Wednesday, February 2, 2011

SMART Tips to HELP You Sell on eBay---Beginner & Advanced

I have had more than a few people ask me how to sell on I thought it may help a few of you to know some basic tips and pointers I have learned over the years. I will have a small disclaimer, that I am not some big mega-producing seller that makes gobs of money selling items I bought for nothing somewhere,  online.
I am simply a woman who loves art and antiques, and enjoys ' sharing ' what I find in hopes that it sells.
There ya go---

I am already thinking this may have to be done in two parts,as I do have a lot to tell you...but let me try to do it in one entry.
Cross your fingers for me.

To begin with, you have to sign on to be a member of eBay. To sell or buy. Now to sell---you have to use a credit card to ' back-up ' your selling fees , so you will need one to sell on eBay. The link to sign up as a member ( which means nothing much unless you buy or can just peruse the site if you want ), click here.

Alright, now that you are signed up, then you have to go to SELL, at the top of the page or at the top of your MY eBay page, you will see here.

That links you to a page that goes on and on, but is fairly simple, about how to sell, with various resources. What I will do here, is give you some seasoned tips and occasional mini-rants about what sellers should do or not do to sell their merchandise.

 Probably No. 1 on my list, but wording would also be very take some DECENT honest pictures of your merchandise. I am not a photography expert, but I try to take pictures that show my items from all angles, front and back, warts and all. Please do not list an item with only one or two pictures. It is a dis-service to your sales, and your future customers. as shown above, take front , back, and even side shots of your items, and any close-ups of tags or markings. Too many sellers list items with 1 picture , but that limits your buyers and puts you at a disadvantage with sellers who know the draw it is to add more photos. There are a few picture services, like INKFROG or Auctivia, that help you download your pictures AND list your items at the same time. You can also do this straight through eBay picture services. You will not pay extra( for over 12 or supersize ), on eBay for your pictures .  I just have more options when I list with my server. So super-size, extra pictures ( up to 16 per listing  ), all for one price a month. I believe I pay Inkfrog 9.95 a month for the basic service. eBay now has free pictures, up to 12 , and it is very easy to list straight from there. I just like how I can edit my pictures, supersize , and use hundreds of different templates on Inkfrog. After you download your pictures, always check out your listing on eBay to make sure they are not too dark and fuzzy.I see SO many listings with dark, tiny, fuzzy pictures. Go practice on a vase or something at home, in different lighting to try to train yourself , then look at your pictures and judge whether they portray the vase how it really looks.


Here is another place sellers can be their own worst enemy , how they use words in their titles, descriptions, and in their seller policies ( returns, shipping, etc. )



Your title, which has limited space to your MOST important draw besides your pictures. So if you are selling a painting , do NOT write ' Old painting ', in the title by itself. Instead write what the painting or print has in it. Like :

Vintage Painting w/ Mountains & River Landscape

Mountains, river, and landscape, as well as painting, are all keywords/HTML tags that help buyers find your merchandise when you list. Buyers type in things like, painting of river, or just river...or they may type in that case your painting will show up in search results ( and usually about 1000 more or so ), but at least yours shows up too. The buyer has to narrow down their options to the left of a search by  original, medium, date, signed, etc. So make sure you check if something is original ( if you do not know, there is an unknown category ), or oil or watercolor. When you leave it blank, it makes it look like you don't know what you are selling, are lazy and haven't filled it out , or  you are forgetful. Every category has item specifics to check, so make sure you do so on each listing to the best of your knowledge.

VINTAGE Italian Four SEASONS Cupid or Putti Statues Set

Vintage ITALIAN Four Seasons Cupids or Putti SET

Item condition:--Good

Time left:5d 21h (Feb 08, 201109:57:59 PST)

Bid history:

Starting bid:US $57.00

US $
Place bidPlace bid

(Enter US $57.00 or more)

Shipping:$14.12 Standard Shipping

Estimated between Thu. Feb. 10 and Wed. Feb. 16 help icon for Estimated delivery date - opens a layer

No Returns Accepted

Let's say you have a figurine/statue you want to sell, do not write white statue old in the title. If it is old, or new, you can write that..but look at it carefully for markings and decorations. Maybe it has flowers on it, or is made by the Hallmark company. Maybe it has a mark from the country, like the Italian cupid above. Write that in your title ( and of course in your description), as EACH word may be a keyword that someone types in to find a treasure or collectible.
Another thing you need to remember is to make your type larger and bold so your buyers can read you descriptions.

                                                 So not like this :

Victorian painting , very pretty, old and in as is condition. 

                                                 Instead, do this :

Victorian painting on canvas. Pretty colors of pink and yellow with ewer and bird. It measures 20 x 26 ins. approx. I do not see a signature. There are a few scratches to surface and a tear at the bottom about 2 ins. long.Any questions, email me through ask a seller link.

