Posted on December 18 2019
When you’re passionate about fashion and always on the lookout for new threads, it’s easy for a substantial collection of clothes to build up, usually shoved into the back of a wardrobe and forgotten about. Some might be worth hanging onto for the future (fashion is cyclical after all), but often old clothes are made best use of when they’re sold for a profit to someone who’ll actually wear them. Fortunately, a plethora of selling sites exist online (such as Depop, Poshmark and Etsy to name a few) but few have the clout and audience of eBay. Allowing for highly tailored listings and listings designed to reach broad audiences it’s possible to sell anything, from ultra-rare vintage Ralph Lauren to high-street garments. Despite looking a little intimidating from the outside, eBay is a user friendly selling site with a high success rate and we’re here to guide you through the process of making money selling clothes on eBay.
eBay is a popular choice for buying and selling
Why should I use eBay?
These days, finding an online marketplace to sell your old clothes is no challenge. There are abundant sites and resources online allowing you to sell clothes, accessories, furnishings - pretty much anything you might find lying around the house. With so many options, why should you choose eBay? The answers lie in audience size, cost-effective listing prices, and ease of use.
eBay boasts a huge audience with millions of people using it to buy and sell goods all over the world. Unlike localised sites, you can decide whether you want to sell only within your country or if you want to offer international postage; sometimes an item may be worth more elsewhere due to scarcity. This allows you to maximise the profit to be made on selling an item.
Furthermore, eBay offers some of the cheapest listing prices of all selling sites. Admittedly, it can be easier to sell on a site that takes commission from your sale however often you’ll end up paying more for the convenience. Obviously, the more money to be made from sales the better, so while it may take a little more time it’s worth it for the additional money you’ll make.
Finally, while it may look a little clunky, eBay is very easy to use once you’ve got to grips with it. The important things to take note of are making sure you tag the product accurately and provide a clear and concise description and title. Explore the profile and find out where you can read feedback from buyers, message other users, and edit or delete/relist items.
eBay: like having a market in your pocket
How do I know what is worth selling?
While some items sell well on eBay, some are so low value there’s little point selling them at all and they may be better off donated. Assessing the value of an item can be difficult, especially if you’re new to selling online. Even those who sell regularly can struggle to find the right price point. If you are looking for a particular price, you may have to be prepared to wait for the right buyer to find it - fortunately, eBay allows you to easily relist items that may not have sold the first time. Items which you know to be valuable - designer brands, vintage or rare items, and valuable materials - are worth being patient for. By the same token, eBay selling is not an exact science and some items are definitely quicker to sell than others.
Labels that sell well on eBay are usually high-end and sought after, eg. Ralph Lauren, Armani, Tommy Hilfiger. The great thing about these designers is their items can often be found in charity shops and at car boot sales, so once you’ve exhausted the stocks of your own wardrobe and got to grips with the selling process you can start buying secondhand and selling for profit. If an item belongs to a particular designer or label, mention this prominently in the listing as eBay works by matching search terms with the best results, for example, if someone searches for ‘Ralph Lauren shirts’ and your item is listed as ‘Blue Ralph Lauren Shirt Size M’, it is more likely to be seen by the buyer than an item listed as ‘Blue Shirt Size M’.
If you’re struggling to know where to start, search for similar items to the ones you plan to sell on the platform. This should give you a good jumping off point for the average price and you can assess whether it is worth more or less money from there.
Valuing items can be tricky, but can be done with a little research
How do I get my items noticed?
With such a huge number of items up for sale on the site, it can be hard to get your listings noticed by potential buyers. Rare or name label items are easier to promote as they require specific search terms and if you have a good clean listing with smart pictures and a clear description, yours will look like a more trustworthy listing than one which features a poor picture with bad lighting and an incomplete description.
Take some time to browse the options available when it comes to listing and ensure that you provide high quality pictures with a detailed description. This matters less for low-cost items you’re simply trying to get a little cash for, but when it comes to high-end items it pays to reassure people that the product is genuine and has been looked after. Lazy images suggest the item is not worth it’s full value or may not have been well looked after. As a result, listings with good images do much better than those without. In the description, use all key points about the item and make sure you include any defects there may be. There’s nothing more damaging to an eBay seller than bad feedback!
If you’re trying to sell a vintage item or something without a popular label name, ensure you mention important parts about the listing in the title and description. If it’s vintage, mention this as well as any other information you may have such as the year it was made and it’s sizing. By reassuring buyers that the item will fit and is in good condition you are more likely to make a sale than if information on the listing is scarce.
Take clear and illustrative pictures of items
Where else can I find items to sell for a profit on eBay?
If you’ve exhausted your own wardrobe, speak to friends and family who may have items to clear out. Perhaps they were planning on donating them anyway or want to sell them but don’t know how - by offering to sell them on eBay you can make a little profit for yourself and others. Elsewhere you can look includes car boot sales, charity shops, at other eBay listings (eg. bundles, poorly listed items, items that can be repaired/customised) and more. Get creative and you may find yourself an alternative income stream for some extra spending money.
Raiding car boot sales is a great way to find items to sell
eBay offers plenty of opportunity to make extra money from items you may already have. Whether you want to make a little extra cash or clear out to make space for new items, eBay provides a safe and reputable way to sell your items. Follow the advice above and keep clothes out of landfill, make space for new items, and get some money in the process. Win, win, win!
All images via Unsplash