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How to Sell on Collectibles on Ebay

vintage Spider-man comic bookSell Your Collectible Merchandise and Make a Sizable Profit

Collectibles are one of the most profitable categories on Ebay. By selling off your old collectibles or someone else’s, you can stand to make a good profit. This page will help you step by step with the selling process, even if you have no experience in selling them in the first place.

Action figures, antiques, dolls, baseball cards, stamps, coins, vintage lunchboxes, comic books, and postcards all qualify as collectibles. No matter what the condition, they have a value, and they can be sold. This category can really be a wildcard, and can be one of the most exciting! This is what Ebay was made for.

Taking Inventory of Collectibles & Merchandise

When you have many items from a particular niche to sell on Ebay, you’re at an advantage. The more people see one particular auction, the better chances are that they might also click to the next auction of yours, thereby increasing your chances for additional bids. If you have a whole lot of collectible merchandise to sell off, this means you’re in luck.

The first thing you’ll want to do is take an inventory of what you have that you’re ready to sell. Before you go too crazy, you may want to research completed items first to see how this particular type of item sells. To research, you’ll first need an Ebay account. Once you’re set up and ready to go, it’s time to see the completed listings.

Simply search for the item in question on Ebay. If you might be selling collectible troll dolls, then search “troll dolls.” Check off the box on the left side of the screen marked “completed listings,” then hit enter. This will pull up all of the ended auctions in the past 14 days for this particular search term. Item in red have not sold, items in green have sold.

As you scroll down, see what ratio of items sell in that niche, and what the selling prices are. Is it worth it for you to sell? If not, it could be the time of year (summers tend to be slow), a bad economy, a holiday week, or, it could be that the item itself is not in demand.

Sometimes items sell – sometimes they don’t. These are often cycles, so don’t get discouraged. Try again, and you’ll find a price you are happy with eventually. If not, here are some additional tips.

What If the Collectibles Aren’t Selling on Ebay?

All collectibles are cyclical in nature. They’re in favor, then they fall out of favor, only to come back in favor again down the road. This goes for a lot of certain niches like antiques, and even seasonal items like swimsuits or sweaters. Just because the prices aren’t high now, doesn’t mean they won’t be down the road.

Then again, some niches never fully recover due to oversaturation of the market. If you have collectibles you’d still like to sell even though they aren’t selling well, then you’ll have to consider doing a few things:

  • Pricing the items to sell. This may mean starting the items at a low, low price to encourage bids.
  • Grouping items together to save buyers on shipping costs. If you have a large lot of troll dolls, maybe grouping them together will increase your chances for a sale.
  • Keeping the shipping costs low. Buyers never want to pay high shipping prices, so keep them low while you can to encourage bids. If the item is high priced, offering free shipping might not be out of the question.

These are great strategies for those just looking to sell now instead of waiting around for items to appreciate in value.

Taking Photos of Collectibles

A picture is worth a thousand words at least on Ebay. If you aren’t taking great photos, you simply are losing money. There are a lot of things that can sabotage the success of an Ebay auction, and the photos are one of them. I’ve gone over Ebay photos in great detail on my Ebay photo tips page, if you’d like more advice on pictures.

  • More photos is better than less. Take many photos to give buyers the chance to feel comfortable with your product.
  • Make sure photos aren’t blurry, and that the product takes up most of the space on the image.
  • Natural light works best. Position your photo station near a window if possible, or even outside during the day. Avoid using a flash.
  • Take pictures of all details, including tags and included accessories, guides, or instructions.

A great photo can really make your auction sing. The gallery photo is the most important photo of all.

Selling Collectibles on Ebay – Setting Up the Auction

Once you’ve taken photos and you have your inventory squared away, you’re ready to list your items. First, you’ll want to make sure you have the right packing supplies on hand for when the items needs to be shipped.

Next, you’ll log into your Ebay account. Again, search for completed items before you list any particular item. This should give you an idea of the keywords that seem to be generating more sales, and what trends you’ve noticed that seem to lead to less sales.

With that information, you’ll begin setting up your very first collectibles auction. Here, the keyword title will be the most important text aspect of your auction. This is the piece of text at the top of the page, not including the subtitle. These words are the words that allow your auction to be found in the Ebay search engine. Color, size, make, model, condition, item number, and brand name are all attributes worth putting in the title.

Now you’ll add your photos and fill out the description. Your main gallery photo should be your best photo, and one that people will recognize instantly. Don’t try to get too creative, just take a nice photo and upload it. You’ll also want to include more photos in each auction. It’s recommended that you host your own photos to give buyers better detail, and also to save money on fees.

The Description: Describe Your Collectibles

Descriptions work best using bullet points. This makes it easy to read, and easy to scan. Big blocks of text tend to scare away readers, so keep it organized. Some things buyers will want to know about are:

  • The condition – Be truthful, but be careful of your wording. The word “used” is undesirable, however “pre-owned” and
    gently used” have much better connotations.
  • The brand name, make, or model – Tell them what the brand is, and tell them about the brand. Copy and paste this blurb into each auction you write to give them a background on the brand, make, or model.
  • Where it’s coming from – Is this a pet free, smoke free home? Has it been in outside storage, or inside storage? Buyers want to know where this item has been.
  • Special Features – Is this a limited release, making it even more collectible? Is it signed? Is it a retired piece? Is there something that sets it apart from other items on Ebay?

