Christmas is done. A sprinkling of snowbells have started to pop up under the oak tree outside our house. I’ve spotted flip flops for sale in the shops and I’m wondering whether it’s too early to buy a swimming cossie for the summer. Which can only mean one thing. It’s time for a spring clear out.
Last year I talked about decluttering the Soeno household but one tip I forgot to mention is that eBay can be a goldmine if you’re looking to make a quick buck out of stuff you no longer use.
I have a drawer where I store all of the clothes the kids have grown out of and any dresses and shoes I no longer wear. And then once every couple of months I put aside a few hours to photograph all the items and list them on eBay. Yes, it’s a bit of a hassle, and yes I get a strange look from the Post Office lady when I turn up with a pushchair full of twenty parcels, but it’s worth it if it means we can earn a bit of money from it to put towards day trips with the kids/new swimming cossies!
There’s some stuff that I find sells really well: when we moved here I sold a couple of pieces from the Ikea Hemnes range and they went for a much higher price than I was expecting. I suppose if you shop at Ikea then you’re probably inclined to love a bargain, and it’s double the bargain if you can save a few quid by buying it on eBay. With kids’ clothes, Joules, Mini Boden and Little White Company items are usually popular, and when it comes to fashion, I’ve found that Topshop, Asos and Zara pieces usually go down a treat. The following tips are also worth bearing in mind if you’re considering an eBay clear out.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
A decent photo to illustrate your item for sale is an absolute must. I’ve never bought something from eBay where no photo has been included in the listing. Try and take the pictures in natural daylight, and make sure there’s no clutter in the background. If you’re selling clothes, include close-up shots of the label and any detailing on the items. The more photos, the better: eBay lets you include up to 12 for free.
Tell it how it is
A good description also speaks volumes, and saves people having to ask what size it is, if it’s from a pet and smoke free home, etc, etc. If the item you’re selling is still in stock then it’s all the more desirable, so make sure you include a link to the website which shows that it’s still available for full price. I was amazed to see my Ben Di Lisi lamp selling for only a tenner or so less than the price I paid for it from Debenhams a couple of years previous.
Factor in the Fees
You can list up to twenty items in one month for free. After that it’s is 35p per listing. If your item sells then eBay will charge 10% of the final sale price. You will also need to pay a 3.4% PayPal charge if your buyer uses PayPal. These fees are steep but in my view they’re worth it given the reach of eBay, and better than having to find the free time to label then lug all your unwanted stuff to a car boot sale/NCT sale. There’s also postage costs to consider (see below).
Timing is Everything
Consider the timing of your post: the best time for an eBay auction to end is a Sunday evening. I tend to set my listings to go live for ten days at 9pm on a Thursday, which means the auctions end at 9pm on a Sunday. And similarly, for stuff that’s seasonal, sell them in the run up to that season. No-one’s going to want to buy a heavy winter coat in July.
The Customer is Always Right
If the item has any faults, make sure you include details about these in the listing and if possible include photos. There are always going to be people who try to quibble over costs so don’t give them a reason to.
Handle with Care
If the item is valuable then package and post it appropriately. I learnt this lesson the hard way when I sold a watch to someone in London, was rushed for time and didn’t package it particularly well (I had bundled it up in a load of bubble wrap then popped it in a polythene bag). I posted it first class, the watch never arrived and I’ve got a sneaking suspicion the postman guessed the contents from the feel of the packaging and decided to keep it for himself. I had to refund the buyer, and even worse I no longer had a watch to my name. So if you’re going to sell something similarly valuable make sure you use signed for/special delivery.
In terms of buying, (#alwaysenabling), eBay is always worth a look if you’ve spotted your dream leather jacket/designer bed/[insert similar big-ticket item here] but can’t justify the matching big-ticket price. I fell head over heels for this Ercol chest of drawers for the bedroom but at £945 I would never have been able to afford it. So when a set popped up on eBay I jumped at the chance. (The six-drawer chest is no longer available however The White Company still stock the bedside tables which are equally as beaut).
Do you sell (or buy?) on eBay? Have you snapped up any bargains? Or are you an eBay virgin?
If you have any other tips please pop them in the comments box below.