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Watch your eBay sales walk out your stockroom!

Watch your eBay sales walk out your stockroom!

People assume that selling on eBay is a walk in the park, but actually if you want to be successful, you do have to work very hard at it. Sourcing items, researching prices and creating listings can be very time consuming, so it is important to get it right from the word go. I’ve been having a look at the worst mistakes you can make on eBay and come up with the terrible top ten!

1. People can’t find your item
When it comes to eBay, sell to the lowest common denominator of people you can think of. By that, I mean make it completely obvious what you are selling and why anyone should buy from you. You need to get the title right, make sure the item description is clear and that you have placed the product in the right category.

iPad Covers

iPad Covers

For starters, pick the right category. Take a moment to quickly research which categories your item generally appears in. People will search there first. Your title should include words that potential customers will place in the search box on eBay. Take this Wholesale Clearance item for example, *One Off* Wholesale Lot of 100 iPad 2, 3, 4 Silicone Colour Protective Covers, which is available here .

Rather than have a title that says something like ‘Multi-coloured iPad cover’ be more specific. Try ‘Protective silicone cover iPad 2, iPad 3, iPad 4 Purple Blue Pink Colour’ instead. This way your item will turn up in a dozen different searches, such as a Purple iPad 3 cover or Blue iPad 4 protective cover. The more specific you are the more likely your item will turn up in searches nearer the top and 6-8 times more people will see it.

2. Description

With the description you should aim to cover everything. Don’t write great long paragraphs but do include as much detail as possible. Describe all the features, the size, what it is made of, how washable, durable, and useful it is. Let the buyer know how quickly you can send it out. If it is brand new and unused say so. If it has flaws describe them. The more honest you are the more likely you are not to get lumbered with returns.

3. Pricing
Do your research and find out what other people charge for items similar to yours. Deduct fees and see what profit they are making. Can you compete? Don’t sell at a loss. Better to just sit on the products for a time.

4. Hidden charges

Factor in everything that you need to charge and include that in the asking price if it’s a ‘Buy it Now’ product, or the reserve if it’s an auction. If you are charging for petrol, packaging, parking, handling etc. – that all needs to go into the asking price and not into the postage. Buyers will be put off by excess postage. Don’t forget to work out how much eBay will take in terms of commission via final valuation fees and PayPal fees.

5. Shipping

Royal Mail has just changed their pricing strategy and some of their charges have doubled for large light packages, which will affect you if you sell clothes, soft toys and textiles. Shop around. You can get some great deals from private delivery companies. Ebay is very keen on ‘free shipping’ which we all know is not free for anyone. You still have to pay postage and you will obviously recoup that from your buyer, so eBay isn’t kidding anyone on that! You will have to make that money somewhere. If you are offering shipping and hiding the price within the cost of your product, don’t forget that eBay will take final valuation fees on that also.

Do some research and offer a number of options to your buyers. Don’t add on loads of cost to the buyer as they will get fed up and shop elsewhere. Finally, make it clear you ship in X amount of days.

This is a rubbish picture

This is a rubbish picture

6. Pictures
Make them look good! Include a number of good images and highlight any flaws.

7. Feedback

Leave it immediately. It’s like saying a big ‘Thanks for your business!’

Follow these tips and improved eBay sales are in the bag!

Follow these tips and improved eBay sales are in the bag!

8. Your policies and procedures

Being clear and transparent about your terms and conditions is one thing, but being assertive to the point of dictatorship is just a no-no! You don’t need to say ‘All non-paying buyers will be reported!’ as that will just make you sound like a petulant teenager. Of course you want to hire a dalek and exterminate non-payers, but you’re a grown up and a professional, so let’s just take that as read, shall we? Common courtesy costs nothing and you’re running a business.

You cannot say that you don’t accept returns or that you accept no responsibility for lost or damaged goods, because unfortunately, you do. You don’t have a legal leg to stand on if something goes missing or gets damaged in the post. You are legally obligated to supply the buyer with the goods described.

9. Ignorance is not bliss

Always answer any questions you are asked, speedily and honestly. Never leave a potential buyer in the lurch. Answer politely, however blunt and rude the buyer may seem.

10. Misspellings
If you spell an item incorrectly in your title it will be unlikely to turn up in a search. I’ve just seen a listing for a dinning table. It may or may not be related to a dining table, but whatever you do, spellcheck!

Do you have any other tips? Let us know!

One Response to “Ten terrible mistakes you should avoid when selling on eBay!”

Patricia CoyneMay 14th, 2013 at 5:22 pm

very interesting. I am having greif from E bay saying my postage is too high. I have an immaculate feedback history. I sell post cards and mags all ehemara. and use padded or carded envelopes which are not cheap E bay keeps e mailing me with threats of punishment. I have realised they have stopped the occasional free weekend promotions They tell mr that I should be specific about my product which I always have been . I akways auction my ephemara. So I cannot really include postage and petrol etc in my prices.
I really am fed up with them. Any suggestions.
Best Patsy

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