eBay Tip #30 Make a List and Check it Twice

I find that if you write down your daily goals or make a TO DO List, things will have a better chance of getting done.

This simple action is very important as you begin ramping up in the world of online selling, including eBay!

It serves multiple purposes.

Making a List……..

  • Gives your day a plan
  • Keeps you focused and on track
  • Is a great way to see what you’ve accomplished at the end of the day, by reviewing your “checked off boxes”
  • Allows you to prioritize your tasks into urgent, important and non-urgent

You can also break your daily tasks into time segments like: 15 minute slots, 30 minute slots, 1 hour or longer and then make your list!

Begin the Day

  • Checking and answering email
  • Printing packing slips for orders that need to go out
  • Finding all the items that were ordered
  • Get them packed, weighed and measured.
  • Print mail labels
  • Load up my bin for my daily mail pick-up, which happens later in the afternoon.

Listing and Photos

I look through my various piles and boxes to see which items I want to list on eBay and other sites: Amazon, Facebook, Craig’s List, Next Door or Poshmark.

Sometimes my mood dictates listing larger items on the local sites, other times I might focus on records, or clothing or memorabilia. Whatever it may be, write it down.

Don’t Get Stuck in Analysis Paralysis

Researching items is a fun task, but it’s important not to get to involved or spend too long with it. That can be real time suck!

  • Go to the eBay Search Bar
  • Type in the item you want to sell
  • Click on Advanced to the right of the Search Bar
  • You can choose to see what similar items to yours have sold and their prices
  • The number may vary, so pick a mid range number and set your selling price


What Else Will You Do Today?

After shipping your orders, listing your new items, you may still have time for other related eBay activities like:

  • Sourcing more items
  • Sharing your items on Social Media
  • Ordering new shipping supplies
  • Doing some basic bookkeeping
  • or Fill in the blank _____________________

Check Off Your Activities

  • Can you list 3, 5, 10 or more items per day? Per week? Per month?
  • As you grow your sales, there will be more for you to plan for! Your time is valuable!
  • Perhaps, you will fit in a walk or lunch with an old friend or some grocery shopping.

One of the best parts about selling on eBay is the flexibility you have.


eBay Tip #30

  • Make a list of daily tasks
  • Get into your daily routine in an organized way
  • Don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis
  • Check off what you have accomplished
  • And always keep it fun!


eBay Tip #29 Learn eBay from a Pro

If you want to learn how to do something the right way, it’s best to learn from a PRO!

What is an eBay Pro?

Definition: eBay – A Online Buying and Selling Marketplace

Definition: Professional….(Pro is an abbreviated form of the word)

If you are a visual learner, watching someone teach you a skill can really help the instructions sink in!

In my online course: The ABC’s of Selling Online Using eBay, I teach you exactly how to sell on eBay, step by step.

And after seeing and hearing the lessons one by one, you can re-watch any of the segments over again if necessary!

Why Reinvent the Wheel?


I have been selling on eBay since the very early days of the platform, 1998. There have been so many changes to improve the buying and selling experience. I learned the hard way, mostly trial and error. If you take my course, I will cover things like the Mindset of Selling, What Tools You’ll Need to Begin Selling, Info on Shipping and Pricing and so much more.

Take it Slowly

No need to rush. As you get comfortable with each concept, I will show what sells, and how to create your very own first listing!

It’s doesn’t have to be difficult, but for people without a tech background, I explain it simply! It is even possible to list on eBay using your phone or tablet and avoid the computer all together!

I have years of teaching experience as a tennis professional. I taught ALL level players and in ALL age ranges. I love teaching tennis AND eBay!

List, Sell and Ship

By the time you get though the whole course, you will be READY and ABLE to list, sell and ship on eBay.

  • You may not even have an eBay account, so I will teach you how to create one.
  • You may not have PayPal and I’ll teach you how to collect money from your buyers!
  • You may not have any boxes, I will teach you how to obtain and even get them for FREE!

Get Rid of Your Stuff and Make Some Money

I will teach you how to turn your “trash into cash” as they say! It’s the ultimate form of recycling and reusing by selling on eBay.

