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eBay for beginners

If you're decluttering your basement or cleaning out your closets, thrift stores and a yard sale aren't your only options for getting the items you no longer want off your hands. More and more Canadians are turning to eBay [http://www.ebay.ca] and other online retailing websites to sell their extra stuff and turn a tidy profit as they do.

Before you begin counting up the cash in your basement, here are a few tips and tricks to selling on eBay:

Getting started
Terry Gibbs in Mesa, Ariz,, who has been a top seller on eBay since 2002, says, "I suggest starting with 10 or 12 unwanted items that will all fit together in a laundry basket, and then spending about two hours listing them on eBay. Two hours isn't a big investment of time, but it is long enough to start deciding if selling on eBay is interesting."

TIP: Too many items can cause log jams in packing and shipping. Ease your way into it.

Play by the rules
There is a time and place for creativity, but eBay is not it. Their rules have been set up to create a buying environment people can rely on.

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One rule prohibits communicating with customers off the eBay website. This may seem harsh, but if you're selling an item, keeping the deal on eBay means you have a record of everything that goes on. Since eBay is set up to protect the buyer above all, you need to keep good records to protect yourself.

TIP: Sellers who follow the rules get better results and since your customers (and eBay itself) will be evaluating you on a sale by sale basis, it's best to play nice.

Pricing
When selling on eBay, you're competing with a lot of experienced sellers. Before you price an item, look it up online. Some items are worth a lot more than you'd expect; some much less.

Next, decide on your rock-bottom price and set that as your starting price. The most popular and effective way to sell on eBay is the auction, but there are programs that allow buyers to hold off bidding until the last seconds of your auction, keeping the price as close as possible to the reserve price you're asking.

To address this trend, eBay has a "second chance" function where you can offer the second-place bidder the chance to outbid the buyer who won the auction of your item. Taking advantage of this can build customer loyalty and outsmart the bargain hounds.

TIP: Don't price your items too high but avoid catering to the bargain hunters.

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-- Posted March 26, 2012
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