eBay is an absolutely massive online marketplace, making it an attractive place for buyers and sellers alike to gather. Despite the fact that eBay can be a lucrative place to tout your wares, many new sellers find it difficult to earn enough money to make ends meet using the platform.
In our experience, this is largely due to how these sellers define their eBay pricing. The e-commerce platform is not easily navigable, so many new sellers price their items with (seemingly) no rhyme or reason, basing their eBay pricings on their own preconceived notions rather than doing their research.
If you are serious about making a profit on eBay, you need to know how to use selling prices to your advantage. Whether you are an e-commerce beginner or an experienced seller in a sales slump, check out our definitive, step-by-step guide on eBay pricing.
Thoroughly examine the item you want to sell.
Before you ever begin an item listing, you need to take a good, hard look at the item you would like to sell. It is not enough to take photos and let the listing speak for itself, as the type and condition of your item will inform your eBay pricing as it can be compared with other similar items. Here are a few things to note about your item:
- Condition: Is your item used or brand new with the tags still attached? Be sure to carefully examine every aspect of your item, documenting any damage or defects.
- Brand or Manufacturer: Depending on the type of item, some manufacturers or brands are worth more than others. In some cases, the manufacturing location may make an item far more valuable. For example, Dr. Martens boots manufactured in England sell for more than the same boots that were manufactured in Vietnam.
- Manufacturing Date or Serial Numbers: This is especially important to note before eBay pricing vintage items, as the year your item was manufactured can be the difference between a $50 sale and a $500 sale.
- Type, Material, Color, Etc.: Take note of every little detail of your item, as it will come in handy for the next step.
Research your item online.
Before you begin perusing eBay for similar items, try to uncover as much information about your item online. This can help you uncover new details about your item that weren’t apparent during your examination, such as manufacturing dates on tags that were lost due to the years. Researching your item also helps you to better understand who your target audience for that item will be. For example, some brands or items have loyal followings on social media websites like Reddit, which can give you an idea how in demand your item will be.
Compare your item with similar items on eBay.
This can be a dangerous game, as there is a big difference between “sold” and “selling” eBay prices. Not to mention the sheer number of items for sale on the massive e-commerce marketplace at any given time!
Luckily, eBay features a number of advanced search options to help you find the exact item you’d like to sell, making it easy to compare and contrast prices.
Using the keywords you surmised from your initial examination of an item, input them into eBay’s search. You can search specific categories or exclude words from your search, which is helpful if your item’s name or brand could easily be confused for another. From there, you can refine your search between fixed price, Buy It Now (BIN) listings, auctions, listings that offer free returns—the combinations are endless.
That being said, the most important search filter you can use is the “sold listings” filter.
Without checking the “sold listings” filter, you will see any number of exorbitantly priced BIN or auction listings. As mentioned, there is a big difference between the prices of sold and selling eBay prices. If these prices aren’t considered by the seller, it can be extremely frustrating for the buyer.
Think of it like this: have you ever walked into a vintage or second-hand shop to see that the store has placed print outs of eBay listings on some of their items? While many do this in order to justify their prices on highly sought-after items, like vintage mid-century furniture, you may notice that these shops have mistakenly printed out a listing that is actively for sale, not a sold listing. This results in ridiculously expensive second-hand items, as the “selling” price reflects what the seller hopes to receive for the item, while the “sold” price reflects what buyers are actually willing to pay.
Do not base your prices on the wishes and dreams of a different eBay seller with delusions of grandeur. Instead, you should base your eBay pricing on solid data that reflects the current buyer market. We urge you—please use the “sold listings” filter!
Now that you have the “sold listings” filter on (or at least we hope you do), you will want to search for listings that feature items that are the most similar to your own.
Make sure that you are being realistic when searching eBay pricing, closely comparing sold items with your own. For example, if your item is damaged, don’t expect to make a sale if you list your item for the same price as a different listing that features an item in mint condition. On the other hand, if your item is in perfect condition, don’t sell yourself short by price matching a listing that features a damaged version of the item!
If you find a listing that features a perfect match for your item, eBay features a “Sell one like this” button within the listing to make things easy for you.
Take advantage of eBay’s price recommendation tool.
Even with eBay’s extensive search features, using the marketplace as a price comparison tool can be extremely overwhelming, especially if you want to sell a popular item in a category with hundreds of thousands of listings.
