10 things I’ve learnt from eBay!

After around 16 weeks living in less than 120 square feet of space, coming back home and ashore was a bit of a shock! Firstly, what to do with all that space and secondly, what to do with all that stuff……our home is full (now ‘was’ due to the wonders of eBay) of gadgetry; from room humidifiers to a room dehumidifiers!! We just had too much stuff. After all, 4 mugs and a kettle did us just fine on Grace! It all has to go!

Grace; 120 square feet of space…….who could possibly need anymore!

eBay still amazes me, in the past few weeks I’ve been astounded by what people are prepared to buy! I’ve sent items all over the UK but also America. Items that I would normally have put into the car and taken to the tip……yet people have bought them! It is the ‘end to end’ slickness of eBay, from payment to postage that is so impressive! I’m sort of a convert…..although I don’t think I would be comfortable about buying stuff from eBay as really I like my stuff to be new!

So, what have I learnt? Well, eBay is a doddle………even for someone who claims to be experienced in sales and marketing! Although as always I did try to over complicate it!

1. Photography. Don’t worry about the quality of the photography – but use all 12 of the allowed photos to capture labels, serial numbers and so on. If the pictures look too good and professional it makes people uneasy about your pricing as they think you are a “proper“ shop.

2. Descriptions. Now these really are important, people seem to love long and florid descriptions – packed with plenty of features and benefits statements; it has X, which means Y. These always work even for the most inane feature and tenuous benefit! However all descriptions must start with “This is a….”. It may seem formulaic and completely obvious but then again it just works and I don’t understand why!

3. Timing. Not surprisingly ski coats sold well before skiing holidays and winter coats sold when the weather turned bad!

4. Free postage. Despite what eBay tell you, it’s a waste of effort and margin! Never do it, always make the customer pay! People seem to ignore the cost of postage and are prepared to pay, within reason, what ever you ask. Of course as postage is not included in the final price, eBay do not charge commission on it!

5. Pricing. Now this is also interesting, items priced as whole numbers or simple multiples seem to invite sweeping offers and deep discounts. £20 always becomes £15 automatically whereas £22.17 will become £20! If the price asked for seems calculated and considered then people seem to be less willing to ask for discounts. It is as if people assume that the price has been carefully researched! Definitely not applicable to my pricing!

6. Be serious about selling it. eBay is great at getting you the true value of what your stuff is really worth – what someone else is prepared to pay for it! However distressing it may appear particularly when I think back to what I paid for it all in the shops. But ultimately it needs to be priced ‘to sell’!

7. Gadgets sell! All those miracle coffee machines, pie makers and electric Fondue sets sold for me like the proverbial hotcakes! People seem happy to buy those gadgets which are used once and then sit in the back of the garage for 10 years! Did I really need seven different ways of making coffee? No!….Four ways are more than enough! You don’t believe me? See for yourself! Filter machine, Cafetiere, Tassimo, Nepresso, Aeropress, Percolator and Espresso machine!

8. Product knowledge. I have learn lots of facts about the items I’ve sold – did you know for example that the M prefix on a Singer sewing machine serial number means it was made between January and June 1900!

9. Everybody’s doing it! I’ve sent stuff to taxi drivers and judges! I continue to be surprised by the people who have bought my old junk!

10. Not everything sells! Despite being ‘cheaper than chips’ somethings just won’t sell, this offended me at first because I must have liked them when I bought them in the first place! However, I realise that the only solution for them was the destination where they would have gone in the first place if I had not discovered eBay….the tip! Now, what new stuff to buy……a Whisker Pole for starters!

2 thoughts on “10 things I’ve learnt from eBay!”

  1. Dear Andy &Anne,
    Thanks for your latest blog,your observations on eBay are very interesting,just goes to prove that there is a method for success even when selling.You have now given Jan ideas and I’ll probably find myself heeding your advice.Hope that you all enjoyed yourselves on Christmas Day we drank a toast to you all and remembered the happy Christmases shared together in past years. Thanks for the goodies from Betty’s we have already tested them – delicious.Lots of love, Jan &John.


    1. Hi Jan and John,
      Many thanks for our great presents! The Little Mermaid dish was perfect reminder – especially with Grace sailing past in the background! I am sat here, learning becoming a shipping forecast expert comfortably chewing on my Skipper’s pipes……very clever of you to find them, well done! Hope to see you soon. Andrew and Anne


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