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eBay is one of the top 10 most trafficked sites on the entire Internet, so it’s no wonder that when that pang of consumerist desire hits us, we head straight to eBay. Auctions can be addictive, waiting for that final 10 seconds as you place you last bid (or, like a real pro — snipe Can You Really Win Almost Any eBay Auction By "Sniping"? Can You Really Win Almost Any eBay Auction By "Sniping"? When it comes to winning auctions on eBay, there are few practices as controversial as sniping. But it isn't for everyone. Let's look at some online bid snipers and the rules behind sniping. Read More ); finding that ever elusive bargain!

But how about for the sellers? If you’re looking to just sell a few unwanted items Spring Cleaning 2013: Clean Out Your Junk This Spring AND Make Money Spring Cleaning 2013: Clean Out Your Junk This Spring AND Make Money Do you live in a veritable bat-cave surrounded by a squalor of potential riches? Do you often trip over disused electronics and the hollowed husks of PCs? Consider preventing your foot injuries by selling your... Read More or start your own store 10 Things You Should Do When Starting An Online Store 10 Things You Should Do When Starting An Online Store Setting up a store on the Internet is ridiculously easy. Seriously, if somebody tries to charge you thousands for installing an eCommerce solution, just smack them. The hard part is getting search engines to care... Read More , we’ve got some critical advice to help you sell more.

General Tips

Encourage Feedback & Use An Established Account

If you’re first learning how to sell on eBay and just starting out, you have zero reputation — so don’t go jumping in there trying to sell that $10,000 yacht. No-one is going to trust you — yet.

Start small, selling cheap items that people are more likely to take a gamble on — then gather as much feedback and ratings as you can. Be sure to follow up on sold items with a message to the buyer requesting feedback – and give your own.

how to sell on ebay

Remember: purchasing items will also get you feedback from the seller — and it’s important you reciprocate in kind too. A good mix of both feedback as a seller and buyer is the best. The only exception I would argue for starting a new account is if your choice of username was particularly bad; “IM_A_SCAMMER” for example.

sell on ebay

Photos Are Critical

I still can’t believe the number of people who actually put items up for sale without a photo. Only slightly worse are horrendous low resolution blurry photos taken on a very old smartphone, but at least that’s something. The first photo is free — so use it!

If you’re selling something expensive, then more photos may be viable, but otherwise consider making a photo montage with a free graphics app. That one free photo could double up as 4 smaller photos! It goes without saying that your photo should actually be of the one you’re selling, particularly if it has marks or defects — don’t just find a similar one on Google images.

sell on ebay


Final selling prices for common items don’t actually vary that much. Do your research beforehand and you’ll have a good idea of what bid your item should end at, regardless of a 99 cent starting bit. Use the advanced search feature, make sure completed listings is checked, and see what turns up. Items in green sold successfully, items in red did not.

sell on ebay

Find Packaging Beforehand

There’s nothing wrong with charging the buyer for postage, but to minimize your losses be sure to measure and weigh your package before listing the item — don’t just estimate what it will cost, or you’ll either be shortchanged for low-balling it, or putting off potential buyers for charging more than everyone else. If you use PayPal integration, eBay even allows you to print off a prepaid postage label that you can then drop off at a post office.

Offering free postage and packaging is certainly going to make your listing stand out, and many buyers will specifically search only for listings with free postage & packing, but consider your costings before choosing this.

One thing to avoid is selling an item as collection only. By all means offer collection as well, but give an accurate shipping estimate. It doesn’t matter if you personally don’t think the postage is worth it — let the buyer decide! It’s incredibly frustrating to find “collection only” written on a listing — especially when the guy lives in some remote part of Wales — and gives the impression you’re just too lazy to go down to the post office.

Know Your Fees

For the most part, you can list an item without any insertion fees — this means you pay nothing to just list it, so if the item doesn’t sell you haven’t lost anything. Once you start adding in featured services though, your insertion fees increase — even if it doesn’t result in a sale. These services include but are not limited to:

  • More pictures
  • Buy it now price
  • Reserve price
  • Scheduled listings
  • Featured status

I’ve never felt the need to use these options, but if your item is particularly niche then you may wish to use reserve or buy-it-now prices, in the event that the auction expires and it is still priced at 99 cents. For most items, these are unnecessary and just eat away at your profits. Then there’s the flat rate final sale fee — 10% of the value. That’s on top of any listing fees you incurred. If you do a lot of selling in one month, these can really add up, and your bill at the end of month will be a lot higher than what you were expecting. Plan for this in advance or believe me, you will get a shock.


