Online auctions let ordinary people do business online without dealing with strict legal bonds or high start up costs. The goods you can sell can be used or new, physical or digital. But popular items have been used physical goods. This is just because people have enough places to buy new and digital goods.

Major online auction sites (like eBay network) attract millions of willing to buy prospects to their sites. You just have to present your goods to them. But the game is not that easy because of sheer competition. Whatever category you choose, there will be enough sellers to compete with, just because of the popularity online auctions have gained. But you can always be a winner by practicing do’s and avoiding don’ts. I will continue the article with features of auction giant eBay which you can found in other auctions sites too.

To list your item, you can have a basic description (which you can enhance for additional fees) and once a visitor clicked on your item, you can take him to a more detailed page (can include photos) where he can place a bid. Each auction has a specific duration that you can set (usually under 10 days). The item will go to the bidder who placed the highest bid during this period. Optionally you can set a Buy It Now! price where a visitor can immediately acquire the item by paying the price.

For accepting payments, you can get the help of a third party service for a small commission. eBay owned PayPal will be your choice most of the time. eBay provides great instructions on using PayPal so you can setup it without much effort. Once you receive the payment, you have to ship the item to the buyer safely (you can set shipping charges in your listings). If it is digital, you can just email it. If it is physical, you will have to use a transportation service, again it won’t be hard to setup one with eBay instructions.

How Can I Learn the Business?

It is always better to study a business type before getting involved in it. No matter how easy or profitable the business, there will be circumstances where the business doesn’t suit to you. Number of eBay guides has been written. But there is no free, comprehensive and up to-date guide as eBay Seller Central. Just go through the links and you can soon decide weather you can stand the system.

Is eBay for Everyone?

Since many eBay sites provide range of eligible countries, most of the time it is for everyone. But in practice, you would find that it bounds to the country where you live in. People trust sellers in their local areas than ones from foreign countries.

And also it would be really difficult and would cost high to ship physical items internationally. That’s why eBay has local sites for each of its major working countries (see the bottom of eBay home page). This may not be an obstacle if you sell digital goods which you can deliver via Internet. In general, you can’t register unless you are over 18 years old, no matter where you live.

Can I Cheat the System?

Can a seller deny delivering the item after paying the fee? Can I decide not to pay after winning the auction or return the item? While these are not impossible, eBay has a well established feedback system to avoid these kinds of situations. Sellers have a feedback rate which would decrease upon complaints of incomplete or bad deals.

Experienced buyers would be really skeptical even if your rate is 95%. On the other hand, if the buyer denies the payment, at its worst case, you can re-list the item. None of these methods should be abused because you would always be followed by same kind of reactions.

Can I Only Sell Singular Items?

An item can be singular or a group of related items (like tea sets). One item per auctions are the most popular ones at eBay. When you advance in your selling carrier (there is a threshold to pass), you can sell more than one item in same auction, often called Dutch auctions.

I Don’t Have My Own Items to Sell?

Buying and reselling has been a popular practice at eBay. Experienced sellers keep an eye on goods that can be acquired for low prices and which have been listed in wrong categories. Upon acquiring, they re-list them at right prices in right categories. So, you always don’t have to have your own goods to sell.

How eBay Make Money?

Basically depending on the opening bid you set for your item, you will have to pay a certain percentage (most of the time small and fair) to eBay. There are number of other ways eBay makes money (like charging for more highlighted listings) but you don’t have to worry much. eBay always does a fair job.

Finally, Why eBay?

Why can’t I sell my own items without depending on eBay? You can always set up a web site with a store by getting a merchant account from a third party service. But consider these facts. eBay attract millions of visitors to its sites. Will you be able to attract at least a portion of that amount? eBay is a recognized brand, people trust eBay platform. Will you be able to gain same reputation?

To setup your own store, you have to deal with lots of other stuff but setting up an eBay selling account takes only five minutes. However you don’t have to choose only one side. You can always have a combination and achieve more success.