How to Shop on Ebay

My 100th blog post!

Ebay can be a very intimidating place to shop.  But with the right tools and mindset, you can score some amazing deals on rare items you can’t find at your local mall.  Ebay can be a treasure-trove for limited-edition and one-of-a-kind items from all over the world.  Here are a few tips to help achieve a pleasant Ebay experience!

1. First, check the seller’s feedback.  Check this before you even think about bidding.  If you see the most perfect pair of designer jeans, in your size, at a cheap price, don’t jump the gun and buy it before you check out their track record.  Don’t accept anything less than a 97%+ positive rating. A good deal is never good when you pay for a no-show or damaged item!

2. Check the seller’s policies, namely watch for shipping or refund info.  Don’t buy a $0.99 Buy-It-Now item without noticing the whopping $20 shipping charge.  And honestly ask yourself if you’re okay with paying X amount of money for a non-returnable, ill-fitting dud.

3. Window shop! Watch other comparable items until past their auction end date. It doesn’t matter if a pair of pristine Louboutin pumps is currently at $0.99.  Trust me, it won’t be at that price for long.  The end price is the only thing that matters, after all. Add comparable items to your “Ebay Watch List” and see what price they end up with in the end. ‘Watch’ items of the same model, in a different size or color. Are you willing to buy it at that final price?  Can you find a better deal somewhere else other than Ebay?

4. Speaking of shopping around, compare prices on other sites.  Ebay won’t always be the cheapest option.  Try a Google Product Search first.  Coupon codes and sales on department store sites or specialty sites like Zappos could push your Steve Madden platforms down to an even cheaper price.

5. Check product reviews before you buy.  This goes for any online purchase, not only for Ebay.   Try makeupalley for makeup, Zappos for shoe sizing and fit, Amazon for books and clothes, CNET for electronics,  or do a simple Google search for blog reviews!

6. For fashion related items, watch for sizing and take note of the item measurements.  If you’re lucky enough to find the item in person, go into the store and try it on. This is especially good for designer jeans and shoes.  Most designer jean labels are consistent in their sizing, even with different styles and cuts. A simple test-run can prevent dreaded shopper’s remorse!  Especially when sellers have a strict ‘no-return policy.’

7. Ask questions! Don’t be afraid to request more info if you need it. Do you have this same dress but in this size?  What is the exact hem length for these jeans?  Do you have a photo of the inside of the handbag? And so on.

8. Have you ever bid on an item right at the end of auction, only to be beat out by someone else?  They’re probably using a sniping service. Use a sniping service for those super-must-have items. Here are a few options:  AuctionSniper, EZSniper, or Bidnapper.  Check out each site to find your best fit.  I’ve used AuctionSniper for nearly 5 years now.  Their comission for each snipe is 1% of the final auction price, with a min of $0.25 and a max of $9.95 for each auction that you win (if you lose, they don’t charge you).   And the best part?  You can name your maximum price, and walk away from the computer.  And, if the final price ends up lower than your max, it’ll bump up your bid by $0.50!

Example:  Say you want a beautiful Topshop blazer for $60, max.  You’ve lusted after said blazer for the ENTIRE season.  The auction ends tonight, and you can’t let it get away!  Naturally, you want the best deal you can get, but unfortunately you have plans tonight!  So you set up the snipe, and head out the door.  Unbeknownst to you, it’s 30 seconds until the auction ends, and the blazer is currently at $40.  Suddenly, another girl bids $45 in the last 5 seconds.  The auction ends! And guess what. You come home and find out you’ve sniped the blazer at a cool $45.50!  Yup.  The sweet taste of victory is completely worth the $0.455 in comission.

9. Lastly, stand up for yourself and don’t get ripped off.  Pay with Paypal.  Fight back and contact Ebay & Paypal if something goes wrong.  Don’t settle for a second rate transaction, because your fabulous self deserves an enjoyable shopping experience!

Things to Buy on Ebay:

  • Makeup (limited edition, discontinued items)
  • Halloween costumes (increased selection compared to your local pop-up Halloween shop)
  • Out of season items (bikinis in winter, coats & cashmere in summer)
  • Used clothing, if you don’t mind it used (gently used clothing will be much cheaper than new)

Things to NOT Buy on Ebay:

  • Liquids in large volume (haircare, lotions, or larger toilettries means exhorbitant shipping costs due to the increased weight!)
  • Luxury handbags that are frequently knocked-off (You can still buy one if you do your homework first.  Check the ‘Authenticate This’ Purse forum to get your item authenticated before bidding. No one wants to be the girl who paid $1000+ for a fake purse.)

Happy shopping, and good luck!

-E&I