So you want to sell an unwanted item on an auction site such as Ebay. If you don’t want to do the selling yourself you can of course use an intermediary to do it for you. However, you may feel that you would do a better job doing it yourself. Perhaps you can write a better listing because you know the subject area of your item, also when selling the items yourself, if they do not sell you can decide how often you want to try relisting the item in the hope that it might sell.
How To Do It
1. Do your Homework
Search past auctions to find out if items similar to the one you wish to sell have sold in the past, and if so how much for. You may find that the item though often listed does not generally sell, or does not sell for much money, in which case you may want to consider another outlet for disposing of the item. If the item is one that sells, a search of similar past auctions will give you an idea as to how much money it is likely to sell for. Use this to give you an idea as to what your minimum price should be. Alternatively if similar items sell for a lot of money you may prefer to consider selling the item via a conventional auction house.
2. Work Out Postage And Packing
Internet auction customers do not like excessive p&p charges. Before you list your item for auction find a suitable means of packaging (box, jiffy bag or whatever), pack it, but do not seal it, to weigh it. Go onto the Royal Mail’s website to look up the postage costs (if you are selling several items, you may want to print out the relevant pages from the Royal Mail website). You only need to do a selection of National postal charges (perhaps First Class, Second Class, and First Class Recorded or some such). Internet auction buyers from other countries can always ask at a later date for costs to their country.
3. An Image Of Your Item
Although one can auction items without photographs, in many cases buyers do prefer to see a photograph. For some items (such as common CDs, books or DVDs). Ebay has a set of stock photographs. If auctioning on Ebay you may consider using these, however in most instances, especially for more unusual items it is generally better to use your own photographs (as these will also act as proof to your potential buyers that you have the item), also with some CDs and videos different editions may have slightly different packaging to the stock photographs). Also if you are selling several items together as a little collection that certainly won’t appear in stock photographs.. The quickest way of photographing your item is using a digital camera and then uploading the image onto your computer. The quality does not necessarily have to be fantastic, just enough to give people an idea of your item(s), therefore a photograph taken using a mobile telephone camera may suffice, provided you have the correct software and connecting cables with your camera phone to transfer images from your phone to your computer. If you do not have a digital camera, then you can use that for your photographs. When you get the film developed you may want to get it developed onto a CD Rom, or if you have a scanner you can get it developed as good old-fashioned prints and scan it into your computer yourself. But of course it can take time to get films developed.
4. Decide on Payment And Country Options
If you joined a worldwide internet auction site, such as Ebay some years ago, it is worth checking whether your user membership of that site is held in your own country (for example in the early days many users found it easier to join Ebay.com rather than Ebay.co.uk which did not carry the range of items it does today). Before selling on auction it is helpful to check that your membership is in your home country. If it is not then contact the auction site and ask them to transfer it. (This makes it much easier to list the item in your own country’s currency, and also means you do not have to list the item to be sold worldwide if you prefer to make it available only to bidders in your own country).
Before listing your item, you need to decide how you want to be paid for your item. These days, doing internet auctions, Paypal seems to be becoming the standard method for carrying out a transaction. If making a payment via paypal the purchaser does not need to have apaypal account themselves, they can make a purchase as a one-off transaction, however the seller will need a Paypal account to accept payments via this method. Indeed if using Ebay as a Seller is it now necessary to have a paypal account, this may not necessarily apply for all internet auction sites. However, even with paypal, you can still offer your potential customers the option of paying via another means. for example by cheques and postal orders. For heavy items you may want to offer to possibility of Cash On Delivery (but state that option is only to people in your local area). An increasing number of potential buyers apparently seem to prefer paypal as method of purchase.
5. Plan Your Item Listing Content
When constructing your listing, try and consider the listing from your potential buyer’s point of view. If you were going to bid on this item, what information would you want to know about it first. For some items, such as CDs, and Records, it can be helpful, and encourage buyers, if you list all the tracks (particularly true of compilation albums). Ebay has a set of stock track listings for many common albums, and you may consider using these. However, the stock listings can look formulaic, and only include the minimum of detail (and there are some albums where different versions had slight variations in the number of tracks), so while using a stock listing may save time, you may make your item more attractive to buyers by constructing your own version. Similarly if selling ephemera such as theatre programmes, or a video of a film, you may be more likely to find a buyer by including a complete cast list (to attract fans of rather minor actors), after all an actor who occupied a minor role in one stage show or film could have gone on to bigger things, and become sufficiently well known to attract a following (although not necessarily hugely famous). Sometimes if you do not want to hassle of typing out an entire cast list, or CD track list, you may be able to find the information you need somewhere on the internet (such as in wikipedia, or on a fansite). In which case a little highlighting and copying of information may be useful. However, if you do this, past it in unformatted form (so it does not carry irrelevant formatting from the site you got it from), and only copy information you would have typed from the item itself. Reviews of the item, and irrelevant trivia about a show or film should not be copied directly in this manner, as it looks very obvious that the content has been lifted (which the original authors probably won’t be too happy about), and reviews in particular could be subject to copyright. If you have a lot of detail that needs including with your item (for example a long track listing, or several in the case of a small collection of items), then you may consider typing your listing information as a word processing document on your computer first, and then copying and pasting it into your auction listing. This can be helpful both in reminding you what you’ve put up for auction (in the case of a collection), and particularly if the item does not sell on the first go and you need to relist it. Although if you relist within so many days you will not need to re-enter the information, if you let it go too long before relisting you may need to start from scratch.
6. Listing your item.
With your photograph on your computer, and the actual item itself (now unpacked) beside you, and the postal costs to hand. You can now log into your chosen auction site and list your item. The site should give you step by step instructions on how to do this. Although you may find many of the highlighting options unnecessary, a photograph does help, and on Ebay it is often worth paying the little bit extra for ‘Gallery Listing’ (just the basic one), as many potential buyers can’t be bothered to investigate further if a listing isn’t included in Gallery. Listing the item in more than one category can sometimes be useful. If you item is a collectable for example about a favourite television programme, you may want to mention it in a post on an appropriate internet message board for that programme.
7. After The Auction
If you are successful in selling your item you will need to contact your buyer with details of how to pay and the final price (including p&p). In general auction sites such as Ebay say that this should be within three days of the end of the auction. Give the buyer a reasonable time to pay. If they do not, try first politely emailing them to remind them that you have not received payment. It is a good idea to be polite at this stage, there could be many quite reasonable explanations: The buyer may have simply forgotten (due to family or work pressures, or some other problem such as a computer or internet connection going down at a crucial time), in which case a polite reminder should suffice, or they may have put a cheque in the post but it has not yet arrived, in which case when did they post it? (should you give it time, or should the buyer chase it up with their bank? Use some common sense). Only once the polite approach has failed to elicit the payment do you need to enter an unpaid item strike on Ebay. Some sellers are far to quick to go in guns blazing, and antagonise their purchasers. Besides which if you log something as a payment dispute, you then have the bother of closing the dispute once you have received payment. Therefore only do it when you need to, and try to treat your buyer and you yourself would wish to be treated. Only dispatch the item once you have received payment (it is the norm). If your buyer is paying by cheque you may want to wait for the cheque to clear, however, if they have a good feedback rating then you might decide to trust them and send the item before the cheque has cleared, particularly for a low value item, use your common sense over this matter. Once you are satisfied the whole procedure has been completed, do try and leave some feedback (it is the custom, and helps other sellers to see whether the buyer is someone they would trust).
Flogit4u: 020 7424 0761
The Royal Mail: www.royalmail.com/royalmailprices
Stuff U Sell: Tel 0800 075 0015