Ebay is a great place to buy and sell merchandise, and make a little extra money on the side. Some even make their living off of Ebay. Strangely enough, selling your own gently worn clothing is a great way to start your selling, boost your feedback, and get a feel for the site. Heck, it can even be a continued source of income for years, especially if you have a family and quantity comes into play. The key is to be able to identify what types of clothing will sell, what’s worth selling, and what to avoid.
Key points: these people are paying for your gently worn clothing, so you need to make them presentable, clean, be honest, and give them something that’s worth what they’re paying. Here we’ll go more into how you can sell your used clothing on Ebay for a profit (and make plenty of extra room in your house, too).
Be Honest! Only Sell the Good Stuff
Put yourself into the buyer’s shoes. Why are they buying used clothing? There could be a few reasons. They may like old styles that are no longer available. They might be trying to save money. They may be trying to get a hard to find size or brand. They may be trying to be more green, and buy used clothing instead of new. They might be looking for an old, vintage style that’s “in” right now. They may love the style of the clothing so much that they don’t care if it’s used or not.
Whatever the reason is that they would like to buy your clothing, they want something good and they don’t want to be ripped off. Ebay isn’t a place for scammers. Be honest with the quality of the clothing and document everything about the clothing articles in your auction listing. Scrutinize your t-shirt, pair of pants, sneakers, or dresses as best as possible. The more honest you are about the clothing, the better the chances are that you’ll have success. Buyers love honesty and they expect it!
What Not to Sell
Buyers are paying for something good, so don’t try to pass off something cruddy. The clothing might be used, but the buyer is expecting something high quality. Why else would you list the item if it weren’t high quality? Avoid clothing that has any major holes, rips, tears, or stains. You’ll also NEED to wash the clothing if it’s used, per Ebay terms.
Preparing Your Clothing To Sell on Ebay
Your clothing should be, according to eBay’s policies, cleaned prior to the sale. Your used clothing needs to smell and feel as clean as it looks. Having a smoke-free environment is also very important. Though you may not be able to smell it, smoke travels everywhere, even in closets and basements. A non-smoker will be able to smell the smoke right away when their item arrives!
After cleaning your clothing, it should be wrinkle free. If it’s a polo, dress, or button up shirt, it’s very important that you follow this step. The gallery photo is the first thing that buyers see when searching for items. If your photo is the best, regardless if it’s used, your item will get traffic and bids!
Brand Names Sell Best on Ebay
People love brand names, it’s just how it is. The names of big companies like Aeropostale, Nautica, Ralph Lauren, Old Navy, Gap, Victoria’s Secret, Under Armour, and Lacoste are highly searched and already have a built in following of people. Typically, the bigger the brand, the more likely the used item of clothing is to sell, and for a better price. Just don’t expect most items to sell at what you paid for them. Be realistic, and realize most used clothing sells for a fraction of what you paid (think between 20%-50%, sometimes more for very in-demand items). In many cases, that can still be substantial, and can add to your own future wardrobe budget.
Many people are searching and scanning Ebay all the time scoping for great deals on low priced deals on their favorite brands. If you have brand name clothing, you’re at an advantage!
If you do not have brand name clothing, you are at a very big disadvantage when selling them on Ebay. If you don’t have a brand name attached, your items will most likely not see a good final bid price, and possibly even no bids! If you have a large amount of non-name brand clothing, try sticking it together in lots of similar styles and sizes. Someone might just bid on it if it’s reasonable and all of the articles of clothing are the same size.
Taking Photos of your Used Clothing
Now that your clothing is clean, it’s time to take pictures. Buyers love photographs, and plenty of them. They like them detailed, brightly lit, and colorful. To take the best possible photographs of your clothing, you’re going to need a few things:
- A photo editing program
- A brightly lit place with natural light
- Clean clothing hangers, preferably clear
- Additional lighting sources
Pick a place that is brightly lit with natural light if possible. Natural light throws off the best light, making your photographs look convincing and colorful. If the room is not brightly lit, you will also need additional lighting of your own. Try using your own floor lamps pointed at the clothing, from the left, from the right, and from the top and bottom.
