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  1. #1

    Default To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    Fellow BN'ers, I need some advice. I read through some threads, and have been doing research, about selling some of my perfumes on ebay.

    I have everything set up, and listed my first fragrance last night--Sensi gift set I picked up not long ago in an antiques store.

    Now, my question: am I just setting myself up for much heartache with very little chance of any return? I want to simplify my life by divesting myself and my home of anything I don't use or absolutely love. That philosophy reaches into my fragrance collection now, and my library of books, and vintage glassware, etc.

    Is ebay just a nightmare waiting to eat up my free time and peace of mind? Do any of you have experiences to share? Advice? Warnings!? I am a long time buyer from ebay, and actually have had mostly positive interactions. But apparently many folks have BAD experiences on the selling end of things.

    Thanks for listening!

    Karma
    Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all.
    W. Somerset Maugham

  2. #2
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    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    I've sold on eBay for years, selling everything from books, to personally refurbished Xbox's, and everything else. I have yet to have a bad experience. If something comes up, just talk it out with the person. Most people are reasonable.

  3. #3
    Basenotes Junkie BurgundyMarsh's Avatar
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    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    I have found myself that it is much easier to acquire things than to get rid of them (wait 'til you get to the books...). That being said, you can do it with some effort. Just don't expect more than a few cents on the dollar, as an average, on what you spent. I go to a lot of auctions, the purest form of market capitalism, and the only things going up in price these days are silver and gold. If you have silver to get rid of, you can make a very substantial profit. It's gone up faster than gold. The glassware maybe not so much...

  4. #4

    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    For selling rare items you can make a vast sum on eBay. I once had a rare LP that I sold on there, starting bid was $10, it was at about $80 on the last day of auction (7 day auction) and in the last 15 seconds it bounced from $80 to $100 to $350 and ended at $580. I think something like 13 bids happened in the last 30 seconds! However, for everyday items (such as fragrances that are still readily available from other e-tailers) you'll most likely sell it for less than you paid. People are on eBay either looking for a deal, or looking for that rare item regardless of cost. Not too many folks who are willing to pay over retail price if it can be had for less elsewhere

  5. #5
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    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    Quote Originally Posted by flouris View Post
    People are on eBay either looking for a deal, or looking for that rare item regardless of cost. Not too many folks who are willing to pay over retail price if it can be had for less elsewhere
    This is very true.

  6. #6

    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    This already helps so much! I don't know anybody who has actually used ebay to sell anything. Internet research has been my only way of hearing real experienes from sellers.

    I will be selling mostly rare and vintage perfumes, and some jewelry, antiques, and that huge store of books! Wish I did have more silver and gold haha!

    Thanks for your stories. They help me put this new project into perspective for me. Please keep sharing. There is no better information than from people who have actually been out there doing it. Best way to learn!
    Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all.
    W. Somerset Maugham

  7. #7

    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    I've had superb experience with eBay/Paypal. I know there are lots of horror stories out there, but as we all know people are far more likely to post a negative experience online than a positive. The negative stories are probably nowhere near as rampant as some might want you to believe.

    If you're selling rare/vintage perfume, jewelry and books you'll likely have the chance to make some pretty decent money. I was always surprised with eBay in how much more I usually got than I anticipated. The biggest piece of advice I could give is to always ship quickly. Sadly there's lots of people out there who, if they don't have their item within a few days, will leave a neutral or even negative feedback just for that. It's fickle and unreasonable but that's just how things go. Your seller rating makes a difference, especially early on when just a single negative feedback can make your rating look bad. And of course, if your buyer communicates with you respond asap. I've found most people were very understanding of any delays so long as I maintained excellent communication.

  8. #8

    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    I just got really excited because I have ONE person watching my first auction haha. I must tell myself to quit looking at the statistics, eek. It feels a bit like googling myself! Will I go blind from peeking too often???

    Thanks, flouris for the recommendations about shipping quickly. Since I so appreciate it when buying on ebay, it is one of my top priorities as I start selling.

    Now, to go back and check that auction. No. I must not!

    Since I love the stories associated with the odd things I buy and will now sell, think I will do some quick blog entries about the adventures behind the acquisitions.

    And THEN go check the auctions!
    Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all.
    W. Somerset Maugham

  9. #9

    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    Definitely, be careful though!

