From an expert: Ebay selling tips and tricks

Canard Solutions’ Manager of Online Sales, Ant Bruce, details tips and tricks for Ebay selling.

monitor showing ebay logo

Ebay is a great place to sell for all, whether you fancy yourself as an online entrepreneur or are just jumping in to get rid of a few unwanted items. Canard Solutions sell online for clients where that is the best market for the type of goods. However it is important to note that while the platform accepts big and small sellers, it comes with the same sized hurdles for everyone. This blog will help you identify and leap those hurdles. So here are Canard’s tips and tricks for trading on Ebay.

Your Brand:

Your brand is key. It seems simple if you are a buyer, but as a seller it is the beginning and end of your transactions. If you are endeavouring to sell on Ebay and you use your personal name, then your name becomes your brand. 

At Canard’s we adopted our beloved duck and on Ebay we are DucksDealsMelbourne. Adopting a business name reinforces that this is a commercial undertaking and helps allay some of the fears associated with Ebay transactions. Ebay buyers will often have a story – the item that was just ‘the box’, or a PS4 that was printed onto an A4 piece of paper! It is important to provide assurance to buyers that you are professional and trustworthy.

In addition, it is better to provide a human, responsive persona. This includes being personal and timely in your responses. When dealing with customers we sign off as ‘The Duck’ and make sure the message provides an honest and clear description of the item, its condition and how it will be packaged. We reinforce our brand by using Canard-branded cloth as a background when photographing items for listing. In addition to our brand, the bright red background helps people identify our products when browsing other items!

We also add a business card and a mascot drawing to every order to help reinforce that professionalism, and hopefully inspire repeat service. Below is our Canard’s ‘Duck’.

DucksDealsMelbourne ebay logo with duck carrying parcel

Listing Items:

When listing items Ebay will give you the option to find a similar item and copy that listing. This works well in order to select the correct category, but is sub-optimal for all other fields within the listing. It is important to go through your listing carefully field for field. 

The name should include the item’s name, its colour and something important to its function (e.g. a region code, power output, size, maker or manufacturer). 

Item specifics are key to the success of your Ebay selling. They are the details that enable the buyer to be certain the item is what they are searching for. The more you are able to specify your item the more chance it’ll show up in search results. 

If you know little about what you are selling, copying a complete listing can work well. But be sure to go through the specifics so that you can correct any that are wrong and add where you can. Understandably buyers hate receiving goods that have been wrongly described, and so are not what they were looking for. Even if you swiftly address their complaint, this can lead you to receiving a negative review.

The description box is your chance to divulge if the item is in working order, whether there are any blemishes or damage or if it’s missing something. It’s also good to test items before listing them, but if you don’t have the means to test then make sure to say in the description ‘untested’. Don’t worry too much about guarantees and using a sales pitch; remember, you’re one in a thousand and people only want the facts. 

Photos come next and the advice is simple, the more the merrier. Each picture is a reassurance to the buyer that you aren’t trying to hide anything. It also significantly reduces the amount of mail you need to respond to. Initially we displayed minimal photos but then had many requests for more photos. Now we follow the simple rule, the more the merrier (or 3 at least).

Pricing strategy will vary depending on your situation. To start, research the value of your item on Ebay and in other marketplaces and guides. On Ebay use a search of Sold listings for actual sale prices rather than the aspirational For Sale prices.

You’ll find prices varying from fair to expensive. Check the For Sale listings as well – you will see how many watchers are on an item and if bids have been made. That is extremely helpful information. The aim of the game is to actually make the sale.

In order to encourage watchers, and so competitive bidding, you can discount the median price of an item by 5-10%. People will most likely start bidding in the hopes they’ll nab the deal. A bidding war can take an item $10-15 dollars above the median price in bidding wars. 

The aim of your starting price is to encourage people to watch and create yourself a virtual crowd for the item. An item with 4 watchers is more likely to sell above average than an item with only one bid. 

Other options include ‘Buy it now’ and ‘Make an offer’. These two Ebay selling options provide a margin. Buy it now should be set to the price you would like for the item in a flat sale. And make an offer should be set to the lowest price you would consider. These options are helpful if you wish to sell something quickly.

Ebay will send you an option to have your listing be set a lower price with every week it goes unsold. This does not make sense. If there is a lower price you’ll take, then add the ‘make an offer’ option and sell it now, otherwise you might forget your item listing and have someone win it for much less than you wished to sell it. Just in general try and steer clear of automatic functions on Ebay.

Finally, postage. This is probably the easiest step, you merely put the dimensions of your item in and Ebay will calculate the cost.

Now you are ready to sell your item!

Technical Issues:

Ebay is a long lived website with a lot of little glitches arising as it gets older and older without a proper overhaul of maintenance. This will lead to some anxiety attacks that can be avoided. 

No.1: Verify your email!
It is almost imperative that you use Paypal to receive payment, because they are the most trusted when it comes to transactions while providing a lot of protection for both parties.

However there is a not-so-uncommon-glitch which can occur.

A situation unfolded where a buyer had paid but the amount was not appearing in Canard’s Paypal account. It turned out that different email accounts had been used for the Paypal account and an older one for the Ebay account. So be sure to verify both the Ebay and the Paypal account email addresses.

No.2: Use a web browser!
While the Ebay app is slick and pretty, there are numerous compatibility issues between it and the website itself. Limitations such as not allowing you to mark an item as paid, and glitches, such as saying it is already paid mean we approach the app with care. While it is harder to navigate, the website itself should always be able to correct any faults appearing from the app. I recommend using the app for updates and nothing more.

No.3: Don’t let it go a month!
Stay on top of your transactions. Should you fail to follow up with a buyer you only have 1 month to rectify a situation.

To avoid this you should send what are called courtesy emails: one to say you are sending the item today, another could be to thank the buyer or congratulate them on their purchase. These simple emails reinforce you as polite and make sure there is a smooth communication. By doing this you can also make sharper decisions about who is going to renege on a purchase.

Reviews:

Much of your Ebay selling reputation is governed by reviews from previous buyers. Prompt attention, honest and accurate dealings will give you positive reviews. One negative review may not hurt for someone swimming in a sea of 100 positives, but if you are just starting out this could adversely impact your sales.

example of positive reviews and comments from ducksdealsmelbourne on ebay

Ebay works!

Despite the technical difficulties, Ebay is still a very well-functioning community of buyers and sellers that you’d be silly to miss out on. Ebay selling provides a large potential audience of buyers, and hopefully you will find 3 or 4 interested in your item.

Key points are:

List your items so they will show up in searches

Be transparent about faults

Pricing strategies vary depending on whether you want fast sales

Photos can save a lot of work

Look after your Ebay reviews by being responsive and honest

Get the technical side co-ordinated so you can receive payments

Canard Solutions has made a small fortune for its clients through Ebay selling and we continue to advocate its use to clients as a viable way to realise value on some of their unwanted items. As the saying goes, ‘One man’s trash is another man’s ebay deal’… or something like that.

If the whole process is too much bother, Canard Solutions can help you with item sales, whether online, or through auction houses or dealers.