eBay policy). When you ship items, ensure that fragile items are packed carefully to avoid breakage (you can make use of bubble wraps, or Styrofoam or even newspaper).

18. Make sure that you offer premium customer service

Just like a brick and mortar business, good customer service can go a long way in reinforcing customer loyalty. Do not be a seller who forgets to maintain a positive relationship with his or her buyers. Be the seller who is known for stellar customer service.

Respond to questions that your buyers pose in time even if you do not have the final answer, let them know that you are working on it. Send invoices as soon as possible and inform your buyers that their items have been shipped. Last but not least, be polite whenever you come in contact with your customers.

19. Use barcodes

If you sell a lot of items on eBay, then typing out the product description can be quite a hassle. You can easily extract the description of some items from the information that is provided on the barcode (that is if the item has a bar code) and then modify it to suit your situation. With the eBay iPhone and android app, you can easily do this.

20. Offer other payment options

Most sellers on eBay make use of only PayPal as a means of payment. Granted, PayPal has its many advantages but you can reach more customers if you offer payment through other options like money order, cheques, et al.

You should however take the following considerations to mind:

  • If you accept cheques, endeavor to include a disclaimer stating that the shipping may be delayed in order to ensure that the cheque clears. This will help to protect the seller from bad cheque scams.
  • If you accept money orders, do not accept money orders from any country other than your own country so as to protect yourself from scammers.

21. Use a template disclaimer

Always include a disclaimer about wear and tear. It goes without saying that more often than not, a used item will appear used, but some difficult buyers have unrealistic expectations. If you fail to mention that the item has a wear and tear, you will open yourself to buyers who may request for a refund. Also, a good fair return policy that requires buyers to pay for the return shipping cost in order to get a full refund is also an excellent deterrent to scammers.

22. Become a power seller

Becoming a “power seller” on eBay is a sure way to boost your sales and ultimately your profit. However, achieving this feat is not easy. The power seller status is a much coveted status among sellers on eBay. It means that you are a serious seller and that you offer top notch services on the platform.

To become a power seller, you do not apply rather eBay recognizes your efforts and rewards you with that status. The power seller status comes from these three indices: You have maintained a positive feedback rating status of over 98 percent. You have sold over 100 items and had over 3,000 dollars in sales in the last twelve months. You have been on eBay for more than 90 days.

23. Key into the seasons

Whenever there is a holiday that is coming up, make sure that you key into and take advantage of it. During this period, make sure that you put a special greeting in your invoice and auctions.

24. Specialize in what you are knowledgeable in

Are you a collector of antiques? Do you have volumes of comic books? Do you have an eye for good jewelry? If so, then you are passionate about those areas. If you are passionate about what you deal in, you will never get bored doing it and resent the time and resources you spend on it.

25. Know what your competitors are doing

There is no worse feeling than selling something of high value at a very low price because you do not know its true value. If you are confused on the price of a particular product, you should simply search for it on eBay to find out what other sellers are selling it for. There are many other rings that you can learn from your competitors, like how they caption their titles and write their description et al. Feel free to “steal” their ideas and make them even better than they were.

26. Get a logo for your store and auction

You should create a logo for your store and make sure that you use it in all your paper works such as you invoices, receipts, business cards, packaging et al. You can either do this yourself by learning a little hyper text mark up language (HTLM) or alternatively you can outsource it for as low as $5 on any freelance website such as Fiverr, Freelancer, Fiversquid, et al.

27. Accept returns

If possible, accept returns because if you do so, the good name you will save will be made up for with additional customers. An unsatisfied customer is more likely to tell people about his or her bad experience than a satisfied customer.

Make sure that you limit returns by having good description, good measurement, good packaging et al. An item may arrive damaged because you did not package it well so it is only fair that you should refund the buyer and save your good name and reputation.

28. Learn the eBay lingo

professional sellers on eBay have certain ingenious methods of getting their message across. Lingo’s come in handy if you intend to add extra information into your title without exceeding the character limit. Do not over use it though so as not to confuse new users. Commonly used eBay jargons are

  • BN- brand new
  • BNWT- brand new with tags
  • BNIB- brand new in box
  • VGC- very good condition
  • NWOT- new without tags
  • NWOB- new without box
  • HTF- hard to find et al.

29. Get to the top of search results

What is the point of creating a very beautiful content if no one will see it? It is very important to write your listings in your “customer’s language” and use the terms they search for especially brand and product names.

When buyers enter a query into the search bar, eBay only looks for words in the listings title (although there is an option that allowed buyers to search both title and description but most buyers will not use it) so you have to make sure that every word counts. Try to find out the terms that buyers search for most and include it in your title. You can make use of eBay pulse tool which shows the most popular search terms buyers use by category.

Stay on top of search engine optimization because every day more sellers emerge on eBay and thus making the need to stand out more important than ever.

30. Never bid on your own auction

You may be tempted to use another account to bid on your own auction in other to boost prices- this is known as shill bidding and it is illegal. Pushing up a price artificially by bidding against yourself or by getting family members and friends to do so is not only wrong but also against eBay policies.

31. Be observant

Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to obtain items in large quantities at a low price for resale. Sometimes, you can find it in places you would overlook such as goods that your local retailer wants to liquidate. Make an offer to clear out the retailer’s old or damaged stock.

32. Become verified

Becoming verified on eBay through their ID verification process will allow you to get pass on a lot of restrictions that are placed on new sellers.

