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Parcelboy
eBay

Selling in eBay

Founded in 1995, eBay has since gone on to become one of the most popular online auction sites in the world, and one of the largest online marketplaces that’s not only stood the test of time, but remains a favourite for buys and sellers across the world.

It’s free to sign up for an eBay account, but there are fees for listing and selling items. If you’re thinking about setting yourself up as a seller, and becoming one of the 160m active users, please read our guide below!

How to sell on eBay

Here's 4 simple steps to selling something on eBay.

Step 1

Sign up for an account

Before you get started in the world on eBay auctions and Buy-it-nows, you’ll need to sign up for an account. It’s simple to do, and only takes a couple of minutes. eBay does allow you to change your username, but it’s worth picking one you’re going to stick with so any repeat purchasers can easily find you.

There are different types of account you can sign up for – private seller and business, and it’s important to know who should sign up for each. If you’re consistently buying things for the sole purpose of selling them on, you probably need to think about registering as a business seller rather than private.

Step 2

List your item

Once you know what it is you want to start selling on eBay , whether it’s a couple of unwanted items or something you want to become a specialist seller in, you’re going to need to put them up on the site. Research which category would be best for your items, and also whether you want to list it only in the UK, or worldwide. A good way to find the right category is to have a search and see what categories other people have used for similar items.

You’ve also got different ways to sell your items – auction and Buy It Now. Auction listings are what eBay first became known for with buyers bidding the highest amount they’d be willing to pay for your item and the final price being decided by the highest bidder. With Buy It Now, you decide the price you are willing to sell it at.

Step 3

Decide on price and postage

Do a bit of research into what other people are charging, so that you know you aren’t being unreasonable, or too reasonable! eBay charge different fees based on the price you list your item for, so best to keep this in mind!

Remember, your listing needs to include information about how you’ll post the items out. If you’re not sure about prices you can always get a quick quote online from My Parcel Delivery.

Step 4

Wait for bids and buyers

This is where the fun begins! Watch your bids come in, look out for any questions from buyers and be ready for when your auctions end and items sell so you can post them out. 

Selling basics icon

Selling on eBay basics

What can I sell on eBay?

Whether you want to set up an online business, or you just want to sell a couple of items – you still need to work out what it is you want to sell. eBay is an enormous marketplace and you can sell everything from buttons to buses. Some of the highest selling categories in the UK are brand name consumer tech (that’s your Apple, Samsung etc), trendy fashion, furniture and even Lego – which has almost two searches every minute. 

How much does it cost to sell on eBay?

eBay charges different selling costs for different items, and as you’d expect, a car costs more to list than a pen! As a general rule, big items likes cars and houses have bigger fees than small items like used clothes. There’s also different rates for private and business sellers. As a private seller, each month you can list 20 things for free, and any items above that they charge £0.35 per listing. If you’re a shop, you pay a monthly subscription that gets you 100 free listings. There’s also final fees and a fee if your buyer uses PayPal.

You can use eBay’s fee calculator to get a better understanding before you take the plunge!

Setting up a Paypal account

Whilst it used to be a requirement, Paypal is just one payment method for buying and selling on eBay. It’s one of the easiest to use and most secure websites on the internet, so any first-time buyers might feel more at ease if they can pay you with Paypal. 

Auction or Buy It Now

eBay offers sellers two different ways to shift their items, and you need to work out what’s best for your items– and who you’re selling them to. The benefit of Buy It Now, is you can set a specific price and it’s great for if you have more than one of the same item to sell, for example Manchester United football scarves. With an auction, you won’t know the final selling price until the auction ends, although you can set a “reserve” if there’s a minimum amount you’ll accept. Auctions are great for used items and anything you’re unsure about the value of. You might even get lucky and lots of competing bids give you a great sale price for your item.

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TIPS AND ADVICE FOR SELLING ON eBay

Become an eBay buyer first

If you’re new to eBay, it might be worth buying a few things before becoming a seller in your own right. This is because if you’ve paid for your items in good time, and been a reliable buyer, the seller will give you positive feedback. This is excellent, as your buying/selling feedback is shared - before you’ve sold a single thing.

It’s handy to learn more about how eBay’s feedback system works, so that you know what to look out for. As you get more positive feedback, the colour of the star next to your feedback score changes. Yellow means you’ve had a minimum of 10 positive responses, whereas a red shooting star means you’ve had 10,000 positive responses! Buyers will look at your feedback ratings to decide whether to bid on your items or not. You can read more about feedback here.

Describe your item accurately and use the eBay lingo

People are much more likely to bid on your item if it is listed as a ‘Panasonic 42-inch LCD TV’ rather than simply ‘TV’. Including as many relevant keywords/tags in your description will help people if they’re searching for what you have on offer . You might want to add popular eBay abbreviations such as BNWT (Brand new with tags) if you’re selling clothes, or BNIB (Brand new in box) if you’re selling electrical equipment. Have a look at similar items and see how others have used these kinds of tags - they're pretty useful for if you're running out of space in the title of your eBay ad.

Take great pictures and plenty of them

Just like dating profiles, the more pictures you have on your ad – the more likely it is that people are going to be interested in what you’re selling. Especially if you’re selling things like clothing, potential buyers want to make sure the item’s condition is as described. Your claim that it’s ‘as new’ can be easily proven with a well-lit photograph. eBay lets you upload up to 12 photos for free so make good use of these and show off your item in all different angles.

Look out for eBay offers and free listing promos

Keep your eyes peeled for the regular  eBay offers to its sellers. It’s pretty common for sellers to use up their 20 free listings in a short time, so always be on the lookout for  ‘free listing days’ – where you won't be charged the usual eBay insertion fee for most selling categories on the site.

Experiment with the day and time your auctions end

Buyers at auctions often rush in at the last minute, hoping they can sneak in a winning bid before it closes, and eBay has said that Sunday evening is the busiest time of the week – so it’s a good idea to set your auction to close then.

Different times of the day might also be beneficial for selling certain items. For example, if you’re selling baby items, new Mums might be up at 4am for feeding and checking eBay for bargains!

Of course, if you’re selling to folk in different time zones, you’ll need to make the right adjustments.

Shop around for postage

Some buyers will want their items delivered quickly, while others are happy to wait a little longer if the delivery price is cheaper. Use a comparison service like My Parcel Delivery to get prices for fast delivery or cheap delivery, take a look at our popular ebay courier services.

To make things better for your buyers it’s also good to take care and package your items properly. Great packaging can make all the difference and even help you get positive feedback for example, using tissue paper to pack clothing or adding a handwritten note to the buyer. For help on packaging your items, take a look at our packaging guide.