How To Research Prices on Ebay

My secret to getting the price best for my items isn’t a secret at all. I use it constantly on my smartphone when I’m out thrifting for new inventory. It keeps me from making expensive buying mistakes and from missing out on incredible deals. What is it?

Ebay sold listings!

It’s not really a program or an app or anything. It’s just a search criteria field that you click after entering your search terms on the Ebay site. But it is absolutely invaluable for pricing your items.

Here’s a 4 minute video that shows you how to use Ebay’s sold listings to price your items and whether to use auction or as a Buy-It-Now format.

Got an Ebay question? Ask in the comments below?

5 Tips That Will Get You Selling On Ebay TODAY

 

 

EBay_former_logo.svg

We’ve all used Ebay at some point or another, but sometimes all the options available can be overwhelming. What if it sells too low? What if I pay too much for shipping? Never fear!  I made 5 super quick steps to getting started selling your stuff on Ebay TODAY.

8_5_x_5_5_inch_half_sheet_shipping_labels_10_sheets_20_labels_d7b7d1f1

1. Use Ebay’s label printing service and print labels from your computer. Don’t have a scale to weigh your own items? Use flat rate option and the free USPS boxes–you’ll save money over going to the post office to buy your postage. If you sell a few items, definitely get a food scale precise up to 0.25 ounce so that you can use USPS First Class shipping and FedEx Smart Post, the cheapest options available for per pound shipments.

2. Don’t offer free shipping. Use calculated shipping. If you’re shipping something fragile, don’t forget to add in 1-2 pounds for extra packing materials to your estimated weight. Once again, if you don’t have a scale, use flat rate options. You can ship jeans, tops, dresses, and even jackets in a flat rate envelop. You can get quite a bit in medium flat rate boxes, even shoes and boots. For more information, here’s my blog posts about shipping.

Rubber boots from The Simple Little Wardrobe
Natural light photos of rubber boots from The Simple Little Wardrobe

3. Take photos in natural light and make sure your item fills up the frame. Use a plain background, like the floor or a blank wall, and get 4-5 different angles. Take a picture of the tag or serial number. Don’t skimp on your photos! Crappy pictures will result in poor sales. Here’s How to Photograph Clothes for Resell Ebay. Here’s another post if you want to see how NOT to photograph clothes..

4. Use descriptive, searchable terms in your title. Size, color, brand, type of thing, gender if applicable, style, etc. Whatever word a buyer might search for that fits your item, squeeze it into the title. Your title is what directs search bots to bring up your listing in the search results from buyers. Poorly written titles will get pushed to the bottom of the search results and nobody will ever find your listing.

5. List your items at 7 day auction, starting at a reasonable price. NEVER start an auction at $0.99, even with a reserve. Reserves turn off buyers. On the other hand, starting a $0.99 without a reserve can lose you money big time. It doesn’t attract serious buyers, it attracts yardsalers looking for a dirt cheap bargain. So start your item at a price you can live with. If your item doesn’t sell at the first auction, list it again as a buy-it-now for 3o days at or a little below your original auction start price.

Have an Ebay listing question? Fire away in the comments below!

 

Should I Offer Returns in My Ebay Store?

 

images

OK, I know. You don’t want to accept returns. Who does? But the truth is, you DO accept returns. Ebay requires you to.

If a buyer marks an item “not as described” or “damaged during shipment,” Ebay will force you to accept a return and extract the full original cost plus shipping from your paypal account to cover it.

Before you start a new thread on the forum “Ebay sucks and hates their sellers,” let me finish. You can appeal any case that you feel is unfair, and if you have photographs proving it, Ebay customer service will quickly set the matter right.

In over 5000 transactions, I’ve only dealt with 2 return scams. In both cases, the buyer marked the return “item not as described.” I was able to prove with photographs that the buyer was lying. I didn’t lose money and I got the item back.

Since you’re basically offering returns anyhow, you should put it in your return policy. When you do that it:

  •  Qualifies your listing for Top Rated status
  • Boosts your listings in Ebay search results
  • Reassures buyers

I recommend having a 30-day return policy, buyer paid return shipping, and a minimum 10% restocking fee. This policy fulfills Ebay Top Rated seller requires and will cut down on your overall number of returns. A buyer has to be pretty serious about getting part of their money back if they are responsible for a restocking fee and return shipping.

You set your return policy as you list (it’s just another field that you fill in, like the price and description). You can also edit all of your items at once to add or change a return policy. The bulk edit interface can be slow, so be patient if you’ve got over 100 listings to edit at one time.

I charge higher restocking fees for lower value items. I charge a lower restocking fees for high value items since it is percentage based. So for anything other $30, I charge 10% restocking fee. For items under $30, I use 10% or 15% restocking fee.

If a buyer complains about the restocking fee, just stick to your guns. Remind them that you spent time and materials packing and shipping that item, and you’ll have to spend more time inspecting and relisting it once it is returned. Restocking fees aren’t a money racket. They just cover expenses.

What other Ebay questions are on your mind? Ask below!

 

 

How to Deal With Unpaid Ebay Buyers

pastu-due

Two weeks ago I was happy to see a Tahari suit bid up from $29.99 to $41. Hot diggity dog, right? No so much. After two days without payment, the buyer contacted me to say they were having problems with paypal. A few more days went by. And a few more. And then another email from the buyer saying this time they really were going to pay.

Yeah, right.

I’ve heard this before:  my grandma died, I went out of town and there was no wi-fi, my paycheck doesn’t come in for 2 weeks, blah blah blah.

Ain’t nobody got time for that, guys.

Serious buyers win the auction and pay within 48 hours. Buyers that changed their mind–or wanted to snag an item before they could afford to pay for it–drag the payment out. Sometimes they never pay.

Imagine if you picked up an item at a boutique and just stood at the counter for 2 weeks saying, “No really, I want this item. I’ll pay, I promise.” Ridiculous. Most brick and mortar stores won’t hold an item for more than 24 hours–neither should an online seller.

That’s why I recommend using the Ebay Unpaid Item Assistant. This is a feature found under your “Site Preferences” that automatically opens and closes cases for nonpayment. It even relists your item. It takes care of all of your items–you don’t have to open it for each individual listing. You are completely hands off the process once you turn it on. This seems like a good time to say:

For crying out loud, never ship an item without receiving payment first.

NEVER. NEVER. NEVER. 

Moving right along. I recommend opening up cases 2 days after non-payment. Sometimes when a buyer sees the little message pop up “An unpaid item case has been opened” in their inbox, it motivates them to complete the transaction. In any case, it holds a lot more weight that a personal message from you, asking if they’re going to pay. (Don’t even go that route. You’ll just get a sob story if you get any reply at all.)

Here’s a quick Ebay video showing you how to set it up:

 

The reason my Tahari suit transaction drug out like this is because I forgot to turn the Unpaid Item Assistant on. Duh. Now that it’s on, I won’t have to deal with this any more.

Do you use unpaid item assistant in your store? Comment below!

$250 Lost in My Ebay Inventory

Evidence of my shamefully disorganized ebay inventory
Evidence of my shamefully disorganized ebay inventory

I have 7 boxes of inventory living under the guest bed, 2 boxes in the guest closet, inventory stuffed in the guest bedroom dresser, 7 more boxes in our master bedroom closet, a closet full of hanging garments the guest bedroom, 2 boxes of shoes, 1 rack of shoes, and various boxes of junk–I mean valuable inventory–in the garbage.

So yeah, there’s a lot of stuff around here.

My store usually has around 400 items listed at any given time, and I’ve got a start up store that focuses on women’s career & professional clothing that has 25 items. I figured it was time for a purge.

I HAD NO IDEA HOW MUCH INVENTORY WAS UNLISTED.

Let me clarify: if it’s in a storage box or bag, it’s supposed to be listed. But I found 15 items that were in inventorial (is that a word?) oblivion. FIFTEEN! About $150 worth of stuff that should have been up for sale! I found 10 more items that were listed, but the photography was so crappy that I’m ashamed to call it mine. I estimate that $250 worth of inventory was stored unlisted or poorly listed. My goal this week is to get it all back on the market, this time with better photography.

So how did it get lost? One of three ways:

  1. It was purchased and returned. Ebay doesn’t automatically relist returns, only items that are cancelled or unpaid. Sometimes I forget to manually relist my returns.
  2. It was pictured, I made notes of the measurements, stored it, and then lost my notes. I’m pretty should this is the reason for 50% of this lost inventory. If I had a dedicated inventory notebook, this wouldn’t happen. But my kids keep running off with my notebooks. It’s not my fault!
  3. It was stored by accident. Sometimes a thing needs to be washed or mended or whatever so I put it in a pile. And then I come back later and mistake it for a “listed” pile and away it goes to storage. This was the case for at least one item in this stack.

Have you purged your inventory lately? Comment below!

 

Thrifted Fashion: Lia Sophia, J Crew & a Hand Me Down

20160221_112640
My 6 year old takes these pictures. Begrudgingly, because he’s usually busy doing important 6 year old stuff.

It’s finally warming up around here! It was a balmy 65 degrees and I didn’t even need a jacket since I’m pregnant and hot-natured now. For the past 7 years, someone in my circle has been pregnant, and we just keep passing the maternity wardrobe around. So this dress is new-to-me thanks to my sister, who was wearing it last year while she was pregnant.

The shoes are J. Crew from swap.com and WHAT A BARGAIN. $15? These darlings go for $40 and up on Ebay (pre-owned) so I snatched these up right away when I saw them. You can see a pair of suede pumps I sold recently on this post.

Dress: Liz Lange Maternity, FREE from my sister

Pumps: J. Crew, $15 from swap.com

Necklace: Lia Sophia, $14 new from ebay seller

Earrings: FREE ($15 value) in a fundraiser gift bag from BlueGreenAqua Boutique.

