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How To Sell on eBay

Nick Nikolaiev
Co-founder @ Casual
Get a pre-made project plan based on this how-to guide.
The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide of how you can sell anything on eBay. Hacks, tips and case studies from successful sellers.


eBay is one of the biggest and baddest online marketplaces out there with over 150 million users bidding, selling and buying each day. It’s like a cave of wonders where you can set anything on sale: from clothes and books to vintage baseball gloves and film cameras.

But you are probably wondering, is selling on eBay worth the hassle? Yes. Successful eBay entrepreneurs started small and generated a steady income flow to replace their full-time jobs. If you don’t plan to quit your job, selling items at eBay can generate additional income steam and help you de-clutter your home. 

Want to know the best part? You don’t need to have upfront inventory or invest money before you start earning! Just your laptop and Internet connection! 

Ready to give a try for selling on eBay? 

1: Choose your marketplace

Choose whether you’d like to go global and use international with payments made in USD, or a localized version e.g. with payments made in UK pounds. Don’t forget that you’ll have to cover shipping fees as well, so it might be easier to start selling locally at first. 

2: Set up your business account

Another step to start selling on eBay is to brainstorm a catchy, easy-to-remember business name. Then include your address details, email and contact phone number. Afterward, add your Paypal account to receive payments. 

Get verified

Complete eBay ID verification process (less than 5 min) to pass through numerous restrictions imposed on new sellers.

Set up your store page

The competition is tough and you will need to stand out of the crowd if you want your goods to be found and purchased. eBay allows you to sell something  as an individual seller or create a personalized store front. Opt for the latter if you have numerous goods to dispatch and plan to get a lot of business done at once.

Optimize product titles

In 80 words you’ll have to explain what exactly are you selling.

Include 1-3 relevant keywords to each product title to make it rank higher in search results.
Try to think like a person who is searching for your item would think– says, Mitzi Swisher of Vintage Goodness. For example: You are trying to sell an old Minolta film camera. 
  • Bad title: Working Minolta camera for sale 
  • Winning title: Minolta XG-1 35MM SLR Film Camera with 45MM Lens. 
Name and model of the camera + keyword 1 (film camera) + keyword 2 (45mm lens). 

Writing in capitalized letters also helps to attract users attention. You can play with keywords and change them later on in the title for better performance. For instance, if you are selling jewelry you can add season keywords e.g. Valentine Day Charms or Diamond Christmas Love Lock etc. 

Does your item have an unusual feature e.g. rare color? Make sure you mention that in the title too! It will help successfully sell on eBay.

Optimize product descriptions

The best practice is to include at least 200 words description for each item on sale with the most important keywords listed at the beginning and in the end.

Fill out every field of your listing, and make sure your text description gives a LOT of information about the item. Again, imagine you are the buyer planning to spend $200 for a vintage plate set. You would like to know each and every tiny detail about the product before giving away the money.

Style the text with headlines and bold fonts to attract more attention and make sure you list all product specifications e.g. size, material, colors etc.

Choose the right category listing

For an extra fee you can choose to list your product in more than one category.

Add crisp photos

Image can make or break a sale. A blurry, dark photo won’ t help you win any sales. eBay allows to upload up to 12 pictures for free. Include at least 2-4 where your product’s visible from different angles. Edit your photos with free editors like Canva or PicMonkey to make them irresistibly attractive. Lifehacker offers more tips how you can shoot better photos for things you sell online.

Run a quick price research

Type your product keyword to eBay’s search and choose Completed Listings only. Sort the results by “Price + Shipping: Highest First.” And analyze the prices for sold items (marked green) and unsold (red ones). Selling a branded product? Check out the prices on top 5 ecommerce sites selling the same product. You can also grab more information about the item from there to put it into your description and make it look more professional.

Calculate the total price

Don’t forget to include eBay seller’s fees and shipping costs to the total price. Alternatively, you can offer free shipping to selected regions only and add extra shipping fees for sellers based outside your area.

