Starting a business off the right way can be frustrating for anybody, unless you have someone to do your dirty work for you. But if you are like most people you’re not that lucky. This guide is put together for those individuals like me who could have used this information from the beginning. I remember scouring the internet for information, tutorials, products, services, and anything I could find to help me with my new on-line business. I read so many articles and paid a lot of money for information that was not so helpful. I also made the mistake of purchasing services I didn’t need. Long story short, unlike the other mini guides and information you pay for, I have tried to include a plethora of information, sites, and friendly advice for anyone who might be interested. Happy reading!
I think everyone needs a little help now and again, especially when you are just starting out. I definitely would have been happy to read all these guides they have now when I had just started out selling on eBay. I pretty much had to learn everything as I went along. Everything I know now is due to experience. In this guide I am going to tell you some of the things you might have already read in another guide but I will also tell you about some great sites I have found along the way. I do not mean to offend anyone with this guide. I have paid for guides in the past and have found that they should have been free. So, as to not disappoint anyone, this is obviously free. Sorry to those who do have guides they sell. This is not to say you shouldn’t charge for it. I am not the judge of that. I hope everyone can find this useful. If not, then I apologize ahead of time for wasting a good portion of time you would have wasted reading someone else’s boring guide. Just kidding, lol!
Okay, getting down to business. I started by selling my daughter’s used clothing. That was the first auction I put up. However, I did a ton of research before I ever got it listed. I didn’t even have an eBay account then. I would always use my husbands account to buy. So, the first thing I did was open an eBay seller’s account. You can do this by going to eBat Registration. You also need a PayPal account or merchant account to pay for your seller fees. You can go to this link to open a PayPal account.
First you should buy some items to get your feedback rating up which is very important and also to get a buyer’s prospective on eBay. This also gives you a chance to get familiar with eBay and see what is selling. It is important to keep that buyer’s prospective even once you are a seller. This is so you can provide the best customer service possible. Since you can’t look your customer in the face and see that each is genuine we have to go the extra mile with customer service to get our point across. You can also see how important pictures are to each listing. The almighty GALLERY PICTURE! This is a must. I have to admit, I am one of those ebayers who will not click on the listing if you do not have a gallery picture. It is a known fact that ebayers will not look at it if there is no pic. Please remember to spend that extra 15 cents on the gallery pic every listing!
Be sure to get an easy listing tool like Turbo Lister . It is wonderful for holding all your listings and setting them to upload whenever you want them to. This is great for off seasons when you are getting everything pictured, listed, and set up for the next selling season. Make sure you set up your preferences. Play around with it to familiarize yourself so you will know what to do when you get ready to list. There is nothing more frustrating than working with a new listing tool while you are in a rush to get your listings up by a certain time. Been there, done that! You can also use the Sell Your Item form that eBay provides.
Next you have to decide what it is you want to sell. Do you already know what you want to sell? Are you going to sell girl, boy, or both? What brand you like? Can you find it cheap enough to resell? Do you know what sizes you would like to carry? Well, to start you can always sell what you have now and figure the rest out later like I did. If you already have the answers to these questions then you are already ahead of the game. Gymboree happens to be what I specialize in. it also happens to be the #1 selling brand on eBay for several years now. Other brands have come close but not succeeded yet. There are other brands though that do come in close to Gymboree and they are the other stores we all love, like: Gap, Old Navy and more. Gap is always up there with Gymboree items. A lot of sellers like to sell them all.
As for boy vs. girl, I have heard a lot said about the subject. Everyone has there own opinion. As for me, I personally think everything sells. I have two kids, a boy and a girl. So, I need boy’s clothing just as much as I need girl’s clothing. I have read several articles and guides that say never sell boys clothing but there has never been any good evidence that says it doesn’t sell. I think everyone should try selling everything so each can make up their own mind. I think everyone finds out what they like to sell and not sell in there own time. Just give everything a chance and find out for yourself.
