How to eBay Like a Pro: Tips for Buying Quality Clothing Online
Oh, hey there! My name’s Jodie and it looks like Haydy’s let me take over for today, so perhaps I should introduce myself. I’m a fashion and lifestyle blog called A La Jode and I’m the Editor of PlusMinus Magazine.
Fashion is my area of expertise and pretty much my entire world, but the one thing I’m not so fond of is how exclusive the industry can be. I believe everyone should be able to enjoy fashion, so I try to bridge the gap between aspirational and accessible in my posts and shopping habits.
One of the best ways to build a wardrobe of quality pieces on a budget is to buy second-hand. Second-hand is especially great for timeless essentials as they won’t look out of date next season. The second-hand marketplace we’re perhaps all most familiar with is eBay, so today I’m going to start you off with some tips for stocking up on quality pieces on there.
Know your sizes
Shopping online is always a little tricky because you never know how it will fit. This becomes an even greater problem with sites like eBay, where you aren’t able to return an item if it doesn’t fit or look right.
When shopping on eBay, I tend to stick for the brands that I know work for me – and the pieces from those brands that always fit me well. For example, I stick to Gap, Current/Elliott and Acne for jeans because I know they always fit me perfectly. I know that I’m consistently a size 6 in French Connection. On the other hand, I know that buying skirts is too difficult so it’s best to leave that for some real-life shopping.
Action: Take a look in your wardrobe and think about which pieces fit you best. Perhaps you have several tops from a certain brand that always receive compliments. If you need a top, a search for tops by that brand might be a good place to start. Or perhaps you’re always a 28-inch waist and can narrow your search by waist size rather than dress size to be sure that any trousers you find will fit.
Misspell brand names
This may sound a little odd, but bear with me here… Sellers often upload tens of items at once. None of us are immune from human error, so chances are they will make them from time to time.
Sometimes searching for misspelt versions of popular brands can bring up some hidden gems that wouldn’t show up for a search for the correctly spelt name – meaning far fewer people will have come across the listing. Providing they’ve spelled the brand name correctly throughout the post and the seller looks trustworthy, you could just save yourself a nice amount!
The greater the number of listings for a brand, the higher the chance that there will be some misspelt listings. Topshop items always do really well on eBay – Tosphop? Perhaps not so much.
Action: Are there any brand names you consistently misspell? Chances are you’re not the only one. Try a few variations on a brand to see what comes up. It’s a bit hit and miss, but when you find something it sure feels good!
Know what you’re looking for
This is a tip that applies to all kinds of shopping, but especially when you buy from a site like eBay and won’t be able to return anything that isn’t right. It’s easy to be lured into a false sense of bargain when you’re bidding rather than outright buying, but don’t forget that every single thing you buy is yours to keep. There’s no 30-day return policy here, so spontaneous purchases can soon turn into sartorial regret.
Not only will a pre-decided shopping list help you avoid purchases you don’t need to make, it will also save you heap of time by acting as a guide round the site. eBay can feel like a never-ending black hole of auctions if you let it, so it’s useful to have some sort of list to follow!
Action: Before, opening the page, decide why you’re going on eBay. What exactly are you looking for? How can you find it?
Set yourself a budget
The bidding environment makes it easy to get carried away and start overspending before you realise. Upping a bid by 20p doesn’t feel like a lot, but if you keep going it soon adds up. The small increments make it feel like you’re not really spending any more, but every penny you bid is an extra penny spent.
Action: Once you’ve decided what you’re looking for, decide on the absolute maximum price you want to pay for it. If somebody outbids you by 20p, then so be it – it’s better than getting caught up in a game of should I/shouldn’t I with your conscience.
I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips and found them at least a little useful. Although they’re specifically for fashion, a lot of the principles can be applied to all sorts of items. I’d love to know if you use these tips in any way so please do Tweet me and let me know.