By default, your listing will finish 7 days from when you posted it — but this isn’t always ideal. Sunday afternoons are said to be the busiest time for eBayers, so aim to either post at that time or pay a small fee to schedule the listing.

Technical Advice


Use the barcode / EAN lookup feature. eBay now maintains a huge list of consumer goods, especially electronics, so if you have the original box with a barcode listed — or are able to find the EAN from Amazon — be sure to add it into the listing.

how to sell items on ebay

This can be used to pre-populate the selling form with specifications and gives your listing added exposure to users searching for a specific item. It also avoids any confusion when it comes to correct categorization. The easiest way to do this is with the mobile app; use your iPhone or Android camera to scan the barcode.

how to sell items on ebay

Offer PayPal Payment

If you don’t have a PayPal account, get one. It offers security and protection for the buyer — and if you refuse to use PayPal on some kind of moral grounds, you really shouldn’t be selling things online. A listing which specifically doesn’t accept PayPal is perceived at worst to be untrustworthy, at best more bother than it’s worth. UK sellers — you don’t have a choice anyway, PayPal is a requirement.

Use a Template. Maybe

For power-sellers and companies, a branded template is a must. For personal users though, it may give off the wrong impression — I would actually not purchase from an individual using a professional template as it makes me think they’re not just “spring cleaning” and perhaps trying to make a genuine business of it.

Even worse, the seller has chosen a nauseating design with comic sans font. If the details are in the slightest bit hard to read, I’ll move swiftly on to other choices.

If you have used a template, at least make sure the images are working. I don’t want to see this:

how to sell on ebay

Become a “Power Seller”

If you sell $3,000 worth of goods in over 100 transactions yearly, and have 98% positive feedback — you’re eligible to become a “power seller.” These are respected, trusted sellers and items sold by them feature prominently in the search results. As a power seller, you also qualify for a reduction in fees. See here for the full requirements.

Make a Storefront

The ultimate in professional branding for your eBay presence, a storefront will make it easy for users to see all of your goods in one professional-looking place. Creating a storefront costs a small monthly fee — from $20 — and comes with a quota of free listings. eBay actually provides a few decent looking storefront templates for you to download — grab one from here — but of course you have full creative control if you want it.

That’s all I’ve got for you — but I’d love to hear your tips on how to sell on eBay in the comments if you think I’ve missed something important.

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  1. Mary
    July 28, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    but how do I put something online to tell people what they have to do to sell on eBay but how do I put something online to tell people what they have to do to sell on eBay according to the IRS

  2. Ebay seller
    January 30, 2017 at 10:22 pm

    Keywords in title, ending the price in '9', title in all caps helps.

  3. shirley
    August 1, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Why can't I find my listing on e bay? I do a search with "lowest price first" and I see lots of identical dvds which cost more and I do not see my sellers' listing. I do not think all e bay listings have an equal chance of being seen. My item didn't sell for very much, either.

    • Kartik
      August 23, 2016 at 9:12 am

      eBay listings take time to be indexed(become search-able).More time if keep editing your listings. Wait for alteast 5-6 hrs before your items show up in the search.(since your item gets moved back to the start of the indexing queue)
      Good luck with selling :)

  4. Cynthia
    July 6, 2016 at 1:23 pm

    Thanks so much for this wonderful article. I have been struggling to start selling on ebay but my items does not sell. I hope this helps.

  5. Matthew
    April 30, 2015 at 2:12 am

    Do this to be a beast at buying and selling on ebay and everywhere

  6. Novice
    November 1, 2013 at 3:28 am

    Thanks you for the tips,and I would like to thank everyone else for there input also. I am looking into starting my own ebay sales and all the information I can get from professional ebayer's is greatly appreciated.

  7. rose
    October 22, 2013 at 1:07 am

    Some of the recent changes in eBay really favor sellers. Everybody can list 50 items a month without paying a fee, and up to 12 photos are free. ( At least in clothing where I usually list.) You CANNOT post without providing at least one photo.

    Everyone should be able to make a least a few dollars for the holidays by selling stuff from their own home.

    • James B
      October 22, 2013 at 8:47 am

      The listing fee is free, but you still have to pay a percentage if it sells, right?

      • Christopher Zimbrick
        January 22, 2016 at 6:35 am

        Yes, you also have to pay something called a "Final Shipping Fee". Ebay hits the seller three times (Insert Fee, Final Shipping Fee, & Selling Fee). The above example only explains the first of the three fees are free for the first 50 postings without a store.

  8. Bee Gee
    September 1, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    T want to thank you for this straight forward information. It was very helpful.
    Thank you,

    • Anonymous
      April 12, 2015 at 12:56 pm

      It's Barry Gibb!

