How to Sell on eBay: Beginner’s Guide For Starting an eBay Business

eBay is an effective way to gain customers, establish cash flow, and turn over some inventory. The beautiful part of eBay is that it takes care of many routine tasks that you need to handle by using e-commerce: the trading platform, website, and software needed to transact the sale. 

Running an eBay business doesn’t require that you focus all your efforts on eBay. eBay can simply be one channel for selling goods and making money, or you can use eBay to start your business before you launch your own website. 

In this article, we present a plan for building steady, constant sales through this channel. You decide how you want to use eBay, based on your total online business strategy.

Why Should You Sell Stuff on eBay?

Today’s brands often sell their products on online marketplaces. Online marketplaces sold nearly $2.7 trillion worth of goods in 2020, accounting for 62% of global e-commerce. 

By selling on eBay, you can reach over 159 million active buyers around the world, with 77% of website traffic coming from the US. According to a recent study, 80% of Amazon sellers currently sell on eBay or have sold on eBay in the past.

Whether you need to simply downsize or clear out 35 years of odd and wacky knickknacks cluttering your closets or you seriously want to earn much-needed money, the benefits of selling on eBay are as diverse as the people doing the selling. 

The biggest plus to selling on eBay is wheeling and dealing from your home in pajamas and slippers (every day is Casual Friday in my office). But no matter where you conduct your business or how you dress, many more important big-time rewards exist for selling on eBay.

Most people starting a business have to worry about rounding up investment capital (startup money they may lose), building inventory (buying stuff to sell), setting up a website, learning SEO, and acquiring customers. 

Today, even a garage-based startup can require a major investment. eBay helped to level the playing field a bit; everybody can get an equal chance to start a small business with very little money. 

Anyone who wants to take a stab at doing business can get started with just enough money to purchase initial items. eBay brings the customers to you.

Get creative and make eBay a profitable learning experience, too. Remember, however, that eBay doesn’t let anyone under the age of 18 registers, buy, or sell — so make sure that you’re in charge of handling all transactions. Your kids can help out, but they need to be under your supervision at all times.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an eCommerce veteran or brand new to the game, we’ll cover how to sell on eBay so you’re prepared for success.

How to sell on eBay as a beginner

Step 1. How to create a seller account on eBay

Let’s open an account now. The registration page allows you to open a business account if you’re a registered business (sole proprietor, LLC, etc.). When you register, you will need to provide your business name, type of business, and address. 

  1. Visit the Registration page.
  2. Enter your name and email address.
  3. Choose a password.
  4. Select Create an account.

Simply enter your business information and create a username. Upon clicking Continue, you’ll be redirected to eBay’s home page. 

For details, you can read our guide on eBay seller account registration

Step 2: Find products to sell on eBay

Finding merchandise to sell on eBay is as easy as checking your garage and as tough as climbing up to the attic. Just about anything you bought and stashed away (because you didn’t want it, forgot about it, or it didn’t fit) is fair game. 

Think about all those unwanted birthday and holiday presents (hey, it was the thought that counted — and the givers may have forgotten about them, too). Now you have a place you can try to unload them for cash. They could even make someone else happy. 

1. Sell your own stuff

In your closet, find what’s just hanging around:

  • Clothing that no longer fits or is out of fashion: (Do you really want to keep it if you wouldn’t be caught dead in it or you know it will never fit?) Don’t forget the pair of shoes you wore once and put them away. 
  • Any item with a brand-name label: Especially if it’s in new or almost-new condition.
  • Gifts: Have you received many well-meaning gifts that you’ve never used? You stashed them in the closet, right? One man’s trash (mathoms for the LOTR fans) is another man’s (or woman’s) treasure.
  • Kids’ clothes: (They outgrow things fast — sometimes before they wear them. Use profits from the old items to buy new clothes they can grow into. Now, that’s going green.)

Have the articles of clothing in the best condition possible before you put them up for sale. For example, shoes can be cleaned and buffed till they’re like new. According to eBay’s policies, clothing must be cleaned before shipping.