It will empower you to sell all on your own, after taking my online course. What are you waiting for? Sign up today!

Short on Time?

  • That’s okay. You only need to commit to an hour a day at first. You can start with one listing and then to two and so on!
  • Make personal goals depending on your schedule. I teach you how to use your time wisely when listing and researching.
  • It doesn’t have to be an all day process. Short and sweet is my plan for you!

Learn from a REAL Pro

I sell every single day on eBay! I’m not kidding. I am a real person who loves to teach others about the fun eBay can bring you! In addition, you can make extra money too!

I can’t wait to hear about your success!


Tip #29

  • Goal: Learn to Sell on eBay from a Pro!
  • Task: Take Anne Z’s Online Course THE ABC’S OF SELLING ONLINE USING EBAY!
  • Task: Get rid of unwanted clutter, make some extra money!

eBay Tip #21 – My eBay Mistakes

I have made many errors as a seller on eBay. You might call my eBay mistakes, doozys or even epic fails! It’s all part of the learning process! I look back on them and can now laugh, but the truth is we all make mistakes and hopefully reduce making too many of them!

Where the Heck is That Item?

It is inevitable that you will sell something and not be able to find it. That is one of the worst feelings to have as a seller. Being organized helps avoid this situation, but it happens to the best of us. There are a couple of ways to handle it.

  • 1) Send an eBay message to the buyer, tell them the truth about not being able to locate and refund their money.
  • This is a last resort because you will get a ding from eBay as a seller. Not a great option in my opinion.
  • 2) If you can find another item like you sold, buy it and send it to the buyer with a note about what happened.
  • Better than the ding from eBay. An out-of-pocket expense, but problem remedied.

Oops I Sent the Wrong Item!

This has happened a few times to me. Most memorable was selling two similar Bear figurine statues made by Lalique. If you are unfamiliar with Lalique glass, it is made in France and can be quite expensive. These two pieces were signed and were bought by buyers from Russia and Spain for in the $600-$800 range.

Without needing to say it, this was going to be an expensive mistake. When I realized what I had done, I began communicating with the buyer of the larger bear statue. One he received it, I had him ship it to the person in Spain and visa versa.

International shipping is not super difficult, but there is Customs and cost. I was able to work with both buyers through translation issues and distance obstacles. It all worked out. Both ended up with their correct Lalique bears. Thanks goodness! Talk about a heart stopper!

On another occasion, I had a shipping helper who was a dream! She would get all the orders ready each morning: find the appropriate boxes, pack them up, weigh them and print the shipping labels. That allowed me to concentrate on putting up more listings.

On this particular day I was at a one-day conference in San Francisco and she was handling my eBay office on her own. I checked in with her mid day and she told me we finally sold “the football”. She didn’t realize that we had two different footballs. One was a junior model made by Wilson (selling for $12) and the other was a flattened, signed Oakland Raider’s memorabilia type ball (selling for $200). They had very different looks and value.

You guessed it, she shipped the wrong one. My helper had no idea, since she was not a sports loving person, one ball looked just like the other to her. I was able to fix the situation over the course of a few days, and it had a happy ending. Again that was another heart stopper.

Shipping Charges Too Low

The other eBay mistake that can happen commonly is to not charge enough for shipping an item that was sold. Since I use free shipping on most of my eBay items, I have to make sure that the selling price covers the cost of shipping. That does happen once in a while.

On eBay it is not a good practice to ask the buyer for more money. So if one loses on that particular transaction, I look at it as “paying for feedback”. Meaning the best result out of that sale and loss on shipping costs, is receiving a positive feedback rating from the buyer. I rationalize it as my cost for feedback from them. Hopefully they will leave it for me, but sometimes we don’t calculate all the right numbers on every single transaction. Move on and make better calculations next time!

That’s the way it goes! Hopefully it won’t happen too often!

On eBay, since there are costs on the listing side (after using your free listings) and costs on the final sales price, the shipping costs are one more added to the mix. As long as I have a positive cash flow and sell some higher priced items in a month, all is good. It is the cost of doing business on eBay.

