Last Updated: October 12, 2015 63

Make Money on Ebay – 5 Tips for Beginners

Found In: Sell things online

Most eBay newbies start out bright-eyed and hopeful because they’re just sure the old juicer that no one uses anymore is going to bring in a killing. After all, it makes OJ just like it did when it was new. That’s a fact the item description makes very clear. Anyone in the market for a juicer would just be cheating themselves if they didn’t check this one out, right?

Right. After the auction is over, however, the juicer doesn’t bring in the wad of cash that its seller was hoping to receive. What’s more, it’s a lot of trouble to box the thing up and ship it all the way to Fairbanks, Alaska. This story, unfortunately, is what happens to many first-time eBay sellers diving headfirst into a new sales medium without knowing what it takes to succeed there. Thankfully, there are just a few things to keep in mind if you want to increase your auction earnings, become a more competitive seller, and begin to make money on eBay.

1. Check the Completed Listings for Your Item.

All eBay members have access to completed listings–items for which bidding has already ended. Before listing your item for sale, simply enter search terms for your item in the search box, check the box that will restrict your search to “Completed Items,” and take a good, hard look at the results your search yields. Now you can see how much your item sells for on eBay, and there are often a wide range of prices listed for any given item.

Take note on the range of prices for which your item has sold. This should give you a good idea of how much you can expect to make from your sale, and you should keep this in mind when setting your starting bid, shipping price, and “Buy It Now” price.

2. Answer Questions From Buyers.

When a potential buyer sends you a question about your item, you should show him or her the courtesy of answering. Behave as if the buyer is a customer shopping in your very own brick-and-mortar store, and you’re being asked a question about an item on the shelf. Would you just turn the other cheek and ignore the customer? Of course not. A buyer’s question about your eBay item is an indication that he or she is interested in what you’re selling. Get back to the buyer in a timely manner (i.e. not an hour before the auction ends) so that a decision can be made on whether or not to place a bid. Always answer questions truthfully, however. Lying to somebody so that he or she will bid on your item will not earn you a good feedback score, and you’re less likely than before to make money on eBay.

3. Post High-Quality Photos of Your Item.

The eBay picture uploading tool makes it easy to include photos of your item, but you also have the option of posting links to externally-hosted photographs. You should do both. The eBay picture uploading tool posts a thumbnail image of your item alongside its listing in the search results, which helps your item get attention, but the full-size version that appears in the listing is often still too small to show any details.

By taking high-quality digital photos, posting them on an external site, and linking to them from your eBay listing, you have the opportunity to show large, clear, detailed photographs of your item to all potential buyers. Even if this shows buyers some dents and dings on the surfboard you’re selling, it’s only honest to make them aware of your item’s flaws, and buyers are more likely to trust you for having shown them a quality image of the actual item up for bid.

4. Bundle the “Buy It Now” and “Free Shipping” Options.

Making use of eBay’s “Buy It Now” option is almost a given for most sellers who use the site. In fact, many sellers completely forgo the auction format and only list items at “Buy It Now” prices. Your “Buy It Now” price, of course, should be set a little higher than what you expect to make on the item, but if it’s more money than you ought to be making, how will you entice anyone to buy the item in lieu of bidding on it?

Bundling your “Free Shipping” option along with a “Buy It Now” price is a great way to lure buyers into buying your item for a price you set. Buyers feel like winners because they don’t have to pay additional shipping costs for a heavy item, and you feel like a winner because you were able to sell the item at a higher price than many other sellers with similar wares. Be careful to factor potential shipping costs into your “Buy It Now” price, however, or you may have to eat some of what could have been your profit.

5. Use the Right Keywords

Let’s say you’re selling an electric guitar–a Fender Stratocaster– that you picked up cheap at a garage sale. You don’t know a lot about guitars, but you know it’s a Fender. In your item description, you write, “Fender guittar looks great!!!,” and after seven days you’re left wondering why you didn’t sell the guitar for much more than they asked for it at the garage sale.

The problem, of course, is that your item description did not contain information needed to bring buyers to your listing. The description included the make of the guitar, but not the model. Furthermore, “guitar” was not spelled correctly, and anyone searching for something as general as “guitar” would not even have come across your item in the search results. Search the completed listings to see which search terms people use when they search for your item, and you are more likely to sell for a price that makes you smile.

While keyword knowledge is certainly not all you need to succeed on eBay, when considered along with the other factors that enhance your appeal with buyers, it can go a long way. Remembering these tips will help you get closer to your goals, make money on eBay, and maybe even sell that old juicer. It’s in mint condition, after all.