And consider what’s parked in your basement, garage, or attic:

  • Old radios, stereo and video equipment, and 8-track systems: Watch these items fly out of your house — especially the 8-track players (believe it or not, people love ’em)
  • Books you finished reading long ago and don’t want to read again: Some books with early copyright dates or first editions by famous authors earn big money on eBay
  • Leftovers from an abandoned hobby: Who knew that building miniature dollhouses was so much work
  • Unwanted gifts: Have a decade’s worth of birthday, graduation, or holiday gifts collecting dust? Put them up on eBay and hope Grandma or Grandpa doesn’t bid on them because they think somebody needs another mustache comb!

Saleable stuff may even be lounging around in your living room or bedroom:

  • Home décor you want to change: Lamps, chairs, and rugs (especially if they’re antiques) sell quickly. If you think an item is very valuable but you’re not sure, get it appraised first.
  • Exercise equipment: If you’re like most people, you bought this stuff with every intention of getting in shape, but now all that’s building up is dust. Get some exercise boxing up all that equipment after you’ve sold it on eBay. Remember: The USPS will pick up for free.
  • Vinyl records: Have a few boxes of vintage vinyl? If you’re not buying a turntable any time soon, put them up for sale! (Think records are dead? You may be very surprised.)
  • Autographs: All types of autographs — from sports figures, celebrities, and world leaders — are popular on eBay. A word of caution, though: A lot of fakes are on the market, so make sure that what you’re selling (or buying) is the real thing. If you’re planning on selling autographs on eBay, be sure to review the special rules that apply to these items. 

Don’t forget to check out eBay’s prohibited item list.

2. Source products from China with Alibaba

Selling your own brand or private label product on eBay has proven to be a successful strategy. You can source products from Alibaba to create your own brand. 

Using high-quality photography and compelling copy, you can stand out from the competition. You can save a lot of money if you purchase products from China. Alibaba has a lot of suppliers you can work with. 

3. Find products to resell at retail stores

Buying and reselling items from Walmart, Target, or your local grocery store is a classic eBay business model. You can make money from retail arbitrage if you’re consistent and know what to look for. 

Researching retail arbitrage products is easy-you can do it while shopping.  

Buying clearance items, toys, and electronics in the electronic aisles or clearance section of your local store can lead to higher profit margins on eBay depending on demand.

You can check the sell-through ratio of products using the eBay app on your phone. 

4. Visit local thrift stores 

You can find some hidden treasures at thrift shops if you search hard enough. Thrift store shopping is like going on a treasure hunt. These make for easy eBay flips. 

Be on the lookout for: 

  • Vintage and designer-label clothing on consignment. 
  • Toys, video games, or board games that are used but still functional. 
  • VCRs or DVD players that are obsolete. There are plenty of old electronics in thrift stores that people are still willing to pay good money for.
  • There are TONS of used books at thrift stores! It may take a lot of time rummaging through rare titles, but you may find a highly valuable book that a particular purchaser is looking for. 

When in doubt, check eBay! It might be worth a few bucks. Eventually, you’ll develop a knack for finding profitable thrift store items. 

5. Shop at garage sales/estate sales

It’s common for homeowners to be eager to sell their furniture, books, artwork, clothes, and other knickknacks that have accumulated over the years, so don’t be afraid to negotiate a bit. There is a possibility of finding something worth big bucks if you are consistent. 

Unlike auctions, estate sales tend to include everything in the house. At estate sales, you can find a variety of unusual items, as well as fine jewelry.

For local garage sales or estate sales, check out these websites:

Both are free and will show you all sales in your area! You can also use Garage Sale Finder’s app when you are out sourcing.

Step 3. List items

The easiest way to get started on eBay is to plunge ahead and set up an item for sale. 

Once you have products ready to go, select Listings under the eBay Sales Channel menu. Look around your business inventory for something that you want to sell and follow these steps:

Step 1: Click the Sell link at the top right of any eBay page.

If you’re a new seller, eBay may ask for additional information, such as your address, postal code, and phone number, before you can sell an item. You will be taken to the eBay Seller Hub page, specifically the Manage Active Listings page.

Step 2: Click the blue Create Listing button to start a new listing.

