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I’ve been selling clothes on eBay for a few years now and have had a fair amount of success with it, so thought I would share some tips on how to get the most out of selling on eBay for any newbies or anyone who is considering it.
Clothes, Shoes and Accessories is one of the most popular categories on eBay and is a great place for anyone to start.
I’m going to share what has worked for me personally, other sellers might disagree with my points but in my experience, this is what I’ve had the most success with.
I only use BIN (sometimes with Best Offer) when selling clothes on ebay as I find I have much more success than selling via auction. When I have listed items as an auction, they’ve garnered little to no interest and sold for a disappointing 99p. Different people will find different ways of successfully selling clothes on ebay – so try and see what works best for you.
I tend to work backwards when pricing my items and think about what I’d be happy to receive for it. Lets say for example I’m selling a used New Look dress – they’re common and not very expensive to purchase new so people are not going to pay a premium for them.
If I bought a similar dress at a boot sale, I’d expect to pay no more than £1. So for me, the profit has to be higher than £1 by selling on eBay, or else it gets bagged up for the car boot.
How do I work this out? There’s a very helpful website called Final Fee Calc where you can put your item information in and it will work out the profit after fees.
I set the item cost to 0 because the money I paid for it has gone, it’s served it’s purpose and has no bearing on the resale – I obviously didn’t buy this item to resell. I bought it to wear and use which I did.
Based on the numbers above, this would give me a £3.73 profit. I’m happy with that. You’re never going to get anywhere near what you paid full price for an item – unless it’s special, which this example isn’t.
An item priced at £2.99 would give a profit of £1.99 – again I’m happy with this and tend to list my New Look tops at £2.99
You also have to take into account what somebody is going to be willing to pay for an item.
When I shop eBay for myself, I tend to be looking for something specific for an event. In my head I’m thinking, “Right, if I buy a new dress from a shop its going to cost £22.99, I’m only going to wear it once and won’t be able to resell it for much, so I only want to pay £10. I don’t want to pay £10 plus P&P.”
Therefore in my selling example I would be paying £4.99 + £2.95p&p = £7.94 – under my budget, I’m happy with that – I personally would be tempted to buy it.
I hope that makes sense and I haven’t laboured the point too much, I’m just trying to explain my reasoning behind pricing rather than just chucking a price on and hoping for the best…. and this method has worked very well for me.
Obviously, more expensive brands will go for more money but I’m trying to show that even cheap clothes such as New Look, Primark etc, can still sell well.
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When titling your listing use as many keywords as possible and think about what you might search yourself. I see lots of listings titled, “Gorgeous Miss Selfridge Dress” but the chances are unless I’ve seen a Miss Selfridge Dress I like, I’m not going to be using ‘Miss Selfridge’ as a search term, people’s opinions of ‘Gorgeous’ are subjective, and the word ‘Dress’ is far too broad, therefore such a listing isn’t really going to be a hit in your search.
Instead think of keywords people do search for. Going back to my New Look Dress here’s an example of how I would title a listing:
“New Look Size 10 Navy and Cream Bodycon Dress Knee Length Lace Detailing Wedding Raceday Formal”
I’ve included the brand, the size, the colour, the style, the length, the key features and the occasions that the dress is suitable for. If you have more keywords to fit in and run out of characters drop the ‘Size’ and ‘and’ from the title. These are not needed for a search to be accurate.
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Sometimes I take my photos on a mannequin, other times on a coat hanger. I haven’t noticed a difference in sales between the two, but what I do keep consistent is:
– Iron the item/smooth out creases
– Photograph in natural lighting as opposed to artificial to more accurately capture the colour
– Photograph against a light, plain background (I hang or put the mannequin against a white wall)
– Clear the background of the photograph of distractions – no one wants to see pictures of your messy bedroom and it draws the eye away from the item
– Take pictures from the front, the side (if using a mannequin), and the back.
