Thursday 27 October 2011

Guest: How to eBay

Cass from Frugal Family is the Queen of good deals. Not only does she really know how to stretch a pound and find amazing steals but she is absolutely a sweetheart. I've met her a few times now and she is super sweet. I've been sticking my toes in world of eBay selling and here Cass tells you how to make eBay work for you whether buying or selling.

Hi, my names Cass and I’m an eBay-aholic.
Actually, I’m not really addicted to eBay (although I love it) but I do use it quite a lot, both to buy and to sell, so I thought I’d share a few of my hints and tips on how to find a bargain and how to make some extra money using the site.

There are literally millions of listings on eBay at any one time, so you’re pretty much guaranteed to be able to find what you’re looking for just using the search box.  You can then filter the results to show you the items ending soonest, those located nearest to you and in price order and if you don’t want to try your luck by bidding in an auction style listing you can select the Buy it Now tab which will bring up only the items for sale on a Buy it Now basis. 
There are a few sites that you can use to help you find even better bargains:
Local eBay Bargains can be found at Local Bargain Finder which finds bargains in your local area.  This cuts down on postage costs and also narrows your competition for the item as a lot of sellers will only allow collection for some items so only people in your area will be bidding against you.

You could also try Fatfingers which is a site that will help you search for mis-spelt listings.  I managed to find a great bargain on here before for a scooter as the seller had listed it as a ‘scoter’ rather than a scooter which meant that when people typed scooter into the search box, this listing wasn’t displayed.

You should also have a look at Last minute actions which will search out all the items ending soon with no bids on them.

When you’ve found something you want to bid on, the best way to keep the price low is to leave it as late as possible to place your bid.  This gives other buyers less time to outbid you.  If you’re not going to be around to do this, you could use Goofbay’s free eBay sniper service which will leave it until the last seconds of an auction to place your bid.  I’ve used this a few times and been pleased with the results but you have to give them your eBay password to allow them to bid on your behalf and that always makes me a little nervous.

So now you know the secret to finding bargains on eBay, you should have a go at selling some of your unwanted things on there to make you some extra money to pay for all the great bargains you‘re going to be buying…. 
I’m not going to tell you how to list an item for sale as the eBay selling system is self explanatory but having sold loads of things on there personally, I have a few tips that might help things go smoothly for you:

A good photo of your item is essential and if it’s an item of value it’s definitely worth including more than one photo to really show off your item.  Always try and photograph any flaws or faults in the item and refer to this in the description as well - honesty really is the best policy.

I try and time my listings so that they end on a weekend, late morning or afternoon is the best time in my opinion.  That means listing on a Thursday if you select a three day listing and a Tuesday if you select a five day listing.

I sell my children’s clothes when they outgrow them and apart from the special items like party dresses or designer items etc, I find that they sell better in small bundles.  I usually bunch together between 3 and 5 items and sell them as a job lot, any more would mean that the postage costs would probably put off a buyer.

Fit as much in your title as possible - eBay searches for words in the title and not the description.  For example ‘Brand New Girls Next Pink Chiffon Party Dress, Aged 7’ will appear in loads more searches than ‘Absolutely gorgeous pink dress perfect for parties’  

Post your items out as soon as you can after they have been paid for and you really should always send them by trackable means as you are liable if the buyer says they didn’t receive the item and you can’t prove otherwise.  Having said this, for smaller items I usually just obtain proof of postage but I’ve never had a problem with parcels not getting there.

I save all my jiffy bags to reuse when I sell things, it keeps costs down and is also good for the environment as you’re reusing something rather than buying more packaging.

We keep the boxes and instructions to everything, things always sell better if they are in the original box with instructions.

Even broken items sell well - we recently sold a broken first generation ipod that had been in a drawer for years and made eight pounds - not much but better to have some money that something taking up space in a drawer.  Just make sure you’re clear about something being broken in the title and detail exactly how in the description.
Why don’t you have a clear out and try and make enough money to pay for Christmas presents this year - It’s easily done, I promise ;-)

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