In my July Non Beauty Favourites I mentioned that I'd recently purchased a new Tula handbag on eBay. I've been buying on eBay for a long time but it's only very recently that I've upped my eBay "game" and started going after branded bags rather than second-hand bags from my favourite high-street stores. One of my favourite new discoveries is a brand called Tula, Radley's more affordable off-shoot, and eBay is quite literally awash with Tula bags.
My new Tula Lizard Originals Cross Body Bag in Black Leather is my second Tula bag (I purchased another one on eBay last November) but it is without a doubt one of my favourite eBay finds so far. In today's blog post I'm going to briefly talk through my eBay shopping process - how I identify the good from the great and the rules I follow that help to ensure that win auctions but still get a good deal.
First of all, before I even consider buying anything from a brand I'll "watch" (which means saving an item so that you can track how much it sells for) a number of lots to learn the brand's average selling price. It's good to do this over the course of a week (or even more if you can) as this will really help you to identify what's a good deal and what isn't. In addition, it's good to note that lots ending on Sunday will typically sell for more, and lots that end during the middle of a working day will sell for less.
If you're doing more than just browsing, if you're looking for a specific item, then there is a second rule that I follow. I'll never pay more than half of what the bag sells for, and if the bag has ever been reduced in a sale then I won't pay more than half of the bag's sale price. Having a few fixed rules helps me to avoid emotional purchases. Even if I love the look of something if I haven't watched the brand for a while and if it isn't less than half the selling price then I don't consider it a good deal and I won't buy it.
After I've watched a brand for a little while, if I see something that I like then I'll start googling the item to see if I can find out how much it would cost to buy in a shop. If the item is new then this is usually really easy, if it isn't new then you just have to compare it to similar items that are currently available. If the bag isn't brand new and has been used then I use my judgement and adjust my maximum bidding price accordingly - usually I don't have to do this as most bags I've ever bought have been in fantastic condition, even when they've already been used.
In the case of my Tula Lizard Originals Cross Body Bag I got lucky and I found the same style of bag in a different colour on Radley's website (see image below). Not only did this give me the opportunity to see some more images of the bag but it also gave me my maximum spend price; on sale the bag was priced at £49.00, so the maximum I decided I would spend on the bag was £24.50. Even if I had to spend the maximum amount of £24.50 I felt that I would still be getting a good deal - especially as the bag was in perfect condition (as you can tell from my photographs).
Once I've decided I'm going to bid for a handbag, and I have a maximum price in mind, that's when I make a note of the date and time that the auction ends. I usually set a reminder on my phone that will alert me about five minutes before the end of the auction, to give me enough time to get on my computer and log in to eBay. I'll then wait until there's 30 seconds left on the auction and that's when I'll enter my maximum bidding amount and click continue. This takes you to a second screen where you have to confirm this amount. I then wait until there's only 8 seconds left on the auction and then I click "confirm".
If you wait until there are only 8 seconds left on the auction then this will not give anyone else enough time to see your bid and then proceed to outbid you. You will not necessarily have to pay your maximum amount - eBay bids go up in incremental amounts and finally you will only pay the incremental amount that is one greater than the previous bidder. For instance, if someone has bid £9.99 and you enter your maximum of £24.50, if no one else bids then you may only end up paying £10.99. However, if someone else has set their maximum bid for £19.99, then you will pay £20.99.
If you enter the maximum amount you'd be willing to pay then you will not be outbid within your budget. However, you might be outbid by someone who is willing to pay more than you. If this does happen then at least you can be reassured that you acted within a set strategy and didn't become emotionally invested leading you to overspend. I was not the only person bidding for the Tula handbag and so the price did rise considerably in the final few moments of the auction. However, I won the auction and paid a total of £22.01 - a price that was within my budget for the bag and I was, therefore, happy to pay it.
Obviously you don't have to follow any of my "rules" but if you're new to eBay and want some tips then I think these are good ones to start off with as they're applicable to much more than handbags. I wish I'd had a bit more structure when I first started using the website, it would have saved me quite a few wasted and expensive purchases. I'd love to know if you're regular eBay users or if you've never bought anything on there in your life. And please do let me know if you found this post helpful - I'd be happy to write more about using eBay if you'd be interested in reading about it.