More than two decades have passed since eBay emerged as king of the online auction space. In that time, it’s evolved into more of a place to buy than bid but it remains one of the go-to platforms for anyone looking to connect a product with an audience.
While other names have moved into the spotlight in the world of eCommerce, eBay has quietly continued to build its user base, improve the user experience and easily outlast a number of competitors. While trends come and go, eBay has consistently proven itself to be a reliable partner for online retail sales.
Selling on eBay can be very profitable as it is still the premiere online meeting space for buyers and sellers. That’s why some eBay selling tips can always come in handy. As simple and straightforward as using it is, there are still some shortcuts you can take to get your product in front of more customers and shift your inventory faster.
Here are ten tips for how to sell on eBay successfully.
#1 Free shipping 📨
Selling anywhere is a lot easier when free shipping is part of the deal. Free shipping is on everyone’s list of selling tricks. Buyers love it for obvious reasons but it’s up to sellers to make the numbers behind it work. Customers on eBay in particular will be on the lookout for these magic words since free shipping has become a common way to move buyers one mental step closer to that “Buy now” button.
Uncertainty over the shipping costs associated with a given product is a classic obstacle to overcome for any online business. Offering free shipping not only removes the confusion — “free” is pretty clear — but it has a proven track record of successfully closing the deal. There’s a good reason why free shipping is on every list of tips and tricks for selling online. Finding a way to make it work financially is a must.
Obviously, international customers will understand there are extra costs involved in their case, but it’s worth looking into the possibility of creating some kind of similar offer that can apply to them, like free shipping with orders over a certain amount.
Your shipping policy is an important and often complex logistical part of your operation, but from the customer’s perspective it needs to be super-simple. Good selling strategies for eBay start with two words, “free shipping”.
#2 Friendly return policy 🔄
Just like questions about shipping costs, uncertainty about the ability to return something if it doesn’t work out is high on the list of things that stop buyers from advancing to the checkout page.
A flexible, customer-friendly return policy is a must in this age of hyper-competitive online sales. Without it, buyers will be reluctant to commit to a purchase they’re not sure about. This is especially relevant to items like clothes and shoes, where questions of sizing can sometimes only be answered when the customer receives them.
If you want to boost your eBay selling strategy, make it easy for buyers to return items when they want to. Remember that boosting sales is all about removing obstacles on the way to checkout, which means making it clear that customers can always return something they buy.
#3 Competitive prices 💸
This might seem like an obvious point but on a platform where buyers can quickly and easily compare prices, anyone who is too far out of the established range will be ignored. A lot of elements go into a pricing policy but listings with higher prices will get skipped.
Before you even list your products, it’s a good idea to have a look at other options your customers are likely to see. If your price point is too far out of alignment with the listings that are already there, it’s worth looking into why such a difference exists.
Price will always be a determining factor for buyers for obvious reasons. As buyers browse through product listings, they can decide in a fraction of a second if they want to learn more simply based on price alone. An item with a price tag that is too high is doomed on a platform like eBay, where pricing is perfectly transparent.
#4 SEO and user-friendly product descriptions 📝
It really is that simple — if no one can find you, no one can buy from you. One of the most overlooked eBay selling tips is a reminder that your product descriptions matter. Using comprehensive descriptions that match what buyers are looking for is one of the best secret eBay selling tips.
Using precise, detailed product descriptions is especially important on eBay given the amount of similar or identical products. When a customer enters the search terms for the product they’re looking for, eBay's listing software will search for the best match. The more detailed your descriptions are, the more like you are to match and enjoy a high search result ranking.
Think about all the different questions someone could have about your product — are you answering them in your descriptions? Taking some time to review and improve your product descriptions is one of the best tips for selling on eBay.
#5 High quality product photos 📷
Let us be direct here. With today’s technology, there is simply no excuse for using anything less than the highest quality product photos. We are visual creatures and it’s only natural that all-important first impressions of a product will be influenced by the kind, quality and number of pictures available on your eBay listing.
