I’m often asked to give advice to new sellers or people considering selling on line. This was a recent reply to one such email. I hope it is of use.
OK my advice for starting out:
Starting with some household items on eBay is a good idea – make sure you describe them carefully/have good images – you need to get as much positive feedback as possible.
Use eBay – it has massive reach/audience. I would avoid international at first as it is fraught with potential delivery and feedback issues.
Choose products that you understand, can source easily and reliably – nothing worse than taking an hour to list something and then finding you can only get hold of them for a short time. I would avoid the most popular categories as margins are always low.
Have a good look at the costs – selling fees, final value fees, product costs, postage costs (including a cost of returns and fraud), packaging, etc.
Don’t try to be the cheapest – you can’t, other sellers with buying power for stock and services such as postage will always beat you. Having said that one strategy for getting sales and Best Match scores is to sell products at a loss initially. (if you don’t know what Best Match is Google ‘eBay Best Match’.
Instead focus on great service, fast delivery, easy returns etc.
Use Google Keywords tools to help generate titles – http://www.googlekeywordtool.com/
Keep your costs to an absolute minimum – work from home for as long as you can (although some suppliers won’t supply to you unless you have retail premises).
Read all the blogs – Tamebay, Last drop of Ink, eBay boards etc.
Terapeak is no substitute for research (in my view).
Give images some focus (excuse the pun) – clean background, lots of views, details.
Make sure your descriptions are full of details such as condition, sizes, applications.
Read the DTI info on Distance Selling Regulations.
Be professional – a good CSS based listing template will help.
Communicate with your buyers.