  10. #10

    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    Quote Originally Posted by icanzapyou View Post
    Definitely, be careful though!
    Can you elaborate about being careful? Advice appreciated!
    k
    Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all.
    W. Somerset Maugham

  11. #11
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    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    Quote Originally Posted by KarmaLee View Post
    I just got really excited because I have ONE person watching my first auction haha. I must tell myself to quit looking at the statistics, eek. It feels a bit like googling myself! Will I go blind from peeking too often???

    Thanks, flouris for the recommendations about shipping quickly. Since I so appreciate it when buying on ebay, it is one of my top priorities as I start selling.

    Now, to go back and check that auction. No. I must not!

    Since I love the stories associated with the odd things I buy and will now sell, think I will do some quick blog entries about the adventures behind the acquisitions.

    And THEN go check the auctions!

    Good luck! I've had good luck selling stuff on eBay. Selling internationally can be a problem, I hear. I've never had a bad buyer, but you have to be a great seller.

    I've done really well selling Apple computers and electronics, cameras, and some collectible books.

    Do an advanced search for the items you are selling with the "completed" option checked to see what they sell for. I've sold things that went so cheap it wasn't worth the trouble to ship - but of course you have to.

    I agree with the advice to ship fast. Next day ideally. Pack well and don't try to profit on shipping. You pay fees on shipping anyway, and buyers factor in shipping cost when comparing. Overcharging gives buyers a negative impression of you.

    Time your auctions so they end at a "prime time" - I shoot for around 9pm CST - that way you have it ending 7-10 pm across the lower 48. Lots of people online at that time means lots of last minute bids.

    I watch my "watching" numbers obsessively. If I don't have at least 5 or 6 watchers within a couple days of auction end and no bids, I change it to a "Buy it Now" with a realistic price. Valuable but low-traffic items are better to sell as BIN, as the listing is 30 days and with an auction format it may go for a song if too few interested people notice it.

    I always research how many similar items have sold recently and for how much. I sell popular items as auctions with low starting bids and no reserve. High starting bids and reserve prices are bid killers - people assume it will go for too much. Less popular or less valuable items I sell as BIN with a well researched price. Be realistic. It doesn't matter what you paid - it matters what the last one sold for and what condition it was in compared to yours.

    Have fun! I have funded many fragrance purchases with eBay sales binges. I'm getting another batch of stuff ready soon.
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    1. Watchers may not be buyers-- they can be other sellers who want to see if your item will sell, and for how much-- or just curious people, maybe even someone who has read this thread. My husband has had multiple watchers but no bids on auctions. In addition, do not assume that if you have no watchers you will have no bidders-- I often set up a snipe but do not have the item on my watch list.

    2. I recommend that you have a policy of accepting returns. IMO it is better to refund voluntarily; as long as you accept PayPal, if a buyer claims the item is not as described and files a claim, usually they will win and you will have to refund anyway (but with a black mark against you as a seller and probably negative feedback from the buyer.)

    In addition eBay has started doing this: if you say you do not accept returns, eBay/PayPal may refund the buyer from your money, and tell the buyer they do not have to return the item to you (because you "don't accept returns".)

    3. I think the boxed set of Sensi is probably over 13 ounces when packed up and therefore can't go by first class mail. It will probably be heavy enough that it must go by priority or parcel post. Do you have a postal scale? An electronic kitchen scale may be good enough. If not, you can get one online for under $30-- they are a good thing to have as then you can print your shipping label at home, and instead of having to stand in line at the PO, you can just bypass the line and drop it off at the side of the counter.

    You could, of course, take the box to the PO unsealed (presumably you would want to wait to the end of the auction to put a packing slip inside before sealing it) and ask them to weigh it, but if they know it is perfume they will not allow it to go by air.

    4. You are allowed to charge a reasonable handling fee for your packing materials, boxes, tape. Remember to factor in the cost of insurance for any item you are not willing to have to refund for out of pocket, if it is lost (you are not allowed to charge for insurance overtly, however, and should not even mention it-- just include it in your handling charge.)

    Delivery Confirmation is absolutely necessary to protect you from an INR claim (and Signature Confirmation for items worth $250 or over), but it is not a substitute for insurance. Without insurance, you will not be able to file a claim with the PO, even if the DC fails to show delivery.

    5. To keep the final value fee lower, use Auction (plus optional Buy it Now feature); if you list it strictly as a Buy it Now, your final fees are a higher per cent of the sale.
    Last edited by 30 Roses; 13th April 2012 at 04:33 AM.


  13. #13

    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    This advice is more than I ever hoped for, and helps so much. I can see I need to go research shipping policies more immediately. i have much to learn. And a friend recommended I try Etsy for some of my very vintage things. More stuff to research.