Much easier to read, and more descriptive. If you have any history behind the item you want to sell, like it was your great-aunt's or your mother's..then write that in. If you know nothing about the item, write that in and simply describe it. make sure you write what color or colors it is, what size or the dimensions of your item, how old you think  or know it may be. When you write in your titles and descriptions, I want to dissuade you, and this is a personal mini-rant so bear with me, to NOT use these words or abbreviations:

or any computer smiley's or even any computer :) or :(

Those end up making your listing look less professional and less authentic. What I mean by that is, not EVERY item you list can be 2Die4 or The BEST, also most online sales experts say to never use computer ' cuties' abbreviations in your descriptions or emails with your customers.

Also , I would suggest NOT writing your shipping , payment terms, handling procedures, return policy, etc. ad nauseum , too wordy, and on and on and on and on at the bottom of your listings. I think this is a big problem for sellers, like this one:

( I made this one up below, but I have seen MUCH worse on eBay, often three times this long
No returns accepted. If there is a big problem with your item, I may accept a return but you pay return shipping and all my seller fees. I ship only on Mon. and Wednesdays as I have two small children and have to take care of them everyday. I will try to repsond to your questions once a week , if I am not taking my uncle to the doctor which is usually on Tuesday mornings. 
I will ship your item USPS Priority mail or Parcel Post. Please leave me feedback as ebay has created a new policy that leaves us sellers up the creek without a paddle if you do not leave me feedback, and I need 5 stars to get my eBay discount.
Also, I am just one person here, I do my best, but buyers have tried to rip-me off by not paying for items, or leaving me unwarranted negative feedback as the postal service was late with their package.
If you can't pay for this item, DO NOT BID !!!!!!!!!!
I will leave you negative feedback and putt you on my blocked bidder list and pass your bidder name to other dealers to not sell to you !!!!!!!!!!
I take this business very seriously, and do not have time for time-wasters or plain mean people. If you are crabby, do NOT bid on my item, if you have just lost your job, do NOT bid on my stuff !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I strive for 5 star service and work hard to find this stuff and put it on eBay to try to make ends meet for my family.
Remember: I will NOT put up with rude buyers who ask DUMB, mean questions !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Also, if you need an answer in 1 day about an item for sale, I ONLY answer emails ONCE a week, period !!!!!!!!!
I care for each and every one of my really good buyers and bend over backwards to accommodate them, please remember that when you leave me feedback and if your item is late because of the postal service.
I am an honest , sincere person just trying to bring money in for my family.
NO RETURNS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
thank you

An aside...

I don't want anyone to think I am picking on someone selling from home with small children, that was me, IS me, but just try not to go on and on about your life and why it is so hard to sell, or ship, or respond to emails promptly in your listings. You want to instill confidence in your buyers about purchasing from you.

Just make it simple, either no returns or return in 5 day time , and make it on your ask a seller item page and remember to KISS. ( Keep it Simple Stupid). Also , please use spell-check, and even double-check your listings later for proper grammar and spelling.
If you open a small eBay store, you can make a page longer about why you sell or collect, but just watch it doesn't make you sound nutty, or goofy...unless you want that. I am amazed, and I mean amazed at the number of sellers who have the longest, goofiest, nuttiness, rudest selling policies on their listings. It looks like a " Hi, I am psycho, buy from me anyway, " advertisement.

 Communication w/ buyers

I think this is another very important and overlooked necessity for selling online. I would say, if you are one of those people who only check your email ( or get online ) once or twice a week, then do NOT sell online.  Successful selling online requires that you log on EVERY day, unless you are on vacation or have no items listed, you need to be able to answer questions in a day's time or less. I buy and sell on eBay, and I sometimes have a week or more go by before the seller responds. Not because they were out of town ( you can use your vacation hold in a store ), but because the seller was slack or lazy. I have never bought an item from a seller that took way too long to respond to a question or offer.
It is key, so remember to stay on top of your buyer's questions, and also if you sell to them, do this, EVERY TIME:

 1. Send email thanking them for the purchase, and then one thanking them for the payment.

 2. Send an email when you ship with tracking number, if you have one, or simply how you shipped. Thank them again for the purchase. 

 3. You may send a third email in a week or more, asking if they received their item, and you would appreciate exchanging feedback.

I would say only about 1/2 of sellers ever do this. Communication shows the buyer you care, appreciate them, and are a conscientious seller.


