The answer to “how does eBay work” will depend on whether you are using eBay as a buyer or a seller. In this article, I will explain to you How Does eBay Work for those who are trying to sell items on eBay.
eBay, unlike Amazon, allows its “seller” users to sell almost anything on their platform. In addition, eBay employs an auction-style buying/selling that attracts buyers who are looking for heavily discounted items and of course, where the buyers are, the sellers follow.
How Does eBay Work?
eBay is originally used to sell unwanted items, collectibles, antiques, and vintage items, etc. As eBay evolved, it started to attract all sorts of buyers and sellers. Today, much online business owner use it for their retail arbitrage, buying low then selling high, business. Professional eBay sellers usually buy from wholesalers, flea markets, thrift stores, and garage sales then sell it on eBay.
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As promised, I will show you today how eBay works for sellers.
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Step 1: Have an Item To Sell
As mentioned earlier, eBay is a buy and sell platforms for business-to-customer or customer-to-customer. As a person starting out on eBay, you can start selling unwanted yet usable items from your home to reduce your exposure to risk while getting the feel of doing eBay business.
Once you get the feel and when you ran out to sell, then that is when you should start finding different sources of product to sell. Other bloggers and successful eBay sellers would recommend picking up your next item to sell from garage sales, thrift stores, and flea market because you can get things there for the cheap and sell it for a higher price.
Eventually, you will become a pro in selling on eBay, and you will be more confident in exposing yourself to greater risk. The next product source that you can tap into which will expose you to higher risk but at the same time a higher reward is through wholesalers. Wholesalers, especially from China, sell items in bulk for a lower price. You can then sell these items individually on eBay for a higher price.
PRO WARNING: Retail Arbitrage is buying low and selling high, but it is not that straight forward. You need to understand the supply and demand of the item and your profit margin i.e. are you going to ship your item for free and if yes, will it cost you a lot to ship it?
No item to sell?
Do not worry, you can still make money even if you have nothing to sell. What you can do is apply for eBay’s affiliate marketing program so you can advertise items on eBay through an affiliate link and if someone buys that item through your affiliate link then ka-ching you get a commission.
Step 2: Create a Listing
Now that you have a product to sell, the next thing you need to do is to… Create a Listing on eBay!
Creating one is easy and straight forward! Here are the steps on how to create a listing on eBay.
On your eBay account’s homepage, you will see on the upper left of the page (Besides your username) a Sell button. Click that and you will be redirected to eBay’s product listing page.
Step 3: Fill in The Title With Primary and Secondary Keywords
The next step is to fill in the title with primary keywords.
What do I mean by keywords?
The keyword is a word or string of words buyers use to find the product they are looking for.
If you are selling a Toronto Raptors jersey of Kawhi Leonard then you need to include in your Title at least the main keyword “Kawhi Leonard and Toronto”… at least…. but if you want to make sure that your listing will be easily found then include as many words as you can think of about Toronto Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard.
PRO WARNING: Please do not use vague titles. For example, DO NOT just say basketball jersey for Kahwi Leonard’s Toronto Raptor’s Jersey.
Step 4: Add Pictures of the Item You Want to Sell
When you buy online, you probably want to see the item you are buying in every angles possible, primarily to check the design and less often to see if there is a defect to the product.
Keeping this in mind, you should, therefore, include a lot of images to your product listing because other online buyers have the same behavior as you! Buying online means there is no way for a buyer to physically check the product, so buyers prefer listings that show many angles of the product to give them the confidence to buy your product.
You can take advantage of this buyer’s behavior by including a lot of pictures of the product you are selling. eBay allows you to upload up to 12 images so use them all!
Please do not hide defects! If your product has one, then please include an image that shows that. eBay is known for their 2nd hand items being sold in their platform so there are people who go there to buy defective items, most likely to fix it then sell it higher, so there is no need for you to hide those defects. Just price it right and someone else will surely buy it from you!
Being honest to your potential customers about the defects of your product may reduce the chance of your product being sold but at least the person who will accept the defect will still probably give you a good review.
However, if you tried to fool them, which they will eventually catch, this would result in a lower getting you negative feedback and negative feedbacks will surely hurt your eBay business.
Step 5: Fill in the Details Section
Similar to the image section, the details section is very helpful for buyers to decide whether to buy your product or not.
Just remember this. Buyers buy because they trust the company, the product or the people, thus, the more information you give to them, the more that trust is built so the higher your chance of selling an item to them!
Step 6: Write a Very Convincing Description of Your Product
Writing a very convincing product description will not help your product’s searchability/visibility but it will surely help to convince the people who found your listing to buy your item!
Remember to write the benefits of your product and not just its feature when writing a product description. Buyers don’t care about what a product can do or made out of but they do care what a product can do for them.
Step 7: Set the Pricing of Your Product
As mentioned earlier, eBay sellers have two options to sell their product: “auction” or “buy it now”.
The auction option is usually very effective when the item you are trying to sell is a hot item, meaning, an item that has a lot of demand because it attracts bargain hunters.
These bargain hunters believe that they are getting a good deal on the item you are selling. Unfortunately for them, they are not alone. There are hundreds out there who are thinking the same thing.
What usually happens is one bidder will bid and then another person comes in and start bidding for that same product as well. After a while, human pride kicks in and they just try to outbid each other. At the end of the day, you will be surprised that you sold the item on a price much better than you are hoping for.
If you know the item you are trying to sell will sell but there is not enough demand to kick off a bidding frenzy, then it is better for you to choose the buy it now option.
In order for your item to sell, you need to make sure that you price it appropriately.
You do not want to price it way above the competition because buyers will simply ignore your product, but you also do not want to unnecessarily lower your price too much because you want to keep as much profit as you can.
Step 8: Fill in The Shipping Information
Finding products to sell, writing the perfect title to make your product visible to buyers and making sure that the price is right is only half of what you need as an eBay seller. For me, the other half is worrying about shipping your product safe and shipping it on time.
When selling on eBay, you have an option whether to ask your buyers to cover the shipping cost or you will cover it for them. Most professional eBay sellers would argue that covering the shipping cost would help you sell your product.
That being said, make sure to think about your shipping cost when pricing your product.
Pro Tip: As a beginner on eBay business, you might want to stick on selling small items, small enough that it will fit in USPS’ Flat Rate Envelope or a Small Flat Rate Box for eBay sellers in the US or Canada Post’s Flat Rate Box for Canadian eBay users.
Another pro tip that I can give to you is to ship your items ASAP once it’s been bought. By doing so, your buyers will most likely be going to be happy to receive their item on time and hopefully they will give you good feedback.
Step 9: Collect Your Money
This is most likely the best part of being an eBay seller. Collecting your profit! eBay makes it a priority to keep all transaction safe and secure.
Be sure that before selling an item that you already set up your payment account info so you will get your money on time.
That’s it for me!
If you have any questions or wanted to share any tips on selling on eBay, then please do not hesitate to write those down below.