Selling on eBay: Quick Tips at a Glance

What to include in your listing and how to close

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Follow these tips religiously to help ensure the most productive eBay selling experience.

  • Include a photo. More than any other single factor, the photo that you include with your auction will determine the final value for which your item is sold. Take the photo yourself and take the time to do it nicely (well lit, on a clean surface) if you want to bring in top dollar.
  • Use HTML to make your listing clean and readable. Bidders will bid if and only if they can figure out what you're saying. Use some basic HTML tags to make your auction listing readable and user friendly so that you don't chase bidders away.
  • Start auction format listings at $1.00 unless you have a reason not to. For most common types of items you'll receive more bids in the end if you begin your listing at $1.00, and you'll ultimately save on listing fees as well. Don't be impatient as you watch the price. Most bids on eBay are placed on the last day (and the majority in the last hour) of an item's listing.
  • Clearly list the items included in the sale. If you're selling a product that includes additional accessories or material when sold at retail, be sure to mention in your listing that these are included using phrases like "Includes all original accessories!" If item(s) that buyers might expect to be included actually won't be included in the sale, be sure to mention that as well.
  • Clearly state the item's condition. Do use ratings such as "like new," "almost like new," "good condition," "fair condition," or "somewhat worn," but also be sure to include actual details like "has a scratch at the upper-right of the screen," "is missing two buttons," "somewhat faded and shopworn," or "I can't find a scratch, a scuff, or signs of wear anywhere on it!"
  • Include shipping details. Do include a very specific shipping cost (or an actual shipping cost calculator of some kind), but also include details about the areas to which you're willing to ship, the carrier(s) that you're willing to use, whether or not you plan to insure the item.
  • Provide a clear guarantee, warranty, and/or return/exchange policy. Let your bidders know just what they're getting themselves into by bidding. If your sale is to be considered AS-IS, then state that there will be no returns, refunds, or exchanges. Otherwise, mention that you'll guarantee the item and provide the length of time that the buyer has to decide whether to keep the item, what you'll offer if they decide to return it, and details about how they should go about beginning the return process should they decide to do so.
  • Time your listing carefully so that it doesn't end in dead zone. Listings that are scheduled to finish when nobody is likely to be watching will miss out on critical last-day and last-hour bids that can mean the difference between a huge sale and a huge disappointment.
  • Be flexible about payment to encourage bids. If you want to really maximize the number of bids you receive, be flexible about payment: by accepting payment from PayPal, by personal check, by money order, and any other means at your disposal, you'll ensure that the greatest number of bidders has a chance to bid on your item.
  • Pack carefully and ship quickly after payment. You've gone to all the trouble to make a sale, so don't lose the race in the last mile by packing your item so poorly that it's damaged in shipment or waiting after receiving payment before you ship. Buyers that have a great buying experience will leave you positive feedback and buy from you again. Buyers that have a poor buying experience will leave negative feedback, will never buy from you again, and may also complain to eBay or to your bank or the postal authorities.