Choose your price model

Here are the two main ways how you can sell something on eBay:

• Fixed Price Model: set your price and wait till the buyer makes the purchase. First to come – first to get.

• Product Auction: determine the minimal starting price for your product, set the action time, and invite buyers to bid. The last bidder offering the highest price gets the product.

Auctions, if tackled correctly, can potentially bring you more income than selling an item for a flat rate. In a moment you will get to know the exact hacks about selling items via auction.

Fixed price model works best when you are selling the same multiple items or would like to dispatch the product the soonest possible.

Clearly outline your terms and conditions, shipping policy, warranty and guaranty

EBay success is based on user reviews. To avoid misunderstandings and negative feedbacks at the first place, clearly list all your policies. You can use existing templates and make sure you break Terms and Conditions into sections and include bulletin points to highlight the most essential information for readers.

Here’s a handy cheat-sheet to help your formatting your texts in HTML.

Develop a listing schedule

If you are running an auction, consider the best time for starting and ending it for each particular product. For instance, jewelry and hand-made items sell best before Valentines Day and holidays. In time, you’ll notice the days and times when your products do best and start keeping a listing schedule. Your regular buyers will learn when you post them, and you will start getting better results selling items on eBay.

Double-check everything and press publish button.

Re-read your descriptions once again to avoid any typos or spelling mistakes (editing when the auction already started would be more difficult). Make sure everything looks good and there’s no odd formatting. Share your product on your social media once it’s published as you never know if one of your friends is looking to buy the exact thing you sell.

Start marketing your products

eBay has a huge amount of traffic and a huge amount of listings added daily. Here’s the deal: you can attract thousands of eyeballs to your listing with the next simple hacks most sellers ignore.

Add an About Me page to your store

Include information about yourself, links to your website and social media for extra credibility.

Ideas for winning About Me page on eBay

• Mention your hobbies and interests. If you are selling vintage items, explain why you love them and how you use. Potential buyers could emotionally relate to your passion.

• Include feedback from your previous customers to encourage the new ones.

• Soft sell your products. Mention why they stand up from the crowd.

• Mention if you run eBay business full-time or have another career as well. Let the world know more about you!

Feed the frenzy

David Early, a veteran eBay seller suggests: “You can feed a bidding frenzy on your item by using a low opening bid price and no Reserve, which should attract more bidders at the outset. 

The more people bidding on your listing, the more likely that two or more of them will get drawn into a personal bidding war. At that point, winning the item becomes almost as important as the product they want to buy, and these bidders might eventually pay more than they intended to pay”

Develop a specialty

The most profitable eBay sellers usually specialize in a certain group of products. For instance, Jody Rogers and Asad Bangash discovered that ethnic products, Indian henna, bangles and traditional Indian shoes in particular, were not widely sold on eBay. They’ve tapped into the spare niche and now earn around $20.000 per month. The duo had a huge interest in ethic products from the start and were particularly passionate about the subject, learning everything about it and gradually becoming experts in the niche. 

In a nutshell: To Create a Massively Popular eBay Business You Need To a) Find the products you are particularly passionate about. b) Research the spare niche you can easily tap into c) Demonstrate your strong expertise to the buyers.

Monitor your competition

If your item’s not selling particularly great, don’t be afraid to put it away till your competitor sells out. Follow top sellers in your niche, monitor their sales and strategies they use to sell things on eBay. If you both have similar items listed, attract buyers with unique feature e.g. free shipping.