You will be prompted to choose between Single Listing or Multiple Listings. For the purposes of this example, I will assume you click Single Listing.

Step 3: Type a few words that describe your item, and then click Get Started.

After you click Get Started, eBay prompts you with a list of similar products from its catalog.

Step 4: If you see your item among the list that is presented, click the Select button next to that item.

Based on the words you entered, eBay searches its catalog and offers up the items that most likely match the words you entered. You can always click the See Details link next to the item to learn more before selecting it. If eBay doesn’t offer any appropriate items, you can click Continue without selecting a product button at the bottom of the page.

Step 5: Click Continue.

You will be taken to the Create Your Listing page, and depending on whether you selected an item from eBay’s catalog, you will see some of these fields already prefilled with information.

Step 6: Enter these elements:

  1. Title: Incorporate the most frequently used keywords about your item so that buyers who search eBay’s database for an item like yours can find it.
  2. Category: eBay organizes all its products under an extensive catalog system, so pick the category and subcategories that best fit where your product should reside.
  3. Condition: For most items, eBay now requires the seller to specify a specific condition, whether it’s New, Like New, or whatever level of Used item applies to that category and type of item.
  4. UPC code: eBay is making a big effort to add an identifier to every listing on its site, when it is possible. Any item that contains a UPC code or ISBN number, for example, should have that information inputted in the UPC/ISBN field provided.

Step 7: Add photos to your auction as follows:

  1. Scroll down the page to the Photos section and click the Add Photos link. A second window opens, asking you to identify where on your computer the pictures for the auction are located.
  2. Select the pictures. You can attach up to 12 photos per listing, so don’t be afraid to show off every angle, defect, or unique quality of the item.
  3. Click the Upload button to send the pictures from your computer to eBay. eBay requires at least one photo per listing, with a minimum pixel size of 500 x 500 pixels. Make sure your main picture is large enough to use in your listing.

Step 8: Scroll down to the Item Specifics section and complete as many fields as you can. These fields allow you to assign specific details to your product listing depending on what you’re selling. (For example, every shoe has a size, width, and color.) The more details you enter in the boxes provided, the more easily buyers can find your item because eBay allows buyers to search based on Item Specifics.

Step 9: Scroll down to the Item Description section and enter a description. Remember to add not only a description of the item but also all your policies about payment and shipping methods, as well as a return policy. Use the buttons that eBay provides above the Description window to add bold, italic, or underlined text as well as bulleted or numbered lists.

Step 10: Decide whether you want to sell your item in an auction or with a fixed price:

  1. Scroll down to the next section, Selling Details, and, next to Format, click Auction or Fixed Price from the list provided.
  2. Enter your starting bid or a fixed price. You can either enter the starting price of your auction (and assign a Reserve price or Buy It Now price or both) or click the drop-down arrow next to List As and select Fixed Price to sell your items for a fixed Buy It Now price. With a fixed price, you can choose to receive Best Offers, in which buyers can offer you a price below your fixed price and you choose whether to accept, counteroffer, or decline their offer.
  3. Set the duration and number of items in your lot. If you want to sell more than one lot at a time, you must use the fixed-price listing. eBay does not allow multiple identical lots to be auctioned at the same time.

Step 11: Scroll down to the next section and choose your payment and return options, and then scroll down to choose your shipping options.

For shipping options, you can sell your item to customers only in the United States or around the world. If you don’t want to ship something (such as a heavy or fragile item), choose the No Shipping: Local Pickup Only option.

You must enter a flat price for shipping or select Calculated from the drop-down list and let eBay calculate your postage costs based on the weight and the buyer’s zip code.

Step 12: When everything looks good, scroll to the bottom of the page and click List Item.

Your listing goes live on the eBay site. If you want to fix something, go to your listing page and click Revise Your Item to return to the listing page and make corrections.

If you want to sell an additional similar item, you can click the Sell a Similar Item link to create a new auction, with all the information fields already filled in. You simply make the changes necessary for your second item and submit the new auction in a fraction of the time it took you to complete your first listing.

Learn more about how to list items for sale on eBay.

