How to shop eBay like a Pro

While eBay may seem like a scary place, filled to the brim with online sellers trying to rip you off, when done correctly it can be a place of magic!
While eBay may seem like a scary place, filled to the brim with online sellers trying to rip you off, when done correctly it can be a place of magic!

While eBay may seem like a scary place, filled to the brim with online sellers trying to rip you off, when done correctly it can be a place of magic! Take your eBay game to the next level with these simple tips and before you know it, all your friends will be envious of your wardrobe asking, ‘how do they afford all that designer?!’

1. Register an account

This may seem like an obvious statement, but you’d be surprised. While you can search eBay without an account, having one will make the buying process a whole lot smoother. Plus, as you will see there are some other great benefits. Register for an account here.

2. Know what you’re looking for

When searching eBay, be specific… use keywords like the designer name or product. For example “Burberry” or “Burberry trench coat.” eBay also makes your life easier by suggesting other products and designers of a similar style (oops! There goes the next three hours).

3. Use filters

Make sure to specify your search more with the search filters located on the left hand side. You can find different product categories like “women’s shoes,” or “men’s clothing.” Filters can be even further refined to product sizes, colours, condition, price range and more. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting to specify size for shoes especially… it can be heart breaking when you realize those Alexander Wangs are 4 sizes to small.

4. Do the research

So you’ve just died and went to heaven because you found the item you’ve been coveting for ages at an unbelievable price! This is where you should pay attention to the eBay stigmas and be weary. We’ll break this one down a bit more for you.

Look carefully at the pictures… this is the time you should look for signs of wear and tear, along with authentication tags. Don’t trust a buyer who has poor photos.

Look at the product description… if you scroll down there’s an area where the seller will list all information surrounding the product like size, condition, material and place of origin.

Look at the seller’s ratings… eBay lets you know who top rated sellers are with a ribbon icon on the top right side, beside the seller’s alias. Here it also states the feedback rating. I would suggest steering clear of sellers who have under 98% positive feedback rating.

Look at other buyer’s feedback… if you click on the hyperlink to the seller’s page you have the option of reading all other buyers’ feedback. If the seller has a ton of negative feedback and is getting lots of hate, stay far, far away.

5. Have a watch list

This is where having an eBay account already set up comes into play. When searching items you have the option to add the item to your “watch list,” located under the “add to cart” button. eBay will now send you email updates on your item that include price reductions, a heads up when the listing is ending and when an item that hasn’t sold has been re-listed.

6. Bid Smart

Bidding is actually the biggest adrenaline rush – don’t feel crazy if you start counting down aloud to yourself (we find this happens often). When you’re ready to bid, you can place a single bid or if you’re feeling a little more lucrative, eBay gives you the option to set automatic bids and does the work for you. With an automatic bid you can indicate what your top bid is and eBay will automatically keep bidding on your behalf if a bidding war breaks loose.

7. Commit to the buy

Make sure under all circumstances that if you bid on an item you will be able to pay for the purchase. eBay doesn’t play around and they have strict rules about purchasing. Once you win a bid you will have to “commit to buy” and pay this amount or face the wrath of eBay. While eBay offers different payment options we think the safest way is through Paypal. Another perk of having your eBay account set up is that all your payment info will be saved and can be linked to your Paypal.

8. Remember this thing called shipping

It is important to take note that eBay ships from all over the world… your purchase may not be so cheap when it’s shipping from Alaska. Luckily, eBay also simplifies this for you and estimates the total shipping and cost of customs. You can also double check this estimate using the duty calculator on Pitney & Bowes. The website only provides a few calculations without an account, but it’s free to make one so we would suggest registering so you can use the calculator hassle free.

Now you’ve graduated from eBay student to eBay master and you’re ready to shop like a pro… If you follow these guidelines eBay is guaranteed to always be a blissful experience of incredible finds!

Do you have any other tips for how to shop eBay like a pro? Share them with us!

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