Whether you're a new seller on eBay or an experienced veteran, here are eight useful tips you might not know for effective selling. If you're selling one item or many, think of yourself as an online retailer and adopt the ideas of the most successful national retail chains. These include aggressive marketing and advertising, competitive pricing and customer service. Use these recommendations and you'll sell your items a lot quicker and easier. (For additional reading, check out Odd eBay Sales.)

TUTORIAL: How To Buy Your First Home

1. Discount Your Prices to Compete Effectively
Low prices yield high returns. Among the most frequently sold discounted items on eBay are electronics, small household appliances, computers, clothing, used books and toys. Unless your prices are competitive, don't expect easy sales of these and other widely offered products. Check out other eBay sellers to see what your competition is doing and set your prices accordingly.

2. Know Everything About what You're Selling
The more you know about what you're selling, the better you'll be able to price it and describe it in your advertising. If you're selling rare or used books, for example, become knowledgeable about first editions, rarity, comparable prices for similar books in similar condition, and whatever other information is pertinent to your offerings. A thorough, knowledgeable description of the product is powerful advertising.

3. Specialize
Rather than trying to sell everything you don't want on eBay - your accumulated clutter, worn out clothing and miscellaneous "stuff" - sell items in one or just a few areas. With your specialized knowledge you can both sell more effectively, and buy from others for resale at the best prices. (If you fail to uncork profits in this market, you can always toast your loss. See Investing In Fine Wine.)

4. Add a Picture and Sound to Your Auction
Posting a photograph of yourself to go along with soundbites shows potential buyers the real human being offering the products for sale. Many veteran eBay sellers recommend adding audio to your auctions. Data shows that a personal audio message to potential buyers increases sales. The sound personalizes the seller and prospects feel more comfortable buying from someone they hear talking. Be sure you write out your message before delivering it and memorize it so that you can speak naturally and without hesitation.

5. Use a Sales Auction Management Service
Automated auction services available online can manage your sales easily and efficiently. All pertinent information, including headline, description, picture, price and duration of the auction may be keyboarded into templates. Sales and payments are tracked, and e-mail notifications are sent when buyer payment is made, either through PayPal or by credit card. Although these services charge a monthly fee, they may be worth the price in saving you time and effort.

6. Establish a Reputation for Credibility and Honesty
Be scrupulously honest and forthcoming in your dealings and feedback with customers or potential customers. Write a brief biography and post it on eBay so that people can get to know you. It's vitally important that you don't exaggerate or deceive, even by omission, in your product descriptions.

7. Write a Powerful, Descriptive Headline
Use words that attract attention to the product, but don't over-hype - i.e., as mentioned above, no exaggeration, deceptions or inaccurate descriptions. Words in a headline that pull responses include: "Practically New," "Works Perfectly," "Unique," "Handsome," "Beautiful," "One of a Kind," "Discount Prices," "Reduced for Sale" and "Money Back Within 30 Days if Not Satisfied."

8. Be Realistic
Any sales offer on eBay, unless it's one-of-a-kind, is often likely to be in competition with one or more other sellers of the same or similar item. So to out-maneuver your eBay rivals, be realistic about what your item is worth and describe and price it accordingly - you'll have a better chance of selling your item.

The Bottom Line
Describe your goods for sale honestly and in detail, price them fairly, and stand behind the sale with a thirty-day money-back guarantee and your customers will be happy and satisfied. At the conclusion of every sale, when the item or items have been delivered to the buyer, ask for feedback. Post those inevitably favorable comments and they'll inspire trust in prospective buyers and generate more sales for you. (The traditional real estate market isn't the only place to conduct your home search. Auctions also bring many buying opportunities. Check out Should You Buy A House At Auction?)

Related Articles
  1. Entrepreneurship

    Top 3 Most Successful Korean Entrepreneurs

    Discover the backgrounds of some of the most successful Korean entrepreneurs and information about the companies and projects leading to their success.
  2. Stock Analysis

    The Biggest Risks of Investing in Amazon Stock

    Find out which risks are most important to Amazon's shareholders. Learn which operational risks impact share prices and which financial risks affect investors.
  3. Stock Analysis

    How Does Jet.com Work and Make Money?

    Learn how Jet.com is taking on retail giants Amazon, Walmart and Costco by promising to save customers an average of 10 to 15% on over 10 million items.
  4. Entrepreneurship

    Why Every Small Business Needs A Website

    The reality of living in the twenty-first century is that customers find business information and product offerings predominantly on websites, and small businesses without an online presence ...
  5. Stock Analysis

    Top 3 Stocks for the Coming Holiday Season

    If you want to buck the bear market trend by going long on consumer stocks, these three might be your best bets.
  6. Investing News

    This is the Fastest-Growing Consumer Complaint

    There’s no way to guarantee that your Social Security number won’t fall into the wrong hands. Here are some ways to make yourself less of a target.
  7. Entrepreneurship

    How Twitter Cards Can Help Drive Traffic to Your Website

    Understand what Twitter cards are and how they are used to increase website traffic. Learn about the top six ways these cards drive Web traffic.
  8. Entrepreneurship

    5 Ways to Make Money on Twitter

    Find out how people are making money online on Twitter, and get some ideas that can turn Twitter into a source of revenue for you or for your small business.
  9. Investing

    Ad Blockers Could Spell A Boom For Publishers  

    In a free content world, largely subsidized by advertising, ad blockers can eat into publishing revenues. But, publishers can still stand to gain.
  10. Stock Analysis

    How Does Casper Work and Make Money?

    Learn how the startup Casper is delivering a good night's sleep directly to customers' homes for a fraction of the cost of the competition.
  1. Is a financial advisor allowed to pay a referral fee?

    A financial advisor is allowed to pay a referral fee to a third party for soliciting clients. However, the Securities and ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. How can I invest in electronic retailing (e-tailing)?

    Electronic retail is one of the fastest growing segments of the economy. Every year, more people are choosing to purchase ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. What is the difference between JIT (just in time) and CMI (customer managed inventory)?

    Just-in-time (JIT) inventory management focuses solely on the need to replenish inventory only when it is required, reducing ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What are some common ways product differentiation is achieved?

    There are many ways to achieve product differentiation, some more common than others. Horizontal Differentiation Horizontal ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What economic indicators are important to consider when investing in the retail sector?

    The unemployment rate and Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) rank as two of the most important economic indicators to consider ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What factors make it difficult to compare performance ratios between retail stocks?

    Companies that operate in the retail sector significantly differ in terms of their profitability and efficiency, making stock ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Hot Definitions
  1. Revenue

    The amount of money that a company actually receives during a specific period, including discounts and deductions for returned ...
  2. Normal Profit

    An economic condition occurring when the difference between a firm’s total revenue and total cost is equal to zero.
  3. Operating Cost

    Expenses associated with the maintenance and administration of a business on a day-to-day basis.
  4. Cost Of Funds

    The interest rate paid by financial institutions for the funds that they deploy in their business. The cost of funds is one ...
  5. Cost Accounting

    A type of accounting process that aims to capture a company's costs of production by assessing the input costs of each step ...
  6. Capitalized Cost

    An expense that is added to the cost basis of a fixed asset on a company's balance sheet. Capitalized Costs are incurred ...
Trading Center
You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!