Phasing Out Summer for Fall on Ebay

Last week's blog post touched upon phasing out pieces that aren't as likely to sell in the fall as they are in spring and summer before diving into key tips for selling sunglasses. The 4th quarter sales are right around the corner and people are no longer looking for gladiators or silk caftans but heavy coats, sweaters, and sequined cocktail dresses. Consider if you were to head to the mall right now with no budget and you could buy whatever you wanted, would you buy a bikini and gladiators, or would you pick up a cozy coat? The trick to Ebay is seasonal selling and knowing what sells and when. The month of October and November are HUGE months for fall as well as winter items and my experience the highest profit margins for coats, jackets, and sweaters. Be critical about what you're posting in the fall. Though there are of course exceptions to the the rules, you will not generate as many sales on summer items as you would winter. This is even more so when doing auction listings. You will make a higher profit on that Mara Hoffman caftan in June vs December because you won't have as many watchers or bidders trying to buy that item. There is the reversal of winter clothing not selling at its full potential because no one is looking to buy a fox fur coat in July. If you are on a budget, be selective of your listings as you don't want to pay for a listing that simply won't sell.

Since I do have a basic seller store I have higher listing levels which allows me to have non seasonal items up year round. I do have summer and winter items up all the time, but it wasn't always this way. After a few years I noticed that my summer items never sold during winter, and my winter items never sold during summer. Though some areas of the country or international buyers would purchase my items that were out of season a good rule of thumb is if you're on a budget only list items that are in season, so you're not paying for extra when you use up your free listings. Nothing is more annoying than using your last free listing on a sarong when you could have listed a gorgeous scarf.

To finalize, when the season starts to change take a look at what you're listing, and be critical. If its not something that is in season, consider saving the listing when Ebay offers you a free listing promotion or when you have an extra listing at the end of the month.  Remember, hats, purses, jewelry, and other accessories can always be sold year round. Take into consideration what is being currently sold in stores, and you should consider having the same pieces up for sale as well. If you have the available listings definitely list those items that may be out of season, but don't waste your money and don't pay for it. It will cut into your profits.

When Should You Be Selling Sunglasses on Ebay

September is the last month for selling items that are for summer, which include sundresses, rompers, sandals, swimsuits, and caftans. If you have limited listings due to budget constraints it is always best to prioritize your listings by seasonal items, then by brand, and everything else follows suit. One item I don't recommend you phase out are sunglasses, as I consider them only somewhat seasonal based on sales and purchases.

There is a stark difference between summer pieces and sunglasses when it comes to selling. What I love most about sunglasses is that they're a year-round item. I definitely consider sunglasses a "splurge" accessory that people will often impulsively buy. Everyone knows that it can be a struggle to find a pair of sunglasses that doesn't always match their frame, so when you find that perfect size and shape, you're more likely to purchase. A lot of times buyers will find a pair of sunglasses in a department or outlet store and look on eBay for one thats worn, or new at a better discount. I always recommend listing your sunglasses during the spring and summer months, but do not consider them as an item to take down for the season to replace with some other accessories thinking that they won't sell during fall and winter seasons.

When listing sunglasses there are some key elements to bump up your sales. First and foremost take great pictures of the sunglasses and any scratches or flaws - specifically the lenses. If they are a higher end or a specific brand be sure to put the name of the sunglasses and any serial numbers or names that are on the arm. Tom Ford, Retrosuperfuture, Karen Walker, Thierry Lasry all have names for their unique shades - a simple google search will give you the answer you're looking for. If you have access, the frame sizes are incredibly helpful for a buyer. Click here for a picture of frame sizes that should help you do the measurements yourself or understand them for your own reference. Note if the box and/or case is available and let the buyer know if its the original or generic. 

To confirm, sales for sunnies do drop in the fall and winter and of course jump during spring and summer, but the sales are prominent enough to keep this type of listing in rotation. Buyers are always looking for new sunglasses year round and they're always looking for a specific pair that they may have missed out earlier in the season. Sunglasses are a great go to for listing as people are always looking for high end brands and even more so high end accessories.


The Style Lister

Jewelry Sets Sell them Together or Separate?