Lost in the Mail

The last area of epic fails for me on eBay is when a package is lost in the mail. Luckily, this problem seldom happens: maybe once in a thousand transactions which is about once a year in my long eBay career. Mail delivery has gotten better with real time tracking, but this one time was different.

I sold a pair of ice skates to a woman in the East. We both followed the tracking to see that her package was heading through the south and then north again, to many other states than where it was supposed to end up. Then the tracking just stopped, never to be updated again. She never received the ice skates, no amount of inquiry helped find the missing package. The USPS medium flat rate box was shipping by Priority Mail and automatically comes with $50 insurance, which I finally had to claim. I refunded her money, leaving a disappointed buyer.

Luckily, that kind of thing doesn’t happen very often, but is in my list of epic eBay fails. All sellers have them and as I say to newbies all the time, “once you make a big mistake, chances are you will never make that one again!”

For you eBay sellers or buyers out there, do you have any eBay mistakes you can share? I’d love to hear about them!


Tip #21

  • Goal: If you have an eBay mistake, try to fix with buyer
  • Task: Send eBay message, along with apologies, and refund without delay
  • Task: If you can’t find an item that sold, replace with another – even if you have to purchase and send to them
  • Task: Laugh at your mistakes and try to learn from them
  • Task: Most of all, move on, no one is perfect!

eBay Tip #18 – What Price is Right?

What is the Price is Right for My eBay Item?

How to price your ebay item

One of the most common questions I get from my eBay students is about pricing their items correctly on eBay.

“How do I know how much to ask for an item?” asked my eBay newbie student.

“How much do you think this item is worth?” was the next question.

The answers can be complicated, but fairly simple too.

You can ask ANYTHING you want for an item AND it is ONLY worth what someone will pay for it.

Let me repeat that whole line:

You can ask ANYTHING you want for an item


it is ONLY worth what someone will pay for it.

If you price an item a bit high, and also have the “Make an Offer” option available, then a buyer may offer something less than you asked for it. If you accept that offer, then you’ve just made a sale!

Interestingly enough, even though 98% of my listings on eBay include the “Make an Offer” option, not everybody makes me a lower offer. They see your listed price and may be happy with paying that amount. So why not think BIG. Don’t be afraid to ask for a dream price. You may just get it!

If you price your item low, you will not make MORE money that that amount. You need to be okay with the price you list at or perhaps you should just donate it to a charity, if it’s not worth your time and effort.

Price something high and you can always go lower. Just how low you go, is up to you.

You might take a lower offer if:

  • You have had the item listed for a while
  • You want to move it quickly
  • You want more cash flow
  • You want to make a sale and thus make the buyer happy

Perceived Value

perceived value on eBay

When we see a high price on an item, it may give the aura of more value. Apple has made a whole company around that premise. Price it high, and it must be very good. That’s sort of what perceived value is.

If we see something very inexpensive, we tend to think of it as a low value item. We may even think there is something wrong with it. That becomes our perception of the item.

In our crazy world of marketing psychology, If we see a high priced item on SALE, we often think we are getting a good deal. So we will often buy it. Think of seeing an item New With Tag in a thrift store setting. That item may even become something that we must buy, no matter what.

Pricing Wars

Finding the right price for items on eBay

If we price our Widget at $55 and we see others just like it on eBay for $15, we tend to think we are pricing it too high. Another way to look at it is, the $15 seller makes their sale quickly since it’s a great deal, leaving our $55 the only other one left in stock on eBay. We may play a waiting game. Maybe we drop the price 10% or 15% and see if we get any offers. It might sell for our higher price if we wait a bit. Or it may never sell at our price. We just don’t know! No one does.

eBay can give us historic information on what other similar items have sold for recently. That information can be helpful, but it’s not a true indicator of what it will sell for next time. No one knows that. What we do know from shopping in retail stores is that prices can go up and down all the time. Finding the sweet spot for making a lot of sales, is tricky and complicated.

Supply and Demand

If your collectible Widget is rare then you can ask more for it. If it is an everyday item, then the competition may drive the prices down all around you. You will have to jump into that game in order to keep up. If there are many sellers on eBay selling the same thing you are, you may decide to bundle many items together to increase the value of that item.

