How To: List Your First Item

Photographing your item:

good photography doesn't require a lot of expertise or expensive equipment.

One of the best things you can do at the beginning of your seller journey is set up a station so you can take good photographs of the items you sell. Your buyers rely on these to determine the quality and authenticity of your items. A custom photograph over a stock photo can go a long way. Here's some tips:

  1. Use a plain uncluttered backdrop. Although the backdrops are usually white, dark colours are acceptable, and can be used to produce contrast against light coloured objects.
  2. Use diffused lighting & disable the camera flash. Create or buy a light box to illuminate items from multiple directions.
  3. Use a tripod for sharper focus
  4. Situate the item so that it fills the frame
  5. Try to maintain accurate colours. Use the white balance setting to reduce tinting.
  6. Provide a reference to the size and scale of the item
  7. Take photos from multiple angles. Take close-ups with a macro setting to highlight product details.
  8. Avoid including props that confuse shoppers. Only items that are part of the sale should appear in the photo.
  9. Use high resolution images.
  10. Use a model or mannequin to show the fit for clothing.
  11. Show wear and condition issues in the photos. Do not hide or omit damage.
  12. Display the interior of the item being sold if possible.


Shipping and Packaging your item: 

When you go to list your item you’ll need to indicate some shipping details.

  1. Try test packing the item.
  2. Weigh the package. Measure the height, length and width.
  3. Shipping rate charts are available online.
  4. use the dimensions and the weight of your test package to estimate shipping costs
  5. Decide whether you’ll offer free shipping, fixed rate or calculated shipping.

Regardless of which option you use you should always know ahead of time what it is going to cost to ship.

Put it in a test shipping package, usually a box and measure the dimensions of the box you are using along with the weight.

Now you don’t have a target destination yet so you can try out a few sample zip codes or postal codes to see how much it will approximately cost.

Ready To List?

Go to eBay and log into your account.

  1. Click on “Sell”

  2. Choose the product category.
    You can use Terapeak’s Category Research to see what comes up for that item.
    If you get stuck you can search for your item in eBay and see what category has the most matches from previous buyers. This category will usually be the most appropriate for your item as well.

  3. Choose a title for your product.
    I would suggest going to Terapeak SEO to see what keywords you should include in your listing title. You can find this at the top of your page under “SEO”. Experiment with keywords making sure that you are descriptive and include key details such as size, colour, if it’s new or used. You want to get as many keywords to fill the allowed 80 characters to make sure you are using all available real-estate to describe your product. Once you are satisfied with your title copy and paste it into your eBay listing.

  4. Choose item specifics.
    This is a great way to include details you didn’t have room for in your title. Item specific values are used to include details such as brand, size, colour, country of origin, condition, release. 1-2 word values. Based off of your category, eBay will offer suggested values to put in these categories. If it is applicable follow the suggestions given by eBay but make sure it is not conflicting with your product as that can equal a violation.

  5. Choose a format & price.
    Either a fixed price or an auction.If you have more than one copy for sale you’re probably going to use a fixed price listing. If your item is very collectable and very valuable you might want to try and auction instead.
    The start price for an auction listing is usually set below market value. and while this may make you nervous at first the end price is going to be dictated by how much interest you attract from shoppers and how many bids are placed.

    Using a fixed priced listing makes it a more straightforward shopping experience for the buyer and seller. But you want to make sure that you price it just right so you are maximizing profits while remaining competitive in your sale. As mentioned previously use Product Search to see what your item is currently going for on the market and make your decision based off of that data. Keep in mind that shipping costs will also be a big factor so if you anticipate high shipping costs to the buyer you might have to discount the base price to maintain interest.

  6. Write a description.
    When it comes to a description do not go overboard. However if you have any additional information like a back story or limited edition information you should include it in here.Make sure that you include easy to read language and are short and to the point.If you are going to dress up the listing description with a template make sure you keep it accessible for viewing on a mobile device. Many users shop on eBay using tablets or their phones so mobile optimization is very important.

  7. Upload your photos.

  8. Choose a duration.
    When starting out you should experiment with the duration length and see what works best for your items. While a longer search term may be desirable you need to keep in mind that eBay will put your listing lower in the search ranking to begin with, only promoting it higher up as the term comes to an end. Meanwhile a shorter listing duration will have a higher search ranking, but because of the limited amount of time available you have less of a chance to get a lot of viewers to see it and gain attention.

  9. Add payment information.

  10. Choose a return policy.
    Remember to be buyer centric with this

  11. Choose your shipping service and rate

Now you are ready to go! 

Keep in mind that this first listing is about getting out there and getting some buyer feedback, so even if your item doesn’t sell as high as you hoped it is a great learning experience and opportunity for you to get some positive reviews which will benefit you in the future.

In those first few weeks or months if you need to choose between being profitable and having some initial sales come in, I would lean towards getting your sales score up. This will benefit you more later on.

Once you make a sale follow these steps to get it from you to the buyer:

 Pack it up and ship it.

  1. Print an invoice
  2. Package item. Protect the item from damage with bubble wrap or foam or paper.
  3. Print shipping labels or purchase shipping services from post office.courier. Fill out customs form if necessary.
  4. Get it in the mail.
  5. Update your listing with your handling time. - eBay tracks if you deliver your item within the time you said you would or not.  
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