Advertise other listings in your product description

Visibility is the top factor in any listing’s success. The more bidders you attract – the more income you can potentially generate.
Add a quick reminder into your product description that your customers can save money on shipping costs when purchasing multiple items at a time.  Here’s a simple HTML code for this:
<a href="                          ViewSellers OtherItems&userid=my_user_id">Check out my other auctions</a> - bid on multiple items and save on shipping!
• my_user_id is your eBay member ID

If you have 2+ closely associated items on sale at one time or sell an item and accessories separately, for instance, a photo camera and additional lenses; add this simple code into your listing:
Note: I'm also selling a genuine leather case for this Camera

<a href=  "">here</a> and a travel charger <a href=  "">here</a>. Bid on multiple items and save on shipping!
The information would be better visible compared to "View seller's other items" link. Your bidders can quickly flip between your related auctions, and you can generate more bids in the result.

Add a floating Contact Link in Your Listings

Make it incredibly easy to contact you by using the following JavaScript that ensures a Contact Seller link is always visible. Timely replies and genuine communication encourage the buyers to commit more purchases from you!

<script language="JavaScript"><!- function MoveBox() {    if (document.getElementById&&!document.all) {     BoxLayer = document.getElementById('ContactSeller');     if ( != pageYOffset) { = pageYOffset;     }   }   else if (navigator.appName == "Microsoft Internet Explorer"            && navigator.appVersion.substring(0, 1) >= "4") {       if ( != document.body.scrollTop) { = document.body.scrollTop;       }     }     setTimeout ('MoveBox()', 50);    }    setTimeout ('MoveBox()', 50);    function contactSeller() {       for (var i=0; i < document.links.length; i++) {       if (document.links[i].href.indexOf('ShowCoreAskSellerQuestion') > 0) {[i].href);       }     }   }  //--></script>  <div id="ContactSeller" align=right           style="position: absolute; width: 99%; z-index: 0; clip:auto;">   <a href="javascript:contactSeller();">Ask seller a question</a>   </div>

WOW your customers with 360-degree view of your product

Give them a snazzy showroom feel most e-commerce sites successfully utilize with another java script and a few good photos.

Take photos of all sides of the item. Four or five images would work best to create a spinning effect to sell stuff. Add the following code in your product description:

<script language="JavaScript">
<!-- var lastimg = "1";

view1 = new Image(300,225);
view2 = new Image(300,225);
view3 = new Image(300,225);
view4 = new Image(300,225);
view5 = new Image(300,225);
view6 = new Image(300,225);
view7 = new Image(300,225);
view8 = new Image(300,225);

view1.src=""; view2.src=""; view3.src=""; view4.src=""; view5.src=""; view6.src=""; view7.src=""; view8.src=""; 

slider = new Image(20,20);
thumb = new Image(20,20);
slider.src=""; thumb.src=""; 

function rotate(img)
{ document.images['view'].src = eval("view" + img + ".src"); 
document.images[lastimg].src = slider.src; 
document.images[img].src = thumb.src; 
lastimg = eval(img); [8] }

 // --></script>

<table width=300

<img src="" width=20 height=20 name="1" onMouseOver="rotate('1');"><img src="" width=20 height=20 name="2" onMouseOver="rotate('2');"><img src="" width=20 height=20 name="3" onMouseOver="rotate('3');"><img src="" width=20 height=20 name="4" onMouseOver="rotate('4');"><img src="" width=20 height=20 name="5" onMouseOver="rotate('5');"><img src="" width=20 height=20 name="6" onMouseOver="rotate('6');"><img src="" width=20 height=20 name="7" onMouseOver="rotate('7');"><img src="" width=20 height=20 name="8" onMouseOver="rotate('8');">

</nobr><br> Move the slider to rotate the object </td></tr> </table>

You'll need to replace the image URLs with the addresses of your own images, and the dimensions with the dimensions of your frames.

You can learn here how to customize the slider even more.

Nail expectation management

To avoid negative feedback and long, unnecessary drags with an unhappy buyer learn to master their expectation in the first place. 

The key to successful selling on eBay is to balance between making your product look good and setting reasonable expectations. Here’s a quick checklist to help you craft proper product descriptions: 

• How new is your product? Instead of writing “like new” opt for “mint condition”. No matter how good the product is, the buyer who just paid $500 would still expect more than you could possibly deliver. 

