Are you new to selling on eBay and wondering where to start? Selling on eBay can be a great way to make some extra money, but if it’s your first time selling on eBay it can also feel a bit complicated if you’re not familiar with the process. In this blog post, we will outline some tips for first time sellers on eBay. We’ll tell you what you need before starting to sell, and give you some advice on how to get started. So whether you’re just curious about selling on eBay or ready to take the plunge, keep reading for helpful tips that will give you a head start as a first time seller.
Note: This post is sponsored by my favorite reseller tool, Vendoo, and contains affiliate links. Although Vendoo is sponsoring this post, all opinions are mine and I only work with companies I have experience with and/or genuinely recommend.
Getting Set Up
The first step to start selling on eBay is to get your account set up. If you’ve been navigating the internet, then you know how to set up an account so I don’t think I need to walk you through this. You can click here to register for an eBay account and just fill out the forms. However, there are a few things during set up that I want to cover so you feel like you understand the process.
Personal vs Business Account
When you go to sign up, you will be able to select if you want a personal account or a business account. The truth is, they really aren’t all that different and if you sign up for a personal account you can always move to a business account. The only real difference that I can truly find is that with a business account you have the option of using a business name (instead of your name) as the return address. That being said, if you are planning on making this a business, even if it’s just a side business, you should probably sign up for a business account anyway.
Coming Up with an eBay Username
It can be tempting to just type something quickly and move on, but you should really consider what your username is going to be on eBay. Potential buyers will see this so making it professional rather than your name followed by a handful of numbers, for example, is your best bet. It doesn’t have to be perfect and you can change it in the future, but just coming up with something that looks professional from the beginning is your best bet. When coming up with a username, you can consider things like what types of items you’ll be selling, your location, etc. to brainstorm some ideas. However, at the same time, don’t let this hold you back from signing up for an account and delay you from getting started.
Understand eBay Fees
Understanding eBay fees can be a bit confusing, but it’s important to understand them before you start selling because you will be paying them! When you list an item on eBay, there is what’s called an insertion fee. While most accounts do get 250 listings with no insertion fee per month, after that you can expect to pay about .35 per listing.
Final value fees are the most important to understand because they’re the biggest chunk of money that eBay takes from your sale. For most categories, you can expect to pay around 12-15% of the total amount of the sale. According to eBay, the total amount of the sale includes:
- item price
- any handling charges
- the shipping service the buyer selects
- sales tax
- any other applicable fees
For a more in depth rundown of eBay fees, you can click here to read them directly on the eBay website.
Auctions vs Buy It Now
When you list your item on eBay, you will have the option to auction it off or sell it as a Buy It Now (also known as a fixed price listing). With an auction, potential buyers can bid on your item and the highest bidder at the end of the auction period wins. With Buy It Now or Fixed Price, you set a price and whoever buys it first gets it.
In 99% of cases, I recommend doing a Fixed Price or Buy It Now. The only time I recommend doing an auction is if you have an item that is very desirable that you know will be bid up. More often than not, auctions will sell for the starting bid unless there is a high demand for that item.
Pricing Listings to Sell
This is one of the most important and hardest parts about selling on eBay. You want to price your items high enough that you’re making a profit, but low enough that it will actually sell. When coming up with a listing price, I recommend looking at completed listings for similar items to get an idea of what others have been selling them for.
When coming up with a price you want to consider things like:
- How many of the same item are currently listed (competition)
- How much the same item has sold for in the recent past
- How many of the same item have sold and how many haven’t sold
- The condition of your item (better condition = more money)
- Size or other factor that may impact desirability
This blog post does over how to find completed listings on eBay so you can figure out a competitive price.
Store Subscriptions: Do You Need One?
Do you need a store subscription to sell on eBay? The short answer is no. While there are some advantages to a store subscription such as being able to have a storefront with all of your items listed by category and being able to have markdown sales, it’s definitely not necessary. If you’re at the beginning of your reselling “career” and don’t have the money to spare I think it’s fine to hold off.
Luckily store subscriptions are pretty affordable if you do want to get one. You can click here to see pricing and what each plan includes.
How to Get Positive Feedback
As a new seller on eBay, having some positive feedback is going to give you a huge advantage. The great thing is, you don’t need a ton of feedback to be deemed trustworthy on eBay. As long as you have a few positive feedback, that’s enough for most buyers.
But how do you get positive feedback? Buy some items! Especially from large sellers with thousands of feedback themselves. These sellers are most likely to leave feedback for their buyers.
