eBay can be a great place to snap up a fashion bargain. It can be a little intimidating for newbies though, and there’s lots of little tips and tricks that the pros use to help them snap up a bargain.
We spoke to friend of Style Nibble, Irene about her tips for shopping on eBay. Irene’s managed to pick-up a Birken bag for just £480, a beautiful discontinued Louis Vuitton for less than half the original price, a Liberty scarf for just a tenner, and a half-price Cartier watch.
Here’s her top tips for getting a fashion bargain on eBay:
1. FIND THE BARGAINS
Secondhand Usually Means Big Discounts
Use the Condition filter alongside search results to just show used items
If you’re comfortable with the item not being brand new, you can get huge discounts. A lot of fashion and luxury goods lovers sell stuff they’ve hardly used for a fraction of the original price. If you’re happy with it having been worn once or twice or with the bag having a little mark or two (which you’d make in any case after a week of use!), you’re up for real bargains.
Create Saved Searches
Find the ‘Save Search’ link at the top of the page of search results
Save automated searches for items or brands that interest you. You’ll get notifications every time something new is added. You can be really specific in your saved searches so that you only get alerted for items that are available in your size, in the colour you want or at a price you’re prepared to pay.
Search for Items from Private Sellers
From the filters on the left, click ‘Specify sellers …’ tick the ‘Seller Type’ box and click ‘Private’ to show only items from members of the public
Some of the best bargains come from other fashion-lovers selling their unwanted items (rather than businesses out to make a profit) - think about setting up a specific search just for items from private sellers.
Consider Buying from Sellers Outside the UK
By default, eBay only shows items that sellers have set to be sold on the local eBay website. Click on ‘worldwide’ to see items available on other eBay sites that the seller might be willing to ship to you.
Sometimes brands that are expensive in the UK are cheaper in other countries and those sellers are happy to ship internationally - just remember to check the postage and any possible customs charges.
Find Auctions Ending at Odd Times
Auctions ending at “weird” times are a great way to get bargains. Early in the morning on weekends, or very late at night – they get little visibility so there’s less competition.
2. MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE GETTING
Read the Description
Second hand items will often have some minor defects from natural usage - make sure you’re comfortable with the state of whatever you’re buying on or bidding. If there’s something you’re not sure about, ask the seller for additional pictures.
Check the Seller’s Feedback
Click on the number after the seller’s name to see their feedback
Before diving in, do your homework on the seller to ensure they’re trustworthy. Look at their feedback score, in particular their “Feedback as a Seller” (especially for consumers, who might have lots of feedback from buying themselves, which is perhaps less relevant when you’re trying to assess their reliability as a seller).
Check What the Seller’s Sold Before
From the seller’s feedback page, click ‘View Item’ to see what else they sold
Take a look at what else the seller’s sold before. “My hypothesis here is that I trust more someone who sells (and buys) a lot of fashion as it tells me they know what they do and they’re enthusiastic about clothes. The chances are that they’ll be in a better state as they probably wear them very little.”
3. GET THE PRICE YOU WANT
Research the Prices That Other People Have Paid
eBay hides this feature in the ‘Buying formats’ set of filters. Click ‘Choose more …’ then, under the ‘Show only’ list, click ‘Completed listings’ to see how previous items on the site fared
Do your homework and look at recent prices for the kinds of items you’re looking to buy. eBay lets you search for “Completed Listings” - you might be surprised to see the wide range of prices for similar or identical items - a good reminder to …
Based on your research, decide on a price that you’re willing to pay and be prepared to wait until you can find an item at that price: the lower the price, the longer you might have to wait. It’s really easy to get attached to one specific listing, but remember that even if you miss this one, there’ll probably be another similar or identical item soon. Unless you’re in a hurry, you don’t want to be one of those buyers who pays too much.
Use Saved Searches (yes … again!)
Another reason to use saved searches is to be first to the fixed-price, “Buy It Now” bargains: you’ll get notified as soon as they’re on the site, so you can snap them up before anyone else notices.
Leave Your Bid Until the Last Minute
Goofbid’s sniping tool lets you leave your bid until the very last second
On the other hand,if the item you want is being sold as an auction, leave your bid until the last minute (so you don’t give the other bidders a chance to see your bid and raise theirs). You can use ‘sniping’ tools such as Goofbid to automatically place a last-minute (or even last-second) bid if you’re not around.
4. STAY PROTECTED
Always pay with PayPal
If you pay with PayPal, you’re covered under the Buyer Protection Scheme in the event that the item doesn’t arrive, or if it doesn’t match the seller’s description.
Ask for tracked delivery
If the item’s expensive, ask the seller to send with a tracked delivery service - it should only be a little extra and well worth the cost for peace-of-mind.
5. WHY NOT SELL?
Fund your Spend by Selling Your Unwanted Items
Short of cash, but looking to update your wardrobe? Then why not sell some of your old unwanted items on the site. “Selling used to be a bit of a chore, but with the eBay mobile app, it’s so much simpler.”
Think About Selling it Instead of Returning it
Some hot items sell out quickly in the stores, particularly designer collaborations, so before returning an item if you find it doesn’t fit (or sending back that second size you ordered as back-up!) consider selling it on eBay - you might be surprised to find out how much you’ll get for it, sometimes (bizarrely) even when it’s still available in store.
Finally, don’t forget that you can now collect Nectar points on eBay - just connect your account and start saving.
What are your top eBay tips? Post your suggestions on our Facebook wall and let us know: we’ll share the best ones with other Nibblers.