• How used is it? List all the flaws despite how insignificant they may seem. Blunt honesty will win trust from your buyer. 

• Is it broken? Selling broken things can be profitable on eBay, however clearly outline what's exactly wrong with the item. 

• Are you a smoker? When selling clothes, dolls, camping gear and other stuff that can trap odor, clearly mention if it was held in a non-smoking environment. Or make sure you clean it well. 

• Did you measure your items? That’s a no-brainer for clothes and large objects, yet if you are selling certain items without being 100% sure about the model e.g. vintage locomotive, include measure into your description, so that the buyer could identify whether it is the model he’s been searching for. 

• Did you mention what’s included? Always provide information about additional items included like original box, manuals, accessories, price tags etc. to sell on eBay.

• Did you outline payment methods you accept? Don’t forget to mention it’s PayPal only or USD only to avoid extra fees and confusions.

5. Master the shipping process

Yay! You’ve just sold your first item on Ebay! Wait no longer, it’s time to pack it and ship it to the new happy owner. Remember, you should dispatch your item as early as possible esp if you are shipping abroad.

Have regular shipping days on and off

Clearly state those days in your listing, so the buyers knew when they can expect their parcel.

Use in-built postage service from PayPal

You can purchase postage and print labels from both UPS and the USPS directly from your PayPal account. It's a huge time-saver.

Be reasonable with shipping costs

Baiting buyers with low price and huge shipping fees will only make them choose other listings with more balanced pricing.

Include a Shipping Cost Calculator in Your Listing

When listing a product, you can just choose the "calculated shipping" option. Just specify your Zip Code, the weight and dimensions of your item, and one or more shipping methods you prefer to use, and eBay will let the bidders determine shipping costs on their own. You can even add an extra shipping surcharge to cover your packaging costs.

Schedule courier pickups through the USPS website

It’s free. All you have to do is pay the postage, and your regular mail carrier will come to get your packages. That’s essential when you order items for re-selling.

Run your business!

Congrats, you’ve made it till the end of the copy. You are determined and ready to launch your eBay store. Make sure your buyers are happy and encourage them to leave positive feedback.

Need some inspiration? Here are 3 success stories from our favorite eBay PowerSellers:

Entrepreneur: Elizabeth Bennett
Store: AfricaDirect
What she sells: African clothing, art and other collectibles
Revenue: $1.2 million

Elizabeth started selling beads on eBay back in 1997 and was really surprised when she earned her first $50 in a week. Today, her company employs 7 and involves buying and selling unique items from authentic African traders including textile, masks and other handcrafted goods. Biggest challenge? Shipping fragile and unusually shaped items, like a 7-foot tool wooden giraffe statue.

Entrepreneur: Sarah Davis
Store: Fashionphile
What she sells: Designer handbags
Revenue: $4 million

Sarah discovered eBay when she was standing in line at the kid’s store next to a woman who bought blankets are re-sold them on eBay for twice as much. She started out selling pre-owned vintage designer bags from her college dorm and now runs a multi-million store with 12 other employees (most are her relatives). Biggest challenge? Hunting for unique items on flea markets around the world and negotiating the best prices.

Entrepreneur: Jordan Insley
Store: QuickShipElectronics
What he sells: Electronics
Revenue: More than $8 million

Jordan started with selling sports memorabilia on eBay and switched to phones and cameras in a few years as the niche had low competition back in those days. His 9 employee company today sales everything from iPods to plasma TVs and computers. Insley notes: “We have grown to the point where companies are coming to us to sell their products because they know we do a great job and make all of our customers happy.” Biggest challenge? Making the transition from a hobby seller to a full-time entrepreneur living of the auction. Yet, there has never been a day when I have regretted the decision.
Story by
Nick Nikolaiev
Co-founder @ Casual