A lot of you probably already tried or sold stuff on eBay before. Getting the accounts set up is painful and even more painful getting your item listed. But like most first times, you get thru it,you don’t enjoy it very much and you dread the next time. This blog entry is here to teach you 4 insider tips on how to maximize eBay profits. These tips are some of the techniques I’ve used for 10+ years. Let’s take a look.
Do research from competitors
You should have done this step already to gauge what the market value is of the item you bought to flip but before you sell on eBay make sure you scope out the competitors much more in detail and check out the top 5 to 10 eBay sellers selling the same product. For example if you pick up xbox one and you want to see what others are selling it for.
Search for the item – in this case is “xbox one”
Select the right category – in this case “video game
Select new or used – in this case “used”
Sort by Buy It Now Items (top middle)
Sort by Price+Shipping: lowest first (top right)
Sometimes no matter how you filter and sort, you’ll see misc items that don’t relate. Keep scroll down until you see what is relevant to you. After you start seeing what competitors are selling items for, make sure you check out the descriptions to make sure you’re not short changing yourself. Sometimes people might be selling something that is broken or has some flaw or something else undesirable. Make sure to compare apples-to-apples and price your item accordingly.
Now some of you might be asking why I use the Buy It Now filter, that’s because it’s a much better indication of what the average price is of an item. Auction prices can end with huge variations between one item to the next and it’ll make it much more difficult to estimate what an item should be sold for. In my experience Buy It Now pricing is the most accurate judge of price.
Make First Impressions Great
In my blog entry about 4 Top Secret Tips to Having a Successful Online Store, I talk about how as a seller you got to make the best first impressions when it comes to the pictures, descriptions, customer service and shipping. Same thing applies here even if you don’t plan on starting a store.
As for pictures and descriptions, make sure you take a lot of clear pictures and be as descriptive as possible. Be honest about you’re items so you don’t run into an issue later with the buyer. If your product has flaws, don’t hide them. If you’re sell a phone with scratches, show them. If you’re selling a purse with a hole, show it. In the description tell the buyer exactly what they are getting including what may or may not be included with the auction. For example if you’re selling a phone without a charger, say it. If there are other things the buyer cannot see such as smells or weird behavior, make sure you list it.
I know a lot of you guys might be thinking that revealing all the flaws will lower the price and not fetch the highest price. If you done your homework correctly, then you should net a healthy profit even when show your hand on the flaws. And in the eBay world, selling the item for a lower price is better than selling it for a higher price but having it returned (even months later) and you getting a negative feedback. Take a look at my next section which talks about ebay’s feedback system.
eBay’s feedback system is extremely important, in fact almost everyone I buy from has at least a 98% rating or higher and I would say in ½ of the cases the sellers have a 100% feedback. I cannot stress how importantly this is. If you have a rating less than 90%, you’re not going to get any sales. So make sure you do anything possible to please the buyer to get the positive feedback.
A few years ago, eBay took the ability to rate buyers from the seller. In my opinion that made it very unfair where buyers are making demands that sellers sometimes shouldn’t have to do but they do because they want a good feedback. And recently the buyer protection program was extended from 3 months to 6 months. Do you know how painful it is to get an email from a buyer who bought something 6 months ago and claim that the item they received isn’t correct or is broken??? If you had the same experience I’m sure you can relate. But it’s eBay’s world so you’ll have to obey if you want to use them to sell. There are a few instances where you can report the buyer such as if they don’t pay but it doesn’t reflect on their ratings.
But there are some good things eBay does for the seller. One is if you sell enough products and maintain a great feedback, you become a powerseller. Powersellers gets a special badge next to their feedback number and there are many different levels. Buyer usually trust powersellers because they know they sell a lot of items and continuously get great ratings. Also another benefit is powersellers get a discount with their overall fees towards the end of the month. Powersellers also get a special phone number they can call to reach an agent for help. This is a plus when something goes wrong.
eBay allows you to select the type of shipping you want to offer, with whom you want to ship with and offers the ability to print labels directly after a sale. Make sure you select the correct options up front. If you never shipped before, you can always go to a Fedex store or USPS and get some free boxes so you know which ones to use. You can also use their shipping rate checker on their websites to determine a fair shipping rate. In my experience, if the item is under $250 dollars ship with USPS with their flat rate boxes. If it’s over $250 dollars ship with Fedex. Fedex is cheaper than UPS and offers Saturday delivery for home addresses which is a big plus.
What’s the deal with $250 dollars? It’s the amount Paypal set a long time ago in terms of if you should ship with signature confirmation. If there is some kind of claim against you from the buyer that claims he/she did not get the item, paypal wants you to prove that the buyer signed for the item. Having a tracking number is not enough, it has to show the item was signed for. So if you sell an item over $250 dollars, make sure you always get signature confirmation and insurance. Insurance is a few dollars and it’s much better to get it in case your item does get lost.
Back in the day eBay made it so that there are no fees assessed on the shipping portion of the auction price. So sometimes you see people list an item for $1 dollar and have the shipping be $50 dollars. eBay stopped that and now charges the fee on the total amount (price for the auction and shipping together). eBay’s system is also smart enough now to know if your ripping off the customer with high shipping rates. Because of those two reasons, I usually ship everything with the free shipping option. The cost is already built into the auction price and there really isn’t any negatives to doing it this way. In fact when people are searching for items, seeing an item with free shipping seems more of a bargain than one that is charging $29.99.
I hope these 4 insider tips on how to maximize eBay profits will in fact help you maximize profits! Good Luck!