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Although eBay is one of the go-to places when looking to make extra money, and it’s not always as straightforward as you’d like it to be, so read on for some great advice on making the most of selling on this platform.
Ebay is a site a lot of us turn to when trying to make a little extra money but sometimes it can be frustrating. Forgetting the steep fees, trips to the post office and the awkward customers, what about the times when you just can’t seem to sell anything?
I’ve been selling my things on eBay for almost 10 years now on and off. I’ve had great successes, I’ve had massive fails and I’ve experimented with different techniques in a bid to get my items to sell. If you’re frustratingly clicking ‘relist’ as another item goes yet again unsold, don’t give up! Here are my tried and tested methods for increasing your sales.
Check Sold Listings
If you didn’t do this when you listed your item initially, do a sold listings search on similar items and see what they sold for. This will give you a much clearer idea of how to price your item and hopefully attract buyers. It’s also worth looking at the active listings to see where your competition lies – you can then tweak your listing to ensure it’s more attractive to potential buyers. If someone has priced their item similarly, shave a few pence off your postage cost so that if someone orders their search results ‘cheapest + p&p’ first, yours goes to the top of the list.
Tweak Your Title
Ensure that you have included as much relevant information in the title as possible. For example, if you’re selling an item of clothing include the size, brand, colour, style plus any interesting features e.g. fringing, crochet, lace etc. Think about seasonal items – play-suits sell well at this time of year – you could include the word ‘holiday’, ‘beach’ or ‘festival’ in your title. The title can be a maximum of 80 characters – so leave out words like ‘lovely’ or ‘pretty’ as it’s unlikely anyone is ever going to use those words in their search.
You’ve priced your item fairly, your title is full of good keywords, how do your pictures look? Could they be improved? Pictures are better taken in daylight against a clear and clutter free background. If you’re selling clothes you can hang them on a coat hanger against a plain background, put on a mannequin if you have one or even lay them flat on a clear floor. The most important thing is that the item is the focus of the picture – a busy or cluttered background is distracting and personally I wouldn’t click on such an item, so think about whether the picture would be visually appealing to you if you were the buyer.
Ebay are getting stricter with their listing requirements and are regularly introducing new item specifics which are mandatory. If your listing hasn’t been recently updated to include the mandatory specifics your item won’t show in search results. This can easily happen if you use Buy It Now and leave your listings to run on a good til cancelled basis. Edit your listing and check that all item specifics requirements are completed, and fill in as many others as you can too – this will keep your listing in the search results if a buyer puts a certain filter on.
Check Your Postage
As eBay (rather unfairly in my opinion) charge a final value fee on postage, a lot of sellers increase their postage charges to cover their fees. Personally I like to keep my postage low and charge what it costs to send the parcel. This does mean that I lose money on postage with the fee, but buyers are less likely to be put off my listing because they know I’m not overcharging them on postage. I am regularly put off as a buyer when I go to purchase a cheap item of clothing and the postage charge is £4-5, particularly as I can guess what the item would cost to send.
Experiment With Auctions
If you usually list Buy It Now, try experimenting with auctions and vice versa. I personally prefer to use Buy It Now but when I hit the dregs of my listings that won’t shift I start playing around with auctions. You can try different length auctions and different starting prices and even different days. The best time to end an auction is apparently a Sunday evening, so if you can coincide your auction finish time with that, you increase your chances of a sale.
Take Advantage of Promotional Weekends
Following on from my last point, make sure you check your emails regularly and look out for promotional weekends. You have to opt in to the offer, but it’s worth doing as the final value fee for items listed in the period is capped at £1. What’s also great about these weekends is that you can list as a 1 day auction for free (usually 35p) – these short auctions create a sense of urgency with the buyer and I’ve had great success with them. Recently I listed a dress for 99p on a 7 day auction cycle and it didn’t sell, over the promotional weekend I listed it for 1 day auction at £4.99 and it sold!
Ebay likes an active account. Getting a big batch of listings done is all well and good but you need to add new listings now and again too. I always find that if I don’t list anything for a while, and then add a few new listings, I get more sales – and not usually the newest items I’ve listed, but old listings that have sat around for ages. I don’t know how or why – but it works!
If you’ve tried everything and relisted for months on end and it still hasn’t sold it’s time to be realistic and decide whether it’s worth your time to keep trying. When I reach this point I usually whack the item on for one last auction cycle at 99p and if it doesn’t go, I don’t try again. If you’re holding out for a high price you might have to consider reducing it in order to get the item sold. You might have paid a lot of money for something, but that doesn’t mean that someone is going to be willing to do the same, particularly if it’s secondhand.
Or other selling platforms. I find Facebook particularly good for bundles of clothes and children’s toys. I don’t bother trying to sell individual pieces. Bundle your unsold items together in a job lot and get them gone. The good thing about Facebook is no post office and no fees!
Hopefully this has given you a little motivation to tweak those listings and give eBay another go. It can get frustrating sometimes but it’s worth persevering. There’s nothing better than clearing clutter out of your house and getting a little money in your pocket too. Happy Selling!
Thanks so much for such an informative post, Katie! You can find Katie through the following channels: