Can you believe eBay has been around for 25 years now? Despite its age, eBay is still the best platform to make money selling your used stuff.
All you need to get started is to create an account and create a listing. If you want to turn eBay into a profitable side hustle check out these tips to make even more money.
1. Start by selling things around your house
You don’t need inventory to get started on eBay. Do a sweep of your house and see what’s collecting dust. The average person has about $3,000 worth of stuff in their home that they could sell on eBay. Using your own stuff to get started will help you learn how to use the platform.
Check out this list of common household items that could be worth big bucks on eBay.
2. Use auctions to make even more money on eBay
There are a lot of reselling platforms nowadays. What sets eBay apart is the auction feature. There are two benefits to this. Auctions help you plan your cash flow. When you set a listing as an auction you know exactly when it will end. Once you ship your sale eBay begins processing your payment.
The other benefit of eBay auctions is that you let the market decide the price. Last year I helped my parents declutter their basement. My dad had a box of more than 100 GI Joe dolls and accessories from when he was a kid.
We had no idea what the value of his collection was. I listed it as a 7-day auction on eBay starting at $49.99. A week later the auction ended at $555! If you’re new to eBay and have no idea how to price your item, an auction is a great way to get started.
3. Use Terapeak to research your niche
In 2017 eBay acquired market research platform Terapeak. I love Terapeak because it pulls data from eBay to help you understand the market value of different categories. Check out the dashboard for a J.Crew dress:
This tells you that the average sale price of a dress is $28 and only 7% of J.Crew dress listings sold in a 90-day period. Compare that to Reformation:
By doing this comparative analysis you can see that Reformation dresses are much more profitable and in higher demand than J.Crew dresses. Terapeak is a great way to optimize your sourcing strategy so y ou can sell things that will make you more money.
eBay did away with its store subscription requirement in 2021 meaning all eBay sellers now have access to Terapeak data. Even if you sell on a different platform like Mercari, you can use Terapeak to do in-depth research to better understand the category you’re selling in.
4. Schedule listings to end at peak times
Take a quick glance back at those two Terapeak graphs above. Notice anything? The sale price of your item can fluctuate depending on the day of the week.
Plan your listings around times when eBay users are most likely to be on eBay. In my experience, I’ve found weekends to be the best days because people tend to shop on weekends. You can manually start your auction to end on a specific date or, for a small fee, eBay will allow you to schedule a listing in advance. Because eBay allows buyers to filter by “ending soonest” strategically listing your items at certain times can help increase your sale price.
5. Include a hand-written note in your package
If you have an eBay store in a specific niche a hand-written thank you note can be a great way to encourage repeat purchases. This is already a custom on Poshmark but not so much on eBay. Including a note in your package adds a nice touch that will make your buyers want to return to your store.
6. Sell replenishables
Did you know 80 percent of eBay sales are for new items? eBay is the go-to platform for selling secondhand items on the internet, but if you want to increase your sales, adding a replenishable category to your sourcing list might be a good start.
One way to add new items is via retail arbitrage. Next time you pop into Target or Home Depot check out the clearance rack. Scan the barcodes with your eBay mobile app. Is there anything on sale that you could flip for a profit?
Another easy way to add new products is to use a print-on-demand service like Printify. You can create designs in Canva or hire a designer and upload them into Printify. Printify syncs right with your eBay account allowing you to sell inventory without sourcing or holding it. Create evergreen designs around birthdays or holidays to make sure your items are always in demand.
Read More: Make even more money on eBay with Printify
7. Get free shipping supplies
If you have an eBay store subscription I have good news for you. Every quarter eBay gives store owners a $25 credit to use on eBay-branded shipping supplies. This is a really good deal that makes your store subscription worth it.
Alternatively, scope out your apartment recycling center or neighborhood on trash day. Everyone buys stuff online these days. Pilfer used boxes and shipping supplies to pack your eBay sales in before they’re sent off to the landfill.
Read More: Everything you need to know about shipping
8. Follow sellers in your niche
When you get started on eBay don’t reinvent the wheel. If you’re selling in a specific category, like sports cards, follow top performers in that category. You can access saved eBay stores right in your seller dashboard. Here are a few stores I follow:
You might already follow some sellers on social media and that’s great. Remember social media is curated. It’s best to follow their actual store so you can see what they’re really selling. Do this to learn about new categories or to get ideas for sub-niches within your niche.
9. Promote your listings
In case you might have missed the memo, our entire economy basically runs on advertising revenue. eBay is no exception.
Notice the little ‘sponsored notation below these listings? When I search for ‘Charizard’ on eBay, the first four results are all sponsored. This means the seller is paying a portion of the sale price of these listings to eBay in exchange for being promoted at the top of the search results.
You can set up a few different types of promotions in your seller dashboard. You can promote a listing when you create it, run a sale, or create a coupon.
Depending on your niche there might be certain seasons where running a sale makes sense. The great part about promoting your listings is that it won’t cost you anything upfront. Pay attention to your sale price to make sure you embed any promotional costs into that instead.
10. Share your listings with eBay Partner Network
eBay has its own affiliate marketing program called eBay Partner Network. If you aren’t familiar with affiliate marketing essentially it’s a way for online content creators to make money by sending their audience to a specific website. You’ll see this a lot with Amazon. If you click on a link on a blog that sends you to Amazon, chances are it’s an affiliate link.
eBay Partner Network allows you to share links to your items across the internet and make money while doing so. Some people have created entire revenue streams sharing eBay Partner Network links without even holding a single piece of inventory.
Create links to your items and share them on social media platforms or via email. If your item is purchased through the link you’ll be compensated by eBay on top of whatever you’re making for the sale of the item itself.
11. Sell things people are actually looking to buy
You know the adage if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around does it make a sound? The same logic applies on eBay: you can list whatever you want on the platform but if no one is looking to buy it, does it even matter?
The best way to determine whether or not an item is selling is to research recently sold listings. To find the solds check “Sold Listings” on the toolbar on the lefthand side of the web version of eBay.
When you do this you can see the price point recent listings sold for and how frequently they’ve been selling. While this search result for Lularoe shows a high frequency of sales, these items aren’t selling at a very high price point. Do this initial search to see if an item is worth listing before you even list it.
12. Write keyword optimized titles and descriptions
eBay is basically a search engine. This means you’ll want to use keywords to help the right buyer find your listing. Here are some types of keywords you’ll want to use:
- Brand name
- Style name or number
- Use or function
You might notice acronyms on eBay like BNWT – Brand New with Tags – or PB – paperback. While eBay limits you to an 80 character limit in the title, avoid using acronyms if your buyer doesn’t use them in their search.
The product description is a great place to provide extra details about your listing such as measurements or compatibility. Go a step further and add some pizazz to your description while you’re at it. The more memorable the description, the more likely someone will buy it.
13. Use custom SKUs to monitor your listings
You might list something that doesn’t sell right away and that is ok. It happens. Create a custom SKU for your listing to keep track of how long you’ve had it in inventory. The custom SKU I use is Date-Seller Initials-Cost of Goods Sold. Here’s what my custom SKU looks like from my seller dashboard:
These listings have been live for almost a month and haven’t sold. This lets me know I need to do something to try and get them moving. One thing I can do is convert them to 7-day auction listings. Alternatively, I can try dropping the price and see if that helps.
The last three digits in my SKU tell me the price I paid for the item. This gives me an easy visual reference of my breakeven point. Use a custom SKU like this to help you track the velocity and profitability of your listings.
14. Ship with USPS Flat Rate mailers
USPS has a Flat Rate mailer program where you can ship anything for a fixed price. Use the Flat Rate Envelope or Padded Flate Rate envelope for small items that weigh more than a pound to save money on cross-country shipping. This will allow you to accurately anticipate shipping costs while providing your buyer with a premium service.
15. Invest your earnings
eBay doesn’t have to be a platform where you just sell stuff around your house. Think of it as a platform to generate capital that you can use to invest.
Everything sitting at a garage sale or in a thrift store is what I call an unliquidated asset. Used clothes, old coffee mugs, and pre-owned books carry a value that can be realized using a platform like eBay. Once you’ve liquidated assets and converted them into profit you can use the capital to buy stocks, trade crypto, or save up for a downpayment on a rental property.
Money makes money. When used strategically, eBay is a great platform to generate the capital you need to grow your bottom line.
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