1. Be Specific
Know what you want and don’t get sidetracked! I learnt this the hard way and have wasted many a days scrolling through eBay. If you are looking for a specific item be specific in your description eg. Zimmermann Black Jumpsuit 3 (that includes the brand, the colour, the style and the size). If you are just perusing still be specific, only search for brands you know that you like eg. Zimmermann. The more detailed you can be in your search the easier and faster it will be to find what you want.
2. Be Creative
Always think outside the box! Make sure you check for different spellings of things eg. Zimmermann and Zimmerman (can you tell I have a thing for all things Zim?) or Kooples and The Kooples, some sellers are busy selling half their wardrobe that they make spelling mistakes and you could miss out on a bargain! Also, if you find an item that you really like and that is fairly unique make sure you check out the other items that the seller is selling – you may have found your taste and size soulmate and you will be able to pick up some great bargains and save on shipping costs (some call this stalking, I think it is just being clever).
3. Be Observant
Watch items like a hawk! If you find multiple items of the product that you want add them all to your watch list and watch, watch, watch! You don’t have to make a bid until the last minute and if you just sit back and watch before making your move you will be able to save the most amount of money and bid on the cheapest item. You also want to watch out for counterfeits, if the price sounds too good to be true then sadly it usually is and for signs of wear and tear or stains, most buyers are great and usually point these things out but pay extra special attention to photos in case you get a sneaky seller (also be a bit flexible with the wear and tear…especially with vintage, the clothing has had a life before you and no one is perfect).
4. Be Knowledgeable
Know your measurements! There is nothing more disappointing than bidding and winning to have it arrive in the mail only for it to not fit (it has happened to the best of us). You can either ask the seller to send measurements to you to compare with a measuring tape or to go to any major department store (they usually have 99.99% of brands) and try on the brand in store to see what size you are…every brand has different sizing standards so this is best option that works for me. Also keep an eye on the foreign exchange rates – if your local dollar is strong against one currency over another you should switch your location to that country so you can save more cash monies eg. if the Australian Dollar is buying more American Dollars than Euro change your location to buy from Australia or America.
5. Be Committed
Be committed to the cause! Normally Commitment is a word I run from but in eBaying terms this is the difference between winning and losing. Make sure you commit to checking the item/s – on your watch list and your buying list. You want to look for bid increases, new buyers (you can check the bid history to see how many peeps you are fighting against) and also keep searching the product in case someone else has listed the same product at a cheaper price. I commit to a daily update but if there is an item I really REALLY want I will check two slash three times a day when it is close to the auction ending – persistence really pays off!
6. Be Aware
Use your diary or phone’s calendar! Make sure you are aware of where you will be when an auction is ending. There is nothing more frustrating then getting a notification pop up on your phone that your auction is about to end and you have one bar of signal and can’t find enough signal strength to bid. Or, being at work and logging on only to have the slowest internet connection possible and not having enough time to log on to your phone. Use the Girls Guide motto and always ‘be prepared’.
7. Be on Time
Set alarms! The key to winning eBay auctions is all in the timing, I normally make an opening bid that is no more that 20 cents more than the current bid so I receive notifications of other bids and when the auction is ending and I won’t make my move until the last 7 seconds before the auction wins….this ensures no one else will have enough to counter bid and if someone has placed an automated bid for higher than my price it also ensures I don’t have enough time to go over my budget (my competitive streak tends to come out and winning becomes more important than budgeting). When I worked in an office I use to set an alarm for a few minutes before the auction would end so I could take my phone and go to ‘the bathroom’ aka make sure I won and go back to work with my boss none the wiser.
8. Be Odd
Don’t be typical! Most people naturally and instinctively gravitate to making bids in retail format pricing eg. $9.99 or $10.50 and on eBay it will accept any number. Using prices like $19.67 or $107.62 means you could win by a few cents in the last few seconds because you bid atypically – it is my (now not so) secret weapon.
9. Be Polite
Treat others how you would like to be treated! So you have won (yayyyy you eBay queen) and now you have to pay, be polite and pay as soon as you can. There is nothing worse for a seller than waiting for a really long time to receive payment. I always think the sooner you pay the sooner you will receive your goods and this way you are guaranteed to get a great review from the seller – everyone likes to receive a good review and everyone is a winner this way.
10. Be Honest
The truth will set you free! Always be honest in your reviews of the seller and the products that you have received – if you have received a bad product or not one that was described or you haven’t received your product then contact eBay immediately and you will get a refund, the team there are super helpful with complaints and usually side with buyers which is great for us. Honest reviews also help fellow buyers know who the good sellers are from the shady ones so it is helpful all round.