- Size matters! Sizing is an important business when you’re selling clothing, and sloppy or absent sizing information can lead to an insurmountable queue of returns. If you’re selling new clothing, be sure to include information about cut (“these run small,” “these run large,” “these are tight around the waist/bust”) and any conversion information necessary to keep an international audience happy (“European 38 is like an American women’s 4”). If you’re selling used clothing, be sure to look at tags for sizing details and to supply them in your listing or to try them on in comparison to other clothing and describe approximate sizes in your listing.
- Images are essential. Would you buy a piece of clothing you had never seen? Asking an eBay buyer to bid on clothing on the strength of brand name alone or on the strength of just one photo is virtually the same thing. Include multiple photos showing the clothing from as many angles if you can. If possible, show it on a model or mannequin.
- Buyers want to know more about fabric. It isn’t always easy to see the type of fabric from which a clothing item has been made when looking at photos or images online. At the same time, the kind and quality of fabric used in a clothing item is often of absolute importance to the buyer. Describe the fabric in detail—rough or soft, dense or airy, threadcount and type of material if possible, type of dies, handmade vs. machine-made—anything that will give a prospective buyer some indication of how the clothing item will feel in their hands or on their body.
- Be honest about wear. Nothing will create a return more quickly than a disappointed clothing buyer, and one of the most common types of returns for used and vintage clothing results from a lack of wear information in the original item listing. Mention small holes, frays in fabric, stains, fades, or soiled areas. Mention anything that a perfectionist or fashionista might want to do before wearing the article, and if necessary use general descriptive phrases like “three decades old and shows wear accordingly.”
- Pack for shipment properly. It may seem at first glance as though just about any packaging will do for your average article of clothing, but keep in mind that packages in transit can be subject to all sorts of conditions—dust and dirt, rain and snow, crunching and tearing. A loosely-sealed, paper envelope is likely to lead to an article of clothing that arrives in damaged condition. Though envelopes are okay to cut down on costs, be sure to use water- and tear-proof tyvek or plastic envelopes rather than paper. Seal properly to avoid contamination by the shipping environment. For items for which form is important (hats, for example, or some types of shoes) do things the right way and ship in a box, so that you don’t have to cope with the angry receiver of a flat hat a week after shipment.
- Employ a marketing pitch. Clothing items are impulse or personal preference buys. Unlike sellers of consumer electronics or computer goods whose buyers begin knowing precisely the features and often even the make and model that they want, as a clothing seller you are depending on your ability to make your buyer want your particular type or configuration of item rather than another make, another style, another cut, another color being sold by another seller. Tell your buyers to compare to the prices in designer or department stores, or to see magazine pages where the item was featured; note famous people who have worn the same or similar items; tell bidders about your item’s finer qualities—that it’s hand-made, that the wool is from a rare breed of sheep, or even that “it makes you feel pretty from the moment you put it on!” Be honest, but sell your item well—because in the case of clothing items it’s up to you to make the pitch.
- Help things along when possible. This is a vaguely defined tip but one that can be essential for buyer satisfaction and repeat purchases. In broadest possible terms, it means taking the hassle out of the purchase for your buyer. If you’re selling used clothing, launder and press it before you ship it. Include extra matching buttons or a complementary spare pair of shoelaces if you have them. Polish shoes and lint-shave fuzzy fabrics before packing. Suggest matching accessories if you have them by cross-linking to your other auctions. Do your best to restore that “fresh from the store post-shopping feeling” that your buyers would have if they had gone into a brick-and-mortar department store to buy the item, rather than pulling it out of their mailbox and a squishy envelope. Make them love it from the moment they see it.
- Open a store. Because many clothing sellers tend to source products from a one or two manufacturers or to trade in specific types, styles, or genders of clothing, the clothing sector on eBay remains one of those most conducive to generating repeat sales and lasting customer relationships. One of the best ways to exploit this tendency is to open an eBay store, where your stock will always be available to anyone who chooses to visit.
Heavy hitting clothing selling continues of course to also depend on all of the standard stuff—sourcing and inventory, cost management and sound listing practices. These clothing-specific tips, however, can help to enhance your clothing sales on eBay, whether you’re a college student selling items you no longer wear or an eBay entrepreneur looking to import and resell textile goods from the orient.