As a fan of organization, it was always easy for me to adios clothes that had stains, looked worn out or were damaged beyond repair. But…there was always this pile of clothes that I could never part with because the stuff was just too good to give away. You know what I’m talking about…the clothes that no longer fits just right (or maybe it never did). It may occasionally get a spin out of the closet or drawer just to try it on and see if it or you have changed enough to wear again, only to end up back on a hanger or on a shelf. Well, I had a lot of these pieces and it wasn’t until after my run in with bed bugs (and had to wash EVERYTHING we had!!) that I finally had enough…they had to go!
A coworker of mine who was selling things on eBay suggested that perhaps I try to sell them. If I valued these items, someone else probably will too! So, after a bit of research and tips from my coworker I landed on eBay. Here’s what I found out…
Tips For Selling Clothes Online
1. Take Clear, Quality Pictures
Since this is only way your buyer will see the clothes, the images need to be as clear as possible. They should also be free of any distracting backgrounds that take the focus away from the clothes. This is your only opportunity to show the quality and authenticity of each piece, so pay attention to detail.
- If you have a dress form to put the clothes on, that’s ideal. If not, lay the clothes on a table or floor with a solid color board, like poster board, or sheet underneath it. It works best if white or black/navy to contrast the color of the clothes and make them pop.
- I found that a lot of clothes does not present well on a hanger, just as it doesn’t in the store, and since your buyer cannot try it on, I wouldn’t suggest it.
- Please iron or steam the clothes, if needed, to make them look their best. I know it’s an annoying extra step, but it helps your clothes stand out.
- Take front, back and any detail pictures worth highlighting. Also, if there are any defects, take pictures of those too. It is better to be transparent to the buyer rather than have an unhappy customer later.
- If your phone has a pretty decent camera, I would suggest using it as you can crop them right on the phone and then upload to the eBay app (assuming you have a smart phone). It saves tons of time!
2. Product Measurements & Details Are Important
Since buyers cannot try the clothes on, it is important to have detailed measurements listed so they can understand if the item will truly fit them. It is also important to note what it’s made out of and any details (i.e. Types of pockets, is it lined, etc). All of this information should be included in the Description section of the listing.
For more details on how to measure clothes, please check out this post: How To Accurately Measure Clothes For Selling Online
3. Making Your Item Searchable
You may have a great piece of clothing to sell, but if no one can find it, it’ll never sell.
- Be sure to make your listing Title as clear as possible with keywords like the brand name, size, color. Use as many characters as possible to be as descriptive as you can. Example: J.Crew Matchstick Corduroys Pants, Size 29 Reg, Charcoal Gray, Inseam 30 OR Express Dream Weight Cotton Sequin Sleeveless Racerback Tank, Size S, Black
- Make sure your item’s Category, Condition, and Item Specifics are filled in. These are the filters that buyers can use to narrow down their search to your product. The more you fill in, the better chance it’ll get seen.
4. Pricing Research
Sometimes the hardest part is figuring out how to price your item. Should I use Auction or Buy It Now? How much should/can I sell it for? One of the easiest ways, I’ve found, to see what similar items like mine have sold for is to search in the app. I’m sure there is some way to do it in the browser, but I haven’t figured it out yet.
- Select Search and type in your item (Example: J.Crew Matchstick Corduroys Pants). In the Filter, select Show More and select Sold Items. I also like to select Shipping (Free Shipping) and Buying Format (either Auction or Buy Now).
- From the filtered selection, you will notice a few things: how much, on average, people will pay for the type of item you sell and if Auction or Buy Now will fetch a better price.
For the most part, I have noticed that you will make more money from Buy Now rather than Auction with clothing. Usually, if you have an auction, the starting price is a bit lower to encourage people to bid. What often ends up happening is no one bids until the last few minutes and you end up selling for that lower amount. Auction also allows the buyer additional time to provide payment, so you may be waiting a few days for payment before you can ship. In contrast, Buy Now buyers must pay for the item immediately. So, as you can probably guess by now… I’m a big fan of Buy Now for clothing.
5. Shipping and Handling
There are numerous options for shipping and handling and it can be a bit overwhelming. I know it was at first for me! First, let’s discuss shipping.
