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Tue Aug 30, 2016, 12:35 PM

I'm At The Point Of Retirement And Am Looking To Make Some Extra Money.....

I purchase items from e-bay - but have never sold anything on e-bay as I don't know the first thing about selling items on e-bay.

I am looking for advice from all of you seasoned e-bay sellers as to how to get started selling on e-bay and the best way to price items; how do you determine what the shipping cost would be; how much of a percentage e-bay takes on a sale; how you determine how long the auction lasts; and basically any tips you might have that would make me avoid problems or mistakes and make me a successful seller.

Also - if any of you have any links to any sites that provide the latest info on how to sell on e-bay that would be appreciated as well.

I finally have time to immerse myself into e-bay and make the commitment to it.

Any help would be appreciated.

I don't know anything about etsy and have never bought or sold anything on etsy. Is etsy a good alternative to e-bay? If so - all the questions I had above about selling on e-bay would apply to how do I sell on etsy.

Thank you in advance for your help.

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Reply I'm At The Point Of Retirement And Am Looking To Make Some Extra Money..... (Original post)
global1 Aug 2016 OP
northoftheborder Aug 2016 #1
global1 Aug 2016 #2
northoftheborder Aug 2016 #3
angstlessk Aug 2016 #4
brer cat Aug 2016 #5
global1 Aug 2016 #6
sinkingfeeling Oct 2016 #7
Vinca Oct 2016 #8
bucolic_frolic Dec 2016 #9

Response to global1 (Original post)

Tue Aug 30, 2016, 12:43 PM

1. I've bought from both Etsy and EBay, but

have never set up a selling site, which I have thought of doing for a while.... I really like Etsy, it doesn't have the world-wide circulation that EBay does although it is growing fast. It does NOT sell new stuff, only vintage, (20 yr considered vintage) hand (or home-made-not factory), and craft supplies. I would compare the commission costs. I have heard so many criticisms of EBay, and it's high commission, and other stuff. I will be interested in the same info you get from others experienced in selling.

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Response to northoftheborder (Reply #1)

Tue Aug 30, 2016, 12:45 PM

2. Hopefully - Our Fellow DU'ers Will Be Able To Educate The Both Of Us.....nt

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Response to global1 (Reply #2)

Tue Aug 30, 2016, 12:54 PM

3. Major difference - Etsy is not a bidding site - everything is priced.

Often when I look up something on EBay to find value of things it seems as though the majority of items have no bids at all.

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Response to global1 (Original post)

Tue Aug 30, 2016, 04:50 PM

4. 1st of all, what did you do in your 'real life'

and can you market that as an online consultant?

Do your research...where will you get products from to resell?

Nothing is easy...especially retirement!

Except maybe not retirement?

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Response to global1 (Original post)

Tue Aug 30, 2016, 11:12 PM

5. Selling successfully on ebay

is not a case of simply following a few easy steps. My sister and I have sold on ebay since the early days, and have endured many ups and downs over almost 20 years as ebay grew into the enormous site it is today. It is much harder now due to the size of that market. Since you have time and are willing to make the commitment, you are off to a good start.

First you will need to find a niche, and that is a challenge since they have a billion active listings. You can have the best widget ever, but if 10,000 other widgets are listed at the same time, you will have a hard time making a sale, much less a profit. So, do you have a product line in mind that you know well, and have you researched ebay completed auctions to see the level of competition and whether the product even sells successfully? Does the product fairly consistently sell for a price that is worth your time for purchasing, research, listing, packing, mailing, etc? Remember that asking prices are pretty useless as a guide; always search completed auctions and look at the items that actually sold.

Once you have your items to sell, the basics are pretty straightforward. You need a camera and software for cropping and editing to have clear pictures without a bunch of background clutter. You will need an accurate scale and a supply of boxes (or padded envelopes if appropriate) to estimate your shipping charges and ship your sold items. Most items other than media (books, cds, etc.) ship Priority Mail and you can order those boxes free from USPS or you can check with FEDEX or UPS if you prefer to use them. Most items that I sell I either ship media rate for books or Priority Mail for everything else. For very heavy items, I also offer FEDEX or UPS. I live in a rural area and it is most convenient to just deal with USPS. Your situation may be different. You will need a PayPal account since that is how almost all ebay transactions are handled. I have never had a problem with PayPal and it offers both buyer and seller protection. I understand that with new accounts, PayPal payments may be slow but I didn't encounter that when I started. I have a business account with a debit card and the money is available immediately after payment is received by PayPal.

