Ten Ideas For Becoming a Successful Ebay Seller

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My name is Matthew Lyles Hornbostel, and this is a short primer on some ideas I’ve had regarding eBay sales.  These aren’t proven, just my own experience, and most of the concepts presented here are common sense, but who knows?  You might learn something from what I have to say:

1) Your feedback score is critical.  The closer it is to 100%, the more people will bid on your items.  This means you need to provide reasonable prices, leave positive feedback for buyers and politely ask them to do the same for you, and address any concerns they have as quickly and effectively as possible.  Note that it’s better to give an unhappy buyer a refund than it is to have them give you a negative rating.

2) Timing affects sales.  If the item is a small, dirt-cheap item (many of mine are) then leave it at 7 days ending with a weekend, but if it’s an item of substantial sales value, seriously consider the 10-day option – and time it to cover two weekends, as weekends often have the busiest bidding.

3) Research your competitors.  Know what similar items sell for and price accordingly.  Undercut them, even, if you can do so while still turning a profit. 

3) Digital products are sometimes a smart choice.  They have no shipping cost, and no materials cost.  Just make sure you own the digital product (in other words, that you made it yourself or have the right to sell it)… I’ve sold stock footage packs (digital video files) stock texture collections… you could also sell informative ebooks, games you made, videos you made and own all the rights to, etc.  eBay generally has no problem with auctions of digital products, though some buyers may take issue with them.  Be sure to specify that the product will be delivered digitally, not in the mail, and remind the buyer that this way they won’t have to pay any shipping costs, just the cost of the content.

4) Dropshipping is a possible idea to consider.  You can drop-ship items.  This means, in effect, that some stores will let you sell their items for them – they handle shipping, the cost of making the item, and so on – all you have to do is sell it above their bottom-line price and keep the margin of extra.

5) Make an item!  Handmade and artsy items like paintings or other arts/crafts content, may not cost all that much in materials but can sell for a lot.  If an item is unique and desirable, you can do quite well selling it.

6) Take advantage of free boxes!  The US Postal Service lets you order batches of 10 or 25 boxes, without paying anything for the boxes.  You can pick them up at most post offices at no cost… Just a thought!

7) The bigger the item, the higher the shipping cost… and the bigger the deterrent to potential buyers.  A high-value but physically small item is a good item to sell.  Miniatures, small but detailed paintings, electronic devices, games on CDs/DVDs, etc, are valuable but not heavy.  You can package them in a little box and charge the buyer little or nothing in shipping.

8) Once you’ve built up a reasonable amount of success and a good volume of sales, start automating as many of the selling processes as possible.  This helps you deliver items more quickly, with less delay, and less work.  It’s good for the buyer and good for you.

9) Pricing the initial bid low means you don’t pay as many fees for the listing… this is often a good idea!

10) You can toss a link into your item listing.  That’s an opportunity; you can make a webpage with videos and rich, high-resolution media content displaying your items… without the limitations of the eBay listing format.  Your webpage can increase the appeal of your items to eBayers, and also direct web visitors outside eBay towards your eBay listing. 

If you look at my pattern of sales, you’ll find that I’ve made original stock video content – pyrotechnics, fire, visual effects elements – sold it on eBay repeatedly, and am now in process of launching additional stock video, stock texture packs, etc… and I also occasionally sell small original art pieces, and miniature art… I’ve only recently started as an eBay seller but it’s working well for me so far.   All in all, the strategies I’ve outlined have worked quite well for me.  Most of my buyers haven’t left feedback, but of those that have, it’s 100% positive… and I routinely turn a profit on every item I sell.  Simply put, these strategies are working for me.  They may work for you too… or at least be worth considering.


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