In 2017, a show called Girlboss aired on Netflix. The show followed the story of a young lost, and broke girl who made a small fortune by selling stuff on eBay. The show was based on a best-selling book by the same name, penned by Sophia Amoruso. Amoruso is a multimillionaire businesswoman and founder of NastyGal, who started her journey from eBay. Girlboss depicts Sophia’s process of starting her business on eBay through an entertaining montage, but we are here for the details. To start a business on the site, you need to know how the site works. This article is a step-by-step guide (with a few extra hints and suggestions thrown in) on selling products on eBay in 2021. And earn over 100k in Monthly Sales!
A beginner’s guide to selling products on eBay-
Setting up and getting started on eBay takes all of 15 minutes- if it a side hustle for you, that is. If selling products on eBay is something you are doing full-time or intend to do full-time, you must take a few extra steps that we have mentioned later in this article.
1. Figuring out what you are going to sell
While eBay has an excellent market for vintage items, you need to understand all of your old or used items, such as an old printer or a broken AC, don’t qualify as “vintage”.
Here is a shortlist of the best selling items on eBay-
- fashion products
- craft items
- collectibles (Pokemon cards, basketball cards, action figures, etc.)
- branded electronics
Now just because the items mentioned in this list are bestsellers doesn’t mean they sell well all the time. Specific brands and types of clothes sell better before the holidays than they do in the summer. Of course, if you are selling products like Pokemon Cards, there is an entire online community to help you decide which one would be worth selling and which isn’t.
You can also use the Explore tool offered by eBay to browse the bestsellers on the site. Google Trends can help you determine what people have been searching for that week.
We are writing this article under the impression that you want to sell products on eBay as a full-time job or something akin to it and are just starting. If this is not the case and you want to start at an absolute beginner stage, skip numbers 2 and 3.
2. Setting up a PayPal
PayPal is a simple and straightforward way of money exchange. Primarily if you’re based in America. As a beginner, you can manage your monetary transactions through eBay’s “managed payments” system. But we still recommend that you set up a PayPal account.
Setting up a PayPal account will take you all of 10 minutes. Just go on to the website and register for an account. Many eBay buyers refuse to use anything but PayPal, so not having a PayPal account can negatively impact your business.
3. Choosing your eBay store
To reiterate, if you’re selling stuff on eBay as a hobby and not as a full-time business, feel free to skip this step.
As a beginner, you can make do without an eBay store. However, your lists will be limited to just 50 items a month, and you won’t have access to any of the promotional tools offered by eBay.
eBay offers three tiers of packages for sellers on the site-
Starter Pack: $7.95/month. This pack allows you to list 100 items a month, charging 30 cents per listing beyond that. The Start Pack is perfect for beginners.
Basic Pack: $27.95/month. This pack is best suited for those who are serious about starting and expanding through eBay. You can list up to 250 fixed-price items per month, and beyond that, you’ll be charged extra 25 cents per listing. The final value fee goes between 4% and 9.15% on most items. With the Basic Package, you can keep greater shares of your profits.
Premium Pack: $74.95/month. If selling products on eBay is your full-time job, this pack is for you. However, as an absolute beginner, you don’t need it right away and can always upgrade to it later. The Premium tier offers 1,000 fixed-price listings per month. Beyond that, you’ll have to pay a mere 10 to 15 cents per item. As with the Basic tier, final value fees range between 4% and 9.15% on most items, up to a maximum of $350 per sale.
With each package, you have the option to pay upfront for an annual membership at a discount.
4. Start selling!
Once you have settled on which product to sell, it’s time to set up your eBay Account. Here is how you do it-
Step 1: Log on to the eBay website.
Step 2: If you are new to eBay, you will have to sign up for an account. Click the Sign In button as indicated below.
Step 3: Fill out the necessary details (username and password) to set up your account, and then click Create account.
Step 4: You will be redirected to the eBay homepage afterward. Click on the Sell button on top of the page, as indicated below by the arrow.
Step 5: You’ll probably have to fill in your contact details, after which you will be taken to the eBay Sell page.
Step 6: Here, you can start listing your products to sell. When listing your products, you place a starting price point with a small description. You can find more details on how to list products on eBay below.
How to list your product?
1. Choose the category under which your product falls. For example- Jacket
2. Then, you have to select a title for your product. Make sure the title is clear and understandable. For instance- Zaara Jacket.
3. Select UPC. UPC or Universal Product Code is something customers often use when looking for specific items. Listing this can be very helpful for them.
4. You must mention the condition of the product you are using. Is it used? Is it brand new, straight out of the packaging? You must make the distinction.
Now you have to add photos of your product.
5. Taking nice photos
Click on the plus sign indicated below to start adding pictures.
Staging photos is very, very important. I cannot emphasize this enough. In this day and age of Social Media, the perfect picture can sell almost anything.
When you take pictures of the products are you are selling, make sure there is adequate lighting, and your products are artfully arranged. This especially applies if you are selling fashion products.
Here is a helpful video tutorial on how to stage photos for Etsy-
Your photos need to be exciting enough to attract customers but clear enough to understand the nuances of the product they are purchasing.
6. Writing a clear product description.
You will be required to put in a lot of details about the product you are listing. Besides getting the photos right, the product description is another critical feature that plays a vital role in selling your product.
You get a lot of characters (about 10,000 of them) to fill out the product description. But while your description needs to be, well, descriptive, don’t veer off-topic. For example- If you are selling a set of barely used Copic markers, make sure to include details such as-
- How many colors are in the pack
- How long have you used them?
- How old is it
- What can you do with them (paint, draw, sketch, mention details)
7. Picking a sale format
After you have added photos of your product and added all the other relevant details, you will come across a section labeled “Selling Details”.
