Buying to Sell on Ebay

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If you're thinking of buying items to sell on ebay then there are a few things you should think of first. This is a quick guide and not extensive but hopefully will give you some pointers to help you on your way.

Remember just because you would buy it does not mean many other people will. Check if other people are selling the item you are wanting to, you can look at their listings and see how many have sold, click on their sale number and you can see the dates they have sold which gives a very good indication of how in demand the item is. Also make sure to have a look at just UK as well as the whole world. There are many cheap items from Hong Kong and China that people are not willing to buy from or wait for, so do not try to compete with their prices.

Just because no-one else sells the items does not mean it won't sell but it may mean it is not in as much demand as you would hope.

Costs. There are various costs when selling on ebay that many people do not think of when buying to sell. If others are selling the item then have a look at whether you can afford to have a competitive price. You need to take you final selling price plus the postage and subtract the following from this:
  • Listing fees (usually free for the first 20 items if you are a private seller but there are extra options that can add more fees on)
  • Final Value Fee (usually 10% but double check as some items carry a different fee)
  • You can use the ebay fee calculator to make things easier at
  • Paypal Fee (3.4% of the money you get paid and 20 pence) - times your selling price and postage by 0.034 and add 0.20, this is your paypal fees
  • Postage (weigh your item with packaging and double check at the royal mail website what your postage price will be). Also remember to add in the price of an envelope, this may only be a penny or 10pence but its those little costs some people forget to calculate.
  • Cost of item. How much did you buy it for, including postage. If you bought 10 items for £1.00 each but postage was £2.00 then divide your postage by the number of items, this would make each item £1.20.
So final selling price (including postage) minus ebay fees, minus paypal fees, minus postage and packaging minus cost to buy the item. Would you make a profit at this selling price and is that profit worth your while? If you answer no to either of these then this item is not right for you to sell.
If both are yes then go ahead and buy your item.

Now its time to list your item.

Photos first. Stock photos are very good but they look generic and many other sellers use them as well. Take your own photos and people know you have the product and it is real. Get some good natural night or a day glow bulbs. You can edit photos to be the right size (at least 500 by 500 pixels) and make sure the colouring and brightness look right.

Title. The title is what is going to attract searches, use every available letter if possible, don't waste characters on  words like 'new' and 'look' etc, people an select new or used as a search option so why waste the letters. The title is like a mini description, colour, size, make and model are all things people search. If you have characters available include things your item is used with or for. For ideas look at what other sellers have put in their title, if they have sold a lot, then chances are their title is attracting people.

Small details. Adding the smaller details in the check boxes like new or used, colour, size etc can help as many people will narrow their search by using these options, make sure you use as many as is relevant to help people find your listing.

Description. Use a good description, look at others for inspiration but use your own words so that yours is different to other sellers. A generic description loses some of the reading interest so add in your own highlights, a simple paragraph is boring, put a mini title in your description, something about the product, a list of what the buyer gets when purchasing and if you are doing a variation list the different variations (if this is size and you do discount for larger or more items purchased then list these discounts, people like to see how much they saved)

Auction or buy it now. If listing an auction do not fall into the trap of listing at 99p, many sellers regret it when the item only attracts 1 bid and sells for 99p, you are then obligated to sell at this price.List the auction with the minimum you are happy to pay, people will look through many pages of search hits for the right product. If listing buy it now you can do this up to 30 days, if you have an ebay shop you can list 'good till cancelled' which carries on until you cancel or you run out of products on the listing. List the product with the sell price you are happy with, that will make you a profit and is competitive.

Postage. Many people like to see the words FREE POSTAGE, so why not add your postage into your selling cost, you can always add an option for first class and next day delivery for a little extra cost but do not look very expensive atbetween 50p and £1 extra for first class. If you insist on putting all postage down then do not overcharge. People know the price of postage so charging £7.50 for a small item is not going to get your good feedback and you still have to pay fees on it anyway.

Double and Triple Checks. Look through your listing, are the variations right? The prices correct? Does the title look enough? Is the description how you want it? Make sure everything is correct as a wrong description or incorrect price cannot be recitified after a sale and that can lead to problems.

All ready to go? Then list your item. Once listed make sure you keep checking the searches to see if your item is still competing with others and it appears on the searches. The last thing you want is for someone to undercut you by 5pence and you do not notice for  2weeks and lose out on many sales.

Good luck

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