8 mistakes to avoid when selling on eBay

Have you discovered something valuable in your attic? Getting rid of the child’s old toys? Looking to whip your car? Whatever you want to sell, eBay is a great marketplace. It has a host of convenient features, an international customer base, and it’s easy to use.

However, selling on eBay is not as easy as you might think. There are many important aspects you need to consider before blindly listing your product to ensure you make the most money.

To help you, we’ve put together this list of mistakes you should avoid when selling on eBay.

1. Not taking original photos

If you’re listing a common item on eBay, like a video game or DVD, it’s all too easy to stick with the stock photo of the product. Do not do that. It’s important to take your own photos of the product so that a buyer can see that you actually own it (unfortunately there are many scams on eBay) and can assess its quality.

On that note, you can add up to 12 photos to your eBay listing. Take full shots to show every angle of the product and zoom in to highlight the details. Make sure your photos are clear: a plain background, without shadows and in high resolution.

2. Failing to list product defects

If your product has any defects, explain them clearly in the description and include photos. This is especially important if your product is second-hand and/or rare.


ebay product description

While you may think it’s off-putting for a buyer to explain everything that’s wrong with your product, to do anything else would be misleading. Think how disappointed you would be if you ordered a book, thinking it was in perfect condition, only to have it come with torn pages.

Failure to detail the flaws in your product will lead to a dissatisfied customer and eBay will side with them.

3. Not responding to messages and offers

Unlike other selling platforms like Amazon, eBay offers a more personal experience. Each ad has a link that allows the buyer to contact the seller.

You should try to respond to all messages as quickly as possible. This will help your product sell faster, and the buyer will rate you positively when it comes to reviewing your communication, and these comments will then influence future browsers.

Likewise, if someone is bidding on your product, don’t let them sit down. If you do, they might buy it elsewhere and you’ve lost a sale. Of course, don’t think you always have to accept offers; you can always make a counter offer.

4. Shipping calculation error

It is not always easy to calculate shipping costs. Couriers can have confusing prices, based on various factors such as weight and shape. It’s an initial investment, but if you’re selling a lot, you should buy a set of scales. This will ensure you calculate shipping accurately.

ebay shipping calculator

Be aware that eBay takes a charge from your postage, so you don’t want to go wrong. Price too low and you lose, but price too high and you will turn off customers. eBay has a postage calculator that can help. You can also check similar listings to see how other sellers charge for postage.

5. Do not sell internationally

eBay is available in 180 countries. This gives you incredible global reach to sell your product. Although international shipping can be complicated, with considerations such as customs and the risk of losing your package, it can be financially rewarding.

You should especially consider enabling international shipping if you are selling a valuable product. Something mass-produced will likely sell easily in your home country, but something rare will attract buyers from around the world. Do this correctly and you can make big money selling on eBay.

6. Setting the wrong auction starting price

When you put a product up for auction, eBay analyzes similar products and determines what the best starting price was. Take it into account, but it is not gospel.

ebay price suggestion

Setting a low starting bid can be helpful in attracting buyers. But if your item is rare and unsought after, that means a reduced auction pool. You can potentially sell at a disappointing price.

Likewise, you don’t want to overprice. It’s human nature to get carried away with the thrill of an auction, but that won’t happen if people think your product is too expensive to begin with.

7. Product Categories and Previous Descriptions

Millions of products sell on eBay every week. If you don’t label your ad correctly, it will get lost in the sea. It all starts with the title: make it clear and concise, containing all the major keywords. Check your spelling.

Next, fill in all the product details you can. eBay provides matching fields, which it then displays on the front-end when someone searches. The more you fill out, the more likely your product will appear to someone looking for an eBay deal.

Finally, detail your product in the description. Explain what it does, where it is from, its condition, and any other relevant information. Less is not more.

8. Forgetting to leave reviews

When eBay boomed, reviews were of paramount importance. Buyers and sellers would do their best to earn positive feedback. However, eBay has changed the system over the years (like only letting sellers leave positive feedback), which means it’s not as vital as it once was.

ebay seller review

That said, you should not forget to leave feedback for your buyers. This will encourage them to return the courtesy (but be prepared that many won’t), which in turn will boost your reputation and make others more willing to buy from you.

Perfect your eBay listings and you’ll sell more

eBay is more than an online garage sale. You can’t just tip over, open the chest, and expect all your wares to sell. You need to spend time creating the perfect listing with clear photos, detailed description and international shipping.

If you remember to do all the things we talked about, you’ll sell more on eBay. Good luck!

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