I am new to eBay and I was wondering if anyone could tell me the best time of day or night to target buyers by age, gender, and sex? I am so new that I haven't even sold anything yet. Thanks.
Hannah from Asheboro, NC
I have been selling my handmade seamstress items now on eBay for about 5 years and do really well. After the first 1-2 years of selling, people would buy certain items they liked and then started custom ordering from me of those things. So now I have about 30 repeat buyers who will custom order from me. It really depends on what your selling.
Before I list any item, I search for an item like it or similar and watch it to see how it did, how many times it got viewed, what category it was listed in. I think that the key to a good sale is the right category. There are millions of categories for listing something. It is true that penny starting bids or 99 cent starting bids will encourage a bid for your item, but you have to take into consideration what you have in the item your selling as to not loose money on it. The goal is to make money on it or at least break even not loose money on it and go in the hole.
Since I make and sell fabric items I keep a log book here at my at home studio room that lists my cost for fabric per yard and each sewing notion I buy like zippers, elastic, batting, etc. And each time something is made and finished I figure out what cost from each of those supplies I have in that item so I can know what my selling cost will have to be. So if I know I have say $5.99 in the complete item as cost I know I would want at least $10 from the item if possible. So I start my bid out at $5 which is what I have in it and if it goes no higher than the $5 then I only made what I had in it and did not loose money, just broke even.
But most times because it is a one of a kind item that people like and know they cannot find elsewhere it sells for the price I hope for or more. I saw on a craft show that it said you are supposed to figure up the cost you have in something you have made then set your sale price at 3 times that. But on eBay I have found very seldom do things sell at "buy it now" for the exact price I would ask for. So I feel auction style is best.
And buyers always pay for shipping not you. Unless you offer free shipping which is a way to encourage them to buy, but again depending on the weight of the item you will loose money if it is heavy and cost a lot to ship. Be fair and accurate on shipping when the buyer is paying or they will not come back to you again. I bought a postal scale and I weigh the item after it is wrapped in poly bags. I figure the weight of it going to California from my location and name that price. Or you can list the weight of it and they use the shipping calculator which shows them exactly what it will cost them.
I feel that listing an item on a Thursday night or Sunday night is best in the 7 free days you have to list. That way you get 2 weekends almost for it to be viewed. And paypal is free to set up as your payment method. You get your money right then from your buyer just specify when payment is due in your description. I make mine 2 days. And a paypal debit account and card is free. As they pay with paypal the money will go into your account and you can either use it at stores, etc. using your paypal debit card or opt to transfer your funds to your own checking account which is free, but takes 3-4 days.
I use online mailing with paypal, too. I use to have to go to the post office to mail things, but with online mailing of printing your labels there is no driving which saves you gas cost. All you do on that is after your item sells and they have paid with paypal you just click on print shipping label and it will bring up the USPS web site (or you can pick UPS carrier if you like) and it will as you the weight, etc. Then you just print out the shipping label and add it too your item. Then put it in your mail box for pickup or even schedule a free pickup with your carrier if its a big item. Using paypal to print the shipping label always gives you free delivery confirmation. I use to buy self adhesive shipping labels, but now I just print on plain typing paper and tape it to my items to ship.
The winter and fall months are the slowest months to sell on eBay, depending on what your selling of course. I wish you good luck. I would try it and see how you do. (02/21/2009)
People just aren't really buying right now. For impulse buys the best time to list is probably late night Friday, Sunday, Monday. Monday morning is another of the times when people are just surfing. For more direct buys: be sure to fill the title with search words. Pair similar things in a "lot", buyers like to save on shipping and eBay can only charge you once.
As a seller for the last 5+ years, eBay is not the best way to get money. You will still get charged eBay fees if it doesn't sell. If it does sell they charge you more money still, as does paypal, the only payment allowed in eBay. For each item you sell (under $10.00) you will have a fee total of about $2.00. On top of that you have to ship the item and make sure you charge the right amount or you will lose more money. But the catch is buyers don't want to pay for "high" shipping costs and you still have to buy packing tape, find boxes, and packing peanuts.
You will make some money selling goods, but you will not get your money back from what you spent on the item originally, and if you do, you will still lose money on unsold or undersold items. And there is the feedback you need to worry about, they can give you a bad rating and you can only give them a good one. And the Postal service will lose your packages. Then the buyer will get their money back and you will have paid shipping and fees for nothing.
