Can you really make money on eBay? I spent the last 90 days trying it out.
It seems that 2020 is the year for finding creative ways to make money. With the pandemic, many people's financial future is not as bright as it had been a year ago. The government stimulus barely lasted through the Spring. Many people are forced to dip into their savings accounts, myself included. So, if there's never enough money to go around, there are some creative ways to get the bills paid. Selling on eBay is not a new idea, but if it's been a while since you've tried it, you'll find things have changed quite a bit. Traditional or old school eBay, as I remember it, is gone. What has been built in its place is an easier to manage website and app. Let's take a look at some of the features.
Buy It Now
Many shops use the Buy It Now selling option. This is in place of the traditional auction style that has come to be associated with eBay. With the Buy It Now button, you choose your merchandise price, and there is no need to "win" the auction. The website allows the seller to accept offers from buyers not willing to pay the stated price. This seems to be a good option for sellers with more than one of the same type of item for sale.
The auction is still very much a part of the eBay experience. I like to sell my merchandise in this way. My items for sale are mostly used things that I no longer use. I donate what does not sell. I always charge the buyer for shipping so that if my item ends up selling for a low amount, I won't lose money when I ship it. I highly advise that you plan out your shipping before you post the item. Some things can be pretty expensive to send, and you want to make sure you charge the buyer the correct amount.
The eBay app now allows you to buy a shipping label directly through eBay paying with Paypal. This is really convenient this year, especially since anything done digitally reduces the number of people you come in contact with. Very important in a pandemic. From the eBay site, you will also see a link to schedule a package pickup. I have had good experiences with the United States Postal Service. I can schedule a free pickup as long as I'm willing to wait until my next delivery day. This is another way to reduce your contact with others, keeping you safe and healthy! I should also note that the USPS.com website has several packaging supplies available for free. You can go online and order boxes and padded envelopes, and they will deliver them right to your door. You will need to purchase packaging tape and bubble wrap. They are available on usps.com or Target, Walmart, Staples, or most other retail stores.
Easy to use app
I highly recommend that once you are ready to sell, you download the app. The app makes the selling process easy to use, as it is very user friendly. When I'm ready to sell an item, I begin by looking up the item for sale on eBay. If you scroll down the page, you will see a button labeled "Sell One Like This." I find that this is the easiest and quickest way to fill out your listing. Most of the categories will be automatically filled in, and you need to do the following:
- Take pictures of your item. The best app feature is easily in the photo section of your selling post. You can take photos right from your phone, and they come out clear and bright. You don't need a second step of uploading them because they will go directly into your post. It is best to use a white or neutral background so that your photo is clear and your item is the star of the post. Look to other eBay sellers to see what is visually pleasing and what is simply unattractive. Your photo is your best chance of making a good impression on potential buyers. eBay allows for 12 free photos per listing.
- Proofread the Title, Item Specifics, and category. Be sure that these sections are accurate and add as much detail as possible. These are the sections that contain keywords that buyers might use to find your product. You don't want to miss any important keywords.
- The Description section is where you can pitch your product. Is the condition superb? Write that here. Is it a hard to find item? Would it make a good gift? Don't be afraid to play up the benefits of your product, but be truthful. If your item has any damage or defects, it is in your best interest to be honest about it. It's a lot easier to lay it all out in the description than to deal with refunds, bad reviews, and unhappy customers.
- Pricing is important because you want to get the buyer's attention and have the sale be worth your time. eBay offers a reserve price, described by the website as "the lowest amount you'll accept." There is a fee for adding this to your listing, whether it sells or not, though, so think carefully about using this option.
- Delivery is the next step in listing an item for sale. As noted earlier in the article, you can purchase your shipping label through the eBay site and pay for it with your Paypal account. Free packaging materials are available through the usps.com website, and you can also schedule a package pickup from the website. Decide if you want to offer local pickup, helpful if you are selling a larger item that is costly to ship. You also have the option to offer international shipping, if desired.
- Preferences are the last section of your eBay listing. This is where you decide on the payment method, handling time, and return policy. Since eBay is just a side business for me, I like to keep things simple. I offer only Paypal as a payment method, and I do not accept returns. However, I keep a short handling time of 3 days because customers appreciate a quick turnaround in receiving their items.
All in all, selling on eBay is a pandemic friendly way to make extra cash. Is it worth your time and effort? Overall, I'd say my earnings on eBay have been decent, but notably, the numbers are inflated due to a high ticket item I sold in early Fall. Most of my items have sold for less than $15, with some selling for .99 cents. Every sale will not be moneymakers. You have to realize going in that your stuff is probably not worth what you bought it for. Some antiques, electronics, and collectibles can be worth quite a bit, but they are not always items you have lying around. If you look at eBay as a way to make a profit off of stuff you weren't going to use, you will be pleasantly surprised by your profit. Your profit is definitely dependent upon the value of the items you have for sale. For me, the items were going to be donated if they did not sell, so even if an item only sells for $3, I look at it as basically free money.
In short, if you are willing to part with some high demand products and not afraid to put some work into it, you can make decent money. Use it to pay off debt, decrease clutter, and make your way to financial freedom.