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How to sell your unwanted Christmas gifts on eBay

By Heather Large | Entertainment | Published:

With Christmas done and dusted for another year, there is no better time to start decluttering the house and make some space for all of those new gifts.

How to sell your unwanted Christmas gifts on eBay

One of the best ways to do this, and at the same time make some useful space cash, is to join the millions of people who use eBay every year to sell everything from clothing they longer wear to furniture they no longer want.

Here at Weekend we understand it can be difficult to know just where to start so we've put together some top tips on how you can make the world's most famous auction website work for you:

1. Choose your words carefully:

To catch the eye of a bidder, you need to pick words you know will help to reel them in. When buyers search, eBay automatically looks for words in the listing's title only, so it's crucial to write your listing in your customers' language, and use the keywords they search for - especially brand and product names.

Avoid too many descriptive words like ‘stylish’ and 'elegant and when referring to the colour keep it simple - use purple instead of plum, for example. With clothing, it's always important to include practical information such as the size.

But there are some keywords that are sure draws including old, vintage and sexy. So, if these are relevant and not an exaggeration, use them, as they will more than likely help to build traffic to your sales.

Remember honesty is the best policy so be upfront about any damage or faults, it's always better in the long-run.

2. Choose the right category for your product:

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It might sound obvious but it’s very important to always choose the most specific category to sell in. If it's clothing, make sure to label it as women's, men's or children's and then whether it's a top, dress, or hoodie for example. Shoppers can search by these specific categories so if your item does not fall under the correct heading, then it could easily be missed by bidders.

If you think it should appear in more than one category, you can pay a fee to do this and maximise your product’s visibility and the number of times it's seen.

If you're unsure of what categories there are then spend some time looking at the eBay website and try searching for yourself to find an item like the one you are hoping to sell.

3. Opt for 10-day auctions to ensure the max number of bids:

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When listing an auction, you can choose whether it lasts one, three, five, seven or 10 days. The longer your item is listed, the more chance of people seeing it, so eBay recommends that, unless it's time-sensitive, you opt for 10 days.

But bear in mind, you could lose an impatient few who don't want to wait that long or forget to bid nearer the closing date.

For buy-it-now listings, you can choose three, five, seven, 10 or 30 days.

They cost the same, so eBay advises selecting the 30-day option. If you are happy to wait as long as it takes, then there is also the "Good 'Til Cancelled" option, which renews automatically until you score a sale.

4. A picture speaks louder than words:

It's a proven fact that the vast majority of users will not bid on items they cannot see and you can't blame them. How many of us would buy something we had never seen? So it's is important that you always upload a photo and provide several views of the product, as well as close-ups and feature details.

For best results, eBay recommends always taking photos in natural light against a neutral background as this will make the item stand out. It also makes it easier for people to see what they are interested in and, more importantly, that you actually have it. Remember, a good picture often holds up a less than perfect listing. You may not have done the item justice in the description but if you've taken a flattering photograph, it shouldn't matter.

5. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

There is absolutely nothing wrong is doing plenty of research before you begin. Do searches for items similar to yours so you can check out the best of the competition to understand the marketplace you are operating in. Compare similar items and look at the words used in the descriptions so you can see how they are trying to lure in a bidder.

6. The price is right

There is no worse feeling than to have sold a very expensive item for a very low price because you did not know its value so do your search.

Consider your pricing strategy carefully. Follow the eBay pricing recommendations and check other eBay listings for similar product prices.

Browse online shops to find out how much the product sells for new. Making your offer as attractive as possible will make your listing stand out from competitors.

Take a critical look at the listings and pricing – especially if there are more bidders and higher prices. You can learn much from your competition.

7. Timing, Timing, Timing

Get the timing right. The busiest time for buyers is Sunday evenings, so schedule your bids to end around that time. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, between 7pm and 9pm, is the recommend time to list on weekdays as you will find more bidders are at home and browsing the internet. Payday weekends are another good bet.

Avoid times when most people will be busy, such as weekday mornings, or any big events such as sports matches or TV finales.

It is also wise to avoid listing items that will end on Friday and Saturday evenings when many people are likely to be out of the house and not online.

8. Packing

Congratulations you've sold an item! Now, you need to get it ready to post to its new owner. eBay recommends using bubble wrap, raffia, peanuts, foam, or putting paper all around the item.

Before taping the box shut, close and shake the box first. If the item shifts, add more packing material. Not only does this protect the item, it also lets the buyer know you invested in safe shipping.

9. Communication

Customers expect to be kept informed, every step of the way, and that means a sale confirmation email, a payment received email, and a despatch confirmation email.

To be fair, it's exactly what you would expect if the roles were reversed. If you have multiple items to sell then a bit of good customer service can go along way and lead to positive feedback which will help when potential buyers are looking at your listings.

10. Postage costs

Consider the impact of postage costs in advance. If you don’t offer free postage, you will need to pack your item, then weight and measure it so you can calculate postage costs.

You can use the eBay postage estimator service to check your pricing – you don’t want to be out of pocket having to cover excess postage once the product has sold.

For example, to post a pair of trainers, first class, is estimated at £5.65.

How much will it cost?

You can list 20 items a month for free. After this, each item you list costs 35p - this does,however, exclude classified adds listings and items in the cars, motorcycles and vehicles category. To add a 'Buy-it-Now price costs 50p per item.

When you item sells, you pay 10 per cent of the final transaction value, including postage. This is called a final value value and it's capped at £250.

Heather Large

By Heather Large
Special projects reporter - @HeatherL_star

Senior reporter and part of the Express & Star special projects team specialising in education and human interest features.

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