Listing your item. Ebay's listing tools are relatively straight-forward and take you step by step through every thing you have to include. There are some tricky things like how to offer discounts if a customer buys more than one item, but that is beyond what I can accomplish here. Make sure your category is appropriate and create a title that is searchable by including as much pertinent information as you can. Write a complete and accurate description especially if selling used items, disclosing any flaws up front so that your buyer doesn't get an unpleasant surprise. Add as many pictures as you need to show the item completely. If you are selling a new item, you may get away with stock photos, but I prefer to see exactly what I am buying and therefore always take my own pictures when selling. You will have an opportunity to preview your listing before it goes live, and I suggest using that to see exactly how your listing will appear.

For shipping, ebay has a shipping calculator as part of the standard listing. You will enter the weight which you will determine by weighing your item in the proper sized box with any bubble wrap or other material, along with the measurements of the box. You will then specify which shipping options you will offer. As I indicated, I usually only offer one option unless the item is very heavy. Remember if you offer services such as parcel post, you will have to obtain and pay for the boxes which runs up your cost and generally saves the buyer only a small amount. Not worth it imo. You will also have the option of adding a handling charge which you may feel is appropriate if the item is fragile and requires a lot of bubble wrap or if you are paying for the boxes. If the item is expensive, you also have the option to require insurance paid by the buyer. When your item sells, ebay will have the address of the buyer and will automatically calculate the shipping charges based on the weight and options that you provide. Ebay automatically sends the customer an invoice with the final price and shipping charges.

Pricing. A potential customer is going to look at the total cost to obtain your item: selling price + shipping charges taking into account the condition of the item if used. You will research completed auctions for similar items (bearing in mind differences in condition) to determine your starting price (or fixed price if you prefer) and try to keep your shipping charges as low as you can while safely shipping. Some sellers offer very low prices with ridiculously high shipping charges. Few buyers fall for that deception, and ebay fees are based on the total including shipping so it saves you no money there and you risk bad feedback on your shipping component. If there are no comparable items on ebay for comparison (lucky you to have something so unique), you can search many sites such as etsy, amazon, and others to determine a fair price.

Auction, Fixed Price or Buy-it-Now? I have used all of them depending on the item being sold, and after seeing how most comparable items are sold. As ebay has grown, the number of really competitive auctions with many bidders running up the price has declined significantly. Many buyers don't want to spend a week waiting for an auction to end and prefer Fixed Price or Buy It Now options. If your item is fairly unique on ebay or generally competitive, I suggest auction with the starting price the lowest amount you are willing to take. I make all of my auctions for a week; fixed price I sometimes do for a month. I prefer to have auctions end in the evening to allow people to get home from work. I am on the east coast and end my auctions after 6 or so on the west coast. I don't think it matters with fixed price. I never end auctions on a weekend, but that is just my gut feeling that people are busier then with other activities.

I have had many requests to end auctions early and sell to someone at a fixed offering price. I always decline, and in every instance the auction was a lively one with the price going much higher than the offer. However, if you want to take the offer, you can end the auction and relist it as a fixed price.

Shipping. The auction has ended, ebay sent the invoice, the buyer paid PayPal with a confirmed address. Now you can print the shipping label through the ebay checkout system and either take it to the shipper or arrange a pickup. Ebay will automatically send the buyer a confirmation of your shipping and a tracking number. Pack carefully and use a large enough box to allow a hard hit or two as it gets tossed around. If the item is very valuable, require a signature so that the buyer cannot claim it was not received.

