Beginners Guide to Selling on eBay

The easy steps to selling an item on eBay were made relevant by my goal of placing my collectible light blue, hook-lid teapot (created by the notorious pottery maker, Hall), in the popular online auction.

It is important to read the instructions on the eBay site ( ), to become a Seller (or a Buyer).

First, I found that I needed to Register to become a seller and to then set up a seller's account by providing valid credit/debit card and bank account information.  If I preferred to not provide this information, there was a choice to become Verified instead.

Next, an option for registering for eBay Payments is offered.  This enables a seller to use eBay’s easy way to accept buyers’ credit card and electronic check payments online.  Doing so before listing your first item for sale was recommended.

An Audio Tour of Selling is available to assist the new eBay Seller with the process of listing an item.  EBay also provides Tips for the various sections that a seller will need to consider.

The Sell Your Item Form is where I would need to create my eBay listing.  Several sections were available for me to complete:

--  Choose a Selling Format (e.g. eBay’s standard online auction format, setting a fixed price, using one’s own eBay Store, or listing an ad in the Real Estate category).

--  Select a Category  -- to choose the best place to list your item.  It is wise to familiarize yourself with categories ahead of time and to try searching for similar items to see where they are listed.

-- Writing a Title to describe your item is the next step and an important one.  You want to include the words that buyers would search for when looking for an item.  eBay provides Tips on Titles.
--  Item Specifics is a field that is only available for select categories.  If it appears, fill in the details to help your item sell fast.

--  Item Description – Describe and promote your item here.  Include measurements, material composition, age, condition of item (including specifics about flaws), whether the item is signed, numbered, dated, or marked with the manufacturer's name or symbol, etc.  You may also be creative in listing uses for it or in telling the history of the item if it is known.

--  Add Pictures – Show off your item with vivid pictures.  Using appropriate backgrounds with good lighting helps a lot.  You can use eBay Picture Services, which lets you add pictures straight from the selling form – and offers some attention-grabbing options.  Or, you can click Web Hosting to use your own hosting service.  In addition to showing the good features of the item, displaying a picture of flaws is one way to avoid complaints from buyers later.

--  Pricing and Duration --  You must decide how long you want your listing to run, how many items you are selling, and what your starting price will be.  If you want to use a reserve price or offer a "Buy It Now" option, this is the place to make those decisions.

--  Item Location – It is as simple as saying where you are located. Where you are located may affect shipping costs in some instances.

--  Increase Your Item's Visibility – Explore the many listing upgrades that can help your item stand out from the others.  Choose the options that are right for you.

--  Enter Payment and Shipping Information – How will you accept payment from your buyer when your listing ends?  Where will you be willing to ship your item and who will pay for that cost?  Will you offer insurance as an option or a requirement?  Do you ship internationally?  The more you fill out here, the easier the transaction will be.

--  Review and Submit your Listing.   – Now you will see a preview and a summary of its details.  Look this over carefully.  If you are satisfied and finished, submit your listing.  Behold, your listing actually begins!

Now I get to watch the bidding and eagerly waits for the final vultures who will competitively bid zillions of dollars at the last minute for myr museum-quality (?) teapot, formerly owned by the Queen herself (???), and passed on to me in tribute to my dedicated services.  Dream on!  Then again, maybe I really do have a rare treasure – a "must have" for some collector.  It's a good idea to put some effort into learning about an item beforehand.  However, if the item is a "dud" and no one bids on it, I can relist it and try again – maybe the person who "must have it" will be searching eBay at another time.

Okay, so I sell the teapot, and when the auction ends, I must now communicate with the Buyer.  I may have selected eBay's Checkout service, so after the buyer has completed Checkout, eBay will notify me by email.  If I hadn't specified shipping and payment details, the buyer can use Checkout to request this info.  I could also use Checkout to send the buyer an invoice.  If I preferred not to use Checkout, I could contact the buyer directly using e-mail.  Buyer and Seller are supposed to communicate within three days of the end of auction.

Receiving payment – If the buyer paid with eBay payments, I will receive an e-mail confirming this.  I may have preferred to receive a check, allowed it to clear, and to then prepare the item for shipping.

Ship the Item to the Buyer – Meticulous as I am, I packed the teapot with great care (maybe even double box it).  It should survive a drop from an F-16.  (I may also include some herbal tea and will paint a peaceful scene of a country cottage on the package).

Leave the Buyer Feedback – e-Bay's feedback system helps create a trustworthy community for everyone.  Feedback about the buyer is important information for other sellers.  Since I did such a good job as a Seller, the Buyer should leave excellent feedback for me as well.

I will now methodically hunt down things in her attic and basement to sell, will become addicted to garage and estate sales, and so will you when you start selling on eBay.

Again, take advantage of the excellent guidelines that eBay provides so that you can become an educated Seller (or Buyer).