11 tips to make more money on eBay

ebay packing shipping boxesKi Price/Stringer/Getty

  • eBay is one of the largest e-commerce platforms in the world and you can use it to sell items and turn a profit.
  • Posting clear, high-quality photos that show your items from multiple angles can help you to boost your sales.
  • Using keywords in your listing's title and offering free shipping on your items can help you to make more money on eBay.

Whether you're looking to set up an online business or you just have a pile of clothes you're hoping to turn for a profit, learning how to sell your stuff online can be a valuable and lucrative skill. Using eBay, one of the world's largest e-commerce platforms, you can sell just about anything, with a few notable exceptions.

Business Insider spoke to experts and online sellers about some of the best tricks for selling items on eBay.

Clear, high-quality pictures are extremely important

Zhuang Jing taking photo of teacupReuters/Jason Lee

Buyers can't touch the item that you're selling, so they rely on images to help them decide whether or not to make a purchase. It's incredibly important to make sure shoppers have as much information about your product as possible and high-quality photos are one of the best ways to differentiate your item's listing from similar ones.

"To maximize visual appeal, include multiple photos of the item from different angles. [Take photos] in good lighting with a plain background. For example, photograph clothing on a hanger, dress form, or mannequin. For shoes, photograph them from the top, sides, and bottom of soles," Sam Bright, vice president of merchandising at eBay North America, told Business Insider.

If the item is pre-owned, include photos of any flaws or scuffs that you have described in the listing. Editing photos to brighten them or remove shadows is okay, but make sure the finished images that you post are accurate representations of the item you are selling.

Make sure you're using the best type of listing for each item you sell

Determining the best way to list an item will help you to increase your chances of making the most money from a sale. Bright said you should sell your items at a fixed price using the "Buy It Now" feature when you know the market value of your item. This can be an efficient way to make a sale because many shoppers won't track an auction for something they can instantly buy from another vendor.

However, he said rare or special items without a defined market value are good candidates for auction-style listings where demand can drive up the price. Users can also utilize eBay's pricing recommendation feature to better figure out how to list their item and what to sell it for.

Strategically time and schedule your auctions

on ebay tabletStuart C. Wilson/Stringer/Getty

If you're selling items using an auction-style listing, timing is crucial. You want to maximize the number of eyes on your products by running auctions during peak traffic times.

"Peak eBay traffic is especially high on Sunday evenings. Take full advantage of this traffic by setting up seven-day listings that begin and end on a Sunday night," Alison Garrison, senior director of creative and marketing services at e-commerce platform Volusion, told Business Insider.

Be sure to monitor your auctions to see if your experience differs. For example, if you find that your market is more active in the middle of the week, time your auctions accordingly.

Check out your competitor's prices in order to gauge your own items' values

You can better understand how much your item is worth by looking at how much it has sold for on eBay in the past.

"Determining your item's value will help ensure you are in line with competitors and [have] set up your listing for success," said Bright. You can search for active listings on the site and filter the results by "sold items" to see what your item or similar items are selling for across the platform.

Keep in mind that there are some categories of items that are always in demand

Michael Kors handbagEduardo Parra/Getty

With around 179 million shoppers on eBay worldwide, the platform sees buyers with all sorts of interests, but there are certain types of items that shoppers almost always demand. Bright said some items that sell often include sports trading cards, watches, smartphones, video games, and handbags.

If you're struggling to generate a profit on eBay, it might be worth selling items that fall under categories that almost always have an audience.

Carefully craft the title of your listing

Creating an effective title for the item that you want to sell impacts how your item will appear in search results.

"Include important keywords such as the brand name, size, or other necessary descriptors that a buyer might be looking for [in order] to increase the chances of a shopper finding your item," said Bright. Don't forget to also include these major details in the listing's description. The more information you can give your shoppers, the better.

Keep an eye on what's trending in fashion and pop culture

Listing culturally relevant items on eBay is a good way to increase traffic to your page. You may earn more money if you are listing items that are trending on social media or are associated with celebrities.

"Shoppers tend to turn to eBay for items that reflect what's happening in the world. For example, after celebrities like the Kardashians were seen wearing bike shorts, sales for this style spiked 27% on eBay. When LeBron announced he was taking his number 23 from Cleveland to Los Angeles, searches for his new Lakers jersey soared," said Bright.

If you notice a certain color or style keeps appearing in a fashion magazine or on popular Instagram accounts, it might be worth stocking your ecommerce page with more products related to that trend.

Never underestimate the power of a good reputation

EbayGetty/Ki Price

Keep shoppers coming back to you by providing good customer service. If your reputation as an eBay seller is poor, shoppers may think twice before purchasing items from you.

"The better your rating as a seller, the more inclined buyers will be to shop - and become returning customers," said Bright. Be prepared to answer buyers' questions promptly and ship sold items as soon as you can to generate positive feedback and boost your reputation as a seller.

Don't be shy about asking for feedback from buyers

Even happy customers sometimes need to be reminded to leave positive feedback, so don't be shy about following up with buyers.

"Feedback is very important and it's used by eBay to determine where you should rank in the recommended listings. Ask, ask, ask until you get feedback. Do it politely and not annoyingly, but ask just the same," Jeremy Fisher, creator and host of the personal finance podcast, "The Aworkening," told Business Insider.

The key is not to pester shoppers or clog their inbox with emails. Send customers a brief note thanking them for their purchase and asking them to leave you a seller rating.

Factor the cost of shipping into the product's price and then offer free shipping on your listing

ShippingGetty/Chris McGrath

If you're looking for a way to increase shopper satisfaction and simplify the payment process for your customers, consider factoring the cost of shipping into an item's price.

"Customers love to see that 'Free Shipping' label and they're more likely to purchase because they feel like they're getting their money's worth," marketing blogger and online seller Taylor Mack told Business Insider.

Although the actual cost of purchasing and sending out the item is the same to you and the buyer, customers might feel more motivated to make a purchase if they don't have to pay a separate shipping fee.

Personalize your shipments with freebies and handwritten notes

Shopping online can be a fairly impersonal experience, so connecting with your customers through thoughtful gestures may help your eBay store stand out from the rest.

"When someone buys a product, be sure to include a business card or thank-you note in their package. That way, they're much more likely to remember your brand and purchase from you again," said Mack.

You can also consider sending free items or samples with your shipments to make your customers feel appreciated. It could also make them more likely to leave you positive feedback.

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