eBay Buying Guide For Dummies

eBay Buying Guide For Dummies

When it comes to buying designer shoes, clothing and accessories for absolute steal prices, there is no place like eBay. In my opinion, it is truly one of the most underappreciated fashion outlets online, eBay users post what is collectively millions of items from brands like J. Crew and Lululemon for discounted prices just waiting to be picked up. All it takes is knowing how to search through the sea of merchandise that is eBay, to find that perfect affordable item.

I have found selecting certain filters in the eBay search function to be the most efficient and effective way of finding high quality, name brand and most importantly cheap merchandise.

The process is as follows:

• Once you have an item in mind that you would like to search for, let’s say “J. Crew Peacoat” for this example, type that item into the eBay search bar.

• Using the filters on the left, select your size. I recommend being pretty flexible with this one, as each brand will fit differently. Be sure to look for measurements of the item!

• Select the ‘pre-owned’ option, as this is where the bulk of the savings comes in. I have found that I can buy items for 60-70% off retail if they are pre-owned, compared to 20-25% off new items.

• Finally, select ‘auction’ format, which will most likely save you more money than a fixed price listing.

Okay, now it’s time to start looking.

There are photographed listings down the page. Some things to consider are:

Amateur photos:

You WANT listings where the photos look like they were taken on the living room floor, as they say that the seller is just a person who is trying to get a little money back from this item and nothing more. Conversely, AVOID listings that use stock photos or clothing featured on a mannequin, as those are likely professional eBay stores—that is, someone hosting a retail location but on eBay. They aren’t nearly as likely to take less money for an item.


Once you click on a listing, usually the number of ‘watchers’ – or people who saved that item in their watch list to bid on or purchase later – is listed below the current bid amount. A listing with a large number of ‘watchers’ is likely to go for more money, as it shows that many people are interested in that item. Therefore, an item with fewer watchers (10 or less) will likely be cheaper.

Asking questions:

You can always contact the seller! Whether it be about the condition of the item, the fit, the measurements, etc., it is always better to get more clarity on an item rather than buy it and be disappointed.
Once you find an item that fits your criteria, It’s time to buy. To win auctions at the lowest possible price, it is best to use a technique called ‘sniping’. ‘Sniping’ is essentially keeping an eye on the item until the auction is coming to an end, and then placing a bid at the last few seconds of an auction. This will usually secure you the winning bid, at the lowest possible price.

I don’t recommend ever placing a bid on an item before the last few minutes, as attracting attention to an item will inflate the bid. For fixed price listings, you can always send the seller an offer lower than what the item is listed for. There is no shame in haggling on eBay and you can usually save some money.

There you have it – the process of combing eBay for awesome steals. Good luck with your fashion journey and happy bidding!

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