How to Be Successful on Ebay as a Seller

A large monitor displays the Ebay logo at an Ebay Live event on September 27, 2003 in Berlin, Germany
Kurt Vinion/Stringer/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Ebay provides entrepreneurs with a vehicle for online retail sales without the trouble and expense of setting up an e-commerce site of their own. Whether you have a small handful of handmade items or are dealing in heavy volumes of used and new products, eBay can be a useful tool for reaching customers. There are seven steps to getting started that everyone on eBay should understand in order to be as successful as possible.

Product Photos

People like to see things before they buy them, and all eBay listings must have photos. For successful selling, make sure the products you list are accompanied by professional-quality photographs that include as many angles as applicable, depending on the product.

Photos used on eBay must be a minimum length of 500 pixels for the longest side, have no borders, and have no text or artwork added, such as a seller's logo. You may use watermarks, and eBay has its own watermark creation service. You can use stock photos, but only for brand-new items.

Ebay recommends using a plain background, no flash, and diffused lighting to avoid shadows in your photos. It also recommends filling the frame with the item and showing its scale.

Doing Research

Before listing a product on eBay, spend some time researching similar products and following the bidding process. This will help you gauge the interest in your product and determine how much it might be worth.

For more detailed analytics, products like Terapeak actually will provide detailed metrics on how certain categories of products have been performing on the site during recent days, weeks, or months.

Shipping Options

Shipping is under the control of the eBay seller, but some methods are better than others depending on your location and the types of products you are selling. Find the best method of shipping for your product in terms of expense and reliability, then specify that shipping method in your eBay listing. Include the shipping cost in your shipping information for potential buyers.

Take great care in packing items efficiently and sending them out in a timely manner. One of the things that will help you build a good reputation on the site is sending out professional-looking packages as quickly as possible. On the other hand, customers might be uncomfortable purchasing from you again if the package they receive looks as if it was wrapped carelessly or took an unnecessarily long time to reach its destination.

Product Descriptions

For successful selling on eBay, you need a powerful listing. The trick is to combine search engine friendly phrasing with concrete details about the product in a way that will entice people to bid on your product. Take the time to craft your eBay listing just as you would any ad.

However, don't forget about the key details. Sizes, product versions, and any other pertinent information also needs to be listed. You don't need to lead with it, but don't forget about it.

Payment Options

The more payment options you offer prospective bidders, the more bidders your product will attract and the more successful your selling on eBay will be. The most common forms of payment will be PayPal, credit cards, and debit cards. To be successful, you should accept each of these forms of payment.

In some circumstances, you also might consider accepting cash on delivery if you are selling locally and the buyer is picking up the item in person. Bank-to-bank deposits, money order, and personal checks are allowed for some categories. Use your best judgment based on what you are selling.

Earning Feedback

Feedback really matters when you're selling on eBay. If you have a consistent record of positive feedback, prospective buyers will bid more often and be willing to pay higher prices. So you may want to hold back on trying to sell higher-priced products until you have a successful track record as an eBay seller established.

For example, when getting started on the site, listed only a few basic, relatively low-priced items to make sure you can handle the volume and follow all appropriate steps without making any mistakes. As you get more comfortable with the practice and as you generate some positive reviews, then start increasing your workload.

Starting with too many products too soon can lead to mistakes and negative reviews that will be difficult to overcome.


Act professionally, provide the kind of superior customer service buyers would expect if walking into a retail store. This will help you to build a solid reputation, as will following all the business rules that apply, such as registering your business and properly charging and remitting taxes.

Selling on eBay is just like any other business. If you serve the needs of your customers for a fair price, they'll keep coming back. A lack of professionalism will have the opposite effect.