The costs of selling on eBay

For the beginning seller (without an eBay Store), eBay charges the following types of fees for listing on the site:

Auction and Fixed-price insertion fees: Up to 50 listings are free per month. After that, $0.35 per additional listing. (Canada $.30)

Real estate listing fees: These vary because you have the choice of listing your property as an ad rather than an auction. Because eBay real estate auctions are nonbinding (due to legalities), you may be better off running an ad. (eBay Canada charges the same fees for auctions or fixed-price real estate listings). eBay charges different prices for different types of real estate:

  • Timeshares, manufactured homes, and land
    Auction-style/fixed-price: 1-, 3-, 5-, 7-, or 10-day listing ($35); 30-day listing ($50)
    Classified Ad format: 30-day listing ($150); 90-day listing ($300)
  • Residential, commercial, and other real estate
    Auction-style/fixed-price: 1-, 3-, 5-, 7-, or 10-day listing ($100); 30-day listing ($150)
    Classified Ad format: 30-day listing ($150), 90-day listing ($300)

Motors (Automotive) fees: For low-volume sellers (who post six or fewer vehicle listings per calendar year), both eBay U.S. and eBay Canada allow the first six listings free, with subsequent listings $50; motorcycles are only $20.

Additional reserve-price auction fees: $5; auctions with reserves over $150 are charged 7.5 percent of the reserve, with a maximum of $250.

Final value fees: A percentage of the sales price. eBay takes a small insertion fee when you list your item and then a commission on the back end when you sell your item. This commission is called the final value fee (FVF) and is based on the total amount of the sale (the selling price of the item, shipping, and any other fees a seller may charge, excluding any sales tax).

Optional fees: Vary.

Managed Payments and PayPal fees: PayPal currently charges 2.9 percent of the total collected and $0.30 per transaction. Discounts are available as you move more money through the service, but if you bank on that, it’s always a safe estimate.

Sales Strategies for eBay success

1. Research your competition

You can find out how to price your items, see which items are selling well, and determine which ones to stay away from. In the Search box, which is at the top of every eBay page, type the words that describe the item you want to sell and click Search. To see past sales, select the Sold Listings or Completed Listings check box after you perform your first search. 

You can then sort these past sales by price, from highest to lowest, and see a snapshot of how your item has sold on eBay in the past couple of weeks. You can also sort by distance to see how nearby competitors are doing, or sort by oldest or newest listings to get a sense of price levels over time.

Research not only shows you what to expect as a price for your item but also gives you the following useful information:

  • Which keywords to use in describing your item
  • Which category on eBay to place your item in
  • Which features you should mention about your item
  • The current level of supply and demand for this item on eBay

Here are the main questions you should answer while doing research:

  • Are the items I want to sell doing well on eBay?
  • Are the prices the items are selling for enough for me to make a profit?

If the answer to either question is no, you may want to find other items to sell instead, before you invest time and money on a product line that’s wrong for eBay.

2. Optimize your listings

eBay users search for products using keywords. eBay helps buyers find merchandise that meets their search criteria so they can quickly decide what products they wish to purchase.

By including relevant keywords and product identifiers, your listings will appear when shoppers search for the products you sell.

Filling out the item specifics as thoroughly as possible advantages your item in eBay’s search algorithm. Translation? It could show up near the top of the list of items for sale.

If you’ve finished writing your item title and you have spaces left over, please fight the urge to dress it up with lots of asterisks and exclamation points!!!!!!!!!!! (See how annoying that is?) No matter how gung-ho you are about your item, the eBay search engine may overlook your item if the title is encrusted with meaningless **** and !!!! symbols. If bidders do see your title, they may become annoyed by the virtual shrillness and ignore it anyway!!!!!!!! (It’s even more annoying the second time around.)

Another distracting habit is overdoing capital letters. To buyers, seeing everything in caps is LIKE SEEING A CRAZED SALESMAN SCREAMING AT THEM TO BUY NOW! Using all caps is considered shouting, which is rude and tough on the eyes. Use capitalization SPARINGLY, and only to finesse a particular point to attract the buyer’s eye.