And not only do good pictures get customers interested in buying, they can also solve customer service issues later. Good photos make product details clear, which means customers don’t have to email you to ask about it and aren’t disappointed later when they receive a product that is not what they expected.
Sure, you can bring in professional photographers if you want but clear, colorful, high-resolution pictures are easily within everyone’s reach these days. Don’t be ignored by shoppers on eBay simply because your photos look like they were taken fifty years ago.
#6 Collecting and presenting customer opinions 😍
Like most retailing sites, eBay allows users to include customer reviews on product pages. This kind of feedback, known as social proof, has become a standard part of the decision making process for many buyers.
Reviews are popular with shoppers for good reason. They answer questions and give a potential customer an idea of what it’s like to own the item. Just like your product descriptions and photos, customer reviews help to reassure new customers that they’re making the right decision and getting what they want.
In the world eCommerce, reviews are an expected part of the customer experience. Buyers want to read them and leave their own. Embrace this as an opportunity to get insights from their perspective and use it to your advantage by looking for common themes, questions, criticisms and issues that you can better address in your own listing.
#7 Perfect client service (fast and polite) 💨
Few things can impact a seller reputation more than poor customer service. eBay allows customers to post seller reviews, which are a clear and transparent way of not only rewarding good customer support but also punishing poor client service.
Today’s consumer expects issues to be handled quickly and when they’re not, there are plenty of opportunities to let the world know about their dissatisfaction. Beyond eBay itself, customers are free to post on any number of social media forums where potentially millions of people can learn about what an eBay seller did to disappoint customers.
Good customer service after the sale is fundamental to keeping customers and attracting new ones. It’s nothing you haven’t heard before but it’s especially relevant to sales on eBay — keep customers happy by fixing their problems quickly.
#8 Systematically list products and pay attention to the time of the listing 📋
When you post your listings matters and optimizing when you post them is a process that will help you make more sales on eBay.
There are a lot of variables here, including your time zone, the time zones where your customers are, their habits and whether or not you’re selling on a bid or buy now model. Whichever factors apply to you and your store, keep an eye on your statistics and look for patterns, both good and bad.
While there’s no single solution that works for everyone, trial & error along with your own experience and intuition will help you settle into a timing pattern that works best for you.
The main takeaway here is that it’s important to recognize that there is a sweet spot when it comes to the timing of your listings and when you post. Finding it will take some work but the reward is worth it.
#9 External promotion (social media, bloggers, outreach) 💻
eBay is like a storefront where buyers and sellers come together and of course it has its own search function to connect customers with the right listing. Still, there’s no reason you can’t advertise your eBay listings anywhere and everywhere you want.
That means on your own website if you have one, on social media platforms and anywhere your potential customers are active. Using links to your eBay store, traffic can come from anywhere. Tap into spaces where your customers congregate to direct that traffic to products they could be interested in.
This includes working with bloggers, influencers and others who can introduce you and your offer to new audiences. eBay's Partner Network, its own affiliate sales program, is there just for this reason — anyone who refers customers to you can get a percentage of the sale. This is often how third parties make money so don’t be afraid to ask anyone with an audience that aligns with yours about the possibility of working together.
#10 For multiple listings, use eBay listings tools 👌🏻
Selling on eBay is a lot more effective when you take advantage of tools meant to make selling easier. This is especially true for sellers with a significant volume of listings on eBay. There’s a limit to how many items you can add and manage manually before things get complicated.
That’s where tools like these come in handy. They make it possible to consolidate all your listings into one interface and manage, track and edit them as needed. Integration with other sales tools you might use is simple and they each make various options available that streamline and optimize the entire process of running a store on eBay at scale.
With so many moving parts to keep an eye on, automating certain tasks can free up a lot of time that you can dedicate to other areas that need your attention. Let technology help and use eBay listing tools to help you grow.