List It and Forget About It

Another pricing strategy that I use is to list a bit high, add “Make an Offer” to the listing and keep on listing new items without spending much time watching that first item. In other words, list it and forget about it! It will most likely sell sometime. Plan B is when we bail and end the listing and donate it instead. More on that in a future post.

Use Mark Down Manager

Since I’ve been active on eBay since 1998, I have lots of inventory. I do like to try to keep it moving, so I use Mark Down Manager on my listings. That means, I run a lot of sales! 10%-15% on newer listings all the way up to 70% on some very old listings. It is easy to run a month long sale or something a lot shorter. The buyer will see how much they are saving and will often buy because they are getting a lower price.

Relist it Higher

Another strategy that makes some people scratch their head, it when I relist an item or modify it in some way, I will often raise the price. And many times, I see sales very quickly after that. What? That premise is going back to the perceived value of something. By raising a price, perhaps that adds value to it in the buyer’s eyes. Try it, it does really work!

Free Shipping

free shipping helps sell on eBay

As a bonus to your listing, if you offer free shipping that can help entice your buyer into a sale. See my post all about free shipping. The psychology of buying and selling is a complex study into what makes us tick! Making buyers happy is something that should drive increase your sales! And hopefully, make them repeat customers!


Time Will Tell

There is no easy way to know the best price for your item without experimentation. If it sells quickly, we often think we priced it too low, while in fact it was the exact right price for that sale. You can ask whatever you want for an item, that doesn’t mean it will sell or it won’t sell at that price until you try it.

I’ve had interested parties write me an eBay message telling me I was asking too much for something. I thanked them for taking the time to write me and share their thoughts, but the reality is that they don’t have to buy if they don’t want to pay that price for it. Plain and simple. I can set the price and they decide if they accept it or not.

It is also true that no matter what you think something is worth to you, it is ONLY worth what someone will pay for it. An example is the Beanie Baby craze from the 1990s. People paid big money for those little stuffed animals then. Today they are not worth much more than a stocking stuffer at Christmas. Take a look how many are listed on eBay and you will see what I mean!

There is No Right or Wrong Price

It is either an art when pricing items on eBay or perhaps a bit of luck on occasion. The idea is to sell your item, so you will have to make many adjustments along the way! Don’t give up, just keep on listing and pricing and you’ll see what works for you in the long run! Good luck!


Tip #18

  • Goal: Find what price is right for your eBay item
  • Task: Price on the high side and add “Make an Offer”
  • Task: Price on the low side to move it quickly
  • Task: Price on the high side to increased perceived value
  • Task: Price high and then add mark downs to it
  • Task: Relist or modify your item with a higher price
  • Task: Add a bonus incentive like free shipping to your item

eBay Tip #17 – Should You Offer Free Shipping on eBay?

Free Shipping? It is worth it?

Buyers love free shipping on eBay


The topic of Free Shipping on eBay is divided among eBay sellers.

Buyers love free shipping! vs. There is really no free shipping!

Here are some reasons for and against. See where I stand at the end of this comparison!


Pro of offering free shipping on eBay

  • I love free shipping as a buyer! I would venture to say all buyers love free shipping!
  • When I offer free shipping as a seller, I get an automatic Five Star Rating under the shipping metric in my feedback score.
  • Many online retailers offer free shipping (Amazon Prime, Target, Timberland, Nordstrom), so if it works for the big boys, it can work for me too!
  • When it comes to listing, it’s a no brainer, click free shipping and the listing is simplified. (Have a general idea of what it would cost and add to your sales price)
  • Increased sales
  • Customer loyalty
  • The costs of shipping become a deductible expense on your Schedule C tax report if YOU pay for them by offering free shipping on eBay.
  • eBay says you will be ranked higher in “search” as buyers look for specific items.
  • When you offer free shipping on eBay it will help establish and maintain a Top Seller Status.
  • Buyers won’t jump to a negative conclusion that you’ve hiked up the shipping costs since they aren’t paying for it.


