When it was founded in 1995, eBay revolutionized the way we shop by creating the world’s first online marketplace where practically anyone could buy or sell anything. Today, it has 90 million users around the world—and it’s not just about auctions anymore. Read on to learn 10 insider secrets on buying and selling on eBay.
1. You don’t have to engage in a bidding war to get what you want.
Nearly 60 percent of eBay listings now offer a fixed-price format — just look for the “Buy It Now” logo, which allows you to pay a predetermined price and skip the auction process altogether. You might end up paying a higher price than you would have in the auction, but you’re guaranteed to get the item. If the “Buy It Now” price is too high for you, look for a “Best Offer” logo. You submit your best offer, and the seller can accept or decline your suggested price, or even make a counteroffer.
2. You can save up to 90 percent on brand-new, fixed-price items with eBay’s Daily Deals.
“These days, a good deal is a must,” says Evonne Gomez, an eBay spokeswoman. The site works with trusted sellers to offer limited quantities daily of new, deeply discounted, fixed-price items. Buyers can save between 20 and 90 percent, and shipping is always free. “The only catch is that with such low prices and limited quantities, once they’re gone, they’re gone,” says Gomez. She’s not kidding: 2,000 Toshiba LCD TVs discounted to $279.99 sold out in just 26 minutes through eBay’s Daily Deals. With a different deal being posted every day, you’ll want to check out eBay.com/Deals to see what’s up for grabs today.
3. You can save up to 80 percent off brand-new, designer labels in eBay’s Fashion Vault.
The sales at FashionVault.eBay.com may last only 60 hours, but they offer deeply discounted pieces from sellers with established relationships with major designers and brands. Fashion Vault recently featured men’s and women’s Raymond Weil watches at 65 percent off with free shipping. Fashionable finds are incredibly popular on the regular site as well, where a “fashion” tab has been added. “eBay is one of the largest retailers of clothing, shoes and accessories on the Web,” says Brad Schepp, bestselling coauthor of eBay Powerseller Secrets. In fact, a dress sells every 12 seconds on eBay!
4. eBay takes brand names seriously.
“You can’t use phrases like ‘just like Gucci’ or ‘Tommy Bahama–style shirt,’” says Skip McGrath, an eBay Powerseller since 1999 and coauthor of "The Complete Idiot’s Guide to eBay". “If you use any brand name in your title or listing, you must actually be selling the brand.” eBay takes terms like “new” and “used” seriously, too: You can’t say “like new” if you mean “used.”
5. You can design your own diamond ring on eBay.
Go to Diamonds.eBay.com to select from thousands of diamonds in every price range, and then design your own ring setting with up to five diamonds. Each diamond is certified and conflict-free (the seller certifies that the diamond was not illegally traded or sold to fund conflict in war-torn areas of Africa), and if you don’t like it, you can return it.
6. You can save green and buy green.
eBay makes it easy to shop with the environment in mind by handpicking preowned, sustainable and energy-saving products to feature at Green.eBay.com. Everything on the “green” area of the site must meet three qualifications: Products must be used or preowned, made from sustainable materials and save resources in the long run. “The site was inspired by the momentum around our eBay Green Team, a community of more than 225,000 buyers, sellers and employees who shop smarter and greener every day,” says Gomez.
7. You can shop locally on eBay.
Enter your zip code and shop eBay Classifieds at eBayClassifieds.com, where you can buy and sell items, look at job postings, post your résumé, advertise a service or post a house listing—all for free. “It’s a great place to post and shop for bulky items, like dressers, strollers or patio furniture, since shipping isn’t required,” says Gomez. eBay doesn’t offer any sort of buyer protection programs, but it does police the postings and does not allow any “personal” ads.
8. eBay guarantees every sale…
It’s hard not to be apprehensive about sending your money to a stranger, but eBay’s Buyer Protection Program guarantees that if you don’t receive your item or it doesn’t match the listing description, eBay will refund you the full amount. If you’re a seller, you have the option of purchasing shipping insurance for each item you send. “A seller’s reputation is paramount,” says Gomez. “Our most successful sellers know the value of creating a descriptive listing and providing clear photos so that the buyer knows exactly what to expect.”
9. …but some scams still exist on the site.
“You need to carefully read listings that seem too good to be true,” says Schepp, who notes that some sellers try to beat the system by selling items impossibly cheap and then charging outrageous shipping rates. “eBay is policing the site more closely now for this sort of thing, but it still happens.” McGrath recommends buying from sellers that advertise a flat shipping price upfront, like he does. “I’m on the West Coast, so I figure the cost of shipping to St. Louis, in the middle of the country,” says McGrath. “If I end up shipping to the East Coast, I might lose a little but over time it averages out and I get more sales because buyers know the shipping cost before they bid.”
10. It pays for sellers to make the auction item stand out.
For a minimal price, you can select a template that lets you put your photos to the left or right of the description, so readers can look at the item while they read. According to McGrath, research shows that this increases bidding and final sales. Another tactic: “Almost all sellers start and end auctions at even times, like 6:00 or 6:30,” says McGrath. “But if you start your auctions at odd times like 5:57 or 6:27, you’ll appear ahead of your competition in search results for auctions ending soonest.”
This article originally appeared on WomansDay.com and is republished here with permission.