The Big Declutter - Selling on ebay
In my last post I talked about my experiences selling stuff via Amazon. This time I want to talk about another big selling site: eBay.
With about 175 million active buyers, eBay is the biggest auction site in the world. There should be a buyer out there for practically anything you are selling, as long as you price it right and have patience!
If you don’t already have an eBay account, getting set-up with one is very easy:
Just go to eBay.com
Click on the Register link in the top left-hand corner
Then, on the Create an Account page, either enter your first name, last name, email and the password you want to user. The quicker, simpler option is to register using your Facebook account.
Next, eBay will send you an email so you can verify the email address you provided.
Lastly, it’s a good idea to connect your PayPal account to eBay; so you’ll be ready to start selling and getting paid!
Listing an item for sale
Listing something for sale on eBay is not difficult but it can be time-consuming:
Click on the Sell link
Enter keywords for your item, or a UPC, or the ISBN number
eBay will then return a list of similar items and you can either select one of them if it matches the product you are selling. If there is no match, you can select the “Create new listing” link.
Next, select the condition of the item.
Then you’ll be directed to the main listing page, where you can add a lot more details about your item including:
A descriptive title. eBay will give you guidance on creating a good title to attract buyers.
Up to 12 photos
More details about the product, as well as a detailed description of the item. Don’t forget to add as much information as possible to help the potential buyer.
The next step is to decide your pricing. On eBay you can choose either Auction, or Buy It Now, or a combination of both by adding a “Buy It Now” price to your auction.
If you choose to sell by auction you need to set:
The Starting Bid. Choose this carefully as this the lowest price that you are willing to sell your item. There are few bidding wars on eBay these days, so the starting bid is often the selling price.
The duration of the auction. It’s usually 7 days, but you can choose 1, 3, 5, 7 or 10 days.
If you want to automatically relist it, you can check the “Easy Pricing” checkbox. This means that, if your item does not sell, it will automatically be relisted up to 8 times, and each time the price will drop by 5%. This is optional: you can manually relist an item at the same price.
You can also set a “Buy It Now” price, but it must be at least 30% higher than your starting bid price. There is a built-in calculator on the site to help you.
If you choose Buy It Now, you just need to set the price you want. You can also choose the “Easy Pricing” checkbox for this option too. In this case, if you item does not sell within 10 days, eBay will lower the price by 5% every 5 days or until it sells. This will happen up to 8 times and any buyers who showed an interest in the item will be notified of the price change.
Lastly you need to add details to calculate the shipping costs that the customer will pay. It’s a good idea to get accurate weight and dimensions, otherwise it’s very easy to underestimate the shipping costs so your profit will be less. If you live in an urban area, or you are selling something that is very heavy or bulky, you can also offer “Local pickup” so the buyer has to pick up the item from a location you specify.
Once you’ve added all of these details then you can click the “List it” button and you are done!
Ease of Communication
Like Amazon, all communication is done through your eBay account, and you get an email sent to your eBay account email address too (e.g. your Gmail account).
From my experience, the communications primarily fall into these 4 categories:
Sale confirmation messages; which let you know the item has been paid for and can be shipped (27 emails)
Questions from potential and actual buyers about the item or shipping (8 questions)
Offers for auction items from potential customers (6 offer emails)
Messages from eBay with selling tips or offer details (5 emails)
Unlike Amazon, on eBay you can see how much interest potential buyers are showing in your items.
eBay shows how many views your item has had, the number of people watching it and if you have received any bids.
If your item has not received any views, then you may need to update that item’s listing to get more attention. No bids? Perhaps the reserve price is too high?
Another nice feature is the ability to automatically decline bids below a certain amount. This can save time as you don’t have to manually decline bids that are too low.
Listing an item can take between 10 – 30 minutes; depending on how much research you need to do to determine the price and description, take photos and then actually create the listing.
Number of Items Listed/Sold
Since September 7, 2018, we’ve sold about 48% of the items listed:
Number of items listed = 66
Number of items sold = 32
eBay charges a couple of fees:
Insertion fee: this is the cost of listing an item. It’s currently $0.35, but you get 50 free postings each month.
Final value fee: this is a percentage of the final amount you sell your item for, and also the shipping costs. Depending on what you sell it’s usually 10%, or 12% for books, DVD’s, movies and music.
A 12% fee may sound a lot to sell books, etc., but it is significantly cheaper than Amazon. For example, I sold a book for $22.35 with $3.99 shipping on Amazon, and the Amazon fees were $6.74. If I had sold the same book on eBay for the same price, the eBay fees would have only been $2.13.
Note: if you have connected your PayPal account to eBay, PayPal will also charge you a fee for handling the payment.
Once you’ve sold an item, getting paid is very easy. Like Amazon, eBay handles the payments for you.
When an auction finishes, if the buyer does not pay immediately, you’ll see your item listed as “Wait for payment”. Once the buyer pays you’ll be notified by eBay that it is OK to ship the item. The fees are calculated at this time and you’ll quickly receive payment to your PayPal account. However, if you are a new seller, payment may take a few more days as the funds can be held until the shipment is completed.
Usually the payment process is very smooth, but a buyer may not pay immediately for their item. If the buyer doesn’t pay, then the item remains in an “awaiting payment” status. Here’s the process that I’ve followed:
If no payment has been received after a couple of days, I send an invoice to the buyer with a note that the item is ready to ship once payment has been received.
If another day goes by and they still haven’t paid, I go to eBay’s Resolution Center and “Report an unpaid item”.
If you were selling the item via auction, and the winning bidder did not pay, even after you tried to resolve the non-payment with the steps above, you may be eligible to make a Second Chance Offer.
I have not had to try that yet, as the 2 slow-paying buyers paid very quickly after I tried the action items above.
Anything else I should know?
Another positive feature of eBay is the shipping functionality. It is very easy to purchase USPS shipping through eBay – plus you get a discount!
Selling on eBay is simple – the functionality is easy to create and manage your listings and then ship your item when it sells. However, it does take time to create the listings.
While you do pay fees on what you sell, these fees are much cheaper than Amazon, and it may be worth it as eBay gives you access to a huge number of potential buyers. So you are more likely to sell your item quickly.
Based on this, eBay clearly gets a 4-pig rating as it worth doing if you want to sell your unwanted or unused items, but does take some time.
Have you sold on eBay, what do you think? Do you agree with my rating?