– Additional useful pictures could be a close up of any quirks e.g. a lace collar, a fringed hem; a close up of any flaws such as stains, fabric pulls, holes or bobbling
– A picture of the brand tag and the item care tag (this will save you having to answer any questions about the item later on such as what’s the material, can it be tumble dried etc)
– If you’re feeling super organised you could photograph a tape measure against useful measurements. I would suggest shoulder to hem and armpit to armpit as these are most commonly asked for – you don’t have to do this, but it might save time later if someone does question it once the item is listed.
– If it’s hard to capture the colour of the item take pictures in daylight, artifical light, flash and no flash and explain this in the listing.
This might seem like overkill on a £1.99 profit item, but once you get into the habit of it it literally takes seconds and saves answering questions later and potential ‘Item not as described’ cases.
I think as long as your title is detailed and you have adequate photos, the description is less important. I’ve found lots of times that buyers have messaged with questions that I’ve answered in the description, which just goes to show that not everyone reads it.
What I would put in the description is possibly ‘from a smoke free/pet free home’ (if applicable) as there’s nothing worse than receiving clothing coated in dog hair or stinking of smoke, so this might appeal to buyers more. I usually write that I will combine postage too – If I read this in an item I’m looking at, I’m more tempted to click ‘view other items’ and see if I can get more of a bargain.
I would also write in detail here about any flaws and refer the buyer to the photographs – just to cover yourself in the event of any cases being opened. Ebay tends to side with buyers, so cover your ass.
If there’s anything wrong with the item, or you’re selling it because it’s a funny size or weird fit, or it itches, state this in your listing. Again, you want to avoid buyers have any reason to return the item, so give them all the information upfront. Selling clothes on eBay can become a minefield if the listing can be construed as even slightly misleading. Do as much as possible to avoid cases being opened against you.
Postage is a contentious subject, particularly since eBay started charging fees on it. Different sellers have different ideas on what works best with postage.
I send everything second class and charge £2.95 (which is the cost of Royal Mail 2nd Class Small Parcel) – clothing will generally be small parcel (unless it’s a thin top or tshirt which you can pass off as a large letter) and buyers will generally know that this is what it costs.
You can check the size using a guide, I have one of these.
As a buyer, I am put off by anyone who charges over £3 postage – I know a lot of sellers do this to account for the Final Value Fee and the cost of packaging, but I would rather build that into the cost of the item where it’s less visible. You’re unlikely to pay £3 for a top and £4 postage.
Fancy giving reselling a try? Read How I made over £300 in my first 60 days as an EBay Reseller by Skinny Spending
Don’t waste money on packaging, you’re not going to make a fortune from selling clothes on eBay so don’t waste your profits on unnecessary packaging. Whilst it might look nice to receive a dress wrapped carefully in tissue paper and then in a padded envelope it’s unnecessary – it’s going in the bin (though any padded envelopes I receive, I do keep to reuse). Mailing bags are the cheapest and easiest form of packaging for clothes. They can be bought in bulk cheaply on eBay and poundshops sell them (though you’re not getting the best value if you buy them from a shop).
I always carefully fold clothes and slide into a mailing bag. I’ve never had any complaints about my packaging and my P&P rating is 5 out of 5.
Though you might state on your listing that your handling time is 3 working days, people will still message to ask when you’re sending it and mark you down on your dispatch time.
I personally print my labels myself and bag the item and shove in the postbox on the corner of my street the day it sells. It takes no time to do this and is less hassle than taking a bag full of parcels to the post office.
We will all come across that idiot buyer who leaves negative feedback for no reason, tries their luck with an item not as described case or tries to wangle a partial/full refund.
Stay friendly and professional even if inside you really want to call them out for the petty (insert swearword) they are. You’re always going to encounter bad transactions when selling clothes on ebay – it’s par for the course, but not every transaction is going to be a bad one. Stick with it, and don’t take it personally.
Are there any tips for selling clothes on ebay you would add to the list? Do you disagree with anything I’ve said? Let me know! I’m always keen to expand my ebay knowledge!
I started Katie Saves while on Maternity Leave to document our adjustment to living on less. Now back in work - I blog about making extra money, saving money, getting my life organised and being a new mum. Join me!