International Shipping deserves a few comments separately. Many sellers prefer to avoid the extra risks of shipping abroad and don't offer it at all, and they do fine. Some items do much better with buyers from abroad and are definitely worth it. You will have the option in your listing to pick specific countries or continents that you are willing to ship to. Just be sure your item is in compliance with customs regulations and be absolutely sure you weigh the package carefully before listing because international shipping is very expensive compared to domestic and a mistake can cost you dearly. Several times I have been asked to lie on customs forms by buyers who insist the risk is theirs. It's not. S/he who puts the lie on the customs form is the guilty party. If you use the ebay checkout, ebay will provide the customs form for you based on the information in the auction and you won't have the hassle of doing the form yourself.

Ebay fees are stated on their site and will be shown on your listing page when you have finished your listing just prior to going active. I haven't paid a listing fee for years, just a final value fee on the selling price + shipping. I assume free listing is available for new sellers as well, but I don't know that for a fact. I don't purchase extras such as bold titles but other sellers may have found it helpful.

Ebay is a lot of work for me because I sell antiques and used books and must be very careful with pictures, descriptions, and packing. But it can be a lot of fun, especially when the auction is competitive and a lot of bidders get involved with a few "snipers" at the end running the price up. I have had very few problems as a seller (more as a buyer). I am not perfect, but I am honest and careful with research and descriptions, and I have 100% positive feedback. In recent years it has become hard to find items worth selling on ebay, so I only do periodic auctions while in the early years we had dozens of listings each week.

This is probably way longer than you wanted to read, and yet I'm sure I missed some important things. Please feel free to PM me when you are ready to start listing if you would like an ebay buddy standing by. When it is all new, it can seem more complicated. I hope you have fun with your ebay experience and do report back and let us all know how you are doing!

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Response to brer cat (Reply #5)

Wed Aug 31, 2016, 12:07 AM

6. Thank You For All The Info....

I'm going to have to read this through a couple of times and digest it all. I appreciate you acting as a resource should I have further questions.

I'm going to be on a business trip for the next few days - but when I get back I hope to maybe venture into e-bay as a seller rather slowly - maybe 1 or 2 items and see how it goes.

Thanks again!!!!!

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Response to global1 (Original post)

Sat Oct 8, 2016, 12:08 AM

7. I have bought things on Ebay for 20 years, but never sold an

item. I retired last year and rented a booth in a local vintage shop in May. First couple of months were really great. I've discovered that some of my items are just too expensive for the customers who come in. I like having the booth since the establishment takes care of taxes and credit card sales. However, I think I will have things that will have to be listed on Ebay or go to auction.

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Response to sinkingfeeling (Reply #7)

Sun Oct 9, 2016, 12:18 PM

8. Unless whatever you have is really rare, your chances of getting a good price on ebay are slim.

ebay has diluted the markets for many things (Hummels, for example) and everything that was once rare to find is now common. I'm not a big fan of live auctions, either, having lost my shirt on some good items a few years ago. I, too, have a booth in a group shop and do pretty well. I find with expensive items you end up waiting and waiting and waiting for them to sell, but most of the time they eventually do. I actually have 2 booths. One is for pricier antique things and the other is for lower priced collectibles. Lately I'm selling Star Wars stuff - especially early figurines - like mad from the second booth, but the fine china, pottery and glass in the other booth is gathering dust. It's very frustrating.

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Response to Vinca (Reply #8)

Mon Dec 5, 2016, 08:35 PM

9. Demand for stuff follows demographic patterns

People buy in their peak earning years - 50s and 60s - and they buy
what they remember. Once they're 75, forget it, and the stuff they
remember falls in popularity for generations. That's what makes 1950s
stuff popular right now. Victoria era? No interest. Art nouveau (1910 to
1920)? Not much. Art Deco is popular, it's stuff grandma might have
talked about or owned.

The Great Recession has collapsed interest in material things. We are
running leaner households, and favoring experiences and travel.

I don't expect a lot of this to change very soon. People want financial
security, necessities, electronics, fun and entertainment more than
they want collectibles, tableware, decor, and nostalgia. And with so
much stuff around, it's difficult to see how even inflation will bail you
out of old junk. There is no scarcity of anything except clean air, clean
water, money, and privacy.

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