If you’re thinking about ways to earn extra cash in your spare time, you might have considered selling on Ebay. It’s a brilliant way to make an additional income, and there’s even the potential to turn your venture into a real business opportunity if you have the right tricks up your sleeve. Before you get started, though, it’s wise to know the pitfalls that many people make along the way. To help you along the fast track to success, familiarize yourself with these mistakes that you should avoid when selling on Ebay.

Overlooking the rules and regulations

Ebay is a marketplace where anyone can buy or sell products, so it makes sense that it is appropriately regulated and policed. After all, you wouldn’t expect a high street retailer to be able to sell items to the general public without any kind of legislation covering what they can and can’t do. Ebay’s rules are fairly easy to understand once you’ve got the grip of things, but it’s important that you don’t just assume that you know everything and set off down the wrong path. In the best case scenario, this could mean that you simply don’t sell any products as your listings are removed by moderators. In the worst-case scenario, you could find yourself in trouble with law enforcement agencies. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because you’re operating online, you don’t have to play by the rulebook. Set aside some time to read through all the policies before you get started. If you have any queries, contact the support team. This could save you a lot of time and hassle in the longer term, and is the best way to turn selling on Ebay into a sustainable business opportunity.

Choosing poor product titles

The title of your Ebay item will impact whether it actually gets found via the search function, as well as whether people will click on the link to find out more. In this respect, it’s just as important as having a high quality and in-demand product to sell. Firstly, consider the terms that people will be using when they are looking for products just like yours. Commit your ideas to paper to come up with alternatives, then do your own research. By searching for similar items, you’ll be able to see how other users are managing their listings. Pay particular attention to those with a high number of bids and hits. It’s important to note here that your product titles should be accurate, and should not make your item appear to be something that it isn’t. Using a brand name fraudulently, for example, can land you in big trouble and should definitely be avoided. This links back to the very valid point about knowing the terms and conditions of the service. Do your homework in advance to avoid unnecessary headaches further down the line.

Offering poor customer service

Just like selling items in the real world, it’s important to offer stellar customer service when you’re selling on Ebay. Your reputation is often your greatest asset, and this can quickly be brought into disrepute if your buyers feel like you aren’t living up to your side of the bargain. So, for example, imagine that you tell buyers that they’ll receive their purchase within 5 working days. It’s vital that you live up to this promise, and do everything within your power to get the item there on time. Of course, this isn’t to say that mistakes can’t happen. It’s an extreme example, but what if you suddenly break you leg and have no way to get to the delivery office? If you can’t get someone to take the item for you, send your customer a message as soon as possible and let them know about the situation and when they can expect to receive their item. Going over and above the call of duty is essential if you want to build up strong feedback on Ebay, and outstanding customer service is a very vital element. Similarly, respond to any messages as soon as you receive them, and be prepared to answer questions.

Using low quality pictures

They say that a picture can paint a thousand words, and this is very true when it comes to selling on Ebay. Descriptions can only go so far, and your potential customers will want to see what your products really look like. Imagine, for example, that you wanted to buy a sweater. You wouldn’t buy it without knowing what it looked like, and the same applies to buyers on Ebay. For this reason, make sure that your pictures are of the highest possible quality. Invest in a decent camera if you think that you’ll be selling a lot, or lend one from a friend. Next, take the best pictures that you can. You should include various different angles, and even some close-ups of the more intricate features. Some items will lend themselves best to being pictured alone, but there are others that you will be able to get more creative with. If you’re selling a kitchen cabinet with glass doors, for example, try dressing the item with your finest kitchenware. This lets viewers get a feel for how the product could look in their own homes if they were to go ahead and make the purchase.

Selling at the wrong time of year

The basic rules of economics dictate that some items will be more popular at certain times of the year. Christmas trees, for example, aren’t likely to be in demand during the summer months, but swimwear will be highly desirable when the temperatures are starting to soar. Make sure that you consider whether your products are seasonal, and list them accordingly. It may be the case that you’ll make a much higher return if you wait for a few months before listing certain products on the site. It’s quite obvious for some items, but others may be more questionable. If you aren’t quite sure, carry out a search and find out how popular similar items currently are. If they aren’t selling, wait a few months and do the same again. As you become a more experienced Ebay seller, you’ll start to get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. It often isn’t rocket science, it’s just a case of becoming familiar with the market and what buyers really want. This sort of experience will put you in an excellent position if you ever decide to start your own business in the real world, or if you want to take your Ebay selling to the next level.

Neglecting to consider postage rates

Postage rates are something that new sellers on Ebay rarely give much thought to, but they can actually be fundamental to your success. Imagine, for example that you’re selling a popular item for just a few dollars less than your competitors. This could put you at a great advantage, but what about your postage? If it isn’t competitive, you could be giving your potential customers away to other sellers without even realizing it. Before listing your items, make sure that you check the postage rates of other sellers. If you can’t realistically go any lower and still make a profit, consider whether you could offer an extra little sweetener into the deal. Could you possibly promise same day postage, or are there extra options that other sellers aren’t offering? You’d be amazed at just how much notice experienced Ebay buyers pay to postage rates, so make sure that this seemingly small point isn’t something that could let you down. Of course, it’s vital that you do the math in advance. Ensure that you won’t be making a loss just because you want to offer the best option for your customers. It can be tempting, but it breaks the basic rules of running a successful enterprise!

Overlooking the bigger picture

Did you know that there are many Ebay sellers that make a full-time income through the site? Though most sellers use the site to make a few dollars here and there, the potential is huge if you can look at the bigger picture and find a winning product with a readymade market. Make sure that you learn from your activities, and try to identify any potential areas for growth. Could you source more similar items for a low price either elsewhere online or in your local area? How could you get customers coming back for more? Most people don’t tap into the opportunity, and they’re leaving thousands of dollars on the table. Of course though, success is rarely achieved overnight. It takes hard work, trial and error, and inevitably some failure along the way. If you’re serious about making a decent living via Ebay, try putting your plans on paper in the form of a real business proposition. This will encourage you to think about the less obvious areas that need to be considered, and will help you get into the real business mindset. The rewards really are there for the taking for the select few who can think big.