I don't mean to be so negative, just a warning. Try www.craigslist.org first. You can list online, with photos and it is free. You can sell to locals (they pick up) or you can ship wherever. I really do wish you the best of luck. eBay can be very stressful. (02/21/2009)
eBay is only stressful if you do not do all you can to be honest with your interested buyers. It is true that paypal takes out fees, but it is easier than taking money orders or checks from buyers who may rip you off. With paypal it is safe and you as a buyer or your buyers can get their money back if both parties agree. But if you state clearly in your description (as eBay requires now) about your return or refund policy then you are covered. I do not give returns or refunds. And I clearly state that both in my description and the listing fields required when listing and state "As Is Sale".
Make sure you also add to your description, " Ask all questions prior to bidding". If it is something like used VHS movies or clothes or even like new items like cookware, etc. It is true you will never get what you paid for them after selling them. But if you are going to get rid of them anyway, like clothes your kids have outgrown, then just add the fees up as you go and make sure your starting price has included the eBay fees. That way you will make that price or higher and not go in the hole.
The key thing to selling on eBay is be honest and fair especially with shipping fees. If you do that you will not get negative feedback. It tells you as you list an item what the fee will be. And it even tells you what fee will be deducted from the selling price when sold. So as you're listing the item you can opt to stop at that point if you do not agree or think it is to high.
eBay only gives you 1 free picture per item. And if you do the cheapest way of listing your item it only cost 35 cents for a 7 day run. Its the sellers who go for the gusto and list an item with too many bells and whistles and when the item does not sell they complain.
I discovered "auctiva" about 2 years into selling on eBay and I love it. They team with eBay and its free. But again just use the free basic "auctiva" and it helps your things sell. They give you 10 free pictures per item, they have thousands of free templates to use in your items auction. All you do is sign up free with "auctiva", make sure your signed in to eBay as you list an item. Listing it through "auctiva" you will get so many more hits and people can see your 10 supersized pictures.
Also after you get your eBay user name and begin to sell, if you look you will see two things (tools) you can use on your eBay account to help buyers when they search for items on eBay. It is called "tag items". And you should do both the " Me page" and the "Myworld page" on your eBay user name. Both of them, when you fill out those categories telling what you sell often will be listed there so that when a buyer searches for that item in the search field it will bring you up as a seller with that item so they see it.
It is very important to list in the items subject title exactly what it is so each word will be found when they search for it. For example if are selling your kids used clothes in a lot of 4 pair of jeans, don't just put in your title "4 jeans really cute" or words they will not search for. List it like this specifying the size color and amount and by putting in the word "lot", because people search for lot you get more hits. So you would put it like this "Lot of 4 jeans Old Navy, girls Sz 6 mths." That way if they are looking for a certain brand they will find it faster through search and abbreviate words like size which saves your amount of letters you are given per title.
Etsy.com is a great place to sell also. They offer lots of free and extended things per sale item. But I feel eBay is a better place that gets more people. As far as the shipping tools go that you will need like boxes, etc. to ship items in, my fabric items I make are lightweight so I use white polybags for shipping. They are sold anywhere, but I buy mine on eBay and get 100 bags for like $5 and they last me forever.
If it is bigger items then just start collecting boxes and recycle them with using newspapers etc. if shipping parcel post. If your shipping priority then those boxes are free, just while on line and you are scheduling an "at home pickup" from your carrier, also mention in the note field there how many and what size priority boxes you need and they will leave them with you free. If you do online paypal shipping printing labels delivery confirmation is free so you can track when your package arrives to the buyer. Seldom do the items get lost at the USPS.
Before you even sell your first item use your blocks on eBay like: buyers with less than 10 feedback, no one with paypal, etc. And I only ship within the US which eliminates the red tape of filling out forms etc. Most over seas has no tracking method, also. If you see someone has bid on your item and you have read their feedback and see they are a person who pays late, etc. You have the right at anytime to cancel that bid before the auction closes. To sell from home on the specialty items you can provide like I do. Even just selling your books, etc. or kids clothing it's a way to sell from home and make money from them if you did not want anymore anyway in order to make extra money.
