I’ve had a lot of success selling books on Amazon, averaging just under $2,000 a month, but have lately thought about diversifying my income with another side-hustle.
Amazon FBA has become popular over the last few years, but I recently met a blogger selling on eBay and his strategy immediately intrigued me. Far from an auction site of the past, eBay is still doing billions in sales and eBay sellers are making solid cash.
To get his insight into selling on eBay, I reached out to Jason Butler for his tips on how to be successful.
In this exclusive interview, Jason shares how he got started selling on eBay and some tips to make money in your spare time. I’ve transcribed the interview below so watch the video or you can read the transcription.
The video is part of our expert interview series on the Let’s Talk Money YouTube channel. I’m bringing you the very best experts in beating debt, making more money and making your money work for you. Click through to check out the other interviews and subscribe free to the channel.
Joseph: Today’s interview is with Jason Butler. Now Jason graduated from Savannah State in 2008, which was a great year to graduate and be joining an amazing job market. Needless to say, the opportunities were a little disappointing.
Fast forward a few years and he realized that he needed to get serious; he needed some direction. He had over $60,000 in debt and couldn’t live the life he wanted. So he started the Butler Journal to document his debt payoff, talk about travel, which is one of his passions, and to share different side hustle ideas.
Now one of the Jason’s side hustle ideas is selling on eBay. I met him at a financial bloggers conference last year and I remember thinking at the time, “Really, eBay? Is that still a thing?”
But then I read his November income report where he said he’s made almost $500 on the strategy in that one month alone. So there’s definitely something there and I wanted to get his insight in the topic.
Jason, thanks for being with us, offering your insight into selling on eBay.
Jason: Thank you for having me.
Why Sell on eBay versus Amazon?
Joseph: I think one of the first questions people would have is, “Why eBay versus maybe selling on Amazon?”
Jason: I like the fact that eBay actually offers 50 free listings for your first month; well, actually 50 free listings every month. With Amazon, you have to either pay $0.99 per listing or you have to pay $39.99 each month for a store.
I actually list between 70 to 100 items each month. I get those first 50 listings and about 2 weeks into each month, they always send promo emails. I received the promo email last week that gave me an extra 100 free listings for a month. So I was able to get 100 extra listings and add some more items.
Now, I’m not over a hundred yet but I still have some free listings if I wanted to list some more things this month.
Joseph: So it sounds like eBay is really trying to work with its community, as opposed to Amazon which has plenty of plenty of traffic, plenty of sellers and really aren’t reaching out that much.
Create A Title for Your Listing
A crucial step towards knowing how to sell something on eBay is going to be creating a memorable title. eBay gives you 80 total characters to create your title, so you’ll have to be economical. Try and pack your title with as many descriptive keywords as possible, so that your item is easily searchable.
Try to include as many of the following attributes in your title as possible:
- Condition (new, like new, used, for parts, etc.)
Photos Are Critical – Take Your Own
When it comes to how to sell things on eBay, quality photography goes a long way. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that’s particularly true when it comes to eBay. Take time to photograph your item in as much detail as possible. Chances are, the camera on your smartphone is more than powerful enough to produce quality photos for your eBay listing.
Not everyone is a photographer, but with very limited abilities, you’ll be able to take quality photos for your listing. These tips will help ensure that you’ve done a thorough job photographing your item for sale.
- If you have a room available with good interior lighting, take your photographs there.
- If you don’t have enough lighting available inside, you can head outside to take your photographs. You should find ample lighting for your photos outdoors, even on cloudy days, just be sure to stay out of the shade.
- Consider taking a trip to your local craft store and purchase a large piece of white oak tag to use as a background for your photos. A stark white background will help your item stand out, and it will ensure that you're portraying your items in the most accurate way possible.
- Use the built-in photo editing software on your phone to adjust your photographs, so that you can be sure you’re presenting the item in the most accurate way possible.
- If you're selling a used item that shows wear, be sure to photograph those worn areas to give potential buyers an accurate idea of what to expect from your item.
- For items which are new and still have tags attached, take photographs that show the attached tags to show potential buyers that they’re looking at a brand-new item.
- Photograph key features of your item to make sure potential buyers can see the most important selling points of your item.
Pick A Selling Format
You’re able to sell your items on eBay in different ways. Items for sale on eBay are available can be sold at auction, or for a fixed price. There’s also variations on each style of listing.
