|How eBay Works|
In less than 14 years, eBay.com has grown into the largest and most successful online business model in history. Today, tens of millions of people converge daily at eBay.com and eBaymotors.com to buy and sell millions of dollars in new and used merchandise. From simple products like old Monopoly games and used Elvis records, to wholesale electronics and digital cameras, all the way up to exotic motor vehicles and real estate, eBay has become the global trading platform for the everyperson.
The eBay business model is magnificently simple: provide a safe and motivating online marketplace where anyone can gather to trade products with confidence. Charge people a small fee to sell their wares, and enforce safety and trust for everyone.
At its base level, eBay works exactly like an electronic “flea market”:
- eBay sellers pay a small flat fee plus a 1.5% percentage fee to eBay in order to market their wares;
- eBay buyers visit and use the marketplace without any surcharges;
- Any parties that abuse the system or each other will be disciplined or ejected.
At a higher level, eBay is different from a regular flea market for several reasons:
- The eBay marketplace is international, and crosses language and national boundaries;
- The massive choice of goods is awe-inspiring;
- Sales can either be auction format (competitions between bidders), or traditional fixed price format. The sellers choose whichever format they prefer;
- The buyers and sellers will likely never meet in person;
- The buyers do not get to see the product in person before purchase, but are given various post-purchase guarantees to ensure satisfaction;
- Very sophisticated computer measures are implemented to minimize electronic dishonesty on all sides;
- Fulltime staff are employed to enforce safety and fairness across the system;
- An honesty incentive model called “positive feedback” is used to motivate buyers and sellers to trade with integrity;
- Professional third parties payment services, like Paypal, Bidpay, and Escrow.com, are brought in to ensure safe and trusted payment between eBayers;
- eBay is easier to use than a flea market.
- STEP 1: The Listing Stage:
- Never place a bid, or “Buy it now”, without a careful examination of the auction first.
Make sure you know exactly what it is that you’re bidding on at eBay. This may sound like common sense, but it's amazing how many new eBayers lose themselves in the excitement, they forget to pay attention to the details..
Be aware of any conditions the eBay seller might have placed in the ad. These could include: method of payment, shipping and handling cost, amount of time before item will be mailed out, or any extra costs such as taxes or duties, etc. Also, when it comes to an article of clothing, or shoes, make sure to note the size, color, fabric, finishing, any possible flaws, wear and tear, or damage. This is especially important if the item is “used”, “pre-loved”, or “vintage”.
If there is anything you are not quite sure of, get more information from the eBay seller before you bid. You can do it by clicking “Ask seller a question”, either on the right-hand side or near the bottom of the listing.
The vast majority of sellers encourage potential buyers to ask as many questions as necessary to help them make an educated buying decision.
Since you cannot examine the item in person, you have to rely on the information provided by the seller. After all, once you place a winning bid, you are obligated to complete the transaction.