By Savitre “Rapture” Schaefferkoetter, Staff Writer
In today’s economic, time-stressed society, selling your goods online can be an easy way to supplement one’s income.
I started an online business not out of dissatisfaction with my current career(s). Rather, my recently retired dad, who was decluttering his storage shed, passed down leather goods to me.
“Sell them on eBay if you don’t want them,” my mom suggested.
I was enraptured with cleaning and conditioning the leather. Upon completion, I realized I couldn’t sell leather goods during this blundering, summer heat. It was too late, but I was bitten by the bug of ambition. I hunted for other items in the house that could be sellable. Before long, I became a part of the online resale marketplace.
Times are financially tough for majority of Americans, which results in looking for ways to save and earn more money. Enter the online marketplace, where people can easily sell unwanted goods and use the money to buy others’ unwanted goods- or to save up for a long-term financial goal. Although sites like Shopify and Etsy are on the rise, I chose eBay because of previous experience reselling textbooks.
According to Ecommerce Guide, “eBay is an ‘anything goes’ type of marketplace.” The website is an established platform with a vast audience and its own mobile app. I utilize the iPhone version of the app for communicating with customers and checking on the products’ statuses. eBay also provides a discount for purchasing shipping labels, and gives you the option of relisting a product past the usual week-long period if it does not sell.
Another neat factor about eBay is their partnership with the secure banking site, PayPal. PayPal serves to speed along bank-to-bank transactions and a convenient extra account for the user to set aside money for the aforementioned shipping labels and monthly eBay seller’s fees. According to Ecommerce Guide, they take 10 percent off sales. The 10-percent commission may serve as a bonus or a deficit when considering what site is best for you.
Once you set up your marketplace, gather some materials. Collect cardboard boxes and manila envelopes. See if you can scrounge some left over from your main job (if applicable) or any friendly, local businesses. You will also need good packing tape, bubble wrap and packing peanuts or newspaper. A giant marker is useful in case you need to cross out irrelevant information on the cardboard boxes, or if you need to mark the package as fragile. Measuring tape is useful for listing dimensions of your items. Scissors are helpful for cutting the shipping labels to size. Lastly, a dry erase board and marker helps to keep track of items to sell and to begin writing down descriptive information about each before listing online.
When writing the description, be honest and original. If your item is gently used, with some wear and tear, say so. Honesty will avoid a potential refund. If a dress made you feel like a rockstar when you wore it, or it was a piece of artwork for your Great Gatsby themed living room, then don’t be shy in listing that as a selling point. You’d be surprised how your language may speak to another customer.
Price wisely. Consider if you want to make a profit on the item or are looking to just get rid of it. Consider if you want the seller to pay for shipping or would you like to cover it instead. eBay may suggest a price range as it compares similarly sold items to yours. What I found more useful is to do a simple Google shopping search to see how much your item is selling for across multiple sites.
Here, I offer a caveat: do not take packing of fragile items lightly! Wrap copious layers of bubble wrap around each item, and secure the item with packing tape. Use an appropriately sized box and stuff any extra space with packing peanuts or crumpled newspaper.
If the need for a refund does arise, please fulfill it. According to business2community.com, it is important to “be helpful and personalize the experience” for the customer. That would also go with appeasing them if they do happen to get upset about their item. One refund now may equate more positive feedback and purchases in the future.
Finally, when you’re done packing, ship it. If you find that the post office is closed, you may drop it off at Office Depot with their evening and weekend hours, and they’ll ship it for you!
This is just a peek into the world of online selling. I may not be an instant millionaire, but I am proud of my eBay empire, because it was something I built with a little encouragement from my family.
NOTE: As a disclaimer, this article is not sponsored by eBay.
Featured Image: Pixabay
Moneyconnexion.com. Online shopping image. Retrieved August 26, 2016 from http://moneyconnexion.com/how-to-sell-your-products-online.htm.
- Hartley, Janna. Why Sell Online? The Importance of eCommerce in Your Sales Strategy. Published January 4, 2016. Retrieved August 23, 2016 from http://www.business2community.com/ecommerce/sell-online-importance-ecommerce-sales-strategy-01415866#9GjfJqPtxJEiMKT6.97.
- Ecommerceguide. Where and How to Sell Products Online. Retrieved August 23, 2016 from https://ecommerceguide.com/sellonline.