- Auction – With an auction-style listing, you set the length of time the auction will go on for and the starting price for your auction. Then, eBay users bid on your item in small increments until the close of the auction. Sellers can set a reserve price that must be met by the winning bidder for the sale to be complete. At the conclusion of the auction, the item sells to the highest bidder. This style of listing can be especially useful if you’re selling an item that’s difficult to find or highly coveted, as these types of items on eBay sell for higher prices than the seller originally anticipated.
- Auction With Buy It Now Option – With this style of listing, the seller lists the item for a predetermined amount of time and sets the starting bid price and the reserve. But, the seller also establishes a buy it now price, which specifies the amount they’re willing to sell the item for, right now. eBay users can purchase the item outright if they wish, but they also have the option of bidding on the item instead. If users begin bidding on your item, the buy it now option disappears as soon as the bids meet your reserve price for the auction.
- Fixed Price Buy It Now – With a fixed price buy it now listing, the seller lists the item on eBay and sets the price they’re willing to sell it for. With this type of auction, the buy it now price is the only price the seller is willing to accept, and there’s no option for users to bid on the item.
- Fixed Price Buy It Now With Best Offer – This style of listing is the same as the fixed price buy it now option, but with the addition of the best offer feature. With these listings, the seller specifies their asking price with buy it now. But, the seller is also willing to accept other offers for the item. eBay users can then submit their best offer for the item. The seller can either refuse, accept, or counter the offers they received. When it comes to getting the items I have listed on eBay sold, this is my favorite style of listing for selling stuff on ebay.
What is Bonanza?
Bonanza is an online marketplace where sellers list their products to be sold. It’s divided into multiple categories to help buyers find exactly what they’re looking for.
Buyers add a product to their cart for a set price or can negotiate an offer. Payments are made on the Bonanza website through a safe and secure checkout facility.
As a popular eBay alternative, just about anything can be sold (you can check them all out here).
More and more crafters and small handmade sellers are finding a home on Bonanza too. There are more unique and handmade items for sale on Bonanza than eBay, but less household brand names than Amazon.
Buyers can buy everything from a washing machine to a new pair of Nike Airs, to a unique, one-of-a-kind piece of jewellery.
Nike meets handmade jewellery on Bonanza
Bonanza knows that its customers also sell on other sales channels, as well as a Shopify or WooCommerce web store. You can easily import your products from these channels using Bonanzas integrations. This gets you selling your products much quicker.
Bonanza’s analytics say they have over 5 million visitors a month, with Similarweb backing up similar numbers. That’s a little over 150,000 visits a day. This may be insignificant in comparison to eBay, Amazon and Etsy but it’s not a number to be ignored.
If you have a presence on Bonanza, as well as other marketplaces, you increase your reach and potential for more sales.
Are you thinking about selling on a second marketplace or building a web store? Use Multichannel to manage your inventory, customers and sales everywhere!
Bonanza’s customer base is primarily U.S based. But with 25% of all traffic coming from abroad, it’s an expanding marketing. Currently, Bonanza sellers are from over 200 countries worldwide.
- Traffic and sales on the Bonanza marketplace have increased since opening in 2008
- A long way to go to have as much traffic as eBay, Amazon or Etsy.
- Buyers are mostly based in the U.S.
Is Bonanza safe? Is Bonanza legit?
Yes, Bonanza is safe.
Yes, Bonanza is legit.
The Better Business Bureau gave Bonanza an A+ and the average consumer rating is 8.4 out of 10. This simply means that Bonanza is safe and Bonanza is legit.
Is Bonanza legit? Yes, yes it is.
Bonanza has a huge seller base and even more buyers. Millions of transactions have happened through the Bonanza website without any problems at all.
There are, however, a few unsavoury characters from time to time.
Bonanza are very active in trying to find scams – both dodgy buyers and sellers.
The Bonanza team make it easy for anyone to report suspicious activity. The Bonanza marketplace integrates with only trusted payment gateways – PayPal and Amazon Payments being the most popular (and safest).
Bonanza Selling Fees
Bonanza charges nothing for you to open a booth and list your products. They collect only a small percentage of your final sale price once the product sells.
See the simple chart below:
The more commission you pay, the more sales channels your products will be listed on.
More advanced users can take advantage of a Bonanza membership, billed monthly or annually.