I love jewelry and accessories! I own so many earrings bracelets and necklaces its hard to keep up on everything. Though a lot of my items are vintage or handmade, when I do come across beautiful jewelry in a department store or shop, I tend to buy the whole set or more than one piece of it. Im almost always buying the earrings and the bracelet or the necklace and ring. I always assumed that other women do the same as well, but I now recognize that may not always be the case.

When selling jewelry a lot of sellers list their items split or as a set. Here at TSL I've done both, I've listed a bracelet and earrings together and charged more, and listed them separately noting to the customer if they buy both pieces there will be a discount. We noticed that I not only sold the items faster when they're listed separately, but also made more money. Through my experience I realized that a lot of buyers do not have pierced ears, or do not like wearing bracelets, etc. I would get many requests from buyers asking for a better price if I would not sell the other piece. I decided to conduct an experiment and see which items were and weren't selling when I would do a set or split.  

It was like night and day! Sales for jewelry rose quite a bit and many items that weren't moving were suddenly out the door. I realized that individually jewelry was much more likely to sell and much faster as well when I didn't do the set. I also saw a bump in profits as I would charge a little bit more for each item individually. In all our items that have a matching piece, I'd always let the buyer know that if the matching earrings or bracelet or necklace was available and if they wanted the full set I would discount both for them. As of this blog post I have yet to get one request for a lot price. 

If you really want your jewelry to sell it is always best to sell them separately. Not only will your sales improve, but your profits will increase as well. 

What To Put In A Ebay Description

Today's blog post discusses what to put in a description! Descriptions are one of the most important aspects of any successful listing on eBay, and often make or break a sale. We view the written description as the place you get to pitch your item to the potential buyer, and try your best to convince them that they have to own this item, it needs to be in their closet, or they have to wear it to that upcoming event. 

The written description is the part that the seller enters their unique summary on the item they list. Here you get to pitch your item, describe it thoroughly, and preemptively answer any questions the buyer may have. Key elements in a fashion listing are condition, measurements, and any flaws/issues. All Ebay sales are subject to the Buyer Protection Policy, which means if something is not mentioned in the description or listing, the buyer is fully protected for the sale. When listing an item, ALWAYS mention (and if possible photograph) any and all potential flaws to protect yourself from a buyer opening an INAD (Item Not As Described) case against you.

The most important part in your description is putting measurements in your listings. If you don't have measurements and you don't accept returns, a sale is difficult since no one wants to waste their money on something that doesn't fit. Consider this, if you're buying something from but there's no measurements and no returns accepted - would you buy it? Also, it makes for less returns as a buyer has a good idea if it will fit or not. Put measurements in all your listings!!!

Always mention the brand, the condition, the size, and the material. The latter is especially true if its leather, or a fur - and don't forget to mention the fur or leather type, especially if its faux/pleather. If you do own vintage you can say "original owner", or mention that its true vintage and what era its from. If the item is from a certain runway or capsule/collaboration go ahead and let the buyer know. Mention if its new, gently used, or like new and any wear and tear. When mentioning the flaws, be honest if that stain won't come out put it, or if a button is loose write it. When honest people are more likely to purchase it if they do want it, and won't be upset when it shows up with the flaw. 

When it comes to Ebay its never better to ask for forgiveness, always ask for permission.

Here at TSL our listings always have a standard/template of information thats posted for the buyer's convenience. These critical pieces of information should be standard in all your listings, your return policy, how many days you ship out, and if your item comes pet and smoke free place or not. One of the most important statements we make is our return policy, which is 14 days, buyer has to pay the return shipping, and the item is subject to a 15% restock fee. We also state that we shipped via USPS, and that items are shipped within 1 business day. Besides these two key pieces of information, we assure the buyer that our environment is pet and smoke-free. 

Our detailed description not only mentions the above, but we also give a brief introduction to what The Style Lister is about. This is unnecessary if you're a standard seller, but if you do have a store you should consider putting a brief bio in order to connect with your audience and look more professional. Though this is completely optional, TSL also gives styling ideas to the potential buyer. We mention how they can easily integrate this piece into their closet with a basic styling tip to entice them to purchase. They have to think that they own those basic items and this piece would easily fit in their closet and they could wear immediately upon receipt. You want to inspire them to purchase it! We have had many buyers contact us directly and thanks for the description because they were able to piece together an outfit based on our recommendation.

