eBay is the world’s largest online auction site. You can sell anything from $0.99 cent widgets all the way up to multi-million dollar homes through eBay.
The Basics of How eBay Works
eBay works based on an auction system. You set your initial starting price, then bidders bid the price up. At the end of the auction, whoever put in the highest bid wins. You then pack up your product and ship it to the buyer.
Alternatively, you can also just sell items on a set price. For example, you might sell USB sticks for $10. Anyone can press “buy” and make a purchase. There’s no bidding and you just ship the items to the buyer.
What Does eBay Cost?
You pay for eBay based on the various add-ons you want to use in your listing. For example, to add a subhead costs $0.50 cents. You can actually post listings on eBay for free if you use zero add-ons.
In addition to the auction fees, eBay also makes money on the PayPal fees. PayPal is the most popular method of payment on eBay. PayPal is also owned by eBay.
Accountability & Protections
There are quite a few layers of protection for both buyers and sellers on eBay.
For one, you have the eBay feedback system. Whenever you buy or sell something on eBay, you receive feedback from the other party. People can instantly tell whether or not someone has a good reputation on eBay based on that person’s feedback.
For more expensive purchases, eBay encourages users to use Escrow.com. Escrow.com is a service that’ll hold goods in escrow until both sides are happy with the transaction. For example, if you’re paying $5,000 for a domain name, both the domain and the money would be transferred to Escrow.com. Once both sides of the transaction are verified, the goods and the money are transferred.
Finally, you have PayPal’s anti-fraud provisions. If someone perpetrates a fraud online but it’s paid for by PayPal, the costs of the fraud will be reimbursed by PayPal.
All these provisions help give people confidence to buy online without fear of getting ripped off.
Here’s how to create a new auction listing on eBay.
Step 1: Click “Sell an Item”
Hover over the “Sell” menu in the upper right menu and click “Sell an Item.”
Step 2: Sign In
Sign into your eBay account. If you don’t have one already, click “Register” to create an account.
Step 3: Begin Your Search
Search for the item you want to sell. You can type in an ISBN number, a keyword or a UPC code.
Step 4: Pick Category
Select which category you want your item to appear in. Make sure you list in the right category, or you won’t attract the right kind of viewers. If you want to appear in two categories instead of one, you can for an extra fee.
Step 5: Sell or List
If your item falls under an existing product listing on eBay, you’ll be prompted to select that product listing. Alternatively, you can just list your product independently.
Step 6: Enter a Title
Your title should be as descriptive as possible. It should also be eye catching. Make sure you have at least your main keyword in your title.
Step 7: Item Condition
What condition is the item in? Is it in mint condition, or are there tears and cracks? Make sure this is accurate, or you risk getting negative feedback.
Step 8: Item Specifics
Enter more specifics about your item. This section will vary based on what kind of item you’re selling.
Step 9: Add Pictures
Add a picture for your item. The picture should be recent, original and crisp. Avoid using pictures that other sellers are using, as that will cause people to ignore your listing if they’ve already seen your competitor’s. Avoid using stock images, as people will be able to tell that’s not a real photo of your product.
Take a real photo of your product, in good lighting, with a decent camera.
Generally one photo is enough; but if you want to add more you can. Adding additional photos costs an extra fee.
Step 10: Create Your Description
Create a description using eBay’s WYSIWYG editor.
Use a powerful headline to attract buyer attention. Add in as much detail as possible about your item. Describe the benefits of your item and pre-empt any questions the user might have.
The editor is WYSIWYG, so there’s quite a lot you can do with the formatting to make your ad stand out.
Step 11: Pricing
What do you want to price your listing at? Add a starting price for the auction, as well as a “Buy it Now” price.
The auction starting price is what gets the bidding started. You will almost definitely sell your item for more than this amount.
Your Buy it Now Price is what an eager buyer can pay on the spot to pick up the item. This should be set at slightly above your desired selling price. That way you can wait for the auction to end if buyers are bidding close to what you want; or someone who really wants it can snap it up for more than you were really expecting.
Step 12: Duration
How long do you want your auction to last? The longer you set this duration for, the more bids you’ll get. That said, the longer your duration is, the longer it’ll take until you get paid. Usually about a week is a good choice.
Step 13: PayPal
Enter your PayPal information. This is how you’ll get paid.
Step 14: Shipping
Enter the shipping and handling details. Here you can choose how much to charge for shipping, both domestic and international. Let people know how long the shipping times typically take.
Checking the box on the right will allow you to sell items with no shipping costs.
Step 15: Return Policy
By default, eBay sets a very liberal return policy. It’s set to give full refunds, as long as you’re contacted within 7 days.
If you want to change this policy, scroll to the bottom and click “Change your return policy.”
Step 16: Preview and List
Once you’re doing your listing, you’ll be taken to a page that shows you all the fees you have to pay.
Click “Preview your listing” to make sure your listing looks the way you want it to. If everything checks out, click “List your item” to have your listing go live.
Tips for Better Auctions
Here are a few tips to help you create more successful auctions.
- Do some spying. See what your competitors are selling and how much they’re selling it for. Look at completed auctions to see what past auctions actually sold for. Also take a look at titles and see what titles have worked in the past.
- Guard your feedback rating zealously. Your feedback rating will determine whether or not people buy from you more than anything else. It’s much better to give an unwarranted refund to a buyer than it is to take a negative feedback rating.
- Start your bids low. Usually starting at $0.99 is a good idea. Yes, there’s always the slight risk that your auction will go for less than you want. However, generally the $0.99 starting price is the most consistent way to get yourself as many bids and the highest price possible.
That’s how you can use eBay to make extra money selling things you’re not using anymore!