If you thought eBay was just an online marketplace where you could sell secondhand goods and buy obscure car parts, you’re only half right. Over the years, eBay’s online store has evolved to become a host for many online retailers to sell brand new goods as well as deals that can be cheaper than what bigwigs like Amazon can offer. To help you navigate the site’s expansive and sometimes confusing interface, we’ve come up with five of the best tips for online shopping at eBay Australia.
If you’re not a regular eBay shopper, typing the product you’re hoping to buy into its search bar can yield hundreds or even thousands of listings. Suddenly, you’re flooded with tons of offers labelled with “great price” as you squint to check whether the product is “brand new” or “used”. We also have to admit that eBay’s product images don’t always look as nice as they could be, since they’re sometimes cluttered with overlaid text and branded backgrounds.
We’ll take you through all of our tried and true tips that’ll make shopping online at eBay a breeze. You’ll learn how to suss out legitimate sellers, ditch auctions and bidding altogether and where to find the crème de la crème of deals.
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Tips and tricks for shopping online at eBay Australia
Find your favourite retailers’ official eBay store
Navigating so many deals (and potentially dodgy sellers) is the biggest reason why some shy away from shopping online at eBay. If you can find your favourite retailer’s eBay shopfront, happy days – you’ve killed two birds with one stone.
To navigate to eBay’s shop finder, simply click Find a Store at the top of the page. From there, you’ll be able to search for many retailers including Big W, EB Games, Dell, Nespresso and Dyson, to name a few.
Once you’ve located the store of your choice, you can search for the specific product you’re looking for with the assurance that you’re already shopping with a trusted seller. There’ll be fewer products to skim past and you’ll be more likely to find items that have been discontinued too. Sometimes eBay serves as a place for its brands to offload niche products since they’re not getting a lot of traction on their external sites or online stores.
You’re also more likely to stumble across the brand’s certified refurbished products too. This will let you save up to hundreds of dollars off pre-loved goods that you can enjoy at near-new quality. And in this climate, what could be better for your bank account and the environment?
Hot tip: Bookmark your favourite retailer’s eBay storefront so you can return to it anytime you like.
Check the seller’s reviews and reputation
Sometimes you can’t always find what you want from your favourite brand’s official eBay store. In this case, you’re going to have to put your faith in the search bar and trust what comes up.
Some retailers make it easy for you. Stores that you know and trust (or at least recall from your local shopping mall) will have their logo or name attached to the products so you’ll know before you even click them.
But if you need to branch out or don’t see any brands you recognise, the first thing you should do when you see a listing is check what details you can. Check if it’s brand new or used, have a look and see if it’s an eBay Plus item and double check its pricing against other listings to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck before you add-to-cart and buy.
Once you’re satisfied, click on the listing and go check out the seller on the right hand side under Seller Information. The first thing to note is its name, the number beside it, the colour of the star and the percentage of positive feedback. While it might not mean much to you at a glance, it’s fairly easy to understand.
The number beside the name of the seller is the total number of positive feedback ratings the seller has received. The star is one of 12 colours that indicate the level of positive feedback. A plain yellow star means that the seller has received between 10 and 49 positive ratings, which is the lowest possible level you can attain. Meanwhile, a silver shooting star means a seller has 1,000,000 or more positive ratings.
Where you can, we recommend going for any seller that has a shooting star icon beside its name. The minimum threshold for these positive ratings is 10,000 individual reviews. It’s usually safe to assume that these sellers have been tried and tested by many other customers. That doesn’t mean that other sellers with regular stars aren’t as good or as safe, but we imagine you’