Now you can go through your house. Get all the items you wanted to sell at that garage sale next week and list them. Go through your kid’s closets, your closets and get everything together that doesn’t fit anymore or that they just don’t wear. I do this every 6 months with my kids. I make them try on all there outfits and jackets. If it looks like it won’t fit in a month, it goes into the sell pile. Then I sort everything by size to see what I have. That’s when I pick out the items that I can’t sell. I always leave in items that may have a small stain or rip if they are still in good condition or they go to an outfit. However, I make sure that it is listed as a play/daycare outfit only and explain in detail why. Honesty is the best policy! This is okay because everyone who has kids needs these clothes sometimes. Now I never sell these items alone. I include them in a huge lot or wardrobe that I am selling all together. I like to sell in lots the most. This is because I’m not patient enough to put up a ton of listings. However, this is where you make most of the money. Listing in outfits and pieces does give you a high percentage of profit. I enjoy lots because I like to include any socks, shoes, tights, hats, jackets, and hair pretties that matched an outfit but you can still do this when you sell outfits. You’re off to a great start at this point. The first lot I ever sold on eBay was from my daughter’s closet and I was hooked after that because it was all her 12-24mos baby clothing and it sold for over $200. It helped that I sold it in the middle of the spring/summer selling season and had no clue, but I was still very happy to get that much money for a bunch of used clothing.
Now you are ready to take your pictures and set up your listing!
If you would like to see more on a successful listing and all the important info you will need to know and decide please check out my other guide.
Great pictures are very important to every listing. Make sure you always use a clear picture. It is also great to have a picture editor on your computer. This is so you can crop and edit your pictures. This is also helpful because you shouldn’t upload a picture larger than 500 mega pixels and you can change this when you edit them. This will also help with the upload time. I am sure you have been in a listing that took forever to show up. This can happen if there are a lot of pictures but not just that there are a lot but that they are way too big and the computer has a hard time uploading them all. This is important because you don’t want your customers to get annoyed and close the listing with out seeing what you have to offer. I do believe you should use a light background for dark colored clothing and a dark background for light colored clothing. The most common colors are white and black. A lot of people use poster board and other items like this to get a nice clean background.
Now, I am not going to tell anyone what they should not do. The reason is because I think everyone is entitled to do what they like the most. This is why it is your business. However, I have read several guides telling others not to put the clothing on the floor, rug, table, bed, sheets, ground, telephone pole, and rocket or on your kids. I think everyone should do whatever works for them. Use your best judgment and move on. I do like pictures taken outside because you do need a lot of light but it really depends on the individual. Some like to take there pics outside and some don’t. I find that my kitchen has the best lighting so I use my poster board and I am good to go. Remember to use the gallery picture option in your listings!
Never use someone else’s pictures unless you have prior written consent. If you do not have this consent it is fraud and eBay will shut you down. Meaning they will close all your listings and still have you pay for them. This is no joke. This is one of the things eBay feels strongly about. You are not allowed to copy anyone’s listings, pictures, or anything else without permission.
Each seller has to pay someone for image hosting. It is part of the many wonderful things you find out about when trying to sell your items. I use a wonderful site called thesellersourcebook that offers adorable listing templates for only $8.00 a month and gives you image hosting absolutely free. I personally like this because they have Gymboree templates for each line and I sell Gymboree clothing. That was pretty simple to figure out. There are other image hosting services also available. EBay offers a sliding scale of services depending on the amount of space you need to store your pictures called Picture Manager. I believe the cheapest one starts out at $9.99 a month. Other sellers have auction management systems like Vendio and Auctiva that will include image hosting in there monthly fee. It all depends on what you like the most. You can get to these sites by entering them into Google. We are not permitted to include any links outside of eBay or I would be more than happy to provide them for you.
