You can read the tutorials. You can watch the youtube videos. But the real skills come from DOING IT. I speak from my own experience. In no way can I tell someone exactly how to become successful selling clothing on Ebay, or even how to boost existing sales (if you have already started). The ideas are floating around us, advice is spread, but it’s up to you to implement these tips into your own way of doing it.
When I started selling clothes in 2012, it was mainly on an experimental basis. I didn’t have much to work with. A simple Canon point-and-shoot camera and a 10 dollar hollow back plastic torso mannequin that I had bought on amazon. Most people don’t even have any kind of mannequin to work with! I had many clothes from Nordstrom, Guess, Bebe…hardly ever been worn, some never. I thought, ‘Great! These were really expensive when I bought them. I can probably get a lot of money back for them.’
Not the case. I soon realized that 50% off the MSRP wasn’t cutting it for my hardly used clothing. Why wasn’t anyone bidding? The retail for this Guess Sweater was well over $100, and I’m only starting it at $45 with $4.00 shipping. The auctions ended and no bids…I relist for $40, no bids. I relist for $35, no bids. $30…none.
No one likes to fail, and at times I’ve wanted to give up on eBay, but I took what I was doing wrong and turned it into a learning experience. After many trial and errors, I began to understand that there were many things I was doing wrong before. Now, note that it was wrong for ME, I can’t speak for everyone…but here are six steps or “trials” that I believe can help you sell clothing on eBay, which certainly cannot hurt to try:
Step One: Pick an item to sell and know what it is.
People often say when it comes to clothing, only certain brands will sell. There is some truth to that but mainly only for search reasons. Most buyers search by brand, but there are buyers who search other keywords. Out of the two million users a day on eBay, there’s bound to be a large chunk of people who are looking for clothing. Out of those people, how many styles of clothing do you think are desired by them? The variations are endless. There is a way to grab attention for any item you are selling, even if it’s really ugly. Know how to describe your item. Research terms that fit it well. Look up current trends and find similarities with your item. Know who your item is geared toward.
Step Two: Don’t take an “eBay” photo.
I can’t tell you how many photos I’ve seen where it is too dark, blurry, sideways, or looks like it was just thrown on the kitchen floor. Don’t be like them. A little extra effort goes a long way. It can mean the difference between selling an item and not. Oftentimes, I have bought items from sellers who had poor quality photos but great branded clothing, resold it for over double the price they sold it to me for. Amazing, right? Photos are so important because it is the first thing that lures your buyer in. They need to be crisp and bright and be displayed in a way we can imagine ourselves in. Many stock photos of clothing will depict a white background with a very vibrant focus on the item they are selling. They will often be displayed on a person, mannequin or laid symmetrically flat. You may not have the tools to be able to depict a photo like this, but it is your job to work with what you have creatively. The key things are bright and colorful, sharp, and symmetry.
Step Three: Keep a ruler at your side.
When it comes to clothing, measurements matter. It’s hard to shop online for clothes, let’s not make it harder by having them play a guessing game on how it will fit them. There are three necessary measurements: length, bust, and sleeve. Sometimes, it is good to add other measurements like the back shoulder width or the waist. If you want to be very detailed about it, you can even measure the width of the sleeve around the biceps area. Be sure to mention if the material stretches and how far. Anything you can say to describe the size of the item will definitely increase your sales. Studies have shown it and it worked for me too. So don’t question it, just do it.
Step Four: Know when to auction it or when to set a BIN.
Many people think eBay is a place to auction your stuff off. There is also another nifty way of selling your items using a Buy It Now (BIN). BINs are great, especially when you have a store. Now, you may not actually have a store because it may not be for you although I suggest purchasing a store right away if you plan to be serious about selling. Auctions are a great way to start selling, but DO NOT start your auctions at a high price. Lower your expectations, especially when first starting out.
I mainly use BINs in my store, but there are two reasons I use auction sometimes. For one, to let go of items that I’ve had in the store for a long time. Second, a highly desirable item on an auction starting at a low price can really boost visibility and increase sales on other items. Sure, I start my auctions at 99 cents and I may only sell it for that much. But if you look at the ups and downs in bulk, you should still be doing alright.
Step Five: Have you heard everybody loves free shipping?
It is a topic up for debate, but I do firmly believe in free shipping. Not only is it attractive to buyers, but your listings will get a higher placement in search results. This means higher priority, more visibility. You may find yourself losing a little money on shipping at first, but the consistency of the deal will drive in more buyers for you. Research the cheapest ways to ship and you may be able to work it into your system of selling. If you often sell heavier items, this method may not work the best for you. If you do plan on charging, research the exact cost of shipping for your item before list it. It is a buyer’s pet peeve to find a seller who is trying to make money off shipping.
Step Six: Ensure that your feedback will always stay positive.
Some buyers can be the most conniving, evil, self-centered… Well, you get the picture, it can be very difficult to please everyone. The key things to focus on are thorough item descriptions, fast communication, delivering fast, and free or low shipping costs. As I have mentioned before, make sure you know about your items that you are listing so you may describe them well. Also charging free or low shipping can boost your sales or keep customers happy. As for communication, I suggest getting the eBay app on your phone. You can set it to alert you whenever you get a message. Talk about fast! People enjoy a fast response, especially if they have a question about that dress they want to get for this Saturday night’s event. Communicate fast and deliver fast. Once a someone buys an item, try to ship it the next day or within a day. When people receive amazing service they are more likely to remember you and give you positive feedback so you can keep building into a greater, happy seller.
Written by: Ariel Oye