33. Be organized

If you are selling from your home, make sure that you have a specific area that is dedicated to the storage of your inventory, packing materials, photography and a desk for your computer and printer. The best businesses are always organized.

34. Freshen things up

If you discover that an item is no longer doing as well as it used to, you should take a look at your photos, title, description et al to see if they can be updated.

35. Have a regular shipping day or days

Make sure you list out the days that you ship out so that people will know when to expect their packages.

36. Use QuickBooks to keep record

Proper record keeping is one of the hallmarks of any good business. QuickBooks allows you to input your inventory and gives you a report of your average profit per item as well as how many goods you have sold in a week. This software is very useful for sellers.

37. Don’t limit yourself to the united states alone

Some items that are quite common in the USA are difficult to come by in other places. With the world becoming a global village, you can use eBay to sell to people who are all over the world.

38. Accept USD alone from non-American buyers

You should state it clearly that you only accept American dollars for your purchases. For instance, if a buyer sends you 20 Canadian dollars whereas you were expecting 20 American dollars, you would have lost about $8 (depending on the exchange rate). Also you should consider the additional shipping charges that may apply before you agree to ship the product anywhere outside the United States of America.

39. Take advantage of product bundling

One of the many great features that are available on eBay under seller’s information is seeing other items from this seller. If you are selling a group of objects then this can come in handy.

40. Fast handling

According to statistics that was gathered by eBay, 43 percent of shoppers have abandoned their carts based on delivery times. This percentage reflects shoppers who have already clicked on the “buy it now” button but then abandoned their cart because of a long handling time or long delivery. You should try your best to pick and dispatch items as soon as possible. Try to limit your handing period to the same day or one day unless you are selling unique antiques and collectibles.

41. The best type of product to sell on eBay

Determining the best type of product to offer up for sale on eBay can be quite a hassle. A lot of would-be sellers believe that selling the latest consumer products is the way to go, but the truth still remains that this niche provides a lot of completion from other established sellers and even big online companies that have special deals with eBay.

The best items that you can sell on eBay would be used items or very specialized (niche) products that only a few other sellers are selling. You can offer anything used on the platform like clothes, shoes, electronics et al. If you want to sell new products, make sure that you can source them at a cheap price.

42. Increase sales by putting audio in your auction

Using audios in auctions have been linked to increased bids and sales, so make sure that you include it when selling.

43. Get a sales tax number

Contact the sales tax authority in your county or state to get a sales tax number. With this number, you can buy from many wholesale companies that would not deal with you if you did not have it. If in doubt as to who to contact in your area, just call your local chamber of commerce and they will point you in the right direction.

44. Always fill out the item specifics

When you try to create a listing on eBay, one of the fields that pops up is called the item specifics. This is where you will enter details such as the material, size, colour et al. of the item. The eBay search engine takes the title, item specifics and the first 100 words of your listing in order to come up with search results. The more times your key words match in those fields, the better your search placement will be.

45. Incorporate to shield yourself from liability

Granted, a lot of people do not get sued when selling on eBay, but it is very possible. If you incorporate, the corporation can save you from lawsuits. As a matter of fact, once a lawyer learns that you are incorporated and you do not keep assets in the corporation, a lot of times, they will not bother suing because they know that your assets are protected. In addition, incorporation provides a plethora of tax benefits even if you consider your eBay income to be small.

46. Package your shipments professionally

No one like the idea of receiving what they have bought in a tattered shoebox or in an old cereal carton. Professional looking packaging can be the difference between having a repeat customer and a customer who drops a bad feedback. You should invest in bubble wraps, Styrofoam, boxes, tissue papers et al. You can also purchase shipping supplies for a great price on eBay.

47. Offer combined shipping to entice customers

Getting buyers to buy more than one item from you is known as cross-selling. If you are specialized in a product niche, this will not be too difficult for you. You can offer a very competitive combined shipping rate to encourage buyers to purchase more. It saves you the time and resources because you will only ship the parcel once and the buyer has the opportunity to drop an individual review for all the items giving you more feedbacks.

48. Setup a website and use eBay to drive business to it

Every eBay seller should have a website. The best part about selling from your website is that you will get to ditch the eBay fees and keep all the cash for yourself.

49. Make use of hit counter to manage your auction

eBay offers a free hit counter option and every serious seller should be using this option. When an item is listed and does not sell, it is usually because it got hits but no bids or it did not get hits.

If the former is the case, you should know that there is something wrong with your listing such as the price, photo, shipping cost, description et al. If you are not getting hits, it could mean that there is no demand for that particular item or your title is not coming up in the search due to some error on your part.

50. Experiment

There is no harm in trying out new things, just make sure that you do not spend a lot of money on something that has not been proven yet. Try new products, niches, sources, titles et al. eBay is dynamic in nature so do not be afraid to be a pioneer of something new.

In conclusion

Even though giant online stores like Amazon and craigslist provide a fierce competition for eBay, the platform has always stood out as the best. It is easy to get started on the platform but it may take you a while to get a hang on it. Even though it may seem really competitive at first, with dedication and contentions effort, you can become one of the big wigs on the platform.

eBay goes beyond selling a few unwanted items lying around your home. It is very possible to make a living from eBay if you know where to get products at a cheap price. Arm yourself with these 50 tips and watch your mini business soar to great heights