Ahhh, eBay -- that sweet, sweet primary-colored logo of our youth. Back in the day, eBay was a brand new concept. You can sell your old stuff online and make money? You can buy that special item that’s no longer in stores? Incredible! Let’s celebrate by going to Blockbuster (RIP)!
Unlike many of its 90s counterparts, eBay is a site that has continued to grow and flourish well into the 20th century. Sites like eBay have made life easy for enterprising clothing retailers. A sale is just a click away when you can list your items online!
DID YOU KNOW? On eBay, clothing is the best-selling category on the site!
Other than electronics, “clothing” is the top search for users who visit the site to buy directly from individuals, small businesses, and more. With 182 million eBay users worldwide, that’s a lot of potential buyers for you and your reselling business!
Of course, it’s a double-edged sword -- lots of users mean lots of potential customers, but also makes it easy to get lost in the shuffle. How can you make your new clothing reselling business stand out on eBay with so much competition?
Boutique by the Box has you covered! Not only do we provide boxes of high-quality liquidation clothing right to your door, but we’re also giving you the best tips to make money selling clothes on eBay. We’re going to walk you through all the steps from researching your market, to optimizing your seller profile, to shipping out all your big sales!
Do Your Research
The first step to making money reselling on eBay is understanding your market. Spend some time creating a course of action, you’re going to want to look into other resellers to determine:
- Average sales for items similar to your own
- Market demand for similar clothing
- Amount of competition
- Key categories that fit the items you’re selling
- Fixed price (“Buy It Now”) vs eBay’s classic Auction Style
Check out popular storefronts on eBay that seem to be selling similar items to your stock. What are their best practices? Do they offer free shipping, or does it vary by the item? What pieces catch your eye, and what do you slip on by?
Take careful notes, and read on to find out how to make YOUR store one of the best!
SEO Marketing & Keywords on eBay
Learning how to optimize your listings is a HUGE part of launching a successful reselling business on eBay. Search engine optimization (SEO) is always changing, and consistently finding and updating your keywords to bring in buyers is important.
PRO TIP: SEO is not just shoving as many keywords into your listing as possible.
That might fool a search engine, but it won’t attract a buyer. If someone looking for lululemon leggings sees a listing like “LULULEMON LEGGINGS YOGA PANTS EXERCISE FITNESS SEXY WORKOUT GEAR PURPLE YOGA PANTS WITH POCKETS” they’re going to slide right on by.
To use eBay SEO successfully, you will want to carefully optimize each part of your listing (title, description, etc) to make it show up high on eBay’s search page while providing clear and concise information for your potential customers!
eBay has developed a sophisticated search engine that determines if your listing is actually useful and fits the parameters of the user’s search. It looks at your listing and asks:
- Is there relevant information in this listing?
- Is this item what the buyer is actually searching for?
- Is this listing just selling, or will it educate, help, or entertain the user?
If your item shows up on the first page, great news! eBay’s algorithm has found your listing to be valuable and accurate.
But how does eBay determine what listings show up first? Here’s your quick guide to successful listings:
- Keywords -- think through the search terms and words your targeted shoppers are most likely to use when looking for your product. Take 3-5 of these words and use them NATURALLY in your title and description. Don’t overdo it! Keyword spamming is a huge turn-off to customers and discouraged by eBay.
- Use unique identifiers -- this means product codes so that there’s no question of what your item is! Just like using an ISBN to find the exact book you want to buy, the clothing you’re selling has its own unique code that will improve your eBay SEO.
- Make an impact with your description -- use about 200 words to describe your item with as much detail as possible, as concisely as possible. Your keywords should be used about 10-14 times to be optimal without sounding artificial. Include only relevant links that will help the customers understand the product more, or direct them to your store. (An easy way to check your keywords is by clicking ‘command and F’ at the same time. You will see a small box pop up in the righthand corner, and it will highlight the words you type.)
