Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Your Guide To:

Sometimes I marvel on the things I used to spend money on in high school, or things I thought would be valuable one day so they were worth getting then.  Actually, this started way before high school.  I believe it started with this:

Note: If you intend to use this post to help you sell Beanie Babies, stop right now.  They're worthless.  It hurts, I know, and I know you have the whole collection, but really - they're worthless.

After I tired of these guys, I moved on to the things that all the cool girls in high school had, like Coach bags and Tiffany bracelets and a wardrobe full of Abercrombie & Fitch.  Now, I have a drawer that looks like this:

...and I don't wear any of it.  This isn't because Tiffany doesn't make lovely jewelry because they definitely do.  However, the stuff that was popular when I was buying lots of it (or, rather, asking for lots of it for holidays), was the stuff that was covered in giant T&CO logos and just obnoxious and not really my style.  These items have a time and a place, and that time and place is in high school.

I know things haven't changed so much that girls in high school aren't still yearning for these things, and parents aren't still spoiling their kids with things they know they'll hate soon.  That's why I decided to take my eBay obsession to the next level - selling. 

I've gone through the process a few times now (two Tiffany items and a Coach bag all from an ex boyfriend down!) so I will explain it here to help it seem less daunting.  I should have started doing this so long ago rather than let items sit in my closet, but it just seemed like a big scary process.

Figure out what you have and what you want to get rid of.  If you're anything like me, when you look at your clothes you see dollar signs.  That logo Marc by Marc Jacobs isn't just a bag you never wear anymore, it's something you spend money on and represents that money spent.  Getting rid of it, knowing you'll get less than you paid for it, just seems wasteful, doesn't it?

In short, no.

That bag is being wasted just sitting in your closet, never being used.  You are better off with $40 in your PayPal account than a $350 MSRP bag sitting in your closet, forgotten.

Take out all the items you haven't worn in a while, especially the bags, jewelry and other "big ticket" items.  Put everything in a pile and move on to the next step.

You have to be honest with yourself.  The Endowment Effect causes us to think of things as being higher value than they really are because we own them. 

From Wikipedia:
One of the most famous examples of the endowment effect in the literature is from a study by Kahneman, Knetsch & Thaler (1990)[2] where participants were given a mug and then offered the chance to sell it or trade it for an equally priced alternative good (pens). Kahneman et al. (1990)[2] found that participants' willingness to accept compensation for the mug (once their ownership of the mug had been established) was approximately twice as high as their willingness to pay for it.
Try to be as objective as possible.  Keep in mind that while you are selling to get the best (maximum) price for your stuff, people are buying to get the best (minimum) price for their purchases.  Try and find something in between by figuring out your minimum and listing for that.  In an auction format, an item with a lower starting price is more likely to sell for higher because people will be bidding on it and get caught up in the bidding process.  Take advantage of this, but also keep in mind that since you are a new seller you won't be getting bids on your items in the same way experienced, well known sellers do.

The last thing you want it for someone to accuse you of misrepresenting your item.  Take pictures of any and all damage, even the most minor, as well as pictures of the item from every angle.  Leave nothing here to guesswork for your buyer.

You want to get an idea of what you can list your item for, so first you have to search for similar items.  You want yours to be a good price comparatively so people who sort their searches by price low to high will see your listing, and remember to compare the condition of an item when you're trying to figure out what to list it for.  Something brand new should be going for significantly more than something well-used, so try to make sure you're comparing apples to apples here.

Yes, go to eBay.  Click on "My eBay" at the top and then, along the left hand side under the "Sell" category, click "Sell an item".  By now you've taken pictures and analyzed your item in the process, so this part should be pretty easy. 

Give your listing a title.  If it is a "brand" item, I've found it helps to put "Authentic" in the title since so many listings for counterfeits exist.  This lets the buyer know you stand behind the authenticity of whatever it is you're selling.

Once you're made your title, eBay will offer some categories to you so pick the one that best describes your item.  Specify the condition and as many "Item specifics" as possible since people often will sort their search results by these subcategories.  Upload your pictures and write out a detailed description, including measurements as needed.

If there is any damage to your item, be sure to mention what picture it can be seen in in your description.  The more thorough your description is, the less likely it is that someone can make a successful case against you with eBay if they are unhappy with their purchase.

Put in your price and choose the listing duration.  I've been liking 5 day listings because I don't have to wait as long but 7 is the more typical choice.  There are pros and cons - with shorter time periods people are more likely to bid impulsively because when they first see the item they think it's ending soon, whereas with longer time periods you are giving more people an opportunity to find your listing.  Decide what's best for you!

Select your shipping.  I have been using a fixed rate for shipping because I like to ship by USPS Priority Flat Rate boxes.  Try not to charge too much for shipping because it turns people off; if you feel you will have to absorb some of the cost to keep the shipping price low then you can always increase your starting price a bit to make up for that.

Click "List it"!

You can see how many people have viewed your item and how many are watching it in the "My eBay" section by clicking "Active" in the "Sell" category.  Try not to work yourself up too much because lots of items go without any bids until the last 12 hours.

While you wait, pick out some way nicer new things to buy with the PayPal credit you'll soon have once your items sell.

Happy selling!

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