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How to Buy on eBay for Beginners

How to Buy on eBay for Beginners

As the popularity of eBay keeps growing, so do the features from buyers and sellers from across the country. Read this Techspirited article for an insight on how easy it is to make a purchase for the very first time.
Sheetal Mandora
If you're not familiar with making purchases on eBay, the process can be a bit confusing. And that's where we come in. With a step-by-step explanation, we will provide all the necessary information required for your very first shopping experience on eBay.
Making a Purchase
In order to make a purchase, basically, there are 2 ways the products are sold-fixed price items and auction items. Let's go over them separately and learn their fundamentals.
Fixed Price Items
These items are very simple to identify as each of them come with the "Buy it Now" button listed next to it. In order to purchase an item, all you have to do is click on the button and pay for it instantly.
Auction Items
These items have "Place Bid" button, where you have to enter your bid in a box. You will also see a "current bid" price section, where you can view any/all bids placed for that particular items. For a specific amount of time, auction items are open to place bids. Once the time is over, the items will display "sold" to the highest bidder.
Bidding on a Product
  • Open an eBay account, if you haven't already. It is necessary to be an eBay member to make any kind of purchase.
  • After signing up, make a list of products you wish to purchase. You can go on the home page and type the product names or keywords in the search box. Or, you could browse through the listings by category in order to shop for the items you want to buy.
  • Once you find the related items after searching or browsing, click on the features you seem interested in. Here, you can evaluate the information of the listing and understand the product completely.
  • Go through as many features that appear in the list for that particular item, compare the prices, double check the quality of the seller, know the shipping information and terms, and read through the description of that item.
  • Completing all these necessary steps is critical before you are ready to either bid or buy the item. Many sellers provide the option of bidding or purchasing their products.
  • If a seller has given the choice of placing a bid, you will have to go through the eBay auction rather than simply buying the product via the "Buy it Now" option. You will have to keep a constant watch on your bid in "My eBay" section to make sure nobody outbids you.
  • Now let's say you won an auction. What now? How will you close the deal? You will have to go through the process of making the payment via "PayPal" or some other means agreed to while bidding for the item; most sellers prefer the PayPal option.
  • Follow the steps, fill the necessary information in all the boxes, and make the payment.
  • Now after you receive the item and are satisfied with its condition and all, remember to leave your feedback about the product. Leaving your opinion of the transaction gives new eBay buyers confidence in the whole process.
  • In case of any disputes, make sure you resolve them with the seller. Although I hope you never need to face this last step while on eBay.
A Few Tricks and Tips to Follow
  • Always look for errors made by the sellers. Many times, as you search for some items, you will find misspelled or misidentified names provided by the sellers. So conduct searches for both correct and incorrect words/terms to expand the results.
  • Look for automated sniping service. "Sniping" is jumping in during the final few seconds of any auction in order to place your bid. You won't give other bidders a chance to counterbid once you snipe. Sharp bidders engage in manual bidding strategies, and hence, more and more buyers use online services to help automate the process these days.
  • Opt for short keywords, rather than long search terms for a specific item Being overly specific might takeout important results from your search. If the first search gives you thousands of auction items, try adding the word "vintage" to remove newer listings. Adding color or date to the search can also help. Save the favorite searches/items you like and then access them once you have time via the "My eBay" page.
  • Keep an eye on the shipping and handling charges as they can really jack up the final cost of the item. Read the description before you buy or bid on an item. E-mail the seller if you can't understand the delivery charges or other terms and conditions.
  • Always keep a tab on your favorite sellers, and sellers you've done business with before, you trust, and can bargain with. You can also check in with them, if they're offering any specific item you can just "Buy it Now", instead of bidding. Also, add them to your favorite sellers' list on the "My eBay" page.