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All about Ebay

EBay is a marketplace where buyers and sellers can easily meet. Sellers can list their items for sale and buyers can search for items to purchase. The best place to get help about eBay is their help section. It is very detailed and useful and should contain everything you need. The information below is meant to be used in additional to the eBay help section

Buying on eBay

It is usually a good idea to buy a few things from eBay before you start selling. It will enable you to understand the process that a customer goes through as well as giving you some positive feedback which is always encouraging to buyers. You should also bear in mind that sellers quite often spell things wrong in their item titles. You can sometimes get a great bargain if you search for ‘Chalte School books’ as most people will be looking for ‘Chalet School books’ for example. This is why it is a good idea to look in the categories as well as searching by keyword. I have heard of people making massive profits by reselling items on eBay which were either misspelled or not well listed. Sometimes people sell batches of items and within that batch there could be a very valuable piece which other buyers miss because the item title does not mention it. It is worthwhile looking in the wholesale lots too – there can be some good bargains, but beware. If someone is selling a box of mixed books for example, it is likely that they have sorted through it and removed all the ones the thought looked valuable – try to make sure you get details of exactly what is included.

Make sure that you check the feedback of the seller before you buy. If you are not 100% happy then send them an email asking any question – the speed and quality of reply should help to confirm or deny your doubts.

Selling on eBay

The thing that buyer tend to look for first in a seller is a good reputation. In order to get a good reputation it does take time, however there are a few things that you can do in order to help. Getting your feedback as high as you can is the best thing you can do. But by responding to customer queries, invoicing, despatching and leaving feedback as quickly as possible you will begin to build up a reputation of giving good customer service. I post every day to make sure that buyers get the best possible service. I think that if they have paid for first class delivery then it is important to post it as soon as possible.

It can be a bit of a dilemma deciding whether to sell an item by auction or at a fixed price. I tend to sell second hand items at auction and new items at fixed price as I know their value. However, sometimes this is not the best way to do things. It is probably best to experiment and sell some items at a fixed price and then when they have sold sell some at auction and see if you get more interest / money. This can be tricky as week by week the amount of potential bidders can vary. I find that school holidays are always quieter for me and October is always very busy. This will obviously vary depending on the products that you are selling. Most people tend to sell more just before Christmas and with online sales the market starts picking up in September and sales tend to peak in October and start reducing in November. December tends to be quiet. It is therefore important to start thinking about Christmas in September and make sure you are well stocked up.

Another tricky decision can be the timing of the auction. A few years ago most people timed their auctions to finish on Sunday evening because there seemed to be most bidders online at that time. However, I find that if you have auctions ending over the span of a week then you are getting bidders looking at your items over a longer term and therefore you are more likely to get more exposure. I tend to end my auctions in the mornings at 8am. A lot of bidders wait until the last few minutes to bid. Therefore if the auction ends at 8am they can bid before they leave for work and also some of the USA are still up so they get a chance to bid too. It is wise to experiment with times and days too as there may be certain times which are better for certain products.

When I list an item, I make sure that I include a photograph. Try to make sure that the photograph shows the item in its best light but if there is any damage to the item make sure that you show it too. Also include an honest description of the item including details of the damage. I find that if I describe minor damage well then I actually sell the item for more than if I am vague about the condition. I think customers appreciate the honesty and think if you have described the damage then you are more likely to be trustworthy.

Make sure that the listing is clear and concise. Include everything you think the customer will need to know for example for a book I include the title, author, small description (such as hardback / softback, publisher, year etc) and the condition. I sometimes include a synopsis – especially on the more expensive items.

I make sure that I pack things neatly and provide a return address. I also put a compliment slip with my website address in every parcel. Most customers seem to appreciate the professionalism and I have never had a complaint about my sneaky advert. If parcels get lost in the post, I always apologise to customers even though it was not my fault. I think that it is important to show that you care. I do my best to sort out any problems as soon as possible. If a book is lost or damaged in the post, as soon as the customer has returned it, I send out a refund or replacement. I do not wait until I have got my compensation from the postal service as that takes too long.

I have learnt loads about eBay selling from looking at the eBay forums. I have discussed problems I have had with customers and got useful suggestions for solutions. I have learnt about Paypal, eBay shops and tricks for listing. I have also joined some eBay groups (which are like mini forums) and have been able to discuss issues with other booksellers. There are lots of groups so you are bound to find one which appeals to you.



By: Rachel Henderson

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