I’m sure it’s the fashion student in me that hates to throw out clothes when I can see them looking great on someone else. I have always enjoyed buying pre-loved clothing from charity shops or vintage fairs therefore I know it’s important to share my own clothes so that others can do the same. The majority of the clothes I end up getting rid of, I don’t deem as being ‘eBay worthy’ but when the pile builds up, I take the time to sell them and make some extra money whilst I’m at it. Although I have sold quite a few of my clothes on eBay before, there’s definitely a few tips that I wish someone had told me when I was starting out…
1. Pick your items cleverly
There’s some things that will never sell on eBay purely because people never search for them. Generally I have found that my most viewed items have always been from well-known brands, think: Topshop, French Connection, Warehouse etc. I’ve put up some lovely, good quality items before that have confused me when they sell for a super low price but it’s normally because they have been lost in the generic ‘Size 10 summer dress’ 100 page search result. I suggest sticking to the well-known brands if you’re looking for an easy sell but make sure that you include the brand name in your product title.
Other items that I have found are good to sell on eBay are those that photograph well (it’s hard to make black look good); something with tags still on (put ‘BRAND NEW’ in the title) or clothes that are still on sale at the shop you bought them from (so that you can add in a checkable RRP).
2. Use sensible timings
I had a quick look at the most popular times on eBay and apparently Sunday and Monday evenings rank highly. Use this for timing when your auction ends as it’s typically in the last hour or 30 minutes that the price jumps up. If your auction is ending in the middle of the day (when people are at work/ school) or overnight, you might be missing out on last minute bids.
I’d also suggest leaving a minimum of 5 days for your auction to run. With eBay’s ‘watch’ feature, you can be assured that people who view the items early on in your listing will get notifications to remind them about it at a later date.
3. Get the postage right (and avoid making a loss)
Inevitably some of your items will sell for less than you had hoped and if you had planned on covering postage costs as part of the selling price, you’ll be eating into your profits. You can use the recommended postage option on eBay, which suggests what to charge for postage based on what type of item you’re selling. I’ve found this method to be accurate enough although you can always use kitchen scales and a ruler to double check on sizing and make sure you aren’t caught out.
When it comes to packaging, I’ve always bought the necessary brown paper/ jiffy bags/ envelopes from Poundland, as that’s about as cheap as it gets! I also like to keep hold of packaging from any deliveries I receive in the post, as they are normally perfectly good enough to be used again.
4. Know your responsibilities
Selling on eBay comes with responsibility, so make sure you know that you are obliged to pay seller fees. I would suggest setting up your PayPal to pay these fees automatically, then you don’t need to worry about it and are less likely to notice the money going out.
Another responsibility is to tell the truth about your items- this ensures you will get an all important, good rating. If your item has only been worn a couple of times, let people know but don’t say it’s ‘unworn’ if it isn’t. Clothes that have been worn may times are obvious, especially if there’s unidentified holes and stains- you’ll only get complaints and returns, most likely resulting in struggles to sell again.
It is almost definitely the pictures that will sell an item on eBay. You don’t need a catwalk video or a model posing from all angles to show off an item, just a good quality photo that has a clear background and accurate representation of the colours. Use the photos to show what you would want to see when looking to buy the same item- typically this is the front, back and close ups of details such as collars, patterns or fabrics. I’d suggest also adding extra description about features or the fit that aren’t clear from photos, for example ‘hidden zip fastening’, ‘runs small for a size 10’ or ‘bead detailing on sleeve’.
eBay also suggest that you use your photos to show any flaws in your items as this will ensure buyers aren’t put off by uncertainty.
There’s plenty of other sites where you can consider selling your old clothes (Gumtree, Depop etc…) but I’ve always found that the guidance and help you get from eBay themselves ensures you won’t get caught out, whilst the large number of site users massively increases your chances of a worthwhile sell.