I recently did a post on how to get rid of your stuff. Today I want to focus exclusively on selling clothing on eBay. I’ve been eBaying for many years, but I’ve only recently started using it as a way to pare down my closet. Instead of one item here and there, I’m listing multiple items at once. Every week or so, I’ll pull a few items out of my “to sell” bag and list them. Check out the tips below to learn how to successfully sell clothes on eBay. These tips haven’t failed me yet!
1. Price to sell.
People go to eBay for bargains, but you want to make money off of your items, so finding the right starting price can be tough. Before listing your item, do a quick search to survey the competition. If you see similar items listed with far lower starting prices than what you’re considering, perhaps you should adjust course. Remember that eBay is an auction, so your list price is a starting point. Sure—someone could be the only bidder and bid 5.00 on a 4.99 list price, but if you have more than one interested bidder, the price rises fairly quickly.
Tip: For most clothing items, I start the auction at 4.99. (This does not include some dresses, blazers, suits, or high-value items.)
2. Stage your item.
Your potential buyer cannot see, touch, or try on your item, so you have to make it look as good as possible in a few low-quality images. The most desirable staging option is to photograph the item on an actual human. This requires a helper, which might be impractical, or a camera self-timer, which can time consuming. That’s why I often opt to photograph my items against an empty wall. To do so, hammer a small nail into the wall; then, hang items and photograph them.
Tip: Photograph items with the thumbnail format in mind. When potential buyers are browsing hundreds of eBay items, they scan thumbnails before ever clicking in to your item.
3. Write detailed descriptions.
Is there a minor stain on the inside of a shirt? How about a loose button somewhere? If you think someone might want to know something, include it. Many buyers are looking for good deals, so they’re usually okay with minor imperfections. If not, they won’t buy them. The last thing you want is an eBay case opened up against you. Trust me—eBay almost always favors the buyer, so be completely honest about your item to avoid the potential for misunderstanding.
Tip: Include measurements for inseams, sleeve lengths, and dress lengths.
4. Don’t lose money on shipping.
I always use flat-rate priority shipping through the U.S. Postal Service. It’s an easy way to predict shipping costs, and priority mail includes a tracking number, which is essential. At the post office, I head straight to the self-service station (look up a self-service station here) and print the appropriate shipping labels.
5. Practice good customer service.
One of the best things about eBay is that you can develop a feedback score. If you respond promptly to messages from potential buyers, ship promptly, update the listing with a tracking number, and leave feedback, you will probably receive positive feedback in return. And people will feel better buying items from you if you’ve proven yourself to be a reliable seller.
Tip: I write “Thank You!” on a little piece of stationary and throw it in every package.
6. Leverage eBay features.
eBay has developed many features that help streamline selling. I personally use and recommend the following:
- Auto re-list automatically re-lists items for up to three times if they don’t sell.
- The global shipping program allows you to ship items to a U.S. processing facility, and then eBay ships to the destination country. No extra postage required.
- Different auction lengths can range from 3 to 10 days. The default is 7. I usually list items on Sundays, so I use 5-day auctions. That way, items sell on Fridays, which means that I should have payments in time for a Saturday post office run.
- eBay’s app allows you to quickly mark items as shipped, upload a tracking number, and leave feedback. I think the eBay app is much less cluttered and more user friendly than the eBay website.
eBay app screenshot:
7. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
I never list more than five items at once because I don’t want to get overwhelmed and make a mistake. I also want to avoid multiple trips to the post office, so I list items in cohorts. I include a handling time of 3 days before shipping, but I almost always ship items the day a buyer pays. That way, I’m always exceeding expectations and earning positive feedback.
Tip: Manage expectations so you’ll always exceed them.