Learn How to Successfully Sell Clothing on eBay

Woman Measuring Jacket on Male Dress Form
solidcolours / Getty Images

There are millions of items of clothing for sale at any given time. eBay is a very competitive marketplace. Successful sellers must go the extra mile to give outstanding service, describe items accurately and completely, and follow all eBay policies.

Some sellers say the eBay clothing market is dead, but others enjoy plentiful sales and run a good business selling clothing online. The key is to find items that are in high demand, short supply, and have good profit margins. Here are eight ways to be a top-notch clothing seller on eBay.

Always Include Measurements

It is very difficult at best, but mostly impossible, to sell clothing online without providing measurements. The consensus for including measurements on eBay is about 50-50. Half of the clothing sellers say it doesn't matter, clothes will sell without measurements. The other half say measurements are definitely necessary. Savvy sellers know that measurements are important to buyers, and many won't bother to ask for them but just move on to another seller who does provide measurements.

Buyers know that different brands run differently. They will measure an item that fits correctly and compare those measurements to a garment on eBay. Always include measurements on clothing.

Display Clothing on a Mannequin

The likelihood of selling your clothing items increase when they are displayed on a mannequin. This helps the buyer visualize how the item fits, how the neckline lays, the length of the item, and how the pattern looks both close up and from a distance. Hollow plastic torso mannequins can be purchased on eBay for about $20. Investing in a mannequin will pay for itself many times. When your budget allows, you can always upgrade to a dress form or full-size mannequin.

Show 360 Degree Photos

Again, help buyers visualize the item as they would wear it. Display the item on a mannequin and show photos of the front, side, and back. Show photos of any embellishments such as zippers, interesting buttons, unusual stitching, or logos. Make sure the buyer knows what he is buying.

It is a good idea to include photos of both the brand and size tag, as well as the content tag. This protects you as a seller if you receive an Item Not As Described case. Some buyers are more likely to look at photos rather than read a description, so let your photos tell the story.

Include Fabric Content in the Description

Buyers want to know what the garment is made of. Some buyers have allergies or sensitivities to fabric and are very particular about what they can wear or even have in their home. For example, allergies to rabbit hair (angora) are common and cause sneezing, wheezing, watery eyes, or a runny nose. Some buyers can only wear cotton due to skin sensitivities. It is a good idea to take a photo of the garment label showing the fabric content so there isn't ever a question about the fabric.

Include Washing Instructions

Along with fabric content, buyers want to know about fabric care. Some will avoid items that can only be dry cleaned. Make sure you mention the laundering instructions for clothing, especially if it is dry clean only or hand wash only.

Include Brand Name, Color, and Type of Item in the Title

eBay is search driven. Buyers search for what they want and the search engine matches their search with items for sale. It is important to use the right words in search so the buyer can find your item. Always include brand name even if you think it isn't work mentioning.

Some buyers are looking for Walmart or Target store brands. Other popular affordable fashion brands that do well on eBay are Cato, Dress Barn, Express, Aeropostale, and Old Navy. (See some other great selling brands.) Always include color in the title. Buyers may need a particular color for an event such as a football game, sorority event, or to wear to work.

Offer a Generous Return Policy

Buying clothing off the internet is tricky business. Buyers may purchase your item if they can't return it because it doesn't fit. Buyers want to know they can return or exchange items that don't fit properly. Make sure to offer a 30 day or longer return policy so the buyer has time to decide if they want to keep the item or return it.

Having a generous return policy helps sales more than it hurts sales. According to the eBay search algorithm, having a 30 day or longer return policy helps you place higher in a search. And if the item is returned, just resell it. Always include a disclaimer in your return policy, that the item must be returned in original condition with tags if applicable. This prevents the buyer from returning a damaged item.

Avoid Selling High Return Items

If you are worried about a high return rate, avoid selling items that are seen as rentals. These types of items include formal dresses, bridal wear, christening clothing for babies, or tuxedos for men. Think about if the item may only be worn once for a special event. There are plenty of other items to sell that won't be returned. Selling clothing on eBay is a lucrative business. Used clothing is plentiful and inexpensive at thrift stores.

Updated by Suzanne A. Wells