Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Selling on eBay: My experience and Top Tips

Like most parents I buy a lot of ‘stuff’ for my children. Even second time round I was tempted into buying far more for the new baby than we actually needed. Now my baby is a toddler all the clothes and equipment she has grown out of are taking up space next to my bed. It’s been over 6 months since Little moved into her own room and I piled everything up with the intention of selling it. Apart from selling a couple of bits on a local Facebook group everything is still there. So it was good timing when I received a challenge from Mumsnet and eBay to try to sell a few items. What was it like selling on eBay? Did my items sell? Read on to find out.

Items sold on eBay packaged up and ready to send after selling

I went through my boxes and found a four items to sell: A knitted baby blanket, a night light, a toddler towel and some cookie cutters. All except the towel were in barely used condition and the towel was in good condition, but had some marks on the bag. I thought I would try a variety of items to see if it made a difference to how well they sold.

Selling On eBay using the App


It was really quick to list my items using the eBay app. You have to write a short description of the item which the app then uses to suggest starting sale price, postage and categories. I went through each option to check the suggestions and add extra information where needed. Their suggestions were normally correct and made the process much faster.

With the app on my phone I could easily take photographs and select which ones I needed without having to transfer them from camera to a computer. Having the app on my phone also meant I kept checking to see how many people had viewed my items, you can even set up alerts so you know when there has been a bid. I loved watching the last few minutes of the auction when the majority of the bids came in.

The app defaults to certain options e.g. 7 day auction and available for international postage. These are really easy to change, but you do need to go through every section to make sure your item is listed just as you want. 
Baby and children's items listed on eBay to sell, showing as a screenshot of the eBay app

Selling On eBay Using The Website


I had a quick look at how to sell on the website as well. If it is your first sale listing it’s probably easier to use than the app because it provides a little bit more guidance (e.g. what you could take photo's of) and more information is visible without having to expand options. For me the ease of adding photo’s via the app makes it a winner, but you can always start your listing on one, save it and then access it via the other.

Did My Items Sell On eBay? How Much Did I Make?


Yes! The most popular item was the knitted blanket which was by a popular brand. It had more views that the other items and bids earlier, but it didn't make the most money. The least popular items didn’t receive any bids until the auction was about to finish.

Knitted Blanket: Views 58, Watch 4, Bids 8, Sold for £6 plus postage
Night light: Views 34, Watch 2, Bids 6, Sold for £8.49 plus postage
Cookie cutters: Views 13, Watch 1, Bids 1, Sold for 50p plus postage
Baby and toddler towel: Views 38, Watch 1, Bids 5 (all within the last minute of the auction), Sold for £2.20 plus postage

Total made £12.53 (£17.19 minus eBay fees £2.88 and Paypal fees £1.78)

When my items were sold I received a message saying the buyer had paid me and it gave me their postal address. I packed up the items and took them to the Post Office to send and enjoyed having a bit more space in my room.

Is There A Bad Side To Selling On eBay?


The cookie cutters actually made a small loss and I should have listed them at a higher starting price to cover the fees. I think I could have written a better description to encourage more views too. I will be more careful to work out the minimum selling price in future. The other way you can lose money is if you underestimate the postage. I weighed and measured my items then used the Royal Mail website to calculate the correct postage so I didn't have this problem.

I’ve heard a few stories about people sending out items and having a false claim made against them. The eBay money back guarantee is great for buyers, but occasionally people will try to abuse the system. 
To protect yourself I recommend:
Checking the items all over before selling and making sure that the descriptions are accurate.
Include multiple photographs.
Get proof of postage (and proof of delivery for high value items).

So How Do I Feel Having Sold My Items?


While I didn’t make a fortune from my sales it was more money than I made from them collecting dust. I’m excited to sell the rest of the items I have stacked up and reclaim my bedroom. Most of what I have is in great condition so I know I will be helping other parents save money compared to buying new. Now is the perfect time to sell because it means I’m getting extra money in time for Christmas shopping.

How easy is it to sell on the eBay app? Well as this screenshot shows I sold 4 items for a total value of £17.19

My Top Tips for Selling On eBay


Decide the lowest amount you are happy to sell your item for. If you don't mind it going for any price start with the minimum which will cover your selling fees. If it's more important to you to get a good price than sell an item you can put a higher starting price (for free) or add a reserve price (for a fee).

Add lots of photographs (you can add up to 12 for free), these can help influence buyers more than a long description.

Make sure your listing is correct, including spelling. Many people search based on a word, or by a category. Ensuring you are listed in the correct place means more buyers will find your item and you should get more bids.

Be honest about the condition.

Check and double check the postage to make sure you don’t under charge.

Remember there are fees (normally insertion fees, final value fee and Paypal's fees). eBay has special offers at times for reduced fees, but you will still need to factor in the fees when setting your price (and before spending your earnings). You can calculate eBay fees here and there are online calculators which let you work out PayPal fees too.

Consider the different options. You don’t have to sell by a standard auction, you can choose a fixed price or add a buy it now option. You can also choose to post just to the UK, world wide or for collection only.

Watch the last couple of minutes of your auction. I sold a number of items which were listed for different lengths of time, but the most exciting part was the last few minutes of the sale when most of the bids were received and the sale price jumped up.

Keep a selection of boxes you receive so you can use them as packaging. While you can ask the seller to pay for postage (at an amount you state in advance) you don’t get money for packaging so you want to avoid buying anything if possible.

Check out the simple selling guide from eBay for more information on selling.

***Disclosure: I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. I have received a voucher as a token of thanks for this post. ***
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2 comments

  1. You've really brought me up to speed I didn't even know about that app. If I got on this I could do well as I have SO much old stuff. I just didn't know where to start though and you've really helped x

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    1. Thank you. The app definitely makes it easier to sell when you are a busy mum x

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