DO NOT make excuses why you're selling or mention phrases like "Too big/small for me, since I lost/gained weight" "Bought it but never got to it", "I'm moving :(" "My ex bought it and I want him out of my life". People want to know about the product, so don't waste their time with irrelevant information, we all own something in our closets that we never got to wearing, so there is no need to mention it. Keep the information relevant because if they get bored they'll move on to the next listing. Putting pointless information that has nothing to do with your return or shipping policies, using ALL CAPS THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE LISTING or ~~~TyPiNg UsInG LoWeRcAsE and CaPiTaL lEtTeRs AlTeRnAtIvElY sucks. Don't do it. Emojis don't help either. A lot of sellers swear by the KISS method, Keep It Simple, Stupid, and this is a great piece of advice to put in descriptions.

A detailed description can really make or break a listing as long as you have the three most important elements: measurements, condition, and flaws/issues. When you put these in your description you are sure to sell you item successfully on Ebay as these are the things that all buyers are looking for. When answering these potential questions before they ask, they are more likely to make the instant purchase or bid for that beautiful piece that you're selling.




Handling Time on Ebay

Ebay always for accuracy when it comes to estimated arrival dates. When shopping on Ebay, buyers get an estimated window of arrival based on the type of shipping service and handling time. Today's post breaks down what handling time is and how it improves your sales.

Handling times on eBay are the business days that it takes for you to ship out to the buyer. Business days are considered Monday though Friday and Saturday/Sunday are not considered business days. Any transactions made on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Monday is considered the next business day. For example, if you sell an item on Thursday at/before 11:59PM YOUR time and you have one day handling, then you have to ship out on Friday. If the purchase is made on Friday, you ship on Monday. The cutoff for one business day is 11:59PM, and for same day handling it is 2:00PM for the seller's time.

Ebay shippers tend to send their packages one to two business days after cleared payment. If you're unable to ship your item within 1 to 2 handling days, TSL recommends that you mention this in your listing so that buyers are forewarned. This is to your benefit if the buyer decides to leave negative or neutral feedback it can be removed. When you have the appropriate handling time put in your listing than the time the date that the estimate for date of delivery will be accurate as well. The shipping dates take into consideration the type of shipping that you're using, your handling time, and where you are located. Shipping time is also assumed when buyer makes payment. So if your buyer wins the auction but takes 10 days to pay, you do not ship until its cleared payment is made. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES DO YOU SHIP OUT THE ITEM BEFORE A CLEARED PAYMENT. EVER. 

If you live in a remote area or aren't able to ship out packages consistently make sure you pick a handling time that you can do. You have to be accurate about this so the buyer knows that it will take several days for an item to be shipped out and received, you must stay within your window. If you can't stay within your handling time, Ebay can lower your seller level and document all your late shipments in your shipment rate. Your shipment rating is based on uploaded and validated tracking. If you use Ebay to ship its automatically uploaded but validation is when its received by the shipping service. If your shipment rate is above 7%, Ebay can contact you about your handling time on your listings or lower your seller levels and discounts. 

Make sure you're shipping using your selected shipping, because if you have priority express but you use first class and the item isn't received within the handling time, you can get dinged when the buyer informs Ebay if the shipment wasn't on time when they leave feedback. You want it to be low as possible, and Ebay gives you a window of 3%, knowing that mistakes and life happens. This statistic does not factor in natural disasters, such as wildfires, hurricanes, and floods. If your shipment is delayed due to a hurricane, Ebay does not ding you for it, but you have to contact them to adjust it. If you are going on vacation and do not have a seller store you can change the handling time on items to reflect when you will be able to send them out as well, while keeping the listings active.

Always be honest about your handling time as a buyer can get upset if you do not ship it within that time. Often enough buyers are expecting to receive an item by the estimated date for a specific event, such as a party, a date, or a costume/themed event. Many times buyers make purchases assuming that they will receive an item within a specific day and if you do not follow the handling time a buyer can leave you negative or neutral feedback. 