Cons of offering free shipping on eBay

  • eBay’s final value fees collected after each sale includes price of item AND shipping costs, so they win when you offer free shipping.
  • Shipping costs comes out of your pocket as the seller when you offer free shipping.
  • Shipping costs more than one realizes since rates keep going up yearly – it’s expensive!
  • Some say it doe not translate into more eBay sales.
  • You can actually lose money when selling low priced items when you offer free shipping.
  • Free shipping is not good for very heavy or large items. Much more fair to use calculated shipping for those types of items.

My Stance on Free Shipping

free shipping on eBay

I have benefited from offering free shipping over the past three to four years, when eBay really started pushing for sellers to offer it. Here are some of my top reasons.

My buyers were upset that shipping was so expensive. If I offer free shipping, they do not get to chime in about costs at all. I am rewarded five stars on my shipping & handling charges under my detailed seller ratings automatically by eBay.

I can work toward or keep my Top Rated Seller Badge by offering free shipping on eBay.

Makes listing a bit quicker, since I click the free shipping option. I know from experience approximately how much items will ship. When I have a question I use USPS and use my zip code: 94941 and one across the country 12345 to calculate the approximate cost for 1 pound, 2 pounds, 3 pounds and so forth. I add that cost to my sales price.

My buyers LOVE free shipping. I want to make them happy and want to come back to shop with me!

I can beat some of my competition, even when we sell at the same price point.


  • Shoes cost $50 with free shipping
  • vs
  • Shoes cost $40 with $10 shipping

They both end up costing $50. Which one do you think buyers will go for?

Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner….Yes, the free shipping will win most often because people do not want to calculate what the price plus shipping will be, even if it’s easy math! It’s psychological and great marketing! Free shipping wins!


If you feel that you will have more benefits by offering free shipping on eBay, then I say join me and do it!

If not, then use the “calculated shipping” option and buyers will see on their end what it will cost them in shipping, before buying your item.

It’s up to you, but I think offering free shipping is an advantage and a draw to customers.

When I put on my “buyer’s hat”, I love free shipping and try to buy from fellow sellers who offer it too!


Tip #17

  • Goal: Determine if offering free shipping on eBay is worth it to you
  • Task: Offer free shipping on some of your items and evaluate
  • Task: Don’t offer free shipping on other items you list on eBay and evaluate
  • Task: You can always change your listings after they have “gone live” on eBay
  • Task: Find your comfort level before offering free shipping on all your listings

eBay Tip #14 – 7 eBay Misconceptions

Is eBay still around? You bet!
Photo by Anne Zarraonandia

I am always surprised to hear what people I meet daily, say about eBay these days. There are lots of eBay misconceptions about the long time online selling platform. Here is a list of seven of my favorites.

Is eBay Still Around?

Yes, after all these years, eBay is still a viable company and very safe online market place. It has been through a lot of changes over the years, some good, some not so good, but it’s still around! It was founded in 1995 (originally called Auction web) by Pierre Omidyar when he listed his laser pointer for $1, and later sold it for around $15. eBay now boasts over 182 million users and is a multi-billion dollar enterprise headquarted in San Jose, CA with dozens of office locations around the globe.

I am fortunate to be invited every quarter to meet the new eBay employees as part of a Top Rated Seller Panel in San Jose. What a great group of sellers we have on the stage in front of the new eBay hires. One seller, a former skateboarding champion, specializes in high end skateboards and accessories. Another seller is a ticket broker and sells highly sought after tickets to local concerts and sporting events! Another seller was named the Small Business Owner of the Year in 2018 and has grown an empire with eleven employees by selling electronics! And yet another sells tons and tons of women’s shoes to buyers around the world and is the single largest shipper in his zip code!

We share our stories with the new employees at eBay and they in turn ask us questions about eBay for their new jobs! Becoming eBay Summit is always a treat! I am looking forward to the upcoming Spring time event!

eBay Only Has Auctions

This is far from the truth! Fixed priced listings comprise more than two-thirds of all the items listed on eBay these days. Auctions certainly put eBay on the map as the “way” to buy back in the late 1990s and early 2000s but not anymore. Buyers don’t want to wait seven days to see if they won an item or not. Instant purchase is the way we shop now, along with getting a good deal! eBay certainly does have something for everyone, where you need it or not!


