Thursday, May 22, 2008

Stuff I learned about eBay selling over the years

I ran across this in an old email I wrote to a coworker and thought it would be useful to post here.
  • Look up items like the one you want to sell on eBay in the completed listings and see what they've sold for recently, then pick a reasonable starting price. eBay charges two fees--one for the listing itself and one based on final sale price--so remember to keep that in mind when picking a start price; you don't want to wind up eating any cost by starting too low. Don't start too high, either--it discourages bids. Shoot for a happy medium!  :)

  • Pack up your items (separately, if you'll be selling them separately) and weigh them so you can calculate the cost of shipping by various methods. There may be a scale at your local post office that you can use if you don't have one at home. Priority Mail is more expensive than Parcel Post, but it's also more dependable. If your items are very breakable, require insurance. State the weight of the item and cost of required insurance in your eBay copy.

  • Get all the info you possibly can about your items and put it in your auction copy--remember, bidders can't pick up the items and check 'em out in person. Mention any problems, cosmetic or otherwise.

  • Write your auction copy ahead of time so you don't have to spend so long putting up your auctions. That also ensures that you've collected all the necessary information before you get on eBay.

  • Re: Priority Mail--they have a flat-rate box, which is supposed to be convenient, but it's also a helluva lot more expensive for the buyer (who has to pay for shipping). Personally, I prefer to use regular Priority Mail boxes and get my bidders the lowest possible shipping cost.

  • The best times to start auctions are, in order, Tuesday evening, Thursday evening, and Sunday afternoons. Don't ask me why. Also, sales slack off during the summer months, so take that into account if you're going to be selling a lot.

  • After the sale, ship promptly, send emails when you receive payment and again when you ship, leave positive feedback if it's deserved, and play nice!  :)  It's good for your rep.

  • eBay sellers are required to enter a credit card in order to register, I think--a checking account number might also do; it's been a long time since I registered--from which eBay listing and final value fees can be deducted. eBay will send you a notice when fees are due for payment, or you can set up for automatic draft.

  • Shipping internationally costs a lot more than shipping domestically. PayPal also charges more to process international payments. In my experience, those two facts wind up eating my lunch and I might as well have given away the item. I won't sell internationally again.

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