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Tips for New Ebay Sellers
In my previous eBay post, I shared “10 Tips For Selling Clothes On Ebay”. This post mainly looked at ways of improving a listing and therefore increasing the likelihood of a sale. Today, I thought I’d share with you the ways in which I organise my ebay to save time, increase efficiency and improve productivity.
Getting stuff listed is the worst part of ebay in my opinion, I find that taking photos and writing descriptions over and over quickly becomes boring and monotonous. Once the listing is done, it’s easy to relist if the item doesn’t sell – it’s literally a button click. But eBay can also become hardwork if you have an influx of sales and multiple parcels to send in one go.
When I first started using ebay, I went in all guns blazing listing as much stuff as I could possibly lay my hands on, all on auctions, all ending at the same time. I was not prepared for the packing and posting side of things – and let me tell you there is nothing worse than spending half hour or so in a post office, with lots of disgruntled customers queuing up behind you!
Now, I feel like I have a system which dispenses with all those little niggles and annoyances from those early days – though I am constantly on the look out for ways to improve my process, because although it’s better it’s still time consuming and there’s definitely room for improvement.
Firstly, you need to think about where you are going to keep items that you have listed, particularly if there’s a lot. Between my ebay accounts I currently have 400+ listings (many of them multiple quantity listings) so as you can imagine, this stuff takes up a lot of space and needs to be in some kind of order.
Luckily for us, we have a spare bedroom which we use for storage. We invested in some of these plastic storage boxes and a couple of these trunks and sorted the items (mostly clothes and shoes) into categories. We also bought some heavy duty shelving. Try to keep like with like so you know where everything is. There’s nothing worse than the buzz of a sale turning into panic and frustration when you can’t find the item.
You obviously don’t have to allocate a room to ebay – even if you just have a black bag with your listings in – just keep them all together so you don’t have to go on the hunt when something sells.
Review Your Items
If you have a lot of listings and therefore a lot of stuff, it’s quite easy for it to get messy and disorganised when you are pulling sold items out. Periodically tidy up your space and put things back where they should be before it gets out of control. Our room quite often gets chaotic and we have to schedule a few hours to go and give it a proper tidy up. Staying on top of it allows you to avoid potential lost items but also, physically reviewing an item will make you think more about it than just looking at the listing. You might think, “Wow this has been here a while, surprised it hasn’t sold yet” which in turn will lead you to thinking about reducing the price or even taking it to the charity shop. Decide how long you’ll willing to keep an item and if it’s worth relisting.
Create an eBay ‘Toolkit’
We have a set of plastic drawers which we keep handy bits and bobs in for ebay.
What comes in useful for you when you are creating your listing? Keep it all in one easy to access place. As we sell clothes and shoes, in ours we have:
– Tape measure
– Safety pins
– Magic sponges
– Shoe polish set
– Bobble Off
– Post it notes
– Excess packaging stuff (will come to packaging later)
If you have lots of items to sell, having these things together in one place makes listing much easier as if you notice loose threads or dirty marks when you are listing, you can clean them up there and then improving the saleability of the item. Anything you can’t fix, you can pop in your listing as a flaw.
Create a Postage and Packaging Kit
A place to house all the tools you need for sending items out. Ours includes:
– Printer paper
– A letter size guide – you can pick these up quite cheaply from ebay and they’re very useful for deciding whether to post something as large letter (which is cheaper than small parcel)
– Kitchen Scales
– Mailing Sacks
– Brown Paper
– Parcel Tape
Consider printing your own labels
This has saved me so much time and hassle. If I can avoid the post office I will. Whenever I go there, there’s always a queue and even if I’m just dropping off post I’ve already paid postage on they still insist on checking the weight and size of everything – effectively saving me no time as they might as well have printed the label instead by that point!
If you print your own postage, you can put parcels in a standard post box – meaning no trips to the post office. Of course this only applies to standard 1st and 2nd class mail…and items that fit in the post box! If you are sending something signed for, you can still print your own labels but you’ll need the post office to verify it for you.
We sell 90% of our items with 2nd class postage, and if the item is a piece of clothing it can quite often be packed flat enough to fit into a postbox – and we have one literally a stones throw from our house – bonus.
Anything that won’t fix in the post box, we bag up and take to our local royal mail delivery office. You can just hand them over the counter – personally I find them to be a lot more efficient and less concerned with whether you’ve applied the correct postage or not, and so you can literally run in and out, unlike the post office.
You don’t need a special label printer to do this either. You can print onto a normal sheet of paper and then cellotape it to your parcel.
I have labels set up to print 4 to a page. The prices are also cheaper (£2.85 instead of £2.95 for small parcel – though some people will argue that you’re paying for paper, ink and cellotape…).
I touched on this in my previous post, but you don’t need to waste money on making your parcels look nice. Particularly with the final value fee on postage, you need to retain as much of your postage charge as possible.
You don’t need to send clothing in bubble envelopes wrapped in tissue paper – not only does it waste money on more expensive packaging material but it could potentially increase the cost of actually sending the parcel.
A dress wrapped in tissue paper and then a bubble envelope will probably be too thick to be classed as a large letter so will cost £2.85 to send. If you pack it smartly you could reduce that postage cost to £1.26 or £1.64 depending on the weight.
All our clothing is packed in a mailing sack – they’re lightweight, self sealing and the right dimensions to be sent as a large letter (you can buy various sizes of mailing sacks on ebay, but buying large letter ensures you don’t have to worry about the dimensions of the parcel, just the weight and thickness). Fold items as flat and mimicking the shape of the mailing sack as possible. When sealed squash down and remove the air. Use your letter size guide to see if it will fit through the large letter slot. If it does great – you can send as a large letter. If not it’s a small parcel.
Streamline your process
If I have multiple parcels to send I will package them all, then weigh them, then print the labels, then stick the labels on once they’re all printed.
Package up your items (in the mailing sacks or we tend to wrap shoe boxes in brown paper with parcel tape) and write on the package what’s in it eg. New Look Dress. Do this for all your items making a mental note of whether it’s a large letter or small parcel (you could make a pile for each).
Once everything is packaged, weigh each one and write it’s weight in grams on the package – don’t worry the labels will cover the pen. Alternatively you could weigh each one as you package it – doesn’t really make a difference.
Next you need to print your labels. The reason I do it altogether is to save paper – as I print 4 to a page there would be 3/4 of a sheet of wastage each time I printed a label.
Look at the weight of the package you’re sending, print the label, write on the back of the label which parcel it is, then turn the paper around and put it back in the printer for the next one.
Repeat the process until all your parcels are printed. You can then cut your labels out and stick them on. I tend to cut lots of strips of cellotape and put them on the table edge ready for use. Cutting and sticking labels does take a bit of time (though is quicker than the post office individually weighing and labelling them!) so I am looking into whether buying self adhesive labels to print on is worthwhile or not – I’ll let you know when I do!
Keep hold of jiffy bags you receive, or empty boxes which could be a good size for a pair of shoes. If you receive a large delivery, consider keeping the bubble wrap. Anything you can save and reuse is worthwhile. Not only does it save you money, but you’re doing your bit for the environment too. Quite often large companies can be wasteful with their packaging so you will find a lot of bubble wrap for a small delivery. Hang on to it because it’s not cheap to buy if you need it.
Also ask friends and family to keep theirs for you too.
Do you have any tips you could add? How do you save time on the ebaying process?