How to Successfully Sell Designer Handbags and Accessories on Ebay
by Maureen Orlando-Lewis
Selling designer handbags is not only fun, it can ba a very profitable business venture. As with any tangible good it is important to first, know your product and second, know how to market your product. I will walk you through this process step-by-step.
There are some general rules and guidelines that are necessary to follow for success when you are selling high-end designer handbags and accessories.
1. If you cannot guarantee its authenticity, do not sell it! It is prohibited to sell counterfeit merchandise on eBay even if you state that you cannot authenticate the product. The reason for this is that the counterfeit industry is illegal. It would behoove you to research this aspect of the business. Briefly on this subject, counterfeit products are manufactured in third-world countries primarily by children who are forced to work long hours for very low pay. Important to note: Violations of eBay policies can result in a variety of actions taken against you, including account suspension. When it comes to counterfeit merchandise, eBay has a responsibility to report it to the necessary law enforcement agencies.
2. Use the brand name for the product you are selling only! For instance, if you are selling a vintage Dooney & Bourke, do not use the brand name Coach in your title description to attract potential buyers or divert buyers to your listing. If you are selling a variety of designer goods, include that info in your listing body by referring buyers to your store or auctions to view the other brands you have to offer. You want to build a reputation for yourself and should do so by gaining the trust of your potential buyers. Unethical and prohibited practices like the above example will cause your customers to question your motives. They will be reluctant to place bids on your items and you will lose in the end.
3. Include several good, quality photographs in your listing! I cannot stress this enough! Although a picture doesn’t tell the whole story, it tells a lot! By including several clear photos, you allow your potential buyer to view your product from many angles. This helps to gain their trust. Also, if you are trying to “get-out-cheap” by not including several photos, this diminishes the quality and value of your product and as a result, you will not get the bids you had hoped for. When it comes to photographs, follow these simple rules:
a. If you do not already have one, invest in a decent digital camera. These are readily available at affordable prices. Support your fellow eBay sellers and check listings on eBay for good deals! You don’t need anything too fancy to take pictures of your products. Look for something that allows you to zoom optically at least by 3x and gives you a macro to take close-up pictures. This is very important! Handbag collectors want to see details! Whatever you do, do NOT use a web-cam as a camera! This is a bad choice because the pictures are grainy and unclear.
b. Take lots of pictures, from every angle, including the inside of the bag. Yes, I know, the more pictures you add, the more it costs you to list your item. BUT, keep in mind, the more pictures you add, the more bids you will get! More bids equals more money! You can afford to spend a few extra cents to get back several extra dollars. You’ll want to zoom in to get the details! Things like fabric design, hardware tacking, stitching and brand logos are important to your customers. These details help sell the product. Also, it helps to point out any flaws, obvious or not. And please, whatever you do, do NOT throw your precious designer bag on the floor and snap a picture of it! This is a pet peeve of mine and I cringe every time I see it. For reference, please review my original photographs I have included in this guide. True, it is difficult to capture certain details in a photograph, but when this is the case, your description is very important.
4. Describe, describe, describe! Details are extremely important when describing your product. The time you take to enter the information into your listing will directly reflect on your end result. If you cannot take the time to do it right, wait until you have the time to do so. Be meticulous! I read and re-read my listings over and over before I submit them. Then, after I submit them, I read them again. This gives me the opportunity to spot any typographical errors (yes, accurate spelling is IMPORTANT) and add any other info I may have forgotten. When auctioning your product you are able to revise your listing when you do NOT have any bids. Once bids are placed you can only add to your description. For this reason, it is important to fix any problems before you get bids. Example: I was auctioning an authentic, vintage Gucci belt and in the listing description I stated the size of the belt as “87 inches from end-to-end”. Although, I read the listing details I had written, I did not notice this mistake. It was several days into the auction and I was losing watchers, but did not know why until a potential buyer contacted me and pointed out the fact that “87 inches from end-to-end” would make the belt over 7 feet long! Imagine my embarrassment! And even though no bids were placed and I was able to correct my mistake, it was too late. Many people had viewed that auction with the 7 ft. belt and I lost their confidence. Even though there were several other vintage Gucci belt auctions ending with high bids AND after thanking my one helpful eBay watcher for pointing out my mistake, the belt did not sell!!
5. Make excellent communication a top priority! Good communication is important in any business, but especially in a business where your customers never meet you face-to-face. Be professional in your dealings with them. Congratulate them on their winning bid. Thank them for their business. Let them know that you have received their payment. Inform them when you have shipped their items. Answer their questions promptly. Treat them with respect.
6. Clearly state your store policies! If, for instance, you do not offer a return policy you must clearly state “All Sales Final” somewhere in the listing details. Ebay recommends offering a return policy, so if you do choose to accept returns, keep in mind that you are dealing with a product that is highly collectible and its value is determined by the condition it is in when you sell it. If it is returned to you and not in the same condition it was when you shipped it, you are going to be covering a possible total loss on a product that is irreplaceable. This is another reason it is important to have great photos and detailed descriptions. Also, you’ll want to decide whether or not you will ship internationally. To be well informed, do the necessary research regarding this and if you choose not to ship outside the U.S., be sure to let your buyers know. By clearly stating your store policies, you will get more positive feedback. This is not to say that you will never get negative feedback as you will not be able to please everyone, no matter what lengths you go to.
7. Use delivery confirmation when shipping via USPS! When shipping your items it is important to “cover-your-own-butt”, so to speak. The United States Postal Service offers Delivery Confirmation for an additional fee, but if you use PayPal to ship, it is included for FREE! This is just another great, added incentive when selling products on eBay. Delivery Confirmation is, simply, proof that your item was delivered. You, of course, are not responsible for actual transit times or the condition the package is in when it is delivered.
8. Offer insurance as an option or include it in the shipping cost! This gives your buyer more confidence when buying from you. They know (or should know) that once you send their package, it is essentially “out-of-your-hands” and into the hands of the shipping service. When you offer shipping insurance you are reiterating your concern for them and the product. Again, this builds trust and brings customers back to buy from you again and again. All good businesses pride themselves on repeat customers since they are the backbone to their success.
9. Take advantage of Ebay’s Marketing Tools! Ebay offers several ways to market your products and/or your store. Take time to go through all the options available to you. Ebay is constantly updating their services, so check them often.
10. Take time to read eBay’s policies and regulations! It is true that the most successful individuals are the ones that are most informed. Get informed and stay informed! Ebay has extensive valuable resources for you that are only a click away.
By following the above 10 steps, you will be on your way (or 10 steps closer) to Successfully Selling Designer Handbags and Accessories on Ebay!
It is my sincerest hope that you have found this information helpful and I wish you the best of luck in all your eBay endeavors!