11 Critical Tips on How to Sell More on eBay

Ryan Dube 30-11-2017

Selling more on eBay is a concept that sounds simple enough. But it actually takes a mix of business acumen, psychology, and good old elbow grease.


Years ago, I sold thousands of items – everything from antiques to yard sale items – and became a Power Seller with a 100% feedback rating. More recently, my wife and I decided to sell a few items from around the house. The eBay sales tricks How to Make More Money Selling on eBay To maximize your earnings on eBay, you need to take a number of factors into account; we'll walk you through the best way to get the most out of your auctions. Read More that worked back then continue to work today, with a few small caveats.

You may be a seasoned seller. Or, you may have just started with your eBay seller career. Either way, the following tips can help you boost your profits.

1. Establish a Reputable Account

If you’re hoping to get started selling on eBay and you think you’re going to earn a fortune starting from day one, I have a wake-up call for you.

New sellers always earn less than seasoned sellers, even when selling the exact same items and everything else is the same. Buyers on eBay highly trust sellers who’ve been around a while and have proven that they can be trusted.

eBay’s measure of “trust” is the feedback rating system.


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The feedback rating that you receive as a seller comes from your customers, following your sales. Ratings used to be only positive, negative, or neutral. Later, eBay added the “detailed seller ratings”. Now, buyers could rank specific areas where the seller does (or doesn’t) do well.  Buyers are also ranked by sellers, in terms of how quickly they pay and how well they communicate.

Here are some quick tips to boost your feedback rating as quickly as possible if you’re just getting started with selling on eBay:

One thing to keep in mind is that recently eBay changed its feedback process so that negative ratings are no longer an option. Buyers can only provide positive feedback, or file a report to eBay. This is a good change for sellers, but buyers are not required to leave positive feedback – so if you want a high feedback rating, you still have to earn it.


Highly rated sellers get more bids, and more bids mean a higher final sale price. The work you put into boosting your rank at the beginning will reap very large profits in the future.

2. Learn to Capture Great Photos

One of the most valuable skills you can develop to sell not only more items at higher prices is photography. A well-staged photo, and capturing several photos of the item, have the potential to boost the final price of an item significantly.

Some basic elements of a good photo include good lighting, a nice background, and capturing as much detail as possible.

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It’s best not to try and do it yourself. MakeUseOf has lots of great advice on taking better photos, and even how to take better photos specifically for eBay. Reading our digital photography guide A Beginner's Guide To Digital Photography Digital photography is a great hobby, but it can be intimidating, too. This beginner's guide will tell you everything you need to know to get started! Read More is a great place to start.

If there’s any single thing that’s worth your time investment to boost eBay sales, this one should be your top priority.

3. Properly Research Sold Items

Another way to improve your odds of selling an item for a good price is to do thorough research about what other similar items have sold for on eBay.

Just search for the item you’re selling, and then in the left menu, click on the checkbox for “Sold listings”. This will filter all of the search results for all of the identical items that have already sold on eBay.


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Once you have listing results, look for items that are as identical to the item you’re selling as possible.

Here are a few items to record from these highest-price sales to help you better price your own auction:

  • Try to list your item with a starting price that’s similar to the sold item with the highest final bid.
  • Capture similar photos from the same angles.
  • Make a note of the description and try to describe your item similarly.
  • Check what day of the week the highest selling items ended on, and schedule your item accordingly

Remember that past sales on eBay are a pretty good indication of what future items will sell for. This may be higher or lower than what your item sells for depending on your seller feedback rating, but it’s still a pretty good indication of your odds.

It’s also important to keep in mind that if people haven’t bid on similar items as yours in the past on eBay, then the chances are pretty good that they won’t bid on yours either. Don’t waste your time listing items that aren’t likely to sell.

4. Accurately Price Shipping

In a world where most businesses offer free shipping Not Just Amazon: 27 Online Shopping Sites With Free 2-Day Shipping Amazon isn't the only online shopping site that offers free two-day shipping. Here are other places to quickly shop online. Read More on products, trying to charge for shipping on your eBay listings is a hard sell. It’s isn’t impossible though, so long as you’re smart about it.

The most important thing is to take advantage of the shipping calculator that eBay offers as part of your listing. This calculator lets your buyers see accurate shipping costs based on package weight and dimensions and the buyer’s location.