  9. Levi
    July 19, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    Great article! Everything you mentioned is spot-on.

    I'd also like to voice my extremely dislike of Ebay's 10% selling fee. Sadly, not enough people use Craigslist for it to be a worthy competitor for selling certain niche items, otherwise I'd abandon Ebay in a heartbeat.

    • Sandy S
      September 5, 2013 at 4:43 pm

      Have you tried OnlineAuction? It has reasonable rates and has been around for quite some time now.

  10. ed
    July 15, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    this is half worthless article. because like many sales people it ignores one major criteria. in fact most important thing in selling. What does the buyer want?!?!
    Im not a seller on ebay. but I am a power buyer. I buy a lot for my business and there is criteria that i look for that is important to me. there are few things that I look for and never buy from certain sellers again just because they don't fit my criteria. and I can tell you none of the real important things to me are listed here.
    so the take-away here is - find out what YOUR buyers want and cater to them.

    • MakeUseOf TechGuy
      July 16, 2013 at 8:06 am

      Thanks for your insightful comments and constructive feedback.

  11. nelsonlau
    June 7, 2013 at 5:32 pm

    Learn how to sell on eBay We will give you excellent tips and tools that you need to sell on eBay Get an overview of what to sell on eBay and be trained to avoid any potential dropship on eBay problems with these tips

  12. Ali Khan
    May 20, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    I don't know why i always hesitated to buy from ebay. I prefer Flipkart - (an Indian e-commerce website) which uses cash on delivery.

  13. Guy McDowell
    May 14, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    Very timely in my life. My lovely wife is a maker of herbal remedies. I'll pass this on to here.

    Of course, she promptly have me do the tech work, but that's cool! Small price to pay for the wonderful Joan.

  14. dragonmouth
    May 12, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Don't just look at the overall feedback rating because they can be deceptive. Read the actual feedbacks themselves.

    From my years of being active on eBay, I learned that Feedback rating needs to be taken with a pound of salt. When one actually reads the individual feedback statements, one find that the majority of the positive feedbacks are of the "XYZ is a great eBayer" (whatever that means). Negative feedback is actively discouraged, especially when posted against the Power Sellers. eBay protects their regular sellers.

    I had a few transactions where the item(s) I purchased were not as represented by the seller (much worse condition then in the ad, not the item in the ad, knock off copies instead of originals, etc.). When I try to resolve the issues with the sellers amicably through email, I was basically told "Caveat Emptor". When I then posted negative feedback detailing the problems, I was attacked for picking on the seller, not knowing what I was doing, being a PITA, being a "bad eBayer". I also received official emails from eBay telling me not to try to ruin someone's eBay reputation. A time or two I was actually told point blank by eBay not to post negative feedbacks; if I couldn't say anything positive, I should not say anything at all.

    • MakeUseOf TechGuy
      May 13, 2013 at 7:29 am

      Hmm, I didn't know that. I know power sellers, much like the Chinese Alibaba companies, can be really hurt by bad ratings that they encourage you to sort out the problem first by communicating any issues, but never heard of eBayer actually getting involved. Then again, I've never had problem with fake products either, so I've probably just been lucky.

  15. General Melchett
    May 12, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    You missed probably the most important thing - The writing in the title and description.

    Sellers need to put relevant keywords in the title so that buyers can find their items. Use all of the space available. If it's collection only (cars, furniture, etc.), then state your town/county in the title; If I can see it's local, I'm more likely to look at it.

    The description should be thorough and *well written*!
    If someone can't string a sentence together, then I'm less likely to trust them, and therefore less likely to bid. It's as simple as that.
    And text-speek is inexcusable; If you're not writing an SMS text, then don't use text-speek. Ever.
    This applies to answering punters' questions too, and also any after-sale correspondence.

    Format your description properly too. And use capital letters as required along with correct puncuation - it makes listings SO much easier to read, and gives the impression that the seller at least has a working brain!

    If your SPG is dodgy, then get a friend to check it over for you first. I've done this for a friend a few times when he's sold cars on eBay, and it's made a big difference to the final prices.

    • MakeUseOf TechGuy
      May 13, 2013 at 7:26 am

      So, the articles we already wrote covered the writing, but if you use the barcode scanner to find the right app, you neednt worry about titles and accurate descriptions at all. Just note the condition and any marks. I completely agree though: txt speak anywhere should be a criminal offence!

  16. Jerry Ireland
    May 12, 2013 at 8:08 pm

    Thanks for this article,This will help me in my efforts to sell my things on ebay