 

 

How Much Do I Make Selling Clothes on Ebay?

piles of money

In yesterday’s post, I shared my thrift haul from the weekend. I spent $39 and bought 26 items. So how much can I make off this haul?

I predict my biggest sellers will be the Red Wing Boots and the Stuart Weitzman silver heels. The other pieces won’t bring nearly as much, but I expect to get a solid $10 profit from every item.

My $39 thrift haul
My $39 thrift haul

24 items (not counting the boots and heels) x $10 profit: $240

$50 profit on the boots and $20 profit on the heels–

$310 total profit (after fees and shipping costs)

Don’t forget to deduct inventory costs $39

$310-$39= $271 total profit

I estimate 10 minutes to photograph, list and pack each item (my husband, the Duke of Efficiency, has helped me get my processing time down to the bare minimum).

26 items x 10 / 60 = 4.33 hours of work. Let’s not forget it took my 1.5 hours of hunting to find this stuff.

5.83 total hours of work. Can we just call it 6 hours? Good.

So what do I HOPE to may per hour on this haul?

$271 / 6 hours = $45.16 per hour.

Yeah, baby! Not too shabby.

Have you got a thrift haul to brag about? Post linkylinks below!

 

Thrift Haul: 26 Items for $39

20160220_151313
The Goodwill Outlet store–I hope you love surprises because there is no rhyme nor reason to these bins.

On some Saturdays, my husband watches our kids while I spend an hour or two digging through the boats and bins at the Goodwill Outlet store. Most things are sold by the pound and there is almost no organization. I have to be well fed and psyched up to go because it takes workHard work.

I spent 1.5 hours searching and I found 26 items for my Ebay store and I spent $39. Average price per item: $1.50. Here’s my haul!

IMG_8219
Left to Right: Coverup/sundress, Vintage Leslie Fay button shirtdress, stripe maxi Dress, AEO strapless dress, GAP denim dress
Left to right: Lauren Ralph Lauren sheat, Denim vest, career print blouse 2X, Talbots 16 print shirt
Lauren Ralph Lauren sheath, Ruffle trim sheath, cotton wrap dress
Talbots XL knit tank, denim vest L, career blouse 2X, Talbots print shirt 16
Talbots knit tank, denim vest, career blouse, Talbots print shirt
Jones New York 10 purple pant suit
Jones New York purple pant suit
Banana Republic skirt, Talbots Skirt, Ann Taylor Loft skirt, Ann Taylor Loft Skirt
Banana Republic skirt, Talbots Skirt, Ann Taylor Loft skirt, Ann Taylor Loft Skirt
Silk career blouse, sequink tank, Land's End tankini top, Venus bikini
Silk career blouse, sequin tank, Land’s End tankini top, Venus bikini
Red Wing boots, Stuart Weitzman silver heels, Cole Haan clogs, & Dansko mary jane heels
Red Wing boots, Stuart Weitzman silver heels, Cole Haan clogs, & Dansko mary jane heels
In every haul there's a flop: got these home to find out the zipper was broken :(
In every haul there’s a flop: got these home to find out the zipper was broken 🙁

Want to know what I think I’ll make on this thrift haul? Come back tomorrow–or even better, subscribe by email and never miss a post!

ps–Got a thrift haul to share? Link below!

Thrift Score: Eileen Fisher Alpaca Vest

So I was back home in NC, shopping at a Goodwill with my dad and I’d already filled up my cart with treasures. The checkout line was pretty long, so Dad said he’d hold my place if I wanted to keep shopping. That’s when I found this incredible score!

NMT705J_mu

I already knew the Eileen Fisher brand was a consistent seller, so I bought it. After I searched the internet for the vest, I found the stock photo and a description. This was pretty handy since the size and material tag was torn out. It was alpaca with leather trim! And then when 2 bidders really wanted it, this sale just got better and better.

Purchased: $5 + tax

Sold: $51 + $7.99 shipping

s-l1600 (34)s-l1600 (35)

Got a thrift score? Share below!

 

Hot Resale: Vintage Prairie Dresses

Maybe  Old West reenactment clubs are quite popular or perhaps women in 2016 just don’t have enough calico and lace, but I just had no idea there was such a market for prairie dresses. You can also find these listed as boho, 70s, corset, and romantic dresses. These words are important because if you find one of these  beautiesyou need to use those terms in your title.

The most popular brands are Gunne Sax and Laura Ashley, bringing $30 and up, even if they are poorly photographed. The most beautifully modeled dresses go for over $100. However, if you find a vintage 1970s dress that looks the part, you may be able to get a good price for them without the brand name.

The more trimmings on these dresses, the better. Look for corset laces, lace trim, crochet, gathered or ruffled hems, and prints. Each of these example links to the original listing in the caption so you can see all the details.

 

s-l1600 (12)
Jessica McClintock for Gunne Sax, sold for $35
s-l1600
Laura Ashley dress, sold for $49
s-l1600 (2).jpg
Laura Ashley dress from UK seller, sold for $122
s-l1600 (1)
Laura Ashley dress, from UK seller $54

Do you have a suggestion for a hot resale? Comment below!