3. List your item as an auction

There is a wide range of prices offered by sellers in eBay’s marketplace. The most important factor in making a purchase decision is a competitive price, but buyers look at a number of factors, including selection, shipping costs, and sale terms.

Many sales on eBay are auctions. You know the kind: 1, 2, 3, Sold to the highest bidder! But rather than waving their hands enthusiastically, bidders place a bid on your auction by using their computers. 

On eBay, you have the choice of offering your item for sale as an auction or for a fixed price, so the buyer can click and buy immediately.

When you’re trying to decide whether to list your item as an auction or at a fixed price, here are some of the top reasons to consider an auction:

  • Auctions attract people’s interest. Shopping on eBay has become more than a matter of buying items. It’s a form of entertainment, with bidding, competing, and winning. After people bid on an item, they’re more likely to follow the auction to its completion and stay emotionally invested in acquiring the item.
  • Auctions move merchandise faster. When you sell items on your own store or by using an eBay store, it can take days, weeks, or even months to find the right buyer. With an eBay auction, you can sell an item in five to ten days, on average, and find your high bidder, and some interested underbidders, more quickly. Think of the auction as a call to action, where the buyers decide to respond.
  • Auctions cost the seller only money per item, not per month. When you operate an eBay store, you’re paying a monthly fee regardless of how many items you sell. In an eBay auction, you pay a small fee to list the item for sale, as low as 10 cents, and another fee if the item sells.
  • Auctions let you test the water. Rather than launch a full-blown store for your items, you can run a few eBay auctions and gauge the interest of the buying community. You can get an idea of success before investing in website design and programming.

Of course, auctions have some drawbacks. The fees involved in running auctions can add up if you’re continually trying to sell something that receives no bids. Although the short time frame of the auction helps move inventory, it’s also quickly forgotten in the minds of the buyer. 

You have to run a lot of auctions to build the constant presence needed to remind buyers of who you are. Without repeat buyers and the constant flow of goods, it’s hard to build a sustainable flow of revenue by putting up random auctions every week. Still, auctions provide an excellent piece of the overall eCommerce business plan.

4. Provide international shipping for a minimal fee

When you indicate that you will ship internationally, your item shows up on the eBay International sites, which is a fantastic way to attract new buyers! (Although, you will pay extra for U.S. seller’s listings to appear on the International sites.) 

eBay has lots of good international users, so you may want to consider selling your items around the world. If you do, be sure to clearly state in the description all extra shipping costs — and that the buyer is responsible for any customs charges. 

The buyer pays for shipping (unless you choose to offer free shipping), and this is the point at which you must decide how much to charge. You also have to calculate how much this item will cost you to ship. If it’s a small item (weighing under a pound or so), you may decide to charge a flat rate to all buyers. 

To charge a flat rate, click the Flat Shipping Rates tab and fill in the shipping amount. Before you fill in the amount, be sure to include your expenses for packing 

Although I recommend offering flat-rate or free shipping to attract customers, you may want to use eBay’s versatile shipping calculator. Because UPS and the U.S. Postal Service now charge variable rates for packages of the same weight, based on distance, using the calculator simplifies things for your customers (and you). 

Be sure that you weigh the item and know how much your handling charge will be. The calculator allows you to input a handling amount and adds it to the overall shipping total but does not break out the amount separately for the customer. The calculator also conveniently calculates the proper insurance amount for the item.

5. Be friendly, responsive and professional

The feedback feature on eBay allows shoppers to rate their experiences with sellers. Make sure you receive positive feedback by:

  • Ensure your products live up to the expectations you’ve set
  • A prompt and professional response to buyer questions or concerns
  • Ship purchases quickly and efficiently
  • Set fair rates for shipping and handling

If you accumulate positive feedback, you will drive sales and build customer trust; if you accumulate negative feedback, you will damage your reputation and may face lowered selling limits or undesirable repercussions from eBay. Search results are also less frequent for sellers with a lot of negative feedback.

A special way to add value to the transaction for your buyer is to send a personal “item shipped” email — the buyer’s email can be found in the transaction record. I send them to buyers who purchase high-value items. 

