Well the results are in for the first items I’ve ever sold on eBay! Here are a few tips that I learned along the way.
1. Google your items for the correct specs if there are differences. This was most useful for me on the iPods- it turns out Apple has a support area that lists all the different generations of products. I just did a Ctrl+F to put in the Model number on the back. What came back was more information than what I ever wanted to know about the iPod. The eBay “Sell similar item” feature has a bank of products as well, and will auto-import most specification. On a couple, it didn’t have the screen size, so I was able to pull the “official” word off Apple.com
2. Take Good Pictures & Mark Damage. Great pictures are a must in the blogging world. However, it surprises me how much they’re lacking in the depths of eBay. I wouldn’t say my pictures are phenomenal by any means, but they were much better than most others I saw. Especially since I wasn’t accepting returns (I want this stuff GONE!) I took extra care to mark any damage on the photos, no matter how minor. I made sure to put a disclosure in the listing as well, letting people know to check the pictures and ask me any questions they’d like. Even though I wasn’t offering returns, the items are/were backed by the eBay guarantee. Which means I have a credit card on file with them, in case any buyer decides I wasn’t truthful with my listing.
3. Estimate shipping. This was by far the hardest thing for me to figure out. Short of going down to the post office and seeing what exactly this stuff weighed, I had no way of knowing for sure the shipping cost. Then it still depends on where it’s being shipped to. Finally I decided I’d take a conservative estimate. Don’t listen to what eBay says similar items have shipped for- 3oz might be right for an iPod nano if you’re sending it in an envelope with not packing materials. If this were something I was doing as a business I’d make more of an effort to learn the cost from the get-go, or at least over time realize how much it may run me. Or get set up with a scale, since you get an “eBay discount” for paying for shipping online.
4. You WILL get Messages almost Immediately. Like within minutes of the listing. They will be along the lines of “Will you accept this amount as a Buy It Now? Let me know.” The first one I got I was like, “Well crap, maybe!” But then I looked into the potential buyer. They’re selling the same things as a Buy It Now for 3 times as much! eBay also points out that you shouldn’t accept an offer via private message. Last, I thought- If I were going to accept a Buy It Now price, then why didn’t I just list it as that, instead of an Auction? All of these are reason to say “no thanks!”
5. Follow Up Questions in a Timely / Polite Manner. It kind of goes hand in hand with the above. Respond to all your messages as quick as you can. If they were the ones about the the “Buy It Now” price, I’d just say, “No thanks, I’d like to see how it does as an auction.” One item, I noticed a spot on the screen as I was packing. Seriously, it wasn’t there when I was taking pictures for the listing! I immediately contacted the buyer (who had been very quick to send payment!) and let them know. Then spent half of the evening trying to get pictures of this uploaded to eBay. Turns out there’s a size limit- but they don’t say that’s what the problem is when upload fails. I wound up giving an almost 10% discount on the item and gave the option of a complete refund. I put a note in there with it let me know if there are any other issues- I’d accept a return in this case.
6. You May not get (M)any Bids the first Few Days. I did a 7 day auction, and though I haven’t sold anything on eBay before, I do (did) have an inkling of how things work. I didn’t get any bids on any of them until there were only 3-4 days left. Perhaps I should have just done a short auction time? Probably. But don’t freak out, because people will bid.
7. Remember Why You’re Listing. In my case, I was listing these things that are perfectly good, but we haven’t used in a long time for a number of reasons. My bottom line thought was, “I’m making more money on it now, than I was by having to move it for a 400th time.” Obviously if you’re trying to make a business off of selling things on eBay, then your thought process will (or at least it SHOULD) be different than mine!
Has anyone used eBay to sell their used items? Any other tips I should look for the next go-round?