On eBay, you have two options of selling your products: fixed-price or auction.
Depending on your product, you can opt for either the fixed-price option or the auction option.
Auctions enable multiple users to bid on an item within a set time, ranging from three to 10 days. For example- If you are selling collectibles such as Pokemon Cards go for the auction option. People are willing to pay a good amount for Pokemon Cards. There are several websites that can help you determine the minimum bidding price.
With fixed-price items, the buyer is aware of precisely what they are expected to pay, and you know what you’ll get in return. However, you can list your fixed-price item for only 30 days at max.
Selling at a fixed price is the prime way to go when you know your item’s market value. For example- If you are selling a relatively new Copic Marker set, go for the fixed-price option. Copic markers are readily available in the market, so no one would be willing to bid on them or buy them at a higher price.
8. Setting your prices
People won’t buy products that have a higher asking price than their market values. And while they would love buying undervalued products, you’d be unable to turn over a decent profit. So the price must be just right.
Instead of hoping to make a significant profit from an item, aim to make a considerable amount from multiple items. Don’t just set a price based on guesswork. Do proper research to ensure that the price you have set for your product is on par with the market. Consider factors such as quality and condition of product, warranty, and guarantee when setting the price.
For example- in Pokemon cards, you can visit sites like PSACards and look at their pricing guides.
Note- you cannot cancel an auction once it has been completed, so make sure the final bidding price is right for you.
With these eight simple steps, you can successfully sell goods on eBay and make a large living out of it. In case you are a visual learner, here is a small video summing up everything explained thus far.
How to maximize your profits as a beginner seller on eBay?
There are specific extra steps and little hacks you can implement to ensure that your business of selling goods on eBay is a hit as a beginner.
Set realistic goals
Step one- set a goal. Step two- set realistic goals. One of the biggest reasons for failure in most business ventures is because people aim too high, and instead of taking little steps to get there, they leap, and they fall.
To start of set small, realistic goals that will both help you progress and feel accomplished. Especially if selling products on eBay is your full-time job.
Find consistently good sources of inventory.
If you want to turn over a long-term profit through eBay, the quality of the products you’re selling can never slip. If you’re selling products that consumers can find at any local store, people won’t bother buying them from you (unless you sell them for significantly less).
Behind the success of NastyGal were Amoruso’s keen eye and knowledge of fashion. She walked into local thrift stores and knew what would sell and what wouldn’t. You need to gain such understanding about the products you intend to sell. As a beginner, you don’t have to focus on finding a consistent source for quality products immediately, but if you have expansion plans, then you must keep this in the back of your mind.
Become, like, really good at listing
eBay lists are what gets products sold on the site. If your product remains unlisted or isn’t listed correctly, it will not sell. However, while you don’t have to list every day, try listing often and consistently (maybe once a week.)
A lot of people can relate to those memes of staring at the door waiting for your package to arrive as soon as you order.
In these times, the sooner the customer receives their product, the happier they are. And we all know a satisfied customer means more business.
Process a customer’s order the moment they pay. Also, depending on your product’s fragility, you must take certain precautions to ensure the product reaches the customer unscathed. Some hacks on safe shipping include-
- Use double layer bubble wrap for fragile items
- Get poly mailers for soft and clothing items.
- Order custom boxes or ask a local business if they’d be willing to donate some to you
Spend some time researching the different companies and methods involved in shipping. Settle on a company that has a nice balance between their shipping methods and their prices.
Learn from your mistakes and grow
While the customer isn’t always right, you, as a business owner, must always put them first.
Your seller rating goes a long way in establishing your eBay business. Your customers can rate on the following criteria-
- Communication: Was the seller prompt, clear, and polite?
- Item description: Was the item accurately described?
- Shipping and handling charges: Was the shipping cost reasonable?
Excellent ratings mean that at some point, you will end up on eBay’s Top Rated Seller list, which will show your customers that you are trustworthy and endorsed by eBay.
Be gracious when handling returns made by your customers. If your return policy is unconditional, then you must honor it. If you do have specific stipulations or a “no return” policy, try negotiating with your customer. If the customer can send the product back in sellable condition and is willing to pay for the shipping, you might want to rethink the “no return” policy.
Grow and adapt to the changing times and changing technologies. As a beginner, you can start small, sure, but you need to adjust to the continually changing circumstances if you want to grow.
Why is eBay an excellent place to start your business?
eBay is very novice-friendly. You can sell products on eBay as a side hustle, or you can turn it into your full-time job and build a business from there.
Benefits of the eBay business model for beginners-
- Little start-up capital is needed. You can start a business on eBay by selling what you already own or getting things as a gift.
- You don’t need a degree or any experience to start a business on eBay.
- You can start making profits quickly.
- A lot of space and potential for growth and expansion
How to expand your eBay business to make substantial monthly profits?
Expanding your eBay business to earn huge profits every month isn’t something you can do in a day. It’s an ongoing process, where you start out with next to nothing, and it grows into something highly profitable.
Your listings need to be attractive, but they also need to be practical. People should look at your products and think, “Ok, this looks good!” instead of having doubts similar to “Is this authentic?”. Building rapport takes time. Therefore, always listen to your customers. Put them first and conduct proper market research to figure out what it is that they want. Once you understand their needs, wants, and demands, you can work to fulfill them.
In 2020, the pandemic forced us all to retreat to our houses, and all our means of communication were through a screen. This caused a lot of tech-abhorring people to adapt and become tech-savvy. A more significant number of people are willing to make purchases online through platforms like eBay. So, now would be a great time to start a business on eBay that will eventually give you large returns!
With persistence, you can make substantial monthly profits by selling on eBay. Just follow the step-by-step guide provided in this article, and implement some of the few extra tips and tricks mentioned, and with time your small business on eBay can become a booming one.