Guest Blog: Tips for the Future eBay Junkie on How to Sell Baby Clothes and Gear
It used to be when someone mentioned eBay, images of mothball-scented polyester bell bottoms and dog-eared 1980s baseball card collections came to mind. In other words: huge scary online yard sale. But eBay is not only the world’s biggest online auction site, it sells everything from coveted collectibles to cars, even luxurious lots of land. It’s a gold mine if you’re willing to go mining.
I buy 90% of my children’s clothing on eBay. Children’s gear is one of the best things to get gently used—for the simple reason that it is gently used usually for a short period of time. And because baby showers, well-meaning great-aunts, and simple mistakes and misfires will supply you with more petit paraphernalia than you know what to do with, reselling makes great sense.
I also sell baby clothes for this very reason, and I’ve sold more than 90% of the clothes my children wear (or never got to wear!). I’ve sold almost 1,000 items over the last five years, and am now a PowerSeller, which gives me perks and privileges like reduced fees and increased exposure. So while I am not an eBay expert, I will say I’m an eBay enthusiast. Selling on eBay couldn’t be easier or more fun. Check out these tips before diving into that consignment shop in the clouds.
Understand the rules
Read the rules, people. Ignorance is not an excuse, so take the five—no, three—minutes and read the requirements for selling on eBay before you begin. For instance, it’s against policy to list an item: “COSTCO stroller, great condition, just like BUGABOO!” While it’s clever marketing (people searching for Bugaboos will see your item as well), it’s deemed misleading, and therefore illegal. eBay will remove your listing. If you violate the rules too many times, they’ll ban you from selling.
People buy from the pictures. I’ve listed an item with a clear, simple photo I’ve taken and made five times the profit than the exact same item taken with a blurry shot. Would you buy an ExerSaucer that says it’s practically new, but has no pictures of the condition? Might you assume the seller is hiding ground-in cheerios and popsicle stains when they don’t bother to display their touted gear? I do. Put your items on a white background if possible (a bed sheet works great) and take some good, clear, up close photos. If the item is brand new, take a picture of the logo or the tag. You can list a bunch of pictures now for free, so take advantage. (When I first started selling, you were charged 10 cents per photo!)
I believe you are no longer allowed to use stock photos of an item, so make sure these are pictures you took of your merchandise. Don’t search Google for pictures to post of your “like new” BABYBJORN because—see rule #1—it violates eBay’s policies.
End your auction on Sunday
People are generally home, relaxing with their families on Sunday evening, and are more likely to be searching the web. If you schedule your listing’s auction to end on a Tuesday at 7 pm, you will likely have your entire audience too deep in strained peas and wrestling a rag onto squirmy hands and faces to remember to check that high-tech highchair you have listed.
Describe your item in details … but not too much detail
Make, model, brand, year: all of this is important if it’s a popular stroller or a car seat model. But it’s not so important for the bath toys you’re hoping to unload. List why you’re selling it: have a duplicate, child didn’t like it, ultrasound lady told you it was a boy and it was a girl, etc. This helps squelch skepticism and gain confidence in your buyer. List everything that is included: cords, batteries, boxes. On the flip side, list everything that’s missing: manual, adapter, one bead from the maze that is stuck under your refrigerator.
You can sell in lots, too, but I only advise this for similar toys or clothing. You don’t want to weed out that solitary buyer in Idaho who not only wants a blue booster for her four year old but is also looking for a reasonable baby monitor for her newborn.
Use the title allowance
Use all the characters allowed. So while titling something “Pack of Four Aden and Anais Blankets” will get anyone searching for Aden and Anais, “4 Adorable Aden and Anais Swaddling Blankets, Never Been Opened! Perfect Baby Shower Gift!” will have everyone searching for baby shower, swaddling, and gifts as well.
Price it right
While you may have visions of a trip to the Turks and Caicos from the proceeds of your baby’s unopened onesie collection, remember to be realistic when pricing something. Even if it’s unused or unopened, it’s still not new (with the warranty and guarantee of a store) and people want to pay accordingly. Ask yourself what you would pay for an item in similar condition—then lower it by about 5%. But if you will just die if the collection of booties your grandmother knitted for your baby sells for $1.99, start the bidding at what you’re comfortable with (or rethink selling them at all). Sometimes things you thought would sit there sell out in ten minutes, and sometimes things you think are the cat’s pajamas are never even bid on. It’s truly a learning process, and you gain knowledge with every sale.
You also gain cash, and potentially a new hobby, and it’s all done while Jake and the Neverland Pirates blares away in the background. So it’s perfectly doable from where most of us who have baby gear to hawk are in life.
In short, know that bassinet you’re now using as a laundry basket? It’s just the thing that’s missing from someone else’s dream nursery. So go ahead—get selling! And good luck!
After 11 years as a children’s book editor in NYC, Courtenay moved to Virginia in search of a yard and the ability to buy more groceries at once than she could carry in two hands. She continues to work in children’s books, freelance writing and editing, and remains plugged into the ever-changing world of baby gear reviewing for websites such as momfinds.com. She also has an eBay business selling high-end children’s clothing, and has taken an interest in dressing her two daughters in clothes that wouldn’t look nearly as good on herself. Someone who formerly claimed she would only have wooden heirloom-quality toys and would not allow TV, Courtenay now lives in Richmond among hordes of plastic pink Polly Pocket clothes and Disney DVDs.
Nice tip to end your auction on a Sunday. I’ve never thought about timing like that when it comes to online auctions but it makes a lot of sense. Thanks for the advice!