5 Tips to Getting Started on eBay

eBay Selling

Like many eBay hopefuls, I’ve spent the last 6 months collecting items with the intent of selling them on eBay. You name it, I’ve got it: purses, IP phones, office supplies, home decor, craft items, holiday decorations, games and more. I had grand visions of selling items quickly to make room for my car in the garage. But, alas, things are moving much slower than I anticipated and my car will most likely spend the summer taking in sun.

But that’s ok. In fact, it is one of the key pieces of advice that I was given when talking with some friends and experts in the industry. If you’re getting started on eBay, consider the following:

  • Take it slow. Lee Mirabel from eBay Radio suggested a “Take It Slow” approach. Avoid rushing to list everything you have to sell.  List a few items at a time, learn from the process and move on. The better you get, the more you list. This theory applies equally to new sellers or existing sellers exploring a new product or category.
  • Photography is important. Good photography doesn’t mean spending hours obsessing over the perfect photo using an expensive camera. What it does mean is taking lots of good photos with good lighting from different angles. Lee also suggested investing in a good light box and using a phone to take pictures. I purchased a StudioPRO All in One LED Photo Light Kit for $99 and use the square picture setting on my iPhone. My pictures come out so well I do very little editing, if any.
  • Research before listing. Marsha Collier, author of eBay for Dummies, is a big proponent of doing your homework. Before listing a product, find out all you can, including previously sold items, pricing and descriptions. This will take some time in the beginning, especially if you’re listing many different things instead of multiple of same product. But in the end, it will save you time and wasted fees for unsold items.
  • Timing is everything. Marsha also suggests getting the timing right. Winter coats won’t sell well in the middle of summer, but heart-shaped pillows may do great leading up to Valentine’s day.  “Timing is hardly an exact science,” writes Marsha in her new book. “Rather, timing is a little bit of common sense, a dash of marketing, and a fair amount of information gathering.”
  • Respond quickly to inquiries. This bit of advice comes from yours truly. After more than 10 years in the communications industry, I still feel that excellent communication can make a good business great. Customers expect emails to be responded to in less than 6 hours. Even if you have to do further research, at least let them know you received their message and explain the next steps.

Most of all. Relax. Have fun and enjoy the process. Success won’t happen overnight, but it will come with hard work and dedication. You can do it!

Jodi Gaines Pereira

Jodi Gaines Pereira is the co-founder of ReplyManager, a web-based tool designed to help online sellers manage their incoming customer communications. She served as CEO and blog editor until it's sale to XSellco. She is also a founding partner of iguanafarmGroup, a product development and engineering company. Jodi is a frequent contributor to online publications such as Tamebay and WebRetailer and often speaks about customer experience and marketing within the eCommerce community and is an accomplished singer / songwriter.

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