Congratulate the person on buying the item — making him or her feel good about the purchase — by saying thanks. Send it when you ship the item. A comprehensive, friendly email provides these important details:

  • Item name.
  • Statement that you have shipped and what type of shipping you used.
  • Let the customer know the tracking number (you’ve already input that number into the selling record) and approximate delivery date.
  • Make it clear how much you care about their satisfaction with the transaction and ask that they contact you immediately if there is an issue with the item.
  • Offer a phone number and add your personal thanks for the transaction.
  • Suggest that if all goes well, you’ll be looking forward to receiving their feedback.

Send a thank-you note in every package you ship. This note has a double purpose: It should promote you as a seller and thank the customer. The one I send in every shipment thanks the customer, mentions that I look forward to doing business with the buyer again, and provides a link to my website. 

I set up these notes to print four on an 8½-x-11-inch sheet of paper and print them on my color laser printer. (Don’t forget to put in a plug for positive feedback.)

Differentiating your brand on eBay

Shoppers are buying from you because you’ve published your inventory on eBay and optimized your listings. You’re an eBay seller now. 

Here are a few more ways to boost sales.

1. Open and customize an eBay Store

Members of the eBay Store have access to tools that help them differentiate their products. It is easy to elevate your brand professionally by customizing your eBay profile and seller ID. Subscribers to the eBay Store enjoy these benefits:

  • Selling fees are lower
  • Enhanced visibility in search results
  • eBay-branded shipping supplies at a discount
  • Ownership of their own branded or unbranded store pages

It’s a good idea to open an eBay Store to expand your brand recognition on eBay, especially if you maintain consistency between the look and feel of the store and your individual product listings.

2. Deliver a branded shipping experience

By branding your fulfillment process professionally, you can build trust with your customers and encourage repeat business. Be a “seller of choice” for your customers by following these best practices:

  • Deliver purchases on time.
  • Whenever possible, do not cancel orders.
  • Make your order look professional by investing in branded shipping supplies.
  • Provide a clean, orderly, and impressive fulfillment experience.
  • Get honest feedback from your buyers.

By following these practices, you’ll reap the benefits of shoppers searching for your listings first or bookmarking your eBay store and coming directly to you for future purchases.

3. Make use of Promoted Listings and Promotions Manager

Promoted Listings is a tool used by eBay sellers to make their products more visible to more people. Your placement in search is improved so that you reach more buyers and drive more traffic to your site. Using Promoted Listings has increased visibility for many sellers by 30%. Any eBay Store subscriber can take advantage of this service.

If an item sells, sellers using Promoted Listings only pay for the service. In addition, users of Promoted Listings receive additional tracking tools to assist in adjusting campaigns and maximizing sales.

Promotions Manager allows you to create even more unique offers that will move inventory and encourage purchases. With Promotions Manager, you can offer:

  • Discounts based on order size
  • Buy one, get one free offers
  • Sale events
  • Shipping discounts
  • Codeless coupons

As much as 11% of sales have been increased by sellers using Promotions Manager.

eBay Guaranteed Delivery

eBay Guaranteed Delivery (EGD) is a program that ensures rapid delivery times for shoppers without affecting participating sellers.

Selling listings with EGD requires sellers to guarantee same-day or next-day handling. In an effort to ensure shoppers that their purchases will arrive on time, eBay calculates the delivery date. According to research, shoppers are more likely to buy from merchants who promise them their orders will be delivered within three business days or less.

Sellers must complete at least 100 transactions per year to qualify for EGD, and their late-shipment rate must be below 5%. Each participating seller must provide accurate handling times and upload tracking information for their buyers on time.

EGD’s increased visibility and sales easily offset the additional work and promptness it requires.

Global Shipping Program

It is easy to sell your products around the world with eBay’s Global Shipping Program (GSP). 

If a seller uses GSP, they don’t have to deal with any of the logistical details involved in shipping globally. Instead, the seller ships the item to eBay’s global shipping center in Kentucky, and eBay professionals complete the rest, including forwarding your package to its international destination and completing all required paperwork.