Shipping Collectibles: Avoid Breakages and Pack it Right

Once you get the hang of shipping, it can be very easy and quick. The most time consuming part will actually be going to the post office to drop them off (though carrier pickup is available for items using the Click N Ship program in some areas).

You can never overpack an item, but you can underpack it. Keep plenty of the following on hand to ensure you won’t have any breakages:

Now that you’ve shipped the item, it’s time to find more inventory and start the process all over again! Read other posts on this blog to find out where you can find products to sell, listing tips, and other Ebay auction recommendations.
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What’s My Ebay Item Worth?

Tips on Pricing Your Ebay Auctions So They’ll Sell (at a Good Price!)

Have an item that you just aren’t sure how much it’s worth? Pricing your items can be tricky, but once you’ve done it a few times it will be a snap. What’s the big trick to setting the right price for your auctions? First, to evaluate your items, you have to determine if the auction format is even the best choice for the given item. Next, you’ll have to check the competition and the demand for similar items. Once you’ve checked those, you’ll have an idea of what your item is worth. If you start some auctions that don’t end as well as you would have hoped, don’t get discouraged. There are plenty more items out there for you to sell. One of the most important things is to persevere, get the experience under your belt, and learn from what just happened. Just try it on a less expensive scale first!

The following tips will help you determine the worth of your Ebay item, and will help you price it correctly from the beginning:

Find Out How Much Your Item is Worth on Ebay

  1. Research completed items on Ebay. It’s simple. Just search for the item you are selling, then check off the “completed items” bar. The past 14 days of sales will show up for you.
  2. Skip the reserve auction. These never work out, and buyers hate them. I know I do! The thrill of Ebay is getting a deal, and starting an item at 99 cents with a reserve is just a tease and letdown.
  3. Use Google to figure out the buy it now price other online retailers are selling the item for. This should give you a good idea of what people are willing to pay, if the item is out there.
  4. Toggle your keyword search and omit words or use synonyms. You may find items ending at higher prices (or lower) that are using different descriptive words. Example: the word “and.” Many brand names use the word “and” or the “&” symbol in the title. Buyers use both to search for the item.
  5. Do you have several of the same item? Include the buy it now option, or place an extra of the item available in your store at a higher buy it now price with free shipping. Link from the auction to your store and promote the fact that they can get it right now.
  6. If you’ve purchased an item that is selling for less than what you paid for it, or close to it, consider the loss leader strategy. This will pull in traffic to your auction. Consider it like an advertisement. Promote the heck out of your Ebay store from within your auction, write off the loss, and call it a day.
  7. If you have a one-of-a-kind item, put the item on auction. Bidding creates excitement, and can generate even more sales towards your BIN items.
  8. Starting items too cheap is usually a mistake. Start your items at $9.99 at least. 99 cents items for some reason tend to linger at that price for far too long. People think the item has something wrong with it, or it’s some sort of scam.
  9. Always price the majority of your items at a minimum bid price that will make you a profit. Take into consideration any shipping expenses that you might incur. Don’t just hope that the bidding goes up high, because it often times won’t.
  10. Used items often give a higher profit. New items may go for more money, but the chance for profit is lower. Why? They cost more to obtain the items, and there’s usually more competition. These used items often do very well when the starting bid is very LOW.
  11. Always include the full retail price of the item in your auction. This will make the item appear like more of a steal (and that’s what Ebay is known for, great deals!)
  12. For items like gemstones, gold, and other jewelry, you may need an appraiser. It can be difficult to grade these on your own.
  13. Vendio has an even better ebay research tool for $20 a month that will give you the average selling price, trends, and the selling history of keywords beyond 2 weeks. You can price your item more accurately and learn more about your items this way.
  14. Always check the Amazon price of an item. This is Ebay’s biggest competitor, and a good estimate of the true value.
  15. Remember when buying your inventory that Ebay is a place for deals. People expect a deal, so it’s not unreasonable to see your item selling for 20-60% of the retail price.
  16. Price your item to sell now. Waiting too long can open up the competition and lower the average selling price.
  17. Are you the exclusive seller of this item on Ebay? You’re best bet might be the auction format, along with a high fixed price format. Take advantage of this as long as you can!
  18. Experiment with the free shipping option. This can give you better visibility in the Ebay search, so it may be worth it to roll the shipping costs into the price of the item.
  19. Keep records or spreadsheets (or use some of the auction software programs out there) of your best selling items. Is the price on the downswing? It might be time to dump this item and not buy any more of the inventory, or maybe you should be buying variations of this product. Is a newer model available?
  20. Including the retail price in the subtitle of the item usually increases bids (if the item is of high worth). It will attract more bids, excitement, and overall traffic.

Once you’ve determined the worth of your item, it’s time to take photos, list it for sale, and ship it. Then, if you enjoyed it, or you’d like some extra cash, it’s time to do it again.

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