How to Sell Your Stuff Online // A Step-By-Step Guide

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

For years I have been using sites like eBay to make some extra money and get rid of my stuff.   People always come to me and ask "How can I sell my stuff on eBay?"  It's even gotten to the point that people ask me if I can sell stuff for them too because they just don't know where to start when it comes to using sites like eBay.  So I figured I would put together a guide for beginners on how to sell your stuff online.   

Step 1//Decide What to Sell 
Items that have a great resale value are always a good choice.  When it comes to clothing, newer items are worth more but even used clothing such as designer bags or jeans will sell. 

Here are some items I regularly sell:
Barely worn shoes
Handbags (new and old)
Unopened beauty products
Unworn or barely worn jewelry

I actually have a box that is full of things that are currently for sale on eBay or that I plan to list. 

Step 2// Take Quality Photos
Even if you don't have a nice camera, your phone can still get the job done, especially if you are using the eBay mobile app to list your items.  A good photo can mean the difference between a sale or a pass.  

Here are some of my best photo tips: 
-Use a plain background.  I put white poster board behind my items so that they stick out more. 

- Get a clear up close view of small items like rings or jewelry so that any marks are visible. 

-Take several photos of a detailed item.  A pair of plain jeans is usually okay with just one photo but if they have details on the back pockets, make sure to take a photo of that angle!

- For purses take a front, back, side, bottom, and inside photo. 

-For shoes take a side, front, and tread photo so people can see how worn it is. 

-For clothing either lay the items flat like in the example above or have them hanging nicely on a hanger against a white background.

Step 3// Use a Great Title
Have you ever shopped on eBay?   Think of what you searched for and how you felt about misleading titles that didn't give the right details.  

Here are some examples of great, informative listing titles:
Old Navy Rockstar Skinny Jeans Size M Purple Stretch
NIB(New in box) Apple Ipad Mini
Sterling Silver BCBGeneration Animal Charm Bracelet Small

When possible, give sizing and material and always advertise that the item is NEW or BNIB (brand new in box) or NIB (new in box).  

Step 4//Include Important Details
Unless you want people messaging you at all hours of the day with questions, put as much info into a listing as possible. 

Here are some tips for details to include:
-List all measurement of handbags including strap drop
-List inseam measurements for pants
-List measurements for shirts and coats
-For jewelry list the length and if possible the weight of the item
-Describe the condition of the item in detail including any holes, imperfections, or how many times something was worn

Step 5// Choose a Selling Format

Think about each item and whether you want to sell it for a set price, or if you will take bids. 

Here are some important tips for deciding on a format:
-Designer handbags usually always sell at a good price so bidding is a great option. 
-For lesser known items and things without a brand, a Buy It Now price is usually your best bet.
-If you really want to sell an item at a set price, say your old Canon DSLR, you can choose buy it now with the option of accepting offers. This way, if you want $450, someone can possibly offer you $425 and you can review their offer. 

Step 6// Set a Price
Setting a price can make or break your listing.  And you have to remember that you will pay a fee for listing things online so you don't want to have to keep re-listing your item  5 different times since it never sells.  

Tips for Pricing: 
-Be reasonable.  If something is used you can't ask for the price of a new item.
-Remember that something is better than nothing.  I usually sell used clothing for $3-$5 for shirts and jeans. For designer items it's different but remember that for the smaller things, it's better to get a few bucks than nothing at all. 
- See what others are selling the same item for.  You can also search for specific items on eBay and look for only Sold or Completed listings where you can see what the item actually sold for. 
-When it's new, make it cheaper than an in-store price. If someone can get the same item for the same price in the store, without paying shipping, they will probably not purchase your item. 
-Always use Paypal for your primary payment method.  It's safe and it also makes it easy to refund people, track packages, and print shipping labels. 

Step 7// Decide Shipping Costs
For this step I always use the shipping calculator option on eBay so I can have my listing change depending on the person's location that is checking it out.  I always ship USPS because they offer free scheduled pick ups.  I usually ship clothing in an envelope and shoes in a small box.  Also, you can do what I do and save all the smaller boxes and shipping envelopes you receive in the mail. 

Step 8// Shipping an Item
Unless you want bad feedback or to deal with a return, always ship carefully.  I wrap things in newspaper that may break, and I never stuff things into an envelope or box.  For clothing, I make sure there are no threads, fur, or hair on the item, and I neatly fold it and place it in the envelope. Sometimes I even include a thank you note reminding the buyer to leave feedback if they are happy with their purchase. 

And there you have it. It's really not so bad and it's a great way to make some extra cash from your items.   

Here are a few extra tips for selling your stuff online:

Don't Get Overwhelmed// It can be exhausting to list things for sale on a daily basis so try doing it all at once. Plus once you do the first listing, you'll feel motivated to keep going. 

Not Selling?// If something isn't selling, try lowering the price.   If your Coach handbag is listed for $200 and hasn't got any real interested buyers, try dropping it to $175, then $150.  Trust me, $150 is better than $0 for a bag you will never lose.  And the longer it sits, the more outdated it becomes.   If an item doesn't sell after a month even with a few price drops, I usually cut my losses and I either hang on to it, or I'll donate it. 

Remember the Fees// Even if you sell a Louis Vuitton bag for $1,000, you have to remember that most sites usually keeps 10%.  So if you are selling something for a friend and they say they'll split the profits with you 50/50 make sure you only agree to that if they give you 50% of the final sale amount.  This means after shipping and fees, if you only $850 left, you each get $425.  

What kind of items do you sell online? 

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