Since you’re already starting a new reselling business or side hustle, why not buy some of the supplies you need and get feedback at the same time? Things like packaging tape, polymailers, a shipping scale, etc. can all be good things to buy to get started reselling and if you buy from a seller with a lot of feedback, you have a good chance of getting some positive feedback and earning some trust from potential buyers on eBay.
The Shipping Process
The most daunting part about selling on eBay if it’s your first time selling on eBay is probably going to be shipping. This is because shipping can be confusing and eBay provides you with plenty of different options to ship items to your buyers.
When you list an item, you will also fill out the Shipping section of the listing form. I highly recommend using calculated shipping where you input the weight of the item and select at least one shipping method. Remember, when you input the weight of the item, it needs to be the total weight including packaging.
As a rule of thumb for beginners, if it’s under 1lb go with USPS Priority. If it’s over 1lb go with USPS Priority. There are some other options you can select, but for the most part this is what works. There are also USPS Priority Flat Rate boxes that are one rate regardless of weight. If you know an item will fit in one of those boxes, you can select that shipping option as well.
The best thing to do is to start listing items, sell a few items, and ship them out. The more you do it, the easier it’ll be.
You’re almost ready to start selling on eBay, but first you need to gather some supplies. Here is a list of things you will need to get started:
- Camera: Your phone is totally fine and that’s what most resellers use. You’ll need this to take pictures of your items.
- Shipping supplies: If you’re selling mostly clothes you’ll probably just need polymailers and shipping labels. If you’re sending items that need to be packed up in boxes then getting some boxes as well as protective packing for inside the boxes like bubble wrap, etc. will be helpful. Don’t forget the tape!
- Printer: If you want to print your shipping from home (I recommend this over going to the post office) then you’ll need access to a printer. A cheap one is fine, but once you have some extra money a label printer can be super helpful especially if you’re selling high volume.
- Shipping labels: If you’re using a regular printer you can use regular paper sized labels that come 2 per sheet. Alternatively you can just use regular paper and tape it onto the package. I did this for years! If you’re using a label printer, make sure you get 4×6 shipping labels to load into your label printer.
- Shipping scale: Because you want to be able to weigh items for accurate shipping quotes for your buyers, you’ll want to invest in a shipping scale. This one is very affordable and can be used with a wall plug or with batteries.
Of course things like lighting or mannequins can be helpful, but they are definitely not necessary in the beginning. I suggest going with what you really need and slowly investing into your business as you make some money.
Best Practices for Listing Items on eBay
Now that you have an idea of what you need to get started selling on eBay, let’s go over some best practices for listing items.
Take bright, clear photos
This should go without saying, but make sure your photos are clear and show the item from multiple angles. If you’re selling clothes, make sure to take a photo of all the tags and any flaws or details.
Be honest in your descriptions
Don’t try to hide any flaws in your items. Be upfront about anything that might be wrong with the item. This way, buyers know what they’re getting and there are no surprises.
Use keywords in your title
In order for people to find your listings, you need to use keywords that potential buyers would search for. Use similar completed listings as a guide to give you an idea of the types of keywords you should use in your titles. For clothing, for example, I usually include the brand, style, color, size, and any other descriptive information that someone would actually be searching for.
List new items regularly
The more listings you have, the more likely you are to make sales because the more items you have available. You don’t need to list a ton of items at once, but try to list pretty consistently throughout the week or month.
Relist stale items
If you have an item that’s been sitting for a while without any interest, try relisting it. You might just need to tweak the title or description a bit, but sometimes all it takes is listing an item again to get some more attention. For this, I use Vendoo because they have a really helpful bulk delist and relist feature that allows me to automatically relist up to 10 items at a time. It works in the background while I’m doing other tasks and really helps me get older items relisted and more likely to sell. Click here to get 25% off your first month of Vendoo.
Cross post items for more sales
Once you get used to eBay and you feel like you have a handle on it, you might want to try cross posting or cross listing items. This means listing the same item on multiple platforms like eBay, Poshmark, and Mercari. These are the three platforms I currently list on. Why? Because this can help you reach a wider audience and make more sales.
While you can totally do this manually, it can be pretty time consuming so I use Vendoo to cross list my items and then also to take them down once they’ve sold and it really saves me a lot of time and keeps me organized. Click here if you want to check out Vendoo and get 25% off your first month. I’ve been using them since they started and it’s a must have for me as a reseller.
And there you have it! These tips will help you get started if it’s your first time selling on eBay. Just remember to take your time, be patient, and have fun! Happy selling!