Anything Will Sell on eBay

Maybe, maybe not. The marketplace has changed a great deal over the twenty plus years of eBay. In the old days, when Beanie Babies ruled and auctions peaked the interest of the online buyer, many things did sell. Now it has to be in the right price range and from an experienced seller for the transaction to be completed. Most people do comparison shopping before purchasing between eBay, Amazon and other online marketplaces before they buy. It’s a tough world out there!


Buyers Will Return Their Sales to Rip You Off

This is not true. Most people are reputable shoppers and are easy to work with when selling to them. A few can give the whole a bad name on occasion. If you are fearful of your sale going “south”, then it might be that negative energy you are exuding and not the actual buyer. Sure, things do go awry sometimes in a transaction, but from my years of experience, it doesn’t happen very often. There are protections built into the system at eBay for both parties, having to do with returns, payments and refunds. The rules are in place and if someone takes advantage over and over again, they will be removed from eBay. Look at the glass half full: the transaction will probably work out just fine! If they are trying to scheme the system, they will get caught! Buy and Sell with confidence!

Coats Only Sell in Winter & Swim Suits Only Sell in Summer

A common eBay misconception is that winter wear only sells in winter

There are no seasons on eBay. Buyers are located all around the world and shop in the winter for summer items and in the summer for winter items. There might be a little spike in clothing in the actual season it’s being sold, but I have not had that experience. More people buy ahead of the season as they plan future trips, etc. Disposable income isn’t for practical purchases, it’s for looking down the road at what I want next! Sell your coat anytime! After all it’s winter somewear, all the time!

The Best Time to List Christmas Stuff is in December

Christmas in July for eBay Selling

Completely not true! I have more Christmas sales in July than in any other month of the year. Remember the old saying? “Christmas in July”. Well there are a lot of Christmas decorators and shoppers out there way ahead of the Christmas season. By the time Christmas comes around, it’s too late to have a big selection of Ugly Christmas Sweaters on eBay. They are all gone by then! I love to sell holiday items ALL YEAR LONG. See post above. There are no seasons on eBay! Keep listing and keep buying!

eBay is Too Hard to Do

For some that may be true, but for others like me, it’s a game/hobby/business that goes on and on and on. Yes, it changes, but that’s the fun of it or it would be boring. Once you learn some basics, have items to sell, keep a well stocked about of packing material and boxes, it’s quite simple. After all, it’s not brain surgery. If you have an item that someone else wants, they will buy it. It’s simple “supply and demand”. If there are one hundred china gravy boats listed on eBay and you do not want a gravy boat, it will stay on eBay without any sales.

Keep it simple. It doesn’t have to be difficult. And don’t fall for some of the common eBay misconceptions pointed out in this post!

  • Find an item to sell.
  • Write an engaging title and description.
  • Take good photos.
  • Set a fair price.
  • Obtain the right shipping box ready in advance.
  • List it.
  • The sale will happen.
  • Ship it and move on to the next.
  • Have a backup plan: donate if it doesn’t sell in a month or two.

As the shampoo bottle says: Wash, Rinse, Repeat. It’s not hard.

Follow the steps and you can unload all sorts of things: from your house, from your friends, from garage sales, etc.

If you want to learn The ABC’s of Selling Online Using eBay, sign up for Anne’s online course today!

You can do it!

It isn’t brain surgery!

eBay Tip #10 – Be Like Nordstrom!

Customer Service

Customer Service is king! Anyone who has ever bought anything knows that! If you want to be a good online seller, your customer service will allow you to stand out above the crowd! One of my favorite retailers, Nordstrom, does this the best! Have you ever needed to return any purchase, for any reason, to Nordstrom? It is no hassle and ALWAYS a pleasant experience.

The Customer is Always Right

If you want to be successful selling online, then there will be occasions when your buyer will not be happy! My policy is to validate there concerns, thank them for letting me know and always work with them on a positive solution, often with their input. You might wonder, “Doesn’t that lose you money?” NOPE, just the opposite. I bend over backwards, like Nordstrom, to be the best-seller for my buyer. Am I always happy about it? No, but I want my reputation to speak to future customers in a positive way.


