Out With The Old, In With The eBay: The Best How-To Tips

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Breakin' up may be is hard to do — but you're ready to part ways with that Vivienne Westwood corset you only wore one Halloween (cough), that cute vintage novelty sweater two sizes too big, or that sparkly Cynthia Rowley top that you realized isn't quite...you. Perhaps you're thinking of using the guilty pleasure of style-obsessors everywhere: eBay . True, it can be a hassle sometimes, but for now, it remains one of your best bets to send off that piece to an appreciative new home and earn some decent green in the process. In order to make the most of your listing, you must make the shopping process as Easy (with a capital E) for potential buyers as possible, aka, imagine your buyers are Lazy (with a capital L). We're here to help. First, put down the measly 3.0-megapixel cellphone cam, pull out your best camera (or borrow one), and read these easy tips that can have your eBay shop up, running, and successful in no time flat.
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On Photographing
1.) Snap in the daytime. Bad news to those of you vampires, but broad daylight is the best light to take your shots. It's the easiest way to catch details, texture, and color of the garment through your lens.
2.) Play with your garment.Some items look better on a flat surface, or hanger, or an impromptu model (aka, probably you). If you want to show versatility, try styling an item casual-cool and then polished-chic (styling is especially important for no-name vintage pieces). A clean background is also key; A white wall is classic, but keep in mind a white blazer may pop more against another backdrop.
3.) Experiment with angles. Front and back views, and label pics (especially with designer pieces) are a must. If it's brand new, include the price tag. Side views and interesting details (hardware, sequins, etc.) deserve attention, too, so take full-lengths, as well as close-ups. Maybe pair it with another item you're selling (hello, product placement!). Take more photos now — you'll edit later.
4.) Edit. Pro photographers touch up photos: It's a fact of life. They're "selling" the photo and whatever's in it, and now, so are you. Though you may not be a pro, don't be afraid to do light computer work if needed — it can help to play with basics like cropping, straightening, brightness, and contrast. The better quality your photos, the less fiddling you’ll have to do. Just remember, you want your pieces to be depicted in the best light and still maintain accuracy. If you can't salvage a photo, just reshoot. As for picking which photos, the more variety, the better — don't be redundant.
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Don't want to pay additional fees for all those pictures? No problem — you can upload them onto another image-hosting site (like Flickr), and copy over the html blurb into your eBay description.
5.) Check for accuracy. Any holes, stains, or pulled threads need photos. You don't want the hassle of a returned item due to misrepresentation. If you think issues are minor or treatable, say so. Showing the scale of the defect or mentioning the size can be a good move, as well ("See, just a tiny dot!”). Stay positive.
6.) Be resourceful. A way to circumvent a lot of shutterbugging is to search for photos through other outlets. This won't apply to all items, but for designer pieces with probable "internet history” it's an extra gold-star to have. For example, use images from online boutiques, runway shots, editorials, or worn by celebrities. Just be sure to properly credit anyone else's photo you may use.
Lastly, after you've listed, remember to check if your chosen listing thumbnail is clear enough for the viewer from the search page (if not, tweak or replace). Bottom line: Your photos are supposed to both convince and represent. If your garment could speak, it should say to you, "Hey, those photos do me justice. Thank you kindly."
Photo Courtesy of Gloria Chang
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Onto Those Sweet Selling Words
1.) Use your title description strategically. You want keywords that make it easy to find your item, firs and foremost. State the brand, color, style, original price, and condition if it's a new piece. Other possibilities are size, material, pattern, and other characteristics that come to mind (examples include "sculptural," "avant-garde," "vintage," "art deco," "distressed," etc). Have a photo of it on Rihanna or Blake Lively? Namedrop.
2.) Explain away in the item description. No character limit here, so just expand on everything you wanted to include in the title. You don't need to be Shakespeare; Short and sweet works just as effectively. You might include where it was originally purchased, include the size (and if it is FR, IT, UK, AU, US sizing), and if it feels true to size. Measurements can help. Also, highlight the interesting details on the pieces that don't come across over the screen, and remember to mention flaws.
3.) Cover your grounds. What is your policy? Returns? No Returns? Insurance option? International shipping option? Payment within three days? Make your terms clear so that there are no misunderstandings.
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Other Things To Keep In Mind
1.) Listing time. If you're savvy to eBay, you know those last few minutes are gamechangers. Make sure your listing ends at a time your audience will be online. If you're selling a club dress, don't end the listing at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night (it's safe to say your girl will not be hunkering over eBay). A skirt-suit? Don't end it during work hours; Try lunchtime or before or after work. There's no magic time to end a listing, but Sundays, Thursdays, and Fridays are safe bets. If you want internationals in on the action, pick a time when they're not asleep.
2.) Setting the price. Determine if you want an auction or a Buy-it-Now sale. Choose a price you're comfortable with. See if anyone bites. If not, try lowering it — you can try to lure in buyers with a $0.99 auction and keep a reserve price in case it doesn't fetch the amount you'd like. Be aware that some items can go for months without being sold. Don't be discouraged. If your photos and descriptions are high quality, then it just means there's not a market out there currently — like knee-high boots during the summer — or that there is, but they're not willing to pay that price. If you can't wait it out, all you can do is lower the price and make it a quicker sell.
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3.) Be professional. If someone asks you about an item, respond in a timely manner. You want to maintain their initial interest and show you're trying to be helpful. Sometimes you get requests you’re unsure how to answer. Someone might ask, "Can this dress fit a 34D?," and you'll have no idea because you’ve had no personal experiences with 34Ds — but you try your best. Finally, once your item is paid for, don't delay in sending it out and leaving feedback. It can also be thoughtful to include a note with your parcel, thanking your customer for their purchase and reminding them to leave you feedback, as well.
In the end, you are in control of your overall message so make sure it's a pleasing one. You're peddling fashion here, man. More eBay buyers will come when you make your goods more appetizing. Now, go out there and get listing!
Photo: Via Chiffonshreds
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