    Again, thanks so much BN family for the advice and suggestions!
    Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all.
    W. Somerset Maugham

  14. #14
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    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    Hey karmalee
    I have skip read this thread so apologies if I am stating again...I do a very small amount of selling on eBay and these are the lessons I have learned!

    Time the auction to end at a popular time, if you list at 7am on a Sunday morning there may be no-one awake to watch the end of the auctions and that does tend to be when things can escalate bid wise.

    In the UK the eBay site does free listing weekends approx once a month and I think that's great because you save yourself the listing fees. Listing fees get more expensive depending where you set the starting price, so on a free listing weekend you are more able to set what you think is a realistic price without risking paying lots of fees and then not making a sale...leaving you worse off than when you started.

    Others have definitely mentioned about posting quickly and I think that's a good point, make sure you get the PayPal transfer first though and if someone delays that payment making it difficult for you to post the item quickly then let the buyer know when you will be able to post it.

    Good luck , happy selling, it's a great way to turn your unwanted items into purchasing power.....you know what ???. I got enough money this way to get myself the MDCI sample set. I need to get ebaying again so I can now buy a bottle!



  15. #15
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    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    Karma Lee, when I first saw the thread title and hadn't yet read the post, I thought it referred to buying. I thought-HECK NO-stay of eBay, too much competition already, driving up prices! (I'm not bitter about losing a few auctions--- much) But I totally support you selling off your goodies!! LOL

    Seriously, you've received some really good advice here. Hope you give it a whirl
    A Scent Rescuer
    Every great perfume deserves a good home

  16. #16

    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    Quote Originally Posted by knit at nite View Post
    Karma Lee, when I first saw the thread title and hadn't yet read the post, I thought it referred to buying. I thought-HECK NO-stay of eBay, too much competition already, driving up prices! (I'm not bitter about losing a few auctions--- much) But I totally support you selling off your goodies!! LOL

    Seriously, you've received some really good advice here. Hope you give it a whirl
    Hehe, yes, I am also a buyer. Vintage extrait anyone?

    Today, I am debating putting up my little vintage bottle of Caron Narcisse Noir. Well, tonight, at a good time for the auction to end. I had not really thought about timing my auction ends to coincide with prime times. Duh. Such a simple thing and invaluable to know.

    Off to write descriptions and sort my bottles, and books, and.... This is actually fun--for now.
    Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all.
    W. Somerset Maugham

  17. #17
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    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    l've been selling a variety of items on ebay for a few months now, & so far no serious problems. lt is quite addictive, & it raises useful cash to support my perfume habit! l too check my number of watchers obsessively.
    Some great advice here already, & l will add;

    lt's best to start small with selling your *less* expensive/rare items first. That way you learn about any pitfalls early on without losing too much, & you build up your positive feedback so that buyers will trust you with more precious items.

    Prepare your item for photographs by cleaning it, & take photos in daylight with no flash & a plain background.

    Describe your item very carefully, including any flaws, so that no-one can accuse you of selling an item that is not as described. lf it's perfume, include the size of the bottle, the concentration, & how much juice is left. lt's also reassuring for buyers if you tell them it has been kept properly, & whether the box is included.

    l don't know about the US, but ebay UK has a useful guide on calculating the postage by volumetric weight. You will learn pretty quickly how to estimate the cost if you are selling a lot of similar items.

    As said elsewhere here, always search to see what other similar items have sold for. ltems are only worth what people are willing to pay for them. Having said that, if you are selling antiques, it might be advisable to get them valued first. l recommend ValueMyStuff.com (not affiliated), who will give online valuations for a small fee.

    Always pack items as securely as possible. Keep any bubble wrap, jiffy bags or boxes that you ever receive; it is perfectly ok to recycle them!

    Good luck & have fun!
    "What is this secret connection between the soul, and sea, clouds and perfumes? The soul itself appears to be sea, cloud and perfume..." - from Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis.

  18. #18
    Basenotes Junkie BurgundyMarsh's Avatar
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    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    There is definitely a psychology to bidding that probably applies to eBay. Competition is key. As a buyer, you want to avoid competitors who will keep outbidding you regardless of cost. As a seller, you want to encourage this as much as possible. This means putting what you have to sell in front of at least two people who know what you have and find it highly desirable. A lot of my favorite auction purchases were for $5 or $10 or $50 when there just happened to be no one else who had any idea that the piece was worth anything to anyone.