Take Great Product Photos
Once you’ve optimized your listing and you’re showing up at the top of searches, you want to make sure that YOUR item is the one the shopper clicks on! Having great photos of your items is absolutely key to turning interesting shoppers into happy customers.
1. Spruce it up -- No matter where you sourced your garment, chances are it needs a little TLC. Get your steamer out and your iron going -- a neat, tidy clothing item looks better on camera and is far easier to sell!
2. Use a tripod -- Think about investing in a high-quality camera, but even if you’re using your iPhone you can get a great shot just by keeping the camera steady and avoiding blur.
3. Catch the light -- Speaking of iPhone photos, you’re going to need clean, bright lighting no matter what. A dimly lit photo can damage the reputation of any outfit.
4. Keep it clean -- A cluttered background is a big indicator of an amateur seller. If you don’t have any plain surfaces to photograph against, get a big piece of white cardstock or even an (unwrinkled) plain bedsheet!
5. Plan it out -- Flatlay? Model? Mannequin? Decide what is the best way to show off this item. On eBay, flat lay seems to be the more popular route. Whatever you decide, keep it neat and tidy looking!
Shipping can definitely be a hassle, which is why many eBay sellers choose to pass those costs along to the buyer. Regardless of cost though, you’re going to want to have a plan in place to make your eBay clothing reselling shipping as painless as possible!
1. Free Shipping
Free shipping on eBay orders has gone from nice-to-have to absolute-must. Even eBay itself encourages you to “Consider building the price of shipping into the item's price, so you can offer free shipping“!
Not only does that “free shipping” thumbnail draw shoppers in and dose their brains with dopamine, but statistics also show that shoppers are more likely to add even more of your items to their carts and end up with a higher-order total if you offer free shipping on your items.
But it’s a delicate balance you walk -- while free shipping does add value to your items and bring in customers (and keep them happy and loyal), it eats into your overhead. You’re trying to run a business here! We get it. Make sure you factor free shipping into the cost of the items you’re listing on eBay, while still keeping the cost-competitive.
2. Stock up on Supplies
Consider the items you have in inventory, and make sure you are well-stocked with these most common sizes and types of shipping supplies:
- Poly Mailer Envelopes -- These are the best choice to ship individual items of clothing. Slick, waterproof, and tearproof, these envelopes are used by most major retailers to ship clothing. Try a variety of different sizes, then stock up on the ones you seem to use the most often! You can order combo packs online to see which types work best for you.
- Padded Flate-Rate Envelopes -- Have a few heavier items to ship? Consider using a USPS flat rate envelope, which will save you money if you’re shipping something like a coat or heavy sweater. Be sure to us the USPS.com calculator first to make sure you’re being savvy!
- Boxes -- If you’ve got too many items for an envelope, first of all, good for you! Great sale! You’re going to want to use a box rather than a mailer. Boxes are nice, but they are usually considerably more expensive to ship than an envelope. The most common size of boxes you’ll want to stock up on are 6 x 6 x 7 boxes, 8 x 8 x 12 boxes, and shoe boxes. These should cover most of your bases! And don’t forget to check out the USPS flat rate boxes. If you can fit your items, you can save a ton!
3. Make it Speedy
Like we said before, Amazon has spoiled most customers into expecting their shipping free and FAST. Your buyers are going to start tapping their toes if five days go by and they haven’t yet received their packages. It’s a lot of pressure, we know.
Plan ahead to make sure you have enough supplies and know where your nearest post office, UPS, or FedEx is. Ideally, you’ll be shipping out your item within 1-2 days of the order being confirmed. Stamps.com can be a great resource if you’re willing to make the investment -- it allows you to buy and print postage at home so you can skip the line at the post office and drop your packages off.
Is your head spinning? We’re just scratching the surface when it comes to selling clothes on eBay. Stay tuned for our upcoming blogs as we dig into the difference between eBay and Poshmark, more info on making your items stand out from the crowd, and forming a reselling plan to make money on eBay. 2021 is your year!