Often buyers will spend more money on an item when they see the handling time and receiving time is sooner and will buy from a seller that has great feedback that states fast shipping. If you and another buyer are selling the same denim jacket, a buyer will most likely purchase it from you if they see that you have a faster handling time and glowing reviews. This easy step is a great way to make extra sales without doing much work. 

Can you Sell a Defective, Damaged, Flawed item on Ebay

A popular question that we often get is "Can you sell an item that is damaged, stained, or has some other type of flaw or issue?" The answer is ABSOLUTELY! You can sell items with broken zippers, weird stains, tears, or broken heels when done correctly.  Here at The Style Lister we have sold many items that have some type of flaw or defect - and they've all been successful sales with no returns. The one caveat is that you disclose the flaw in your listing description and are honest about it. Do not mislead the buyer by saying "small tear at the seam", and there is a 9" rip.

Here at the TSL we do NOT use the NWD acronym, nor do we put the flaw in the listing title. Instead we use the following steps below to ensure the buyer goes into the listing and considers it instead of just scrolling on without giving it a chance.

#1 Photographing the issue/s:
This type of documentation is imperative for your listing for several reasons. Most importantly it protect you the seller in case a buyer attempts to open an INAD (Item Not As Described) case against you. If you document the defect in your description and photograph it you can win a possible case that may be opened against you or get neg/neutral feedback removed. The second reason is the buyer is more likely to purchase if you show the issue, and they will know that your description is honest when you say " 1" tear at the seam". Try to take at least two pictures of the flaw, one with the item from farther away/whole piece, and a second up close shot so the buyer gets a good idea. TSL always keeps a few items handy to help the buyer reference the size of the damage/issue. We tend to use coins and a MAC lip liner pencil to showcase the size of the item. The buyer will know- its smaller than a dime, or smaller than the end of a lip pencil and they will be more interested in purchasing because they will have a better idea of the flaw. If you can show the measurements with a tape measure as well if the issue can be measured - this is great for any issue 3" or larger.

#2 Describing the issue/s:
This is just as important as taking a picture because documenting the flaw or issue can be critical when a case is opened against you. Lets say you post an item with a broken zipper, not only do you photograph the broken zipper but you also put it in the description "Zipper broken, will need to be replaced". If a buyer receives the item and attempts to open a case against you, or worse leave negative or neutral feedback you can contact Ebay Customer Support (1 (866) 540-3229) and they will be able to see that you very well documented this issue and they can either remove the feedback or more than likely decide in your favor if a case is opened. Not only should you mention the issue, but mention where it is, If there is a tear, mention the area its located, or if it is or isn't on the seam.  Explanation is key, if you mention the missing button will/won't be included or if the stain can/can't come out with dry-cleaning or a good wash will help a buyer decide if they want to purchase. Letting the buyer know if it is repairable is good business because they will be more open to the idea of purchasing the item. Don't say "could be repairable" when it isn't. DO NOT MISLEAD YOUR BUYER. This creates an environment that you seem untrustworthy and they can put that in their feedback, preventing you from getting future sales. If an item is vintage or from the 80's and before, they are more likely to purchase as a lot of true vintage pieces do have some sort of flaw due to time.

#3 Pricing your item correctly
When listing an item that is damaged or has some type of issue, you have to take into consideration the cost for the buyer. They will need to repair it on their own, pay a seamstress to do the work, or not be able to repair it at all. Items that have flaws need to have a discount, and it needs to be reasonable to inspire the buyer to purchase it for repair or just wear it as is. If the damage is significant, you will need to discount the item considerably. We've seen many people try to sell an item that is nowhere near wearable, usable, or repairable for an obscene amount of money, just because it is high end. No one will spend $950 on a Chanel dress that has the red stain in front because it got damaged when trying to remove the store sensor. A person will spend $900 on a Chanel dress that is missing one button or that will need a new zipper. Typically the price ranges from $15 to $25 for a new zipper, so you will need to factor that into your listing discount. You don't have to be exact, but keep that in mind when pricing your item. Also, state something to the affect of "priced low due to _______ issue." and if you are open to best offers, mention that too. 

