eBay Shopping Tips
1. Keep your expectations low
For anyone looking to get into the habit of regularly shopping on eBay, it can be tough to adjust from shopping at regular stores like Walmart or Target. This is because every item you’ll find on eBay is sold by an actual person (seller); not the company. Keeping this in mind, you can’t always expect to get a box in perfect condition every time or that the seller isn’t trying to scam you. You have to be very careful when buying on eBay and from experience you’ll acquire more tips for yourself than I can count.
Penny saved is a penny earned
2. Try auctions
Auctions are very scary to a large group of people. The fear of losing and the fear of being pressured into bidding too high are always a turn off to people. However, you can’t let this stop you from trying to win a couple of auctions on eBay, especially since most of the time what you pay at an auction is cheaper than any other listing. Just download the eBay app and by actively receiving notifications, you’ll never lose a single auction. However, beware, if your desired item becomes too expensive it’s better to simply let yourself be outbid. Never let yourself fall into the pressure of bidding because if you win and you actually didn’t want the item or the price is too expensive, you’d still be legally obligated to pay.
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3. Always compare prices
Comparing prices is a no brainer when shopping online, but with eBay it gets a little more confusing because there are thousands of sellers offering the same item and you have to figure out the best deal. eBay has created a solution for you. Simply select the option of showing the cheapest to the most expensive item price and shipping combined and you’ll see the best deal on the top. Also, my personal recommendation would be to filter out any used items so that you get the perfect balance between quality and price. After obtaining the cheapest listing, compare the total to the price offered by Amazon, Walmart, and many other stores. If you see the same item being on another, more reputable store sold for just slightly more, it is recommended that you go with the more reputable store. You’re far less likely to get a damaged box and Walmart even offers 10% off if something like that ever happens to you.
You can buy almost anything on eBay
4. Research the seller
This is perhaps the single most important thing you have to do while using eBay. Be aware of the seller listing your desired item and check to see if they have the credibility you need to feel safe while using eBay’s service. Tap or click on the seller’s name to look at their feedback left by their customers. If the average ranges from 4-5 stars, you’re in the safe zone. If it’s lower, be a little more careful while shopping. You never want to be the next victim of a scammer.
No, my dog is not for sale on eBay
5. Be aware of scammers
eBay, due to the easiness of selling some of your own stuff, has always attracted numerous scammers. One of the most common scams on eBay involves the seller sending you the wrong item and then him messaging to inform you that he has mixed up the addresses. He’ll gladly offer to give you the username of “the other guy” so that you can organize an exchange with that person. Unfortunately, many innocent people fall for this scam. They end up sending away the item to “the other guy” along with the money. But, as you guessed, you never get your share of the money or the item. Remember, exchanges like this are against eBay’s policy and if something like this ever happens to you, just issue a return. If the seller is uncooperative, don’t worry, eBay always sides with the customer.
Fortunately, eBay offers extraordinary promo codes. Be aware of them though, as the spontaneously emerge out of nowhere and they’re effective for only a couple of hours. If luck’s on your side, you can score a coupon that lasts for several days. Be sure to always check current coupon codes on our page.
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Top 10 eBay Shopping Secrets
At first glance, shopping at eBay seems as simple as it would be at any other online store. However, it’s a lot more than just opening PayPal account and finding readily available good deals. To really be a winner at eBay you should learn a few strategies to get good prices, lower the cost on Buy It Now, and win bids on fast-pacing auctions.
Some of our tips will benefit not only first-time shoppers, but seasoned eBay experts too, so read on:
1. Research the price
Do not ever automatically assume that eBay prices are always good. Many sellers will start with very high prices and the only way for you to know that is by checking other online stores, if you are shopping for a common new item. You can use price comparison apps or check prices at Amazon or Target. Afterwards take a look at Overstock, Etsy, or Google Shopping for more information. Walmart or Best Buy are two other sources worth checking out.
2. Look at price history
It is very easy to see what the same item was bought for before. Your eBay item search page will have “Show Only” section on the left, click the checkbox for “Completed Listings”, and take a look at what people paid for this before. Green listings in Sold will show you the actual prices paid previously.
3. Buy It Now counteroffers
“Buy It Now” section calls for fixed price, but you have every right to contact the seller and offer your best price that is lower than suggested fixed. It never hurts to try.
Always ask if the seller accepts lower price than desired. You never know how long somebody has been trying to sell something and at what point they might be ready to accept less in order to sell it. You should be polite and respectful, and offer a reasonable price.
5. Sign up for alerts
If you don’t have to have something right away, consider signing up for alerts on your desired merchandise. You will be alerted when new offers come in and won’t have to spend time searching for an item or a price for hours every day. Be as specific as you can in your search, save it, and you will get very targeted emails only.
6. Shipping cost
Price alone is not everything. Make sure you look at the shipping cost too, as it might add significant amount to your order. Some items might be more expensive and offer free shipping, which might amount to a better offer than a cheap item with steep shipping price.
7. eBay mobile app
The app can help you stay on top of your search easily – we are constantly on our phones anyway. You can search for items, watch sales, bid, and buy what you need on the app.
8. Local sellers
If you are looking for something that would be hard to ship, check local listings first. You can do that by adding “pick up only” to your search or by entering your zip code and mile range in the Item Location section. This can save you a lot of money and trouble of shipping something heavy.
9. Bidding maximum
If you like something, but have no time or desire to keep track of your bidding, think of what maximum amount you would like to pay for it, and bid that amount. Your bid will be kept the highest only up until your specified amount. This means that you can always increase the amount manually when you see that you are getting outbid, but won’t have to track the bidding war all the time.
10. Wait until the last few seconds to bid
Resist the desire to bid right away on something that you like. This might encourage other bidders to come in and outbid you. The best way to get what you want is to wait until the last few seconds and outbid the last bidder. This is called snipping and is often frowned upon, but it works. Try submitting your offer 30 seconds before the end – you might still have time to increase your offer one last time before the end, if needed. If the item is really hot, do that 15 seconds before the end. You are welcome!