Everyone has a different opinion when it comes to timing. I like to do a lot of research, so of course before I even decided to write this I read all the other guides I could find that might have any good info I didn’t already know. So, I have to say everyone has there own favorite time to list. Having that said, I have come to the conclusion that everyone should try listing all different times so you can see what time and day is most suitable for you. I like listing in the evening. My time can be anywhere between 7pm CST to 8 CST. I am on the east coast so I have to remember to set my listing according to everyone’s time frame. I want to make sure I am getting the west coast bidders as well as the central and east coast. So, if I have it starting at 10pm my time, I know it will end at a good time. Most people will be up in every area at that time.
Also remember research is the key for any good listing so you can check other listings that ended that are similar or the same as yours and check to see the best time and day to list. You can do this by looking up active listings like yours and then checking the box on the left that says completed listings. This will give you all the completed listings that have sold and have not sold. This is one of the most important tools you will use when it comes to your listings. It really doesn’t matter how pretty your listing is. It all comes down to the research. If you know what the best starting price is, buy it now, day, time, key words, ending price. Then you will have all the info there to accurately list your item.
This brings me to research. I can’t say it enough. No matter what you sell this is the most important thing you could do. Always do your research. The reason I say this so many times is because tons of items go off eBay every minute unsold. This costs money too. The best way to be sure your item will sell is to know what it is selling for. If you know exactly what price range it is selling for then you know what to list it at whether it is an auction or fixed price. EBay has its own market. It isn’t like a retail store. EBay has its own price range for everything. This is because people here want to pay what they want and no more. Another reason this is so important is because the most common mistake everyone makes is under pricing an item. This is major when it comes to eBay because once an item sells for under the price others see what it sold for, then they either copy the price or they do not want to pay any more then what they saw it sell for. You never want to depreciate the value of something that is selling well. This is big on eBay because a lot of people are first timers and don’t know any better!
Research is also great to help you with categories you might not have thought of using or key words used in the title. You can get all this information from completed listings. EBay even offers an advanced research service you can subscribe to called Marketplace Research. Another good resource is Empire and it is free.
Now you should be at the point were you can put an excellent listing together with all the information you have. Before you do though make sure you are listing the items at the right time. This is another one of those important tricks about eBay. If you sell the wrong thing at the wrong time it might sell for way too low or not even at all. This happens because as I explained previously you have to sell everything when it's season for it. For example: I know that spring/summer clothing will sell from the middle of January up until the beginning of May. I had to figure this out the hard way, but you can reference the selling calendar and the selling season guide I also put together.
Once you get up your first listing you should be ready now to get your other stuff together. Now is a good time to go over purchasing. Once you have sold the items you have around the house you might have an idea of what you like to sell. if it is clothing then be sure you know what it is you want to offer. Once you know, do some research (there's that word again) on how well it sells on eBay and where you can purchase it for a price you can resell it at. Now, a lot of people buy of eBay all the time and resell. i know my customers do. So, be sure you are getting your items for at least 55% off the retail value depending on what you will be selling it at and 60% off the retail value for accessories. This again is a good reason to do your research to know what it is selling at because you don't want to just offer a percentage off. It might not sell for that. Always buy from a store you know offers excellent items. You don't want to go home an find that you purchased some damaged items because if you get them too cheap you might find you can't return them to certain stores. Always check the items twice. Check them once when you pick them out and once more before you check out. This will help to ensure you didn't get anything that you can't sell.
Now if you decide to purchase on-line always make sure that you are purchasing from someone that has reputable feedback. Now, everyone is going to have to deal with that one person who just wanted something for nothing. It doesn't matter what you do they will never be satisfied. Be sure you know this before you are too critical of others feedback. You never know what it was like to deal with that person. If you do have a concern about a particular feedback item then email the seller, I get emails all the time. Once I explain the customer is usually at ease.
The other thing you need to be aware of when purchasing on-line is if you are covered. Meaning is the seller covered by PayPal if you do not get the package, do not get what you ordered, or the contents are damaged. Make sure you are fully covered for the total amount of your purchase. If for some reason the seller is not you can always use a credit card through PayPal and be assured you are covered with the credit card companies’ chargeback policy. However, please do not file a chargeback unless you absolutely need to. As a seller I have had to deal with PayPal and chargeback’s for customers who did get there product and they closed the chargeback but I still had to wait a total of 120 days to get my funds back. So, be careful and use your best judgment.