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This way both you and your buyer know that they won’t be overpaid for shipping. You also have the option to include a small fee for packaging costs, but use this sparingly. Buyers used to abuse this feature and overcharge for shipping to try and boost profits. This rarely works, and only reduces the odds that your item will sell at all.

If you’re feeling really brave, consider offering free shipping for locations within your own country. Most often, this will increase the number of bidders for your auction, and it’ll usually boost the final sale price as well.

5. Increase Profit by Avoiding Fees

Over the years, eBay has constantly changed its fee structure. For many years you had to pay anything from 25 cents and up for “insertion fees”. That is the basic price just for publishing a listing on eBay.

eBay smartened up and finally realized that it would attract more sellers if the cost to entry was much lower, so they started offering a set amount of “free insertion fee” listings every month.

  • Standard users get 50 free fixed price or auction listings
  • Basic Store users get 250 fixed priced and 250 auction listings
  • Premium Store users get 1,000 fixed price and 500 auction listings
  • Anchor Store users get 10,000 fixed price and 1,000 auction listings

You pay your fees when your item finally sells. If the item sells for anywhere from $0.99-$50.00, eBay will take 8% of the final sale price. If it sells anywhere from $50.01 – $1000, eBay will take 8% of first $50, and 5% of the rest.

These fees are set for every listing, so how can you cut down overall eBay costs? You can do that by avoiding the options under “more options” in the item listing form.

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When you change anything from default settings, you will likely incur additional fees on top of the normal final value fees when your item sells.

Here are some of the additional services you might select that could boost your eBay costs.

  • Using 1 or 3 day “special duration” for auction listings
  • Listing in more than one category will double your insertion fees
  • Promoted listings are a way to advertise your listings on eBay, but you’ll pay extra fees for this
  • The Global Shipping Program
  • Setting certain customized Returns options can incur additional fees

Make sure you understand all of the fees your selections incur so that you can keep your eBay listing costs as low as possible, and your final profits as high as they can be.

6. Schedule Auctions Based on Product Type

Another thing that can have an effect on how high your final sales price goes is what day of the week you have your auction end. You’ll find a lot of people searching online for the best day to end an eBay auction. They’re actually asking the wrong question.

The question you should be asking is which day of the week is best to end an auction for the type of item you’re selling. The reality is that an office worker shopping for office equipment will be shopping on different days of the week than a person who may be an antique collector. These different shoppers have different lifestyles and different online shopping habits.

When you’re looking to list an item, first search for the type of items you are planning to sell. Make sure you filter by “sold” items only as described above. Then select to sort the results by highest price first.

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Browse through the results and see if you can pick a pattern that shows the most common days that these kinds of items sell for the highest price.

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Most of the time you will actually discover a common pattern depending on the category of items you’re selling. This is the day (or days) of the week you should focus on when listing your own items for sale.

7. Use Barcodes to Prepopulate Fields

If you sell a lot on eBay, typing descriptions can take a lot of time. It’s a lot easier to extract most of the details about an item from information in the barcode if the item you’re selling has a barcode. The eBay app on your mobile phone lets you do this quickly and easily.

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Boosting your profits on eBay is all about how much you can list in as little amount of time as possible. Making use of product barcodes is probably one of the fastest ways to do this.

8. Offer Many Online Payment Options

Most sellers on eBay offer PayPal as a payment option An Introductory Guide to PayPal Accounts & Services PayPal offers a lot of services that you might not be aware of -- here's a guide to understanding some of the lesser-known options. Read More . The nice thing about PayPal is that buyers can also use a credit card to make payments if they want to.

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Accepting checks or money orders can help boost your bids and your final purchase price, but it can also be a hassle.

Here are a few considerations to keep in mind:

  • If you will accept checks, make sure to include a disclaimer that there will be a delay in shipping so that you (the seller) can wait for the check to clear. This protects you from “bad check” scams.
  • If you accept money orders, make sure only to accept payments from your own country. There is a common money order scam from international buyers that involves an overpayment via money order from the buyer. The buyer will ask you to send the extra money to an expensive shipper who will handle the overseas shipping transaction. Often, the money order turns out to be fake, and you lose not only your merchandise but also the extra money you sent.
  • If you have your own internet merchant account, you can accept credit card payments (without using PayPal) by going to the Payment Preferences page, and then select the option to accept credit or debit cards via your Internet merchant account. Just keep in mind you will incur the usual merchant account fees on top of the normal eBay fees.

9. Save Time By Rewording Descriptions

If barcodes aren’t an option and you find yourself in a situation where you need to write your description from scratch, usually you don’t have to.

As part of your research on eBay for similar items that have sold, make a note of the highest price sales, and take a close look at how that seller described their item. There’s nothing wrong with copying their description into your description field and using it as a template for your own item description.

Just make sure to completely rewrite the description so that it accurately describes your own item, including all of the imperfections and flaws. You shouldn’t plagiarize writing, but using a successful seller’s formatting template will give you a great head start, and it’ll save you a lot of time.

10. Use a Template Disclaimer

There are several mistakes that new sellers make at the start that ends up costing a lot of money.

  • Always examine your item for any little imperfection, including scuff marks, torn fabric, imperfect stitching, or anything else the buyer will notice when they open up the shipping box at their end.
  • Always include a disclaimer about wear and tear. It should go without saying that “used” items will appear used. Unfortunately, there are some buyers who have unrealistic expectations.

If you fail to mention imperfections or fail to mention that your used item will have normal wear and tear, you open yourself up to buyers who will complain about it and request a refund. A safe defense against this is having it in writing up front, as part of your sales template, that all used items have the expected imperfections that come with age.

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These statements in your listing will keep away most of the buyers who are just looking to get an item for free. Also, a good, fair return policy that requires the buyer to pay for return shipping costs in order to get a full refund is also often an excellent deterrent for scam artists.

There are a lot of scams on eBay 10 eBay Scams to Be Aware Of Being scammed sucks, especially on eBay. Here are the most common eBay scams you need to know about, and how to avoid them. Read More you should actually take the time to make yourself aware of.

11. Become a Power Seller

Becoming an eBay “PowerSeller” is a fast track to boosting profits on eBay, but it isn’t easy. PowerSeller status is hard earned and much coveted by all sellers on eBay. It means that you’re serious about selling and that you provide a top quality experience to buyers.

You don’t actually apply to become a PowerSeller, eBay simply recognizes you as one due to your statistics. It isn’t like Twitter Verification where the status depends on the whims or the personal biases of the verification team. PowerSeller status on eBay comes from three key behaviors.

  • You’ve maintained a positive rating status of over 98%
  • You’ve sold over 100 items and had over $3000 in sales in the last 12 months
  • You’ve been on eBay for at least 90 days.

You can learn all about achieving PowerSeller status at the eBay support page for PowerSellers.

Get on eBay and Make Real Money

There are a lot of people out there who sell a few things around the house on eBay, and then let their accounts go dormant for many months. But if you’re one of those people who want to try and make a real living on eBay, it is possible if you know where to get inexpensive things to sell at wholesale prices.

Once you start selling a lot of items, you’ll discover how all of the tips above play into your bottom line, and how tweaking things can significantly boost your overall profit.

Play it smart and plan ahead. But also remember that selling on eBay is supposed to be fun, so make sure you enjoy the selling process too. Because what job is worth doing, if it isn’t fun, right? And here are some smart shopping tips to follow, for when you’re on the other end of the eBay equation.

Of course, eBay is not the only place online for selling items. You can also consider setting up an online store with Shopify How to Quickly Create an Online Store Using Shopify You can create an online store using Shopify in a few clicks. These steps show you how uncomplicated it is. Read More . The process is quick and easy!

Related topics: eBay, Make Money Online, Online Shopping.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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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

    • Maria
      December 14, 2017 at 4:25 pm

      I have nearly doubled my eBay sales by buying watchers and visitors for my listings, I can recommend to all ebay merchants as well, more watchers and vistors really helps . For more details just visit watchersup com

      • Tim Crolley
        June 25, 2019 at 3:01 am

        So you got duped into bidding for customers, (The ultimate reverse perverse selling scam by eBay)what has happened to your gross profits?? More than likely you are working harder for eBay, if you knew you are making more you would ahve said so.

  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