On eBay and other selling platforms, there is usually a Feedback system in place, so potential buyers can read comments from past transactions. Your online reputation is everything! I am closing in on 10,000 positive feedbacks on eBay and I am excited about it! Why? Because, anyone who looks at my feedback score can see that I’ve been a very good seller! That will attract new buyers!

The Nordstom Tire Story

I googled this phrase “Nordstrom Tire Story” just now and found 995,000 results for it. If you never heard it, back in the 1970’s a man returned a car tire to Nordstrom in Alaska and they refunded his money. Nordstrom doesn’t even sell tires! This story has become part of the Nordstrom lore and their reputation remains top-notch! Read what Snopes says about it here! As an online seller, this is the best example why you should accept returns (you won’t get as many as you may fear!). I strive to be like Nordstrom whenever I can in my online selling!

No Questions Asked

I want my customers to be happy! That is my primary goal. Happy customers return to your website. They buy more stuff! Take a return. Send a refund or partial refund. eBay will scope out the bad buyers, so leave that to them. In today’s online shopping world, customers look for peace of mind when buying! Let your customer service stand out and be known!

Sometimes They Won’t Return It

I have accepted returns for as long as I can remember on eBay. I probably only have 3 in a total of 1,000 transactions. Many times the item may not be worth returning to me because the shipping costs would not make it worth it. I will ask the buyer to kindly dispose of the item or donate to their local charity. Or a few times, I said I would accept the return and they didn’t follow through with it. I am not out any money, because I only refund money once I get the item back. Sometimes the buyer changes their mind, because you were so open to receiving it. You just never know!

Time is Money

The longer you as a seller go back and forth with your customer by messaging each other on eBay, the more time you are spending on it, rather than listing more items which can make you money. Your time is valuable. I will often use the line: “I am sorry that you are unhappy with the item’s condition”. (Validation!) And then I will write: “How can I best make this transaction a good one for you?” Both of these responses show that you are willing to work with the buyer. They often turn their attitude around and say “Thank you!” (best case scenario).

Kill Them With Kindness

When I have an unhappy customer, I try to be as nice as heavenly possible! I may feel like sending a nasty note back their way (you can write the message and NOT send to feel better). Instead, I try to remain as professional as possible. I will always sign my name. Once they feel heard, you can see the difference in their next responses. I once had a buyer say they were sorry because they were in a bad mood. Another admitted to over-reacting. Try your best to be kind and it will often work in your favor! Or sometimes you just move on!

You Might Re-Sell it For More $

I try to see a positive, even when a return does come my way. Perhaps the jacket didn’t fit properly, or they just plain changed their mind. No worries. I can re-list with a click of the mouse and re-use my old description. I often then raise the price of the item. I have sold it again for more money, many times! Seriously, this trick works! If one person was interested, why not get more dough when the next person is interested!


Tip #10

  • Goal: To achieve an excellent online reputation
  • Task: Answer customers questions, comments or complaints with polite validation
  • Task: Offer returns or refunds, no question asked
  • Task: Ask how you can make the situation a positive one for the buyer
  • Task: Be like Nordstrom!
  • Task: Be kind!

eBay Tip #9 – Organize Your Work Space

Organize Your Work Space

This is a tough post to write, since my work space is a work in progress and not perfect by any means. It’s the beginning of a New Year and we are all full of resolutions. One of mine is to clean up and organize my work space. I am lucky enough to have taken my eBay business out of my house into a “real office”. I share the office with other professionals, and I am the only eBay seller in the group.

Access to Computers


My portion of the office includes two work stations, many shelves and a small amount of counter space. It is to have a designated photo station and a connecting shipping area. Most of my boxes are ready to go, some need to be opened and taped up for use.


Label Everything

Since I sell on consignment for folks, some items I have are mine and the other stuff belongs to my clients. There are labels on everything, either by category or by number. I use Cross Post-It software for keeping track of my clients sales. See review of Cross Post-It here.

There are a few occasions when I can not find an item. It does happen, but I usually find it after rifling through boxes and shelves. It helps to have a somewhat photographic memory!


