When I first became interested in eBay and started to investigate, it was certainly an overwhelming experience in many ways. There were a lot of strange terms being used and everyone seemed far more experienced than me! Well this Guide is going to go someway at explaining the basics through to the more experienced tips and tricks so you can get up and running ASAP. Something that wasn't around when I first started but would have been very useful. It is a compilation of the knowledge base I have built up over time by reading and experimenting with everything I could get my hands on and if you read on you will also learn from these experiences. I'll be brief and to the point. If you want to delve further, I'll give you direction too.
Learing the info
First thing you have to do is to adopt a learning attitude. From here you can do almost anything, including be successful at eBay! So the first thing I did was get all the eBay books I could to read over a few lazy weekends and evenings and start with the contents sections. I know what you're thinking, this will cost money but you don't have to spend big (in fact you don't have to spend at all), you just need to be fast! Get to your local library and get searching on their catalogue. You may even be able to do this on-line so you don't even have to leave home. You will soon see the popularity of eBay. Many books will have reserves on them or will be out. You should reserve them or if they are available, rush to the shelf and get them.
Many libraries have most of the new eBay books on the market and you can often borrow for 3-4 weeks at a time. You can even renew them for another few weeks if you like. I hope you are getting the picture here?! Read them page by page or flick over the various sections and you will soon see some patterns arising. Information will seem to be repeating itself for you. This is good because it means you are learning. Keep looking for new information... . Oh, did I mention that I am a member of three (3) local libraries? Plenty of eBay books to choose from. How much is membership? It's FREE.
Next thing to do is to get onto eBay itself and do/read/listen to the tutorials they have. They are very good and easy to do. Again, if you have read some books, you will see repetition. All good. YOu are learning.....
Having a go
If you haven't signed up by now you ought to have. The books or eBay itself makes it very easy to do. Do it. I won't go into the how here, but it is easy and necessary if you want to bid, sell or even track your items of interest.
Once signed up (it's FREE), get in and have a really good look around. If you are looking for specific items of interest, you should look for these and beging to became familiar with these items/categories and specifics. More on these things in a bit. Find something you like. Make a bid, why not? Or you may want to wait till you read on a little further in this Guide!
I'll start here as this is likely to be the first active thing you do on eBay. Here are my tips (topline):
- Only bid on what you really want. Sounds silly, but once you bid it is legally biding contract so take it as being serious.
- Decide how much you are willing to pay for the item. Do your research any way you know how. eBay is great for this.
- When you want to bid, don't! Wait till as last minute (10 seconds is best) as possible before you bid. This is known as sniping. If you have read teh books there is plenty of info on this technique. It works most of the time. If you bid earlier, all you are doing is driving up the price! Think about it. If the price rises beyond what you think the item is worth, you wouldn't have bid anyway or if you did, you woud have been outbid because you had already decided on the maximum you would have paid. Right? Don't get carried away by the emotions of the auction system. It is hard, but this is critical to you not paying more than you should.
If you wait till the last minute, then you know what the price range will be and you can bid with confidence. Of course if you get outbid at thsi last minute, then it wasn't meant to be.
- Bid in odd numbers all the way. Don't be like the rest of teh eBay players, bid in odd numbers. Most people will bid in whole numbers ($5, $10, etc), you should bid in odd numbers ($3, $7, etc). Further add on the odd cents amount too! If you outbid someone by $0.01 cent, then you win. Hows that for a tip.
- Watch items in My eBay. As you search and come across items of interest, click on the 'Watch this item' link and you can track this item in your own eBay page. This will make your bidding and managing tasks a lot easier.
- Use your My eBay page all the time. See above point. This is like your own Home Page on eBay. It is the starting point for all activities.
- Before you bid, check the Seller's rating. This will tell you the experience rating of the seller and generally is indicative of the level of service you will receive during the transaction and the general safety of your transaction. You also need to view this %age figure in light of the number of transactions that the seller has done. It's all relative.
- Check their location. If they ar ein Australia, it will be a a whole lot easier to deal with than if they were o/seas. This said, some o/seas sellers are great and your research of them will till if they are kosher to deal with or not. Some countries are better to deal with than others though. Let the buyer (you) beware!
- Try and use PayPal if you can for the funds transfer. I feel comfortable using PayPal for many reasons - it allows you to print all the relevant paperwork, it is relatively safe in that if the buyer uses them, then you get an extra level of trust built (I do) and you can track progress of payments easily. They are also linked into eBay (eBay owns PayPal). Integration is good. PayPal is FREE too.
- Buy now. This will get your own rating up fast but more importantly give you a taste of the excitement that is eBay.
A few tips, even briefer than above:
- Use pictures whenever possible. Use the gallery feature, it works and is worth it. Depending on your item, take as many pictures as possible. The buyere deserve to see as much as possible. Wouldn't you!?
Take good pictures. Clean, plain background. Maybe don't use a flash? Most digital cameras don't need to use one. Use low res pics to upload. They will be viewed faster on your page.
- Write compelling and personalised copy and describe the item as much as possible with all of its faults. Be as honest as possible.
- What to sell? Start with what you have around the house. You will be surprised what sells. As a general rule the item you least expect to sell will sell!
- Respond to buyers questions ASAP. Check your in-box daily during auctions. Be polite always but to the point. If relevant ot other buyers, click the option to let others see this Q&A.
- Set your starting price at a resonable level. Do your research. Not too high so that you don't get any bidders, but not too low so you sell at a complete loss but someone gets a complete bargain. There are many out there!!
- Set your postage an handling at a fair and reasonble level. If you are not sure, put in a generic amount but make sure you state clearly that the final amount will be determined with the winning bidder. This is entirely acceptable to do. Australia is a big place and costs vary greatly. Don't let the postage costs eat into your profit.
If you want to include handling costs - your choice. If you want to ship at cost - your choice.
- Sealing the transaction. Once the auction has ended. Make prompt contact with the winning bidder and inform them of the final total price. eBay's automated system is easy to use.
- Don't send the item until you get the cash. This is the law of the jungle and entirely acceptable.
- Use PayPal. See above.
Overall, have some fun and have a go at eBay. It can be most rewarding to deal within. I can tell you that the excitement of buying and selling is quite addicditve. Your heart thumps and you get all excited, this is the fun part but also the dangerous part, but it is worth it.
Hope you found this Guide interesting and worthwhile. It only skirts around the edges of many areas and doesn't tap into others at all. Given a little time and an enquiring mind though and you too will have al the knowledge you need to be an eBay maven! Enjoy.