Just starting out on eBay? Check out our quick guide to getting started and fast tracking your success.
If you are new to eBay, then you should start by selling items from around the house. You might have read that same advice elsewhere and for good reason. eBay has become a intricate system and nothing can prepare you for the reality of selling. Everyone makes mistakes when they start out and it’s best to get some practice - to find out what sells best on eBay - before you start investing in inventory and selling seriously. eBay has an excellent guide to helping you find things around the house to sell.
Start by selling stuff from your home
If you are new to eBay, then you should start by selling items from around the house. You might have read that same advice elsewhere and for good reason. eBay has become a intricate system and nothing can prepare you for the reality of selling. Everyone makes mistakes when they start out and it's best to get some practice before you start selling seriously.
There are two excellent reasons for starting out in this way:
Feedback is hugely important for any eBay seller. With a feedback rating below 10, it's going to be difficult to get people to take you seriously. The first 100 sales are the hardest as buyers look for high feedback as reassurance they can trust the seller. Generally, the higher your feedback the better; with PowerSeller status being the ultimate goal.
There is another advantage to selling a variety of items and that is valuable insight into your selling personality.
One of the first items I sold was a camcorder that I had barely used. I wrote what I thought was a full description, but I was still inundated with all sorts of complicated questions (e.g. 'What sort of video editing software is best to use? How badly does the sun reflect off the view screen? What does the warranty cover?) Some people even rang me to ask their questions…and unfortunately I was woefully unprepared!
From this experience I learned that (a) electronics are risky to sell if you don't have a full warranty, (b) I find it hard to sell products I am not interested in and (c) buyers expect you as the seller to know what they are talking about, if you don't, they lose confidence.
Nothing beats knowledge gained from experience and selling stuff from around the home is the best way to get it without risking too much.
Move onto small wholesale lots
After some practice with goods from around the home, I recommend buying small wholesale lots of products that most people use on a daily basis. Many of these products are excellent sellers, plus they are fairly easy to get hold of. A lot of new sellers make the mistake of trying to be all things to all people. In fact, it is far better to target a specific group. At first, this may mean sales are slower as you get to know your market, but in the long term, it will mean you'll be able to target your market much more precisely and reduce the chance of having stock on your hands that you can't shift.
- Clothing : accessories, plus sizes, maternity, night wear.
- Kitchen : recipes, knife sets, toasters, microwaves
- Beauty : sunscreen, insect repellent, cosmetic & toiletry bags, men's grooming
- Home decor : towels, sheets, rugs, throws, cushions, vases, mirrors
- Special occasion : wedding supplies, party supplies, mother-of-the bride outfits, bridal shoes, birthday cards
- Garden : lawn mowers, gardening tool sets, composter
Hobbies and interests
Prior to eBay, collectors were limited to the items they could find in their local area or country. The Internet in general has enabled many new communities to form around shared interests, and for you the seller, this provides new niches to target. eBay's Buyer report tells us that one of the top reasons buyer's use eBay is to find unique items that they can't find elsewhere. A quick browse of eBay's community groups will give you some ideas. There are groups as diverse as knitting, stay-at-home moms, business, hiking, gluten-free support group, vegans, travel, children's theatre, dieting, parenting, re-enactors, crochet, stamp collecting, pet fish…the list goes on.
Remember that many of these hobbyists will not only require the full product, but also components. For example, you may decide to sell embroidery threads, tools and patterns and how-to books; car parts; fabrics and trimmings.
It is essential that you keep tabs on what is happening in the news if you want to pick up on new trends. The trick is to analyze what you hear and read for product opportunities. For example, is global warming causing water restrictions in your area? Good products to sell might include garden hose timers, low-pressure shower heads, water purifiers and so on.
Often a feature article on a home that uses antique fittings can set off a demand and consider the impact a new reality TV program has – sellers have profited hugely on the demand for dance shoes and costumes after Dancing with the Stars.