How To Be A Savvy eBay Shopper.

ebay final

Bought on eBay: J Crew Bow Coat, Joie Lace Top, Anthropologie Tulle Skirt, Kate Spade Sadie Skirt, J Crew Crystal Necklace, Zara Button-Up Blouse, Karen Walker Number One Sunglasses, Joie Lace Top, J Crew Collection Etta Pumps, J Crew Everly Wedges

When I first heard of eBay, many people were just starting to get used to safely navigating the internet and were very quick to shrug off the site due to legitimate concerns of theft and untrustworthy sellers. At the time, I had heard stories through family friends and acquaintances (I was still pretty young) about how people they knew had been scammed and/or had received damaged goods and could not get their money back. However, fast forward many years and eBay is a household name, especially in my life.

I started frequenting eBay a couple of years ago and have been so pleased with the results (see the pictures of some of my purchases above!). I would consider myself a pretty skilled eBay shopper, but it has taken me some time to feel confident in my bidding and offering abilities. My top three reasons why I LOVE eBay are:

1.) As many of you have experienced, popular items often sell out at both retail stores and online. When this has happened to me (grrr..), I always check eBay to see if anyone is selling the hotly pursued item. 99% of the time, I can find what I was looking for!

2.) eBay is a great place to look for items that may be a season or two old, but that you had never stopped coveting. On that same note, if you can hold out, the prices often drop on the item that you wanted and you can get it for a fraction of the original cost.

3.) Whenever I see something that I want, I always check to see if any eBay users are selling it first. Nine times out of ten, I can find the item for half the price…while it’s STILL in retail stores!

Here on Wannabe Fashion Blogger, I would like to share some of my tips with you all so that you can feel more comfortable testing the online marketplace waters.

1.) ALWAYS Do Your Research: When I find something that I want, I always always always do my research. This includes looking at the sizing measurements on the actual retail store’s website. Some eBay sellers will post measurements for the items that they are selling, but I always make sure to run them by the actual store’s measurements. Better safe than sorry. Additionally, know what fits your body. As you all know, I am a J Crew addict and I pretty much have my sizing down to a science at that store. I can always feel confident buying a J Crew item on eBay because, and this brings me to my next point, I’ve tried it on. If at all possible, try on the item that you are thinking about buying in the actual store. If I do not have the opportunity to try on the item, I Google the exact name of the item (I usually just copy it from the store’s website and paste it into the Google search bar) and from there, I often find bloggers that have tried on the item and taken pictures of the try-on session and/or have reviewed the item for shoppers. I have always found this incredibly helpful.

2.) ALWAYS Check The eBay Seller’s Percentage Rating: This is located in the top right corner of the item’s page. You will see the seller’s username and there will be a number in parentheses. eBay sellers rely heavily on positive feedback so that savvy shoppers like you and me will see their higher rater and will ultimately be more likely to buy from them. eBay rates their sellers with different color stars and even label some popular eBay sellers with “Top Seller” icons that are also located near their username. Before I purchase/bid on an item, I always click on the seller’s username and read through any negative reviews that they may have received. Sometimes, buyers can unfairly rate a seller based on things like USPS losing the seller’s package. Most sellers are AMAZING and will always refund your money. If the seller is not so amazing, you can always “open a case” with eBay and that will usually persuade the seller to refund the money or work something else out with you.

3.) BIDDING: I used to be afraid of bidding on eBay. It seemed complicated and scary, but I now know that bidding is how you get the best deals. I had to learn how to correctly bid the hard way, and by that I mean lose out on some pretty amazing deals. However, I would now say that I am pretty skilled bidder and would love to share some tips with you. I will always hunt for the item that is listed at the lowest bidding price. Most sellers will list their item for a couple of days, some up to a week. It just depends on the seller. Now, you would think that I would place my bid right away and then continue to bid until the bidding period is over. WRONG. Bidding right away actually increases the price. If everyone bid this way, and I really think this is what the sellers would prefer (hello! Higher price = more $$), no one would ever get a good deal on a hot ticket item, like a pair of Karen  Walker sunglasses. The skilled bidders, like yours truly, will add the item to their “watch” list so that they will be notified by e-mail when the bidding period is about to end. Now, here is the tricky part. I will patiently watch the item for a few days and, finally, on the last bidding day, I will watch the numbers count down until the very last minute. eBay will start a countdown in the last hour so that you can keep a watch on the item up to the very last second. When the countdown for the last minute begins, I will keep the bidding box open, ready to type in the amount I wish to bid. When it gets down 30 seconds, I type in a large”maximum” bid (usually $30+) above the last bid. The genius of the “maximum” bid is that you don’t actually have to pay that full amount unless the other bidders keep bidding after you place your bid. But, since you placed your “maximum” bid within the last 30 seconds, the bidders don’t really have much of a chance to counter-bid and you will win your item. Honestly, this works EVERY TIME. If the bidding gets out of control and the listing price goes higher than I’m willing to pay, I will always walk away and try to find a new listing. If it is a popular item, you can guarantee that other sellers will list the item that you want.

4.) BEST OFFERS: Some sellers will let you submit an “offer” to buy the item that they have listed. Usually, these items are “Buy It Now” and you do not have to bid on them. I’ve had mixed luck with the offering system. I usually try to give the seller a fair offer (i.e. I won’t offer $1 for something that’s listed for $100). However, sometimes I test the waters and try to get at least $50 off of the original listing price. Some sellers are open to this because they just want to sell the item. However, some sellers are not willing to give up the item for more than $10 below the asking price. But hey, it never hurts to try!

5.) ALWAYS Give Feedback To The Seller: Since a seller’s reputation depends on the positive/negative feedback they receive, it’s important for buys to give your sellers’ feedback. Sellers will often give their buys feedback as well, which may reflect well on you when you submit offers and/or are bidding on items. It’s just a nice thing to do, especially if the service is awesome.

Well, there you have it. I hope that this helped and that you feel more comfortable with the eBay process. It takes some time to get used to, but it really is my favorite place to shop! Feel free to ask any questions that I didn’t cover here.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Rosemarie Labay
    January 3, 2014 / 12:55 am

    Love the E-Bay post! And I also frequent e-bay as a seller and a buyer. It’s a great place for me to sell my gently used fashions. Thanks for all the great advice! 🙂

    • January 3, 2014 / 4:41 am

      Hi Rosemarie!!!!! So good to hear from you! eBay is such an amazing marketplace and I’m glad that you found the advice helpful. Although, I’ve heard you’re quite the eBay queen and are probably pretty skilled in that department! 🙂

  2. Bumma
    January 3, 2014 / 1:35 pm

    This is a truly wonderful post. The information is so helpful, especially to this ebay scaredy-cat….thanks Wannabe, I may try to find my flannel skirt there!!!!!

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