There are areas for listing, measuring and photo taking. My scale is always front and center since I measure and weigh every listing to be sure what kind of box it will be shipped in. About half of my boxes are brand new and the other half are from friends and neighbors. They save their Amazon boxes, bubble wrap and air pillows for me to reuse. I love recycling packing and shipping material.

Have Scale Handy at All Times!

Photo Station Ready for Action

Turn on a few lights and the photo station is ready for use! A simple white backdrop is key so the item stands out and is not lost in a cluttered background. I use my iPhone for taking pictures which are easily airdropped to my computer or go directly into the eBay listing. So easy and smooth!

Keep Organizing

It will take a couple of hours for me to get things cleaned up a bit, but in the meantime, my space works for me. I can find what I need: tape measure, tape, scale, etc for listings and shipping.


Tip #9

  • Goal: Organize Your Work Space
  • Task: Set up Photo Area
  • Task: Set up Scale
  • Task: Label all items so they are found easily
  • Task: Keep at it – It’s a work in progress

eBay Tip #5 – Selling Online is Just Like Sports

Tip #5

Before you can compete in any sporting endeavor, you must get in shape, train, practice and then to use a famous clothing company’s slogan:

Just Do It!

If you want to sell on eBay or any other market places online, you should prepare as a runner would for a race, or a tennis player for a match or a volleyball player for a big game.

Research (On Your Mark)

What kind of items do you want to sell? Are they vintage heirlooms left to you by your grandmother? Are they clothes that your kids have outgrown? Are they from a hobby you no longer do?

Once you have a few ideas on what you are going to sell, then let’s take a look at what price you might ask the buyer to pay. You can check to see what other similar items to yours are listed for on eBay, but that’s just the asking price. To find out the actual selling prices, you can do an advanced search on recent items sold very easily.

  • Look to the left of the main search bar at the top of the page
  • Click Advanced, then type in the name of your item in the “Keyword or Item Number bar”
  • Click “Sold Items” below that and hit “Search”.
  • The actual selling prices will appear in green and you can use that as a basic guideline for your selling prices.

If it is a newer item, you can check Amazon to see what the going price is on that market place. Repeat your searches on the online market place you plan to list you item: Poshmark, Craig’s List, etc.

Describe, Including Condition and Flaws (Get Set)

It’s time to write the description for your item. Add important info such as:

  • Size
  • Color
  • Model number
  • What’s included in your offer
  • Important identifyers
  • Take many clear, close-up photos (easy with our current cell phone cameras!)
  • And most importantly a fair assessment of it’s condition


Many folks I teach eBay to, over rate and forget to point out the flaws the item might have. Your feedback rating and customer’s success will directly connect to how honestly you evaluated the item’s condition. Be honest and fair and your buyer will appreciate knowing as much info as you can give about it.

Post Your Item (GO!)

Your description doesn’t have to be perfect for you to actually list it. Do your best. Buyers may ask questions if certain info is missing. There will be a learning curve. It is essential that you just try it and see what happens. In other words:

  • Practice
  • Practice
  • Practice

Just like in sports, you will win some and you will lose some. Be prepared for the unexpected. Mistakes will happen. I have accidentally sent items to the wrong buyer. I have inadvertently missed describing a small crack in a vase. I have made many other mistakes, and learned from every single one of them.

And when you make your first sale and they pay you via PayPal, you will feel like you’ve hit a Home Run! After shipping your first item and they leave you positive feedback, you will feel like you won the Olympic Gold Medal! After my twenty + years of selling online, I still get a charge for every single sale I make. There is nothing like it. Well maybe it’s close to success in an athletic competition. Yes, it’s very much like playing sports.

My advice if you are on the fence about selling online:

  • Get yourself in shape (Research what you are going to sell and for how much)
  • Train (Write a great description, with honest condition evaluation)
  • and Don’t Look Back! (Go! You can do it!)


Tip #5

  • You will find success by doing rather than waiting.
  • You will learn from setbacks and criticisms.
  • You will be stronger for having tried.
  • There is not much to lose.
  • In fact, you might learn a few things along the way and even make a little money!
If you want to try selling online and learn from a Real Pro!
Sign up for Anne Z’s online course:
The ABC’s of Selling Online Using eBay



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