Even though Bonanza fees are complicated, the most important thing to remember is that selling on Bonanza is significantly less than eBay and Amazon.
Getting started with Bonanza selling website.
Getting started on Bonanza is a simple and straightforward process.
- Go to the Bonanza ‘Start selling’ page and let them know if you’re already selling online.
- Select a name for your booth (eg, the name of your store or brand). Next, you’ll see your store panel
- Click on ‘Open your booth’
- Select how you’d like to be paid and your personal details.
- Enter your credit card details so that you can be billed for seller fees
- Select whether you’d like to pay to have your products advertised elsewhere online (you can always change this decision later)
- If you’re interested in a membership, this is where you pick which one is best for you. It’s not essential, though.
Now you’re set up and ready to sell!
4 tips for successful Bonanza selling
If you’re considering selling on Bonanza, here are 4 of our tips that can help you get the most out of the marketplace.
- Don’t sell on just Bonanza.
If Bonanza, or any of those mentioned sales channels, are the only place you brand has a presence, you will find it hard to be successful.
Many user Bonanza reviews state that ‘I’ve only had a sale a month, Bonanza isn’t good’. ArtYah, one of the more popular sites like Etsy, gets a lot of criticism as sellers don’t get a lot of sales.
That’s because they’re putting all their eggs in one basket. Also, sell on Etsy. And eBay. And your web store. And eBay.
The future of successful ecommerce business is multichannel selling …
To get the most out of Bonanza, it doesn’t hurt to do a little proactive marketing, too.
- Market your own listings.
While it’s true that you’ll get the organic Bonanza traffic, you can increase this by being proactive with your marketing efforts. For example, use social media to drive traffic to your Bonanza listings.
Surprise, surprise, the Bonanza marketplace have an integrated way you can do just that.
Another way? Find a Facebook group, full of people who have a problem that your product solves, and share it there.
You’ll be doing yourself and Bonanza a favour.
- Use freebies, coupons & combined item discounts.
This is another feature that sets Bonanza apart from eBay.
Freebies are unspecified items that a seller agrees to give away with each transaction.
Coupons are unique codes that give a buyer free shipping or a percentage off.
Combined item discounts are exactly that. The final price will be lower if you buy more than one item.
- Use chat to build a relationship.
The inbuilt chat feature is a fantastic initiative. Of course, it can be used to answer customer questions and haggle on a price, but it’s also a great way to build a relationship with your customer.
No matter what you’re selling, a customer will be more likely to buy from you if they’re emotionally invested in you and your brand – and the chat feature is a fast-tracked way to build that relationship.
- Unique features make it easy to attract repeat business and keep the customer happy
- Freebies add value and an incentive to your customer.
- Selling on Bonanza, you’ll need to be proactive with marketing.
Bonanza vs eBay – are they worth comparing?
Bonanza is quickly becoming one of the more popular alternatives to eBay, for both buyers and sellers.
In fact, they’ve got a whole page explaining why they’re a great eBay alternative.
Below you will find 4 most important differences between eBay and Bonanza.
- Fees. It’s cheaper to sell on Bonanza than eBay. Sure, eBay has an incredible amount of traffic, but eBay fees simply sting. Bonanza = list for free & lower selling fees.
- Promotions. If you’re selling on eBay, you have a lot of organic traffic. Not so much with Bonanza. Bonanzas offer of integrating with Google Adwords, Google Shopping etc, means that you can be seen by more than just eBay shoppers, and better quality shoppers, too. Shoppers that actually want to buy what you’re selling.
- Easier. Setting up an account with Bonanza is smooth and simple, as is listing a product. There’s no messing around with Auction prices, set prices, memorizing fees scheduling a listing. It’s simple, clean and easy which means you can focus on other parts of your business.
- Customer interaction Customer interactions are quicker and easier. The live chat feature means customers can talk with you in real time and you can build a relationship with them. Rather than waiting for emails from customers, problems are solved on the spot.
Want to know more about Bonanza? Over on Reddit Bonanza is starting to gather more attention as users discuss using it alongside other sales channels.
The Reddit community is known for its entrepreneurial spirit!
While there’s no clear winner in the Bonanza vs eBay fight, it’s easy to see their differences.
Your brand may find more success on one than the other, but it’s plain to see that Bonanza is made with you, the seller, in mind.
- Access to external promotions
- Significantly less traffic
- No auction format