Take care of your investment and be organized. Okay when it comes to organization this is the key for success. You remember they would tell you that in school all the time. I have to say it's true. I personally hang all my clothing up on rails by gender and size order. They are also hung by outfits and seasons. I found this to be the simplest way to pull lots. It is also the least time consuming and I can see everything. It was my hubby’s idea and I have to say I love it. I keep all my accessories in labeled containers. For all my small accessories like the hair clips and baubles they go in my small open containers. This makes everything very accessible. I also can see what sizes I am running low in or any accessories that I might need to replenish. Everyone will have there own way of sorting there stuff. The point is that you need to do it in an organized fashion that you can work with.
A manager at a high end clothing store I shop at taught me a really awesome trick for getting out a stain or mark on a new piece of clothing. Some people carry food when they go into stores and don't realize they are getting it everywhere. You might think you did so well when you went shopping to get home a see a pen stain on something. This happens to me all the time and I use Mr. Clean Magic Eraser. Now the only difference is that you DO NOT WET IT. But, it works. I have gotten out all types of things from food to pen stains. Now it doesn't work on everything but it is pretty close. I stand by it and never would have thought of it myself. Just one of those nifty tricks I wanted to pass on to you guys.
As for opening a store with eBay, I like my store but it’s not for everyone. I have another guide I will be working on for you which will be all about an eBay store. This should help you to decide if it is right for you or not. It all depends on what it is you want to accomplish with your business. What your sales goals are and how much you want to sell here on eBay. Feel free to check out the guide once it is finished.
The next thing you should know about is whether you want to become a power seller. If you do they offer benefits for there sellers and free products and other great perks. They have a market place that you can purchase wholesale lots from and you can even get heath insurance. You also get free on-line and phone support from eBay and other power sellers like you that can answer your questions right away. This helps if you are having a technical problem or even better a fraud issue. You will be taken care of immediately.
I pretty much covered everything I could think of. This brings me to the end of the guide where I want to let you know about free products that I found while selling on eBay. The best one I came across was vista print. You can find them on the web or by using Google. They offer tons of free products all the time. I get emails almost every day with another free product. They offer free business cards, postcards, paper, rubber stamps, address labels and tons more products. The best part is that you can use your store logo if you want to which I will go into detail about in the listing guide and eBay store guide. If you open a store you can add on designs you might like. I have them with auction add-on's. I have a store front which I my flower I picked. Having this store front allows me to use it in vista print for my business cards and everything else I purchase from them. You can buy the business card to match your store at auction add-on's and just upload it to vista print. It is that easy. Then you can use that design for everything you buy with them, even custom paper for your invoices. This is definitely one of my favorite finds as a seller.
Another helpful find is USPS offer free boxes on there website. You can also go on eBay and get the USPS boxes you like with the eBay logo on them. I especially like this because when my customers get there package they now it's the eBay purchase they couldn't wait to get. Stamps.com is another site you can go to for shipping. You can always use PayPal and USPS on-line but stamps.com is another place you can print postage and they bill you for it monthly. You also buy postage with them and they send you a free gift. You get free postage, a small scale, and other shipping labels and more. I can't remember the entire package but even if you only use it for the 30 day free trial it is still worth the free stuff.
Well, I hope you found this guide to be helpful. There will be more guides to go into detail about how to list, should you get an eBay store, selling seasons, and wholesale lots. Feel free check them out as well if you found this to be informational. Email me if you think I left something out or could add on. I am always happy to hear from my fellow ebayers and adults for that matter since I stay at home with my little ones. If you did find this to be helpful in anyway PLEASE click the helpful link! Thanks for dropping by ziggybella's closet! Visit us again or add me to your favorites.