Any seller can sell items that have flaws or issues, and sell successfully as long as you follow the above guidelines! Whats most important for listings like these is to document the issue and let the buyer know about it so they know what they are getting into.

Should You Relist Your Item on Ebay?

Hello dear lister! Here at TSL we do our best to give a variety of posts that stay relevant to sellers whether they are just starting out or have been on this platform for years. A popular question we are constantly asked is "how long do I leave a listing up before I give it away or take it down?" Here at TSL we look at the Sarong vs Scarf, and CDP.

Though every Ebay marketing tool will tell you “theres a buyer for everything”, that is not always true. There are some items that will never sell because no one is interested in it, its too overpriced, or not in demand. Here at TSL we look at the 3 main things for posting an item on Ebay, the Cost, Demand, and Profit. When you look at these three you can really get an idea if you should or shouldn't list or relist an item.

A good rule of thumb is that most of your sales will be within the season you're selling. Our summer sales tend to be dresses, tank tops, and sunglasses. Over the summer so far we've sold one item that were for fall/winter, and that was a Helmut Lang leather coat. Certain shoes are seasonal, boots do not have the same uptick as they do in October-March, as sandals see the downturn when cooler weather starts to set. Jewelry is the only exception to the rule of seasonal selling. Do not get discouraged when that rare Louis Vuitton swimsuit isn't selling in November, because buyers aren't looking for summer splurges in the winter! In order to be successful with Ebay you have to try to understand the habits of your buyer, and your typical Ebay customer tends to be for the person who isn't shopping just to shop, but on Ebay looking for something specific. We believe that many of our out of season purchases happen to be because the buyer happened to be looking at our store and stumbled upon it.

Coming into October most people won't relist the sarong they've had up all summer, to use that free listing to list a scarf instead. You have to maximize your listings when they're limited. Ebay does allow you to keep old listings for 90 days then the item disappears forever. What we used to do in the past is copy and paste the important data – measurements and description into a word document and save the pictures in a folder and when the season would return we would have all the pertinent information without having to redo the work.

Many sellers (us included) put listings up as Buy It Now (BIN), and relist every 30 days to maximize our free listings. If you are a basic seller you get 50 free listings a month, whether its auction style or BIN. This is where it can get tricky because after you put an item up you use the free listing whether it sells or not. Afterward it will cost you a minimum of $0.30 per listing. We have to note that Ebay tends to do 1000 free auctions promotions almost every month, especially during the summer season to inspire sellers to post auctions, which doesn't take from your free listings. We always recommend utilizing these promotions, and if you can drop what you're doing to take advantage of posting items for free. As a seller you have to make the executive decision if that item you have listed is worth using your free listing or if you have something that you will know will sell or move faster.

If you have a basic seller store, you have 250 listings up for sale/sold. This means if you have 160 items for sale, and you have sold 10 items that month (always from the first to the last day), you've used 170 listings, and have 80 listings left for the month. If the item ends and it is unsold (auction or BIN), you do not lose the listing as you would without a seller store, so if none of the 160 auctions sell and they all end, the next day you would have 240 listings available since you only sold 10 items and have nothing up for sale. We recommend a seller store for anyone who has more than 100 items up as the promotions and convenience are great, and instead of making that sarong/scarf decision both items can be up for sale.

Besides looking at the sarong vs scarf idea, CDP is our go to for selling an item. When you look at your cost, demand, and profit on an item it can change or cement the idea if you should list an item. For example, TSL would never pay to list a fox fur coat in the middle of July. To be even more forthright, we wouldn't even list it in July because its not in season and you wouldn't make as much of a profit on it compared to having it up in November. This for us is a wait item and gets listed in October. Another great example of something we would post right now is a silk maxi dress as they are in high demand during summer.

If you have the listing availability we always recommend you have an item listed on Ebay, but we never recommend paying for a listing that isn't in season and didn't sell during that season. If its a scarf that didn't sell in December, then it probably won't sell in July. You are losing money when you pay for a listing, and this will eat up your profits quickly!

Our biggest recommendation is do not list a sarong in October, and do not list that scarf in May if you have to pay for it.

Thanks for reading, and don't forget to list list list!