Feedback is a necessary part of eBay, and one we sellers are annoyed with in the past year+, as eBay will allow a dead-beat buyer to not receive negative feedback, but a seller to receive it for many reasons. eBay encourages sellers to leave feedback for buyers BEFORE they even receive their item. I do not do that, I wait until I know they have their item before I leave feedback. Buyers have also used negative feedback to ' bully ' or ' blackmail' sellers into discounts after the sale or fear of the negative feedback on their profile page. There are many sellers who deserve negative feedback , no communication and no shipping of the items, merchandise that is not the quality or brand they listed, etc.
But I have also seen good sellers wait over a month or more to leave buyers feedback all at once. That is a poor seller policy, as a good buyer appreciates feedback and it makes them want to buy more from you.
I would encourage you to leave feedback for your buyers the SAME day they leave it for you. If you don't, they feel like you never cared about the them, simply the money you received from them.


This is basic common sense, but since I have bought for years on eBay and received many items very poorly packaged, I will tell you to go buy yourself some bubble-wrap, and find some sturdy boxes and extra cardboard to ship your items.
Also , if you ship cloth items, clothing, tapestries, linens, etc. Place them in plastic bags FIRST, tied tight, before you package, in case it is raining anywhere in transit and goes straight through your envelope or package. If it is an expensive linen item, DO NOT ship it in a large , simple---RIP-PABLE --envelope. Package it in a small box, wrapped in plastic first.
Also , if you are a heavy smoker, or live with a heavy smoker, you will need to keep your merchandise either in a separate home or business , as no one, even smokers themselves , want to receive items that smell like cigarettes or cigars. Especially cloth or linen items. Paintings can also pick up these odors, a big problem for buyers.
I don't smoke, and no one in my household does, so I am fortunate I don't have that dilemma.


Once you sell your item ,ship it soon, like in 1 to 2 business days. Some dealers have 3-5 business days, especially some big sellers of new merchandise. But the average person, trying to sell some items, or a seller who sells 2-10 items a week, you need to get then shipped right away. No excuses, no forgetting, no putting it off. This will make a big impact on your customer if they get their item sooner than much later. I usually ship within 1 business day of the sale. If you have a full-time job, and you try to sell eBay on the side, you may not be successful if you ship only once a week, and answer emails late because of your job. I know some sellers do this , but it is difficult to stay on top of your transactions in a timely manner.


Here is a short list, of items that are not worth the time or effort or expense of selling on line:

Chipped china sets
Chipped glassware
torn or stained used clothing
any new item that someone could buy cheaper at a store
very inexpensive common items, like florist bud vases or planters
Any artwork  or hand-made craft that is your own that is not quite good enough for resale ( checkout your competition on eBay to see )
Used cosmetics or toiletries

Chipped glassware and china is not worth very much, unless it is over a 100 years old, and only slightly chipped and you have the piece to repair it still to include in the sale.

The other selling tip is to create your ABOUT ME Page.
On that , it will be linked to with an icon next to your seller or buyer name ( and choose a good one before you start, or you can change it to a good one that is relevant to you or what you sell. )

Get fast shipping and excellent service from eBay Top-rated sellers.
  • Consistently receives highest buyers' ratings
  • Ships items quickly
  • Has earned a track record of excellent service
Visit store: Ebay StoresAntique ART Garden
That way you can personalize yourself, and make customers know something about you and why you sell.

This guide was too long for my eBay guides ( per eBay's rules ), but I have other guides about artwork and Charleston, South Carolina here , if any are helpful to you, please vote YES , at the bottom of the guide. Thanks much,



  1. I found this fascinating, since I might one day sell something on ebay (or not). Thanks.

  2. Great advice! I havebought from e-bay but never tried to sell anything. Maybe I'll give it a whirl sometime.

  3. Firstly, it is so good to see you're posting again! Secondly, this is very comprehensive, Gina and, although I'm not personally into selling anything, I've learnt a lot from your thorough 'guide,' which makes for very interesting reading. It must have required a lot of thought and effort to present it so well.

  4. So helpful, Gina. I had a buyer for a 3 piece luggage set I pictured on my blog, My price was $20. When I went to get it packed and shipped to AZ, the cost was going to be $73! How in the world does ANYTHING sell with shipping charges like these?

    (Hope shipping charges/options are going to be part of your next post!)

  5. Gina,
    Thank you for sharing your wisdom in regard to selling on ebay. This has been very helpful.

    My daughter and I went to a couple of antique centers recently and I was thinking of how nice it would have been to have had you with us. Although, I have gleaned some know-how from your past posts which I carry with me, appreciate and apply.

    hope you have a nice weekend,

  6. Wow! Great informative post. I need to come back and reread it when I have a little more time. Just wanted to let you know I put up a post about the Anne Hathaway Cottage painting I won via your contest late last year. Stop by for a look.

  7. Gina,
    I'm just stopping by to say hello and let you know I'm thinking of you. You remain in my prayers.


I love comments , please leave one if you like. I try to respond to comments,but if I'm running behind, please know that I read each one before they are published. Thanks much, Gina