It is a great option for shoppers, since they do not have to worry about surprise delivery fees, and they get to keep track of their orders from beginning to end.

Sellers can choose to opt their listings into the Global Shipping Program or include it in their default shipping policy. This ensures international buyers get their items quickly and easily.

Forbidden tactics on eBay

The folks on eBay didn’t just fall off the turnip truck. eBay staffers have seen just about every scam to get around paying fees or following policy guidelines. Chances are good that if you try one of these scams, you’ll get caught. Then eBay cancels the listing. Do it once, and shame on you (don’t count on getting the listing fee credited back to you). Do it a lot, and you’re no longer welcome on eBay.

The following items are definitely forbidden:

Raffles and prizes: You need to sell something in your auction; you can’t offer a chance to win a prize either by chance or a giveaway. You can offer to give away a bonus product with a sold item.

Advertisements: An eBay listing is not the place to make a sales pitch (other than attractive copy describing your item, that is) for an item for sale elsewhere. Some eBay bad guys list an item name and then use the post to send bidders to some other auction or website. The Real Estate category and eBay Motors are exceptions. You can run a classified ad there to sell property.

Bait-and-switch tactics: These are a variation on the ugly old sales technique of pretending to sell what you’re not really selling. Some eBay users who are selling an unfamiliar brand of an item try to snag bidders by putting a more familiar brand in the title. For example, writing Designer Chanel purse — not really, but a lot like it! is a fake-out. eBay calls it keyword spamming. I call it lousy.

Mixing apples with oranges: This gambit tries to attract more bidders to view an item by putting it in a high-traffic category where it doesn’t belong. Forget it. eBay may move it for you if necessary, but keeping that rutabaga recipe book away from the list of automotive repair manuals is more considerate.

Go emoji-less: Although it may seem that using emoji might be a way to get eyes on your title, don’t. The folks at eBay saw this potential headache coming, and quickly banned the use of special characters, superscript, and subscript in titles and subtitles.

Duplicate listings: You may not list more than one fixed-price listing of an identical item at the same time. If you are running an auction, you may have more than one listing for identical items. Auctions for identical items listed by the same seller will be filtered by eBay, and only one duplicate listing without bids will appear at a time.

Becoming a PowerSeller on eBay

eBay has a special term for people who sell a steady amount of merchandise every month, earn a high amount of positive feedback, and comply with all eBay listing policies: PowerSellers. eBay has different levels of PowerSellers, starting with Bronze ($1,000 per month) and going all the way up to Titanium ($150,000 per month). 

Every PowerSeller has to maintain at least a 98 percent positive feedback rating with a minimum of 100 feedback comments earned on his or her account, and create at least four listings per month. When you qualify, eBay sends you an invitation to accept your PowerSeller status.

After you become a PowerSeller, eBay has another classification called Top Rated Seller, reserved for those PowerSellers with exceptional feedback and DSR scores. Top Rated Sellers qualify for special benefits, such as a discount on their sales (or final value) fees.

eBay uses a 3- or 12-month average to calculate your sales level. If your average sales level drops below the PowerSeller minimum, eBay gives you one month to increase your sales; after that, you lose your PowerSeller status. You can be reinstated, however, after you increase your average sales.

Although not all PowerSellers focus on the same categories or use the same means to rack up impressive and steady sales, they typically share one bond (the reason that their sales jumped to the next level): “the sale.”

Most PowerSellers can tell you about the single item they sold early in their eBay trading experience — usually an item that they had little faith in or little money invested in. Maybe the person watched the bidding every day or every hour, or maybe she forgot about it. But she never forgot the thrill of seeing the high bid when the auction was over, and that’s how she became hooked. She then invested the time and figured out the different techniques to work her way up to PowerSeller status.

After you achieve PowerSeller status, your focus is on every sale, not just a single memorable sale. To keep track of the growing number of sales and customers, many PowerSellers look into using a third-party tool. You might try a program such as SixBit, which can help you manage listings and sales activities. 

If you carry a large volume, try an Enterprise solution from ChannelAdvisor to manage your sales across eBay and any other channels where you sell online, with every sale combined into easy-to-read reports.

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