- You can ship domestically and internationally on eBay. I only ship domestic, for reasons I’ll list in a minute, but international does have potential for a larger group of buyers.
- Shipping can be paid for by the buyer or seller (you). EBay tends to promote Free Shipping more and buyers like to see items with Free Shipping, so if you can calculate the shipping into your price (since you’re paying for it), it usually makes the item sell quicker. See #4 for pricing research with Free Shipping. This is why I only ship domestic.
- When you select the Shipping option, select Standard Shipping (1-5 days). This will allow you to compare shippers once the item has sold and pick the cheapest option.
- If your item is under 1lb with shipping materials, you can use USPS First Class mail, which is the cheapest. If not, I try to fit the item in one of the USPS Flat Rate boxes or envelopes. They are usually the next cheapest option. (Oh, before I forget, you will need a scale to weigh your packages unless you plan on only putting them in flat rate. I use our kitchen scale which works great!)
- When you list your item, you will need to select the number of Handling days (time of purchase to shipping it out). I would suggest 1 or 2 days. Ideally, if you can get the item packaged up and shipped out in 24 hours, do select 1 day. EBay will list the item as Fast ‘N Free which helps boost sales. NOTE: once you pay for shipping through eBay (which gets you a discount rate by the way!) it is considered shipped, so the handling clock stops.
- Stock up on a few USPS shipping boxes/envelopes, generic shipping envelopes, roll of packing tape, bulk white tissue paper, inexpensive thank you cards and ribbon (more on that in a minute).
6. I’ve Listed It and It Sold, Now What?
Once your item has been sold, there are several things you must/should do.
- You will need to pack up the item for shipping. Rather than just shoving it in a box or envelope, there are a few simple touches I would suggest to make it nicer for the buyer and makes you standout. Wrap the item in tissue paper and secure with the ribbon. Slip the thank you card in with a quick ‘Thank you for your purchase’ note. Put it in a box/envelope and seal it.
- Weigh the package on your scale.
- If you want to purchase and print the shipping from home (and get a discount), go to eBay and select your shipping option. Print it out and tape it on your package.
- Mail it out.
- Leave feedback for the buyer on eBay. Not a must, but it shows that the buyer is real and generally helps you get some positive feedback from your buyers. It can be something simple like ‘Great transaction! Thank you!’.
- Also not a must, but I like to add text updates from USPS (or whoever you’re shipping from). It lets me know when the package gets there or if any shipping issues pop up. EBay also tracks the package when you purchase shipping through them (or if you upload the tracking number), but updates are delayed.
7. Getting Paid
In addition to the shipping cost, there are a few fees that must come out before you get paid. Before I get to that, just a quick note about “Insertion Fees”. When you list a piece, there is an “Insertion Fee” from eBay ONLY if you list more than 250 pieces each month. Since I’ve never listed that many in a month, its FREE. For more details on insertion fees, go here.
Back to “Final Value Fees”, as eBay likes to call it.
- PayPal charges their 2.9% + $0.30 as soon as the money from the buyer hits your PayPal account.
- The eBay fee (10%) will be taken out at the end of each monthly period, so keep that in mind when you see the amount that’s in PayPal.
- There are numerous fee calculators on the web, but I like the eBay PayPal Fee Calculator because it is easy to use and set up specifically for e-bay sellers using PayPal.
- The money for each item sold will be held in PayPal (unable to use) until the item has reached the buyer (according to the tracking number). It then depends on how long you’ve been selling through eBay. They say it may initially take up to 21 days to get the first payment, but I think I got mine in 7 days. After that, it’s been between 1-3 days.
- This is the tracking sheet that I have used when I use eBay and PayPal. It tracks what I’m selling and profits once items have sold. Here is a template of the tracking sheet I use, which includes the fee calculations for clothing (eBay PayPal Sales Tracking Sheet).
8. Seller Feedback
It is important to start accumulating positive seller feedback because it shows buyers that you are someone they can trust. Once the sale is complete and a few days have passed, check eBay to see if the buyer has left you feedback. If they have (and hopefully it’s positive), awesome!! If they have not, send them a message thanking them for their purchase and asking them to leave you feedback.
I hope these tips help you find more space in your closet and put a few more bucks in your wallet! If anyone has other eBay tips and tricks I would love to hear about them in the comments!