  19. #19

    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    Quote Originally Posted by BurgundyMarsh View Post
    There is definitely a psychology to bidding that probably applies to eBay. Competition is key. As a buyer, you want to avoid competitors who will keep outbidding you regardless of cost. As a seller, you want to encourage this as much as possible. This means putting what you have to sell in front of at least two people who know what you have and find it highly desirable. A lot of my favorite auction purchases were for $5 or $10 or $50 when there just happened to be no one else who had any idea that the piece was worth anything to anyone.
    Any advice on finding those two people to get some competition? Or three??? Part of what is making this fun for me is how much time I have spent as a buyer on ebay. Did I tell you about the Chanel 5 vintage extrait that came empty with soaked, fragrant wrappings? The whole bottle, except for a scant 1/4 inch had leaked during shipping. The seller and I came to an understanding and worked it out. And I have some lovely smelling sachets made from the packing materials!

    By the way, if you have a perfume with a glass stopper, and the original seal is gone, how do you secure it for shipping?
    Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all.
    W. Somerset Maugham

  20. #20
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    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    To get more bidders, i always try to list multiple items of the same type at the same time. I've sold several sets of camera gear, and I try to sell it in batches, and then say that I'm selling related items in the description and suggest that people look at my other auctions. The searching for a Chanel may also be interested in your Dior, even if they hadn't thought to search for it. If you offer combined shipping discounts, this will encourage this kind of opportunistic buying.

    As for the stopper, I would jam it in tightly, then wrap the bottle end over end with something stretchy - Saran Wrap maybe? Then wrap shipping tape over that, tightly end over end. Then bubble wrap enough to make it tight in the box, of course.
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  21. #21
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    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    Parafilm is a stretchy plastic film used by labs to seal beakers; I buy it on eBay in the 4" wide rolls and use it when mailing perfumes, to reduce risk of leaks-- but I don't know if that would be enough to protect a bottle that has a stopper. I think it might also be smart to mark the box "This end up" and pack the bottle in such a way that it could not flip over.


  22. #22

    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    I have have had good experiences on eBay, but I know exactly what I want.
    "No sweet perfume ever tortured me more than this." Desert Rose by Sting and Cheb Mami, Album 1999.

  23. #23

    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    Quote Originally Posted by 30 Roses View Post
    Parafilm is a stretchy plastic film used by labs to seal beakers; I buy it on eBay in the 4" wide rolls and use it when mailing perfumes, to reduce risk of leaks-- but I don't know if that would be enough to protect a bottle that has a stopper. I think it might also be smart to mark the box "This end up" and pack the bottle in such a way that it could not flip over.
    Should I also ask the winner if they prefer I decant the liquid into another container before shipping? That might work, right? I need to get supplied ordered tomorrow.
    Beauty is an ecstasy; it is as simple as hunger. There is really nothing to be said about it. It is like the perfume of a rose: you can smell it and that is all.
    W. Somerset Maugham

  24. #24

    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    I just sold my first item on ebay today - a perfume. The buyer paid immediately, so I'm quite thrilled.

    As far as a return goes, I'm pretty relaxed about it. To me, it's just nice to get something back for an item I'm not going to use anymore, but I'm not expecting to recoup exactly what I paid for it, let alone more. I guess it depends on the item, though.

    Good luck!

    K

  25. #25
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    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    Quote Originally Posted by KarmaLee View Post
    Should I also ask the winner if they prefer I decant the liquid into another container before shipping? That might work, right? I need to get supplied ordered tomorrow.
    But if you have to buy new bottles to do this, it would come off your profit. (And those bottles could leak, too-- so I'd still want to Parafilm the cap.)

    Pilotvials, Best Bottles, Accessories for Fragrances are some sources for bottles.


  26. #26

    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    I sold four bottles on ebay yesterday but only one person has paid me so far. How long do you normally have to wait for people to pay until you put the item back on auction?
    I'll be travelling next week so I naively had hoped to mail them all this week, preferably together.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: To ebay or not to ebay? That is the question....

    baiyouli, there are guidelines on this in the ebay help section. You can open an unpaid item case against the buyer after 4 days, but it's a good idea to give them a couple of days to pay & then contact them directly first to ask (politely) if there is a problem. Usually, good communication with the buyer resolves the situation.
    "What is this secret connection between the soul, and sea, clouds and perfumes? The soul itself appears to be sea, cloud and perfume..." - from Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzakis.

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