Luckily, eBay simplifies things for sellers with its price recommendation tool. It is surprisingly accurate, and while it does not give you a complete picture—it cannot examine each listing and each item as closely as a human being can—it is a valuable tool to have in your eBay pricing arsenal.
eBay’s price recommendation tool allows you to input specific details about your item (though not as many as we would like) along with searching specific listing types, like auction or fixed price listings. Then, the tool will gather data, showing you:
- A range of average sold prices for the same items in a similar condition.
- The average length of auction listings and their starting bids.
- The likelihood of selling your item, compared to how quickly similar items have sold.
This alone is valuable information for sellers to have at their disposal, but eBay’s price recommendation tool goes a step farther by pulling data from multiple places to help you make an informed decision. These are the five different categories that eBay’s price recommendation tool with which can assist sellers:
- Listing Type: Based on your item and the success sellers have found with similar items, eBay’s price recommendation tool will advise sellers whether to list their item as a fixed price listing or as an auction listing.
- Buy It Now (BIN) Price: This gives sellers an exact number which eBay believes is the optimal price to set fixed price listings or as a BIN option for auction listings.
- Buy It Now (BIN) Price Ranges: In addition to a recommended BIN price, BIN price ranges are also offered. These ranges can vary widely, but they allow sellers to see where their recommended BIN price falls and decide whether they would like to set their eBay pricing higher or lower.
- Auction Start Price: It may be tempting to set your starting eBay auction prices extremely low to entice buyers, but this often backfires. eBay’s price recommendation tool can give you an exact number of where to set a starting bid. It can also give you ideas on your listing’s reserve price, which is the lowest price you are willing to sell your item for.
- Auction Start Price Ranges: Like the BIN price ranges offered, eBay also gives a range of auction listing start prices for sellers that like a bit more freedom when it comes to their eBay pricing.
We love eBay’s price recommendation tool because it takes the majority of the guesswork out of pricing your items to sell on the platform. Still, this data-driven tool does not account for a number of things that should be considered when deciding eBay pricing. For those of you that are selling extremely niche collector’s items, the eBay price recommendation tool may not have enough data to give you an informed price estimate.
More importantly, this digital tool is simply not able to consider the more human aspects behind an item’s cost when determining eBay pricing.
Factor personal fees into your eBay pricing.
Though the item itself is the major determining factor behind any listing price, there are a number of other factors and fees sellers need to account for in their eBay pricing. Here are a few costs you need to consider before listing your item:
- Upfront Cost: If you are simply selling old or unused items to declutter your home, initial cost may not be of much importance to you. However, if you are a reseller or are looking to turn a profit on your items, the upfront cost—the price you initially paid for the item—should be taken into account. This may be easy if you found the item for a low price at a second-hand shop, but for new or more valuable items your eBay pricing may be higher to reflect its cost. That being said, not all items are worth how much you paid for them, which is what makes researching sold listing prices an essential step.
- eBay Insertion Fees: If you have more than 250 eBay listings a month, eBay charges you a $0.35 listing fee, also known as an insertion fee, per each new listing. These fees can stack up and should be considered in your eBay pricing, especially for auctions. If you are just beginning your foray into the world of eBay e-commerce or have less than 250 listings per month, you do not need to pay these fees.
- Shipping Costs: Whether you are using FedEx, USPS, or UPS, shipping can quickly become expensive. As a seller, you can decide whether buyers will pay for shipping or if you will offer free shipping to buyers by paying these costs yourself.
Customers tend to love free shipping, but by paying for shipping yourself, this can considerably cut into your profits and should also be considered when determining eBay pricing. Many sellers will offer “free shipping” but simply tack on the price of shipping into the item’s listing price.
Additionally, you will need to research shipping costs for domestic and international orders. Some shipping companies will be cheaper than others for specific items, and though it’s a bit more work on your behalf, you may be able to save money by using one shipping service over another depending on the item sold.
- eBay Final Value Fees: Like almost every e-commerce marketplace, eBay takes their cut out of every sale with a final sale fee, also known as a final value fee. These fees are calculated using the cost and type of your item, including shipping fees and sales tax. A breakdown of eBay’s final value fees can be seen here, but most final value fees average at around 15% for sales under $7,500 and under 10% for sales over $7,500. eBay’s final value fees are rather steep considering it encompasses the total sale, not just the item cost, meaning that these fees can eat into your profits if not considered when pricing listings.
Have a look at our ebay fee calculator to quickly calculate your costs.
Post your eBay listing!
Once you have decided on the right selling price for your item and factored in additional fees and costs, you will have reached the perfect eBay pricing. It’s a long process, but by carefully considering every step, you will be maximizing your profits on eBay. Happy selling!