Where to Take Pictures of your Clothing
Some people use a tripod to take photos for Ebay, but if you have a steady hand, you may not need to. Position the item against wall, or some hang them on doors. A word of caution, hanging clothing on doors tends to look unprofessional and may lower your final bid price! One easy technique is to put a nail into the wall on a spot where the entire wall is bare, from ceiling to floor. Hammer the nail into the wall 1/3 down from the ceiling, or enough so that you can easily reach the nail. Hang your clothing on the wall (while it’s on a hangar) and position the clothing as professionally as you can make it look.
Another tactic is to use a real life model, or a manequin. Some people claim to have good results by having a real life model displaying the clothing. Manequins definitely will boost your sales! If you plan on selling lots of clothing on Ebay, this will be a good investment for you. It gives the clothing shape, and shows the buyer what the clothing will look like on them, not on the wall.
Setting Up Your Auctions for Success
If you’ve never sold on Ebay before, read some basic Ebay tutorials on selling to get started. You should have at least ten feedbacks before trying to sell anything. Buyers tend not to buy from low feedback sellers.
Now, onto setting up your auctions! Host your own photos, don’t use Ebay’s. You can upload the main gallery picture, which is free, but for the rest of your photos, upload them to another site and grab the HTML code to paste into your auctions. Photobucket is easy, and they give you an HTML code to paste right into your page. Click the HTML button and paste the code for the photos at the beginning of your auctions, then click back to the regular auction tab. Place the photos throughout the listing. Most people prefer the photos after the description.
Describing your Items
Detail, detail, detail! It’s what people want. They want it in your photos, and they want it from your description. Here’s what you should include:
- Color of the item, including ALL of the colors, the pattern etc.
- The style of the clothing. Button-up, polo, tank top, long sleeve, t-shirt, tell us what it is!
- The size of the item. What does the tag say?
- The brand of the item
- The exact condition of the item. Describe everything! If it has a rip, a tear, it’s stretched, stained or faded, be honest, people will still bid!
- The measurements. Not the size, but your measurements. Be accurate and learn how to measure clothing, and include these measurements.
Using a Photo Editor To Take Make your Photos Better
You can’t always take the best pictures, but you can make them a little bit better and more accurate with a photo editing program! One of the most important things you’ll want to do is crop the photo. Gallery photos on Ebay are perfect squares, so try to keep your photo square shaped, but as closely cropped to the item as possible.
For the next step, you need to use your own discretion in order to preserve the integrity of the photo and to keep it looking like the actual photo. Play around with the enhancing features to make the photo a little bit brighter or colorful. Aim to make the photo look as much like the actual article of clothing as possible! Use a “quick fix” feature and you might be able to do this quickly and accurately.
The Most Important Part: The Title
Your keyword title will be the most important part of your auction. It’s how Ebay users find you, and this is why the brand name of your product is so important. You’ll also want to fill in as many other details as possible that buyers are searching for, like:
- If the products is mens, womens, kids, baby
- Size (very important!)
- If the product is new (though if the product is used, do not put “used” in the title! This is like saying “nothing to see here!”)
- The color of the product
- The brand name
- The pattern name
- The style of the shirt or clothing article
There’s also the subtitle. This usually costs an extra 50 cents per auction, and is only effective when reserved for much higher priced items. For used clothing, for the most part, you will want to stay away from the subtitle. It costs too much in comparison to the profit. It’s also not searchable. Reserve it for high value items like brand name jackets and large, high value clothing lots.
A Checklist for Your Auctions
- Inspect clothing you would like to sell. Separate the good from the bad. Donate the stuff you would not like to sell.
- Clean the clothing and iron the clothing you’d like to sell.
- Prepare your photography area and take pictures of the items.
- Upload your photos to a web hosting site, if applicable.
- Insert your photos into the auction, and describe the item.
- Measure the item and include the measurements in the auction.
- Schedule the auctions at a time when buyers will see them (remember to avoid ending auctions on a holiday).
- Wait for the bids to come in! Lower prices on items that don’t sell, or donate the remainder.