The Ebay Grind: Summer Selling and the 3rd Quarter

Summer is here and we are entering the slowest time for sales when it comes to Ebay. Rule of thumb for many businesses is that they look at their earnings quarterly: 1st (Jan-Mar), 2nd (Apr-Jun), 3rd (Jul-Sep), and 4th (Oct-Dec). Ebay is no different and we are currently closing out the 2nd quarter. For most sellers on Ebay we know that the 3rd quarter tends to be the slowest of the year. This is mostly due to people being on vacation, are outdoors, or enjoying the time off with their family and friends. Take into consideration (besides work) how often you're sitting at home in front of your computer/tablet/phone or in front of your TV when the sun is out and the weather is warm. People tend to shop for the summer during the second quarter and enjoy their item during the 3rd. This is not to say that sales don't happen, there are just less of them.

TSL prepares for our slowest period by gearing up for our biggest - the incredible 4th! As soon as October starts everyone looks around and realizes that winter is coming. They not only seek winter coats and jackets, but also start their holiday shopping. We begin to prepare our inventory by prepping all the winter wear that we want to sell by cleaning, repairing and photographing. Besides digging though our closet we also head to the thrift shops and second hand stores for some smart shopping for our filler pieces and furs. Prices are at their lowest for coats, jackets, and sweaters - a perfect time to buy, and negotiate with your favorite consignment store for a better price for an item that never moved during the winter season. Always keep your eyes out for key pieces in clearance racks and flash sales as you might find a gem for a potential buyer. Besides looking through thrift stores, Ebay is another fantastic spot to look for winter clothing as a lot of people are selling their winter clothes during this time, which can be a double edge sword.  For example, your Steve Madden plaid jacket could be the only one listed in July, versus in October when there are 6 others just like it, and a happy buyer might just decide to buy it while at the airport waiting for her flight home from Hawaii. Another great thing is that some sellers know that it is the slow season and they have reduced prices when it comes to coats and jackets just to unload their inventory and increase cash flow - giving you the opportunity to buy this item and sell it yourself at a higher price at a later date. TSL has sold winter clothing during this quarter, but very little, and the watchers for our leather and fur goods tend to be at our lowest. FRET NOT dear lister as summer clothing is always great to have listed and due to smartphones your items are always up for sale, no matter what time it is, no matter where the buyer is.  

Don't forget our mantra, just list it! 


How To List Summer Style on Ebay

NWT $440 Alice Olivia Menagerie Floral Bird Mermaid Full Length Maxi Skirt M L 8

Summer is in full effect here at the TSL shop and full length skirts are a personal favorite for us, and we hope for you as well. Currently our summer favorite is this incredible maxi from the classic Alice + Olivia. The Menagerie skirt with this incredible bird pattern. Pair with your favorite cropped denim jacket and gladiators for date night, or with a white top and heels for that wedding you have to attend- this item is a sure staple for any closet. 

This piece is a perfect example to discuss summer style and popular search words and terms, so besides the catchy description, keywords are critical as they bring the potential buyer to the listing itself. 

The keywords/phrases that will trigger in the searches are: Alice Olivia, Menagerie, Floral, Bird, Mermaid, Full Length, Maxi. With "Menagerie", being the exception each of these keywords and phrases are huge in Ebay's search queries. When creating your listing look at the details of your item, from the brand, to the pattern, the cut, the colors, and the style. These elements are key to creating an item that pops up in any search when a potential buyer on Ebay is shopping. Currently, when looking up each key phrase under the category "Skirt" we get the following numbers:

Alice Olivia: 623
Menagerie: 14
Floral: 112,866
Bird: 724
Mermaid: 6,146
Full Length: 12,316
Maxi:  121,106

These numbers are indicative of how popular these items are on Ebay, and though this item is one of each of these statistics, these keywords are words that buyers are using most- hence their popularity. Think Floral instead of flower and maxi instead of long. 

UPDATE: Skirt was sold on August 2nd. 


Memorial Weekend

Happy Monday dear lister, though most of our posts are about selling and listing on Ebay, today is not one of them. Today we memorialize those who passed during their active duty.  Our thoughts are with the incredible families and brave soldiers who gave up everything to protect our rights. Thank you for your sacrifice, our prayers are with you this Memorial day.