5 Common Mistakes for First Time Sellers to Avoid

Even after learning all the ins and outs of eBay selling policy and procedure, it is still evitable that new eBay sellers will make some mistakes in their first few months of selling. To get a head start, here are some of the most common errors that new sellers make and how you can avoid them.

1: Overcharging shipping

New sellers may be tempted to inflate shipping costs to make up for lower starting prices, but outrageous shipping fees are an instant sale killer. Not only is it insulting to potential buyers who usually have some idea how much it costs to ship a package, but it also drives them to the competition. eBay also frowns on the practice; sellers must follow eBay’s shipping cost guidelines or risk selling restrictions.

Avoid this mistake:

Don’t just estimate shipping costs – take the time to measure and weigh the item and packaging before listing.
Consider offering free shipping – eBay favours sellers who offer free shipping by offering an automatic 5-star rating detailed seller rating for shipping and handling charges plus higher placement on their Cassini search engine.

2: Misrepresenting items

While it may be quicker and easier, using stock photos and standard specifications on item listings is both lazy and bad for business. Most eBay buyers expect to find personalised descriptions and photos of the exact item they want to buy. Providing detailed item descriptions and high-quality photos will not only entice buyers to purchase but also provide more confidence and trust in the sale.

Avoid this mistake:

Never use stock descriptions or photos – Creating unique descriptions and photos for each listing is time well spent for buyer confidence. Questions from buyers are also likely to be less common, leaving a seller with more time to do other tasks.

Don’t hide item flaws – Taking the time to detail the flaws of an item in both text and photos also increases buyer confidence and helps to minimise “Significantly Not as Described” disputes after selling.

3: Shill bidding

“Shill bidding” means to artificially inflate prices by bidding on items you are trying to sell. Asking a friend or creating a second eBay account to make fake bids doesn’t sound initially harmless, but shill bidding is actually illegal in many countries. As widespread as it may seem at times, shill bidding will get a seller banned from eBay for life if caught.

Avoid this mistake:

Don’t do it – A simple answer for what could be a disastrous mistake, shill bidding is something sellers should never do.

4: Bad customer service

Shopping on eBay is entirely different to the other big online retailers, but buyers still expect the same fast, friendly and professional customer service. Before purchasing, most buyers will check a seller’s feedback and detailed seller ratings to check whether they want to purchase from that person. Buyers aside, sellers must provide service in accordance with eBay’s seller performance standards. Not meeting buyer expectations can lead to seller restrictions.

Avoid this mistake:

Answer messages quickly – Aim to respond to questions and concerns within 24 hours.

Always be polite – No matter whether a buyer is upset or frustrated, remain positive and helpful.

Consider more flexible returns – A large percentage of eBay disputes are caused by return issues. One way to avoid some of these problems is to offer a generous return policy. It can also encourage positive feedback and increase sales.

5: Underestimating fees

It can be easy for new sellers to find themselves making very little money in the first few months of their eBay business. One potential reason for this is a seller not fully understanding eBay’s fee structure. With fees charged when listing (insertion fee) and also after the item sells (Final Value Fees), the numbers can really add up for high volume sellers.

Avoid this mistake:

Always consider fees – When thinking about an item’s starting price, always consider the insertion fee and Final Value Fee. New sellers so often forget that eBay are entitled to a cut of the final sale price and therefore lose their all-important profit margin.

Claim Final Value Fee credits back – Don’t forget to follow up on each uncompleted transaction to ensure final value fees will be credited where appropriate.

Have you made any of these mistakes before? Did you make any early eBay selling mistakes that you think should be included here? Let us know below. 

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