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How to Sell on eBay

Lily O'Halloran


How to Sell on eBay

So you want to sell on eBay? Great choice! eBay, affectionately known as The World’s Online Marketplace, is the perfect place for any aspiring entrepreneur to begin selling products. Why? eBay makes buying and selling fun and easy, which creates a win-win situation. eBay is for everyone. Anyone with thoughts of starting their own business, or making money from home, should consider selling on eBay. The experience and knowledge gained from this amazing auction site will serve you well in the wonderful world of e-commerce.


What You Need…

The first thing you need to start selling on eBay is a Seller’s Account. Creating a Seller’s Account is simple and free. This is a one-time process that eBay uses to verify your identity, learn how you will pay seller fees, and set the payment methods that you will accept from buyers. Let’s take a quick look at each step:

1. Who are you?

To protect the eBay community, all members must pass an identity verification process. You can verify your identity with either your credit card or checking account. If you do not feel comfortable sharing these numbers, you can opt to use eBay’s ID Verify program instead. The ID Verify program is valid until your name, home address, or phone number change. There is a $5 fee for this service. Credit card and checking account verification is free.

Most sellers choose to verify with their credit card. To ensure that the verification process is quick and painless:

  • Enter your card number correctly
  • Make sure your billing address is up-to-date
  • Use a credit card that is in good standing
  • Make sure your card does not have a phone or Internet order block
  • Debit cards with a MasterCard or Visa logo can be used in lieu of a credit card

No credit or debit card? No problem! You can choose to use your checking account for the verification process. Make sure to enter your entire checking account number, including your routing number, correctly.

2. How will you pay your seller fees?

To become an eBay seller, you must first select how you will pay your seller fees. Seller fees can be paid with PayPal, credit card, or checking account. Business members may choose to pay by check. You can select to make one-time payments when fees are due or regular monthly payments. The choice is up to you.

3. How would you like to be paid by customers?

Now for the good part: How do you want your money? Sellers can choose which forms of payment they would like to accept. Choices include: electronic payments (one form of electronic payment is required), credit or debit cards, or payment upon pickup – only for sellers offering goods for pickup at their locale. Accepted electronic payment methods include: PayPal, Moneybookers, ProPay, and Paymate. To accept credit and debit card payments, you must either have one of the aforementioned accounts or set up an internet merchant account with a bank. If you use your own internet merchant account, then you must set up a PayFlow gateway account with eBay.

What form of payment is best? The more payment methods you accept, the easier it is for a buyer to meet your requirements. That said, I strongly recommend accepting PayPal for several reasons:

  • Buyers want to use PayPal, because it is convenient and offers them protection.
  • PayPal fees are less than most internet merchant account fees.
  • When a customer checks out, you receive the payment instantly.
  • PayPal is fully integrated into eBay.
  • You receive protection against fraud and tools to resolve other issues.
  • Use your PayPal debit card to access funds instantly.


Types of Seller Fees…

It would be great to sell for free, wouldn’t it? Unfortunately, fees are involved. Of course, when you think of the vast reach that eBay brings the fees don’t seem so bad. Take a look at eBay’s snapshot:

  • Presence in 39 markets
  • 86.3 million active users worldwide
  • More than 50,000 categories
  • 113 million concurrent listings
  • 1 billion page views per day
  • $2,000 worth of goods traded every second

Pretty impressive! Where else in the world can you reach so many potential buyers for such a meager fee? Nowhere!

How much are those fees anyway? That depends on how you list your item. The fee is determined by combining the insertion fee, final value fee, and the fees of any listing upgrades you select. All auctions incur an insertion fee. The final value fee is incurred when you sell an item, and the amount is determined by the final selling price. Listing upgrades are optional. Examples of listing upgrades include: extra photos, subtitle, highlighting, and so on.


Sell Stuff Already…

You are officially an eBay seller, or at least you have a Seller Account. So, how do you sell on eBay? Here is a step-by-step guide.

  1. Select a category that best describes your item. Browse through the categories, if you are not sure which category is best. You can choose to list your item in multiple categories to gain more exposure, but there is an added cost.

  2. Select a listing option: standard or pre-filled. The standard listing is what you will use for items that you want to describe. Pre-filled options are best for books, tickets, and other goods with specific UPCs or ISBNs. Pre-filled options provide a stock photo and a general description of the item.

  3. Create a listing title. You have 55 characters. Use them to write the best title possible. Your title is what attracts buyers to your auction. Use all 55 characters; include the brand name, what the product is, descriptive keywords, but no punctuation – waste of space.

  4. Write a product description. Include the items condition (new, used, etc), characteristics, attributes, brand, and so on. Think of your listing as your personal sales person. What makes your product so great? Why should customers buy it? What are the benefits? Work that listing!

  5. Include valuable information, such as return and shipment policies, and payment information.

  6. Choose a starting price. Low starting prices generally bring the most bids. If you are worried about selling a product for too little, consider adding a reserved price to the auction; that way, you do not sell the product until it meets the reserve price. A word to the wise: reserved auctions often see fewer bids. Another option is to add a Buy it Now price, which lets buyers that are in a hurry to receive an item buy it now – no waiting involved. Hint: Set the Buy it Now price at a price that is high, but reasonable.

  7. Add a photo to your auction. Add more than one if you want, but there is a small fee for each extra photo. If the extra photos are worth the fee – meaning they bring more value to the auction, then include them.

  8. Select payment methods and provide payment directions. Write clear payment directions to receive quick payments. For example, inform buyers that you will send them an invoice as soon as the auction ends.

  9. Provide clear shipping details including specific costs and expected delivery times.

Although nine steps may seem like a lot, the listing process is rather quick. After you get the hang of it, you can list an amazing number of items in a short period. Listing tools can help you list like items even faster. See my other articles for more tips on increasing eBay efficiency and sales.

Happy Selling!



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