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How to Improve Your eBay Sales


Ok, so you have your widget you want to sell on eBay.

You took some pictures, wrote a little blurb about them, and listed it.

But it didn’t sell. It didn’t even have any watchers.

What happened?

Where did you go wrong?

You now OWE money, and haven’t received a single penny!

This isn’t how it’s supposed to work!

How can you improve your eBay sales?

Over the years, I’ve sold everything from used CD’s and DVD’s, to electronics, to children’s clothing and peppermills! And, for the most part, almost everything I list sells!

What do I know that you don’t? Nothing, really…just a few tricks up my sleeve that I will share with you in this article to help you improve your eBay sales!

  • List your item on Sunday. I don’t know why, but Sunday Afternoon seems to be the magical EBay selling hour! Maybe because people are home, are done running their errands, and trying to get away from their screaming children for a little bit. There’s money in the bank, thanks to the paycheck they received Friday, and it’s burning a hole in their pocket!
  • What are you selling? Seriously- a lot of people don’t know EXACTLY what they are selling. Say for example you have a pottery mug that has some sort of artist or maker’s mark on the bottom. Find out who that maker is! If you don’t know, and cant find a picture online of the same type of mark, take a picture and go to the community message boards for the type of item you are selling (in this case the pottery board). Post your picture and ask if anyone knows who it is or what “line” it comes from. Chances are, someone knows! Once you know that, you can do research on the item itself and find out when it was made, the method and oftentimes- where! For collectors, this is valuable information!
  • The importance of research! Find out what similar items have sold for. This is the Successful seller’s best friend; the completed listings search! Login to your account and go to the “advanced search” tab. Type in the widget you have and check “Completed auctions”. And just like that, you can see what they sell for! Or IF they sell at all!
  • Write a good, thorough description! This sounds like a no-brainer, but all too often I see auctions with almost no information about the item. Make your item (even if it’s a used tire) sound appealing! Don’t lie- but sound exited about it! If it’s clothing, include the brand and size and include measurements! A size 10 in Liz Claiborne is not the same as a size 10 from the Gap! Use your adjectives! Be clear and concise. Also disclose any faults with the item. If there is a pinpoint hole near the zipper on a pair of jeans, you need to mention it! If it is new with tags, mention that as well.
  • Be realistic with your pricing. All too often, an auction ends with only one bid. If you list a Fiesta ware sugar and creamer set for 99 cents…that’s what it’s going to sell for! Never start your opening bid lower than what you will be comfortable accepting for it. This is an instance where that research I spoke of earlier can help you out! Don’t forget to include the cost of your listing fees! Selling an item for 99 cents, and having to pay 75 cents in listing fees, is not very profitable.
  • Avoid the eBay Add-On’s! When you make your listing, there’s dozens of features and “extra’s” you can purchase- additional categories, bold, highlighted, the list goes on. The ONLY extra worth paying for is Gallery picture. But do not opt for the supersized gallery photo! It’s a waste of money.
  • A Picture is worth a thousand words! And more pictures are worth even more! Use good, clear photos, and lots of them. Use a program such as Auctiva and you do not have to pay for additional photos (Auctiva is a free program)! If you know HTML you can do it yourself and not pay any additional fees and make a pretty little template for your use! Make sure you get the details, serial numbers, AND flaws! Remember, if its something a person would look at in a store, you need to have a picture of it in the auction!
  • Spell check is your friend. Enough said!
  • State your Shipping and Handling. As a buyer, if I think the shipping is too high (or worse, not listed) I won’t give the auction a second glance. Make sure you state the cost of shipping in your auction and the method it will be shipped. Most Buyers prefer flat rate, priority mail (plus, the boxes and labels for priority mail are free from
  • Insurance. This is a secret. I see many auctions with a statement that reads to this effect “Insurance is recommended, but not required. I will not be responsible if your item is lost or broken in the mail”. I laugh when I see that! A seller can say that all day long, and put it in blazing red huge 48-font text on their auction, but the truth of the matter is, if your buyer pays with Paypal (which is recommended), that it is YOUR responsibility to get the item to the buyer safe and sound. Insurance is NOT for the protection of the buyer, but rather for the protection of the seller! So, you have a choice – either require your buyer to pay for it (by including it in the shipping price, which is what I do) or, if it’s a small, inexpensive item, self-insure it (meaning, if anything happens, you’ll refund them out of pocket and eat the loss). But insurance is never, ever EVER (get the picture?) for the buyer’s protection – it is for YOURS!
  • Use Paypal and Delivery Confirmation. Paypal allows for instant payment and makes the buyers feel safe. Delivery confirmation is the ONLY chance you have at winning a Paypal dispute if one ever arises (you have to prove that the buyer received the item, and Delivery confirmation is the only way to do this). For purchases over $250 require a signature. That is a Paypal rule, under their Seller Protection Policy (SPP)

Will using these tips help you improve your eBay sales? Yes. Will they ensure success on eBay? No.

A good part of that is luck, and timing! But what they will do is help solidify your reputation as a high quality seller, who knows what they are doing and take a professional demeanor towards their customers.


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