eBay Seller

Anyone can make a quick buck on eBay, but what if you want to make a living doing it?

You'll need to master some expert eBay skills. Here's everything you need to know to reach PowerSeller status in no time. eBay is entering a new era, and if you want to make a living reselling household items, now is the time to jump back on the eBay bandwagon. The company has streamlined just about every process for resellers in the past few years in a quest to compete with Amazon. Think same-day handling, guaranteed delivery, better return policies, and discounts for sellers who have high volume.

If you want to become an expert seller eBay seller, be prepared for a fast-paced, customer-service-based, self-driven work-from-home business.

Familiarize yourself with the eBay Seller Tools

The eBay seller dashboard is where you'll start. When you log in, go to "My eBay" then "Selling." From here, you can see all of your orders waiting to be shipped, sales reports, feedback, messages, account balance, listings and your seller account information. From here you can also add third-party apps, such as one that sends emails to purchasers remind them to leave feedback, a live-chat option or a pop-up that asks shoppers to look around the rest of your listings. eBay also has podcasts and in-person training events you can attend to grow your eBay knowledge.

Climb the eBay ladder

eBay has a tier system for sellers, and their algorithm rewards their higher-ranked sellers with better search results, which can mean more sales. eBay doesn't give away all of the secrets for how to achieve these rankings, but keeping an active account with positive feedback, fast turnaround time, and a return policy certainly help.

Familiarize yourself with the seller standards and how you can avoid account defects. The seller standards eventually come with some benefits, such as a small percentage discount on final value fees, so it makes sense to work towards higher status. Your seller standard is important because eBay will look at it during any disputes with customers, disputes you have about negative feedback or returns, increasing selling limits, and, of course, your search rankings within their algorithm.

eBay will only raise the limit once every 30 days, so mark it on your calendar.

There are also Powerseller statuses in addition to seller status. These are based on volume and sales. The levels are: Bronze: $3,000 or 100 transactions; Silver: $36,000 or 36,00 transactions; Gold: $120,000 or 12,000 transactions; Platinum: $300,000 or 30,000 transactions; and Titanium: $1,800,000 or 180,000 transactions. Powerseller status is indicated by a small icon next to your username and gives users a sense of security when purchasing online.

Call eBay frequently and ask them to increase your seller limits, both the number of items you can sell and the dollar amount. eBay will automatically increase these as they see you progressing in sales, but it is best to keep one step ahead of the game by consistently asking for them to be raised. Call and ask for a raise once a month. eBay will only raise the limit once every 30 days, so mark it on your calendar to call on the same day every month. The eBay representative will look at your current number of listings to see that you are increasing your volume, so keep listing as you ask to increase seller limits. If they don't increase your limits on the first phone call, try again. Getting your limits increased allows for more growth and gives you flexibility as well better standing as a seller.

Make sure you have enough inventory

While there's no need to become a hoarder, one of the hardest parts of being a successful high-volume and/or high-income seller is having enough inventory. Inventory can be hard to come by, depending on your niche and location, so consistently seeking it out is key. eBay's algorithms give preference to new listings rather than stale, recycled "relists" or "sell similar" listings, so new inventory is imperative. Seek out new sources for inventory, such as purchasing liquidation lots from stores that are closing, bidding on storage units, purchasing wholesale lots on eBay from other sellers, searching Facebook groups, and good old-fashioned word of mouth.

Purchase a few extra supplies

If you aren't organized, you lose valuable time searching for inventory and shipping supplies.

Organization is key when it comes to building a thriving eBay business. If you aren't organized, you lose valuable time searching for inventory and shipping supplies, and time is money when it comes to an eBay business. Polybags are one of the simplest and least-expensive next-level investments for an eBay business. Purchase polybags with suffocation warnings printed directly on them to cover your legal bases even though eBay doesn't specifically require them. Some selling platforms do, and if you expand your business in the future, it makes sense to use the same bag across the board. Look for bags that are at least 1.5 mil thick. These can be bought in multi-size packs on eBay. Use eBay Bucks to get a bit of cash-back on business purchases you make through the site.

Polybag each item after you list it so it is ready to mail, won't get dirty, and easier to find. Then, you'll want to purchase bulk poly mailers. Many sellers chose to purchase colored or printed poly mailers, but the extra cost is not worth it when it comes to bulk shipping. Gray or white poly mailers are the standard, at 2 mil thickness or more. Slip the poly-bagged item into the poly mailer and it's ready to go. Tape guns are handy, and invest in an accurate digital mail scale. Purchase bubble wrapping and kraft paper for void fill so you aren't constantly searching for a newspaper. A label printer is not necessary, but when you are shipping in bulk, can be a time saver. Dymo, Zebra, and Brother are ideal brands.

Read your eBay messages

eBay messages are full of information to help you become an expert level seller. They also include current promotions eBay is running. eBay makes you "activate" promotions for listing fee discounts and free listings so you need to be on top of reading your messages from eBay. You'll find information on joining the Global Shipping Program, new rewards for sellers, and changes to their policies. eBay's success depends on the success of their sellers. Your reputation is their reputation. They want their sellers to be successful, so they also include lists of most-searched-for items, hot brands, and what to list for forthcoming seasons, holidays and sales. These are incredibly valuable and you should treat them as business documents to study and learn.

Plan your time well

You can become an expert-level seller on a part-time basis, but again, eBay's algorithms give precedence to active stores. This means you'll have to manage sourcing inventory, organizing, photographing and measuring inventory, listing inventory, shipping orders, and handling customer service at the same time. Returns must be processed in a timely manner. Orders need to be shipped out within one day for the best seller rating. Questions on listed items need to be responded to within a short time frame. Schedule major activities, such as sourcing times and listing times, then keep your mobile app handy for questions and messages at all times.

Turn on your eBay notifications. You can choose which notifications you get, but none are more exciting than the cash register noise that happens when you make a sale. You'll also want to be notified of return requests, customer messages, and offers. eBay buyers never sleep, which means you can make sales at all times of the day. It also means they might need assistance at all hours of the day.

Dive into the Reseller Community

eBay can be a rather isolating way to make a living. There is a very active online reseller community, though, and it pays to be a part of it. Not only does the community constantly share tips, brands, sourcing opportunities, and their own sales so you can see what's selling, they also serve as coworkers mingling around the water cooler. Look for eBay sellers on Instagram and Facebook. Join niche groups (such as those who sell plush animals, plus-size clothing, or auto parts) as well as general groups. Don't be a lurker, though. Share your hot finds and tips, too, your highs and lows and become an active part of the community.

Know when it's time to open an eBay Store

eBay stores are a whole separate animal than regular eBay listings. You pay a monthly fee to open a store, but the benefits are many when you are ready to pay for eBay's increased services. eBay stores come in different levels, and each offers different benefits. One of the most popular benefits are an increased number of free listings. While an individual seller can list up to 50 items for free each month (no listing fees), You can customize the look of your store, add featured listings, purchase eBay branded shipping supplies, use a custom web address and categorize items. Rather than being simply a one-off listing in a category, buyers can follow your store, search your other listings easily, and more. Managing a store takes a lot more behind-the-scenes effort, and costs between $25 and $350 a month. Establish your individual seller store before taking the plunge to open an eBay storefront.

Your tips?

Do you have any tips for becoming an expert eBay seller that aren't mentioned here? If so, be sure to drop them in the comments!