Making it Work: EBAY

Saturday, October 2, 2010

In case you hadn't figured it out by now, EBAY is the holy grail of missed opportunities.
Didn't catch an item the first time around?
No worries...just save a search, give it time and eventually what ever you're looking for will show up in just your size.

I have two friends who are THE QUEEN BEES at making the ultimate EBAY score, and I thought I'd post some of the tricks they've taught me about selling and buying on EBAY. I've included some pictures of my latest and greatest EBAY deals.

(Anthropologie Gleaming Shoots Blouse)

When is it most profitable to sell items on EBAY?

The best time to sell is at the same time retail stores begin putting the new season's items out. New items in shop windows get people thinking about new things they want. For example, soon after Valentine's Day, list your spring items, and after 4th of July, list the clothes that would be considered "back-to-school" items. Also, list your items so they end on Friday or Saturday 1) because of payday and 2) more traffic over the weekend to see your listings.
If you absolutely just have to have something, these will be the times when the highest QUANTITY is listed, and what you're looking for is more likely to be available.
The best time to score really great deals is "off-season." If you're looking for something very specific, like a Baby Nay dress for your daughter for Easter, you're sure to find hundreds listed on EBAY the two months before, but because people are desperate to get dresses right then, the prices can run anywhere from $40 to $80. Those same dresses will be back on-line in the summer for $12 to $18. I've bought New With Tags $128 Baby Biscotti dresses for a paltry $12 just because I'm bidding when there's not as huge a demand for them.

(Urban Outfitters T-Straps, $7 shipped!!!)

Why do some sellers list items for 99 cents, then charge $20 for shipping?
Ebay charges every seller a percentage of the total price for every item sold, but not on the shipping charge. To keep their item fees lower, some sellers inflate their shipping costs to ensure they still get paid the amount they want for their item, but due to the lower actual bid amount, they pay less to EBAY.

(Baby Lulu Chocolate Velvet Dress 2T)

How do I know I'm seeing every possible listing for my search?
These general rules are also spelled out on the EBAY website, but here are a few.
Searching with:

QUOTATIONS ("") Search for exact words in order. This will pull up very specific listing with only that word order.
EXAMPLE: "Seychelles Kiss at Midnight Pumps"
"Girls of Savoy" Blouse
"Gone with the Wind"

MINUS OR PLUS (+-) Exclude or include certain words from search.
EXAMPLE: Urban Outfitters Shoes-Oxfords or +Oxfords
babyGap Holiday Lodge+Skirts

ASTERISK (*) Search for words with multiple beginnings or endings. This can be especially helpful if you can't remember the exact name of something.
EXAMPLE: HOL* will bring up Holiday Lodge items, Hollister items, Hollywood, etc.
PARENTHESIS & COMMAS: Search has one word or another associated with it.
EXAMPLE: (Wedgewood, Lenox)
(Gymboree Island Getaway 24M, 2, 2T, 3T)
If looking for long jean skirts, you could search, PAIGE skirt (long, denim, 2,4)
(Anthropologie Curling Posies Cardigan)

(Anthropologie Sand-Skimmer Dress)

Do you have any other great tricks to swiping a long-searched for item on EBAY? I'd love to hear them!!!


  1. In the line that has (""), it seems that quotation marks are called parenthesis. I read your whole post, and you obviously know the difference, so I think it's just a typo. Hope you don't mind that I pointed that out.

  2. I'm a total EBay Amateur. You've inspired me to get my feet wet. Your steals have given me the push I need. (or maybe don't need...) ;)

  3. Thanks, anonymous!!! I fixed that.. =)

  4. thanks! I've been totally ebay shopping in the middle of the night when I can't sleep, lol. If you have an iphone, the iphone ebay app is amazing! I almost prefer it to the real website. I've heard that it's also best (if you're selling, to have your item end on a Sunday)?

    As a buyer, I also have noticed that you can get some good deals on items that end on a holiday because a lot of people aren't paying as much attention to their bids (to outbid you) during a vacation.

  5. Oh, these are good tips - I'll keep them in mine, when next I ebay. =)

  6. Ebay is great my biggest bargains have been an originally priced $78 J Crew linen skirt for $.99 thanks to free shipping! But I think the key is buying off season and selling in-season!!

    Question: Do you have any good tips on where to buy clothing fabric outside of Joann Fabrics?


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