Also, I watch my bill that has to be paid to eBay each month and pay as it builds up from my money coming in, as to never be in the negative. I would not get discouraged from others saying to not do eBay. I would try it at least a few times to see what you think. I sell my fabric items now, but the first thing I ever sold was 5 old war pictures that sold for $130 which I could not believe, after 37 bids on them that I began my bid out at $1.99. Most likely will never happen again, but sure was nice then. Good luck. (02/21/2009)
I've been selling on eBay since Sept. 02. I strongly advise that you start crawling before you start to walk. Start bidding on eBay and win a few auctions here and there. Give yourself at least 6 months to one year before you become a seller. The best time to start auctions is on a Sunday night, so that the auctions will end on the following Sunday night. I used to add a small handling fee on to the shipping cost, but no longer do that since USPS has to raise their rates, because of rising fuel costs.
What the post office charges me, is what the buyer pays. I don't make any money on shipping because it's not fair to the buyer. I also refund money back to the buyer if I overestimated the cost of shipping their package.
I do require USPS shipping insurance on all my auctions. If the package gets lost or destroyed in the postal system I can file an insurance claim. I no longer give the option to the buyer. It is my responsibility as a seller to make sure that the buyer receives their package. I've read on many an eBay message board of how sellers have argued that once the package leaves their hands and has been mailed, they are no longer responsible for their package, hog wash.
Let me give you an example, you order some items over the internet, pay for them with a credit card. The company ships the package to your house, and you never receive the package. Who is held responsible for your package? Surely not the buyer. The company has to make good, because you never received your merchandise. That's why I require shipping insurance. I had to learn the hard way when a few packages got lost in the postal system. USPS will not trace a lost package if it was mailed without insurance.
Also when the buyer receives the package and they discover that a fragile item is damaged in transit, according to USPS, the carton, item, and all packing materials have to be brought to the post office for close inspection. The post office can evaluate whether it was the fault of the seller or USPS. Years ago my husband won a ceramic cup on eBay and the seller wrapped the cup in one piece of newspaper, put it into a box and shipped it that way. My husband contacted the seller and he got his money back. Then the seller had the audacity to blame the post office for breaking it.
Be very careful using paypal. We had someone hack into our account from another country. They tried first to access our checking account. When our bank blocked the transaction, they tried to do a Western Union transfer for $1000. We didn't answer any bad emails. Had to contact the police and file a report. Be very careful with Paypal. (02/22/2009)
By 79 kokomo
Take a good look at what you're selling. For example, I'm starting an auction for baby shoes. Now, who's going to buy them? Young mothers and grandmothers, most likely. When would they most likely have a few free moments to check my auction and raise their bid, if necessary? Well, there are 2 times identified as the "best". One is to have the auction begin at 1 p.m. EST on Saturdays. The theory is that dads might be home, helping Mom out a bit and she'll be clear headed to hit the eBay site.
The other is to have the auction begin at 8:00 pm EST on Sundays. Most families are home on Sunday evenings and those who attend church meetings would likely be home by this time. On the West Coast, the busy California Mother is preparing dinner at 5 p.m. and can hop on the internet at this time. I think it's a manner of common sense. I sure wouldn't start an auction that will appeal to men mid-day during the week as many will be working and will not have legitimate access to e-Bay.
Just go slow, read every tutorial put out by eBay for new sellers, and follow what they say. If you admire an ad by a particular seller, write them and tell them so. Explain that you are brand new to selling and would wonder if they could give you answers to just a couple of questions due to their obvious class, professionalism, and success. Every time I've done that, the person has immediately written back and we've been friends now for years. Sellers are kind and very helpful. A good seller knows that there's plenty of business for everyone.
When the end of the auction is near, you want people to be awake and not distracted, so they can get into a bidding war if that is what they want to do. So, I usually begin mine around 7:00 pm, so they will end there. I often start on a Sunday, so people will most likely be at home.
Avoid breakable things, and never, I mean never, return money for anything breakable, unless the buyer provides a photo. I had a gal once say the cups I sold and shipped were broken, but she wouldn't provide evidence. Those people just want the item and their money back.
Small things sell faster. You can sell larger, but confine the auctions to within 50 miles of your home town. You can offer to deliver it or have the buyer pick it up, saving a lot of money and time.
I suggest letting eBay survive on it's own, and sell on Craigslist. It's free, you get four photos, it's on for 45 days, and people come to you with money. No shipping, negative feedback, or expense.
Good luck. (02/23/2009)
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