How to Get Started Buying and Selling on eBay

eBay can be a confusing place for buyers and sellers without experience, and the crux of the market is trust. The major difference between eBay and conventional outlets is that the seller is not tangible, and therefore seemingly has no identity to which payments can be associated. However, with a little use of the website and the right advice, determining who to trust and how to be trusted is very easy, and the beginning of a fruitful trade.

To begin, the role of the buyer will be assumed. When using the search feature on the website, your results will be sorted by “best match” by default, with associated categories included. For example, when searching “mp3 player”, the website returned over 48 000 results. However, by using the categories on the left side, one can specify that they only want Portable Audio & Headphones, perhaps of a certain brand, and in new condition. You can also then select where you the seller location to be price ranged, and perhaps of storage capacity. When buying something on eBay, the filters are your best friend, as they allow you to remove what you don’t want to see from the search results. Then, you can choose how to sort search results. As said, the default sort is “best match”, but often you will simply sort by “price + shipping: lowest first”. This will show the cheapest products first, and can quickly browse through the results to determine which ones you want to check out. In the bottom right corner, setting “results per page” to a higher number also helps with speed browsing. Now we can look through the ones we want to check out in under 4 hours!

Once you’ve found the results you’re looking for, always check the seller details. If they have less than 85% positive reviews, than you should have an extremely good reason to buy from them. Also, you should look for someone with at least 25 sales. This will be represented by the number next to their name. It’s also a very good idea to look at the feedback on their page, and particularly the negative, as these can show what the issues with the seller will be. Some of them will be unfair, such as “SLOW SHIPPING F-” (which the seller has no control over other than posting the product quickly) while other may be helpful criticism such as the seller exaggerating the product in the description. When buying the product, try to use PayPal as they offer good buyer protection and an easy payment system.

When selling, there are several things to consider. Making your own shop is a totally different topic, and will not be addressed here; however selling second hand goods is easy. There are 3 things to selling- description, pictures, and communication.

First, the description should be detailed – around 100 words to begin with, plus 50 words for every $10 on the price (up to 400 words). Never skimp on the description. Being lazy and putting in the bare minimum will severely slow down the time it takes for your item to sell. Also, the better the description the higher your page can rank in the search engines. Part of the description is pictures. Have at least three images of good quality (600×800 pixels, not blurry) that you have taken, and then maybe some from the internet (such as the producers website). Photos are often the first thing a buyer will look at, so it is important to appear legitimate and trustworthy so a potential buyer will read on. Always supply as much information in tags as you can.

The price is the next thing to consider. It is often all about where to put yourself on the search results. You should always aim to be at the cheaper end of the search results, but at the same time make sure you are going to profit or get the price your item is really worth. A good way to determine this is 30/50/70 rule: Charge 30% of the new price for a battered or old product, 50% for one in fairly good condition, and 70% for one in great condition. This will vary wildly with the type of item, but for everyday household goods, but the 30/50/70 concept is a good rule of thumb. It is recommended to always use the “buy it now” type sale, as auctions are messy and better suited only for certain products or services. And, with typical items you will rarely get a better price using an auction (especially as many people can’t be bothered with auctions and prefer to just buy an item at a fixed price). A simple way to sell is using PayPal as a merchant system, as it has been designed to be linked into eBay.

Thirdly, communication is the key to being a good seller. When you have an item up for sale, check your account inbox at least once a day (at very minimum) and even get email alerts when you receive a new message. A buyer is always going to give you a positive review if you keep in good communication with them. The single best way to ensure a positive review is to take some pictures of you mailing them their product and then send them a friendly message containing the photo. If it takes a while to get their product to arrive in the mail, your message will help the buyer be patient rather than the usual, immediate, negative response buyers can have with delays. Also respond to any inquires about products in a timely manner; the biggest drawback of online shopping is not being able to ask someone about a product, but if you eliminate this, you’ll be selling in no time.

So remember, as a buyer, check all the results and filter them to find the exact ones you want, and make sure the person you are buying off is legitimate. As a seller, always provide detailed descriptions, reasonable prices, and great communication to sell you items quickly.

If selling on ebay is of interest to you, check out Ebay Riches.

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