Last Updated on May 10, 2021 by Melissa S.
Starting to sell on eBay can be a little overwhelming for a total beginner. There are so many professional sellers out there that have a wealth of knowledge, but if you are starting out small just selling a few bits and pieces you might want a different perspective to someone who is selling hundreds of items a week. As I’ve been small time Ebay selling for a few months now, I thought I would round up the personal tips & tricks that I have found really useful during my reselling adventures for those just starting out.
Save ALL the packaging from your own parcels
Every time I receive an online order, I save the packaging, Whether it’s a cardboard box, a padded envelope or some bubble wrap / airpockets, there have been times when packaging up an item that I have been so grateful I’ve already got a box just the right size. The added bonus of course is that you are re-using the materials too.
Buy the packaging you do need from eBay
You will be hard pushed to find anywhere else as cheap, plus you can build up some feedback as a buyer. I purchase multi size, self sealing plastic bags which are great for items such as clothes. More delicate things such as jewellery or makeup might be better in a padded envelope. I also use the plastic bags combined with bubble wrap for things that need a bit of protection and then write on the address in a Sharpie.
From eBay, I also buy bubble wrap and brown parcel paper for wrapping up boxes.
Keep some postage supplies in your car!
Obviously if you are selling in bulk then this might not be practical but often I am only posting 1 or 2 items a week and often need to pop to a postbox or to the parcel drop off shop on the way back from work or an outing. If I’m in a rush, such as leaving the house at 7am for work, then I can just quickly take the items with me and sort out the packaging later.
I can either write the address on at the time of posting using the details from my phone on the eBay app, or print out beforehand, or in the parcel shop . Just don’t get the packages muddled up! I tend to only do this if I have 1 or 2 to post.
Take advantage of eBay’s integrated shipping options
The first few months I was on eBay, I would find myself visiting the post office several times a week, which became a bit of a chore. I would hand write the addresses on and pay for the postage over the counter, out of my own bank rather than Paypal. Not only did this mean I would have to keep track of how much I’d paid for postage out of my own account, it often meant waiting in a queue. This was through a mixture of ignorance at the other options available and being “scared” of sending something without the correct postage.
Little did I know that as well as wasting my time, in a lot of instances I was wasting money too!
For larger items, Royal Mail are usually more expensive than other couriers such as Hermes, plus they do not offer the same level of tracking or compensation without paying extra. I tend to use Royal Mail for anything large letter sized or smaller, (provided it is not worth more than £20) and Hermes for larger items. With Hermes, the buyer gets automatic parcel tracking while I get a confirmation that the item has been delivered.
By purchasing my postage through eBay – whether this is for Royal Mail or Packlink, not only does this mean I can pay via Paypal, but as soon as I purchase, the buyer gets an update that their order is being processed which generally keeps them off your back. Once the address label is printed I can then take my letter sized items straight to a postbox instead of queuing in the post office, and Hermes can be taken to parcel drop off, which tend to be in local convenience shops.
Wondering how to do this? When you have sold an item, click “Buy Postage” and the options should appear.
Update: During the pandemic, eBay made home Packlink collections the same price as dropping off, so this made it even easier to send large items as the courier picked them up from my door! (I actually got her some chocolates for Christmas we see her that often!)
Maintain your seller rating
Ebay seem to be notoriously hard on sellers these days, and disputes almost always protect the buyer before the seller. Sellers can no longer leave negative feedback for buyers, although unpaid strikes and cases can be opened against them.
This can be very frustrating for sellers and sometimes the situation can be out of our hands. With this in mind, making sure you are maintaining your service as a good seller is key so that you have a strong reputation to back you up when disputes do happen. Ensuring you post within the timeframe you have set, list items as described and offering refunds all help with this. Being polite and professional in communications even when you feel like punching someone is key!
I follow a number of full time resellers on Instagram and some of the situations they have with buyers are awful! Fortunately I have yet to deal with anyone rude although there have been a few situations that have tested my patience! Recently I sold a Benefit Operation Pore Proof set that had been an unused gift. The buyer was very polite about it but decided she wanted a refund insisting it was a “very poor fake”.
Given that my husband bought it for me for Christmas a couple of years ago and managed to dig out an e-receipt for it I really am puzzled why she thought it was fake, she said it was to do with the packaging but I think it was just an older design. But rather than arguing back and forth I gritted my teeth and issued the refund and got the product back ready to relist again. It sold again with no quibble from the new buyer.
What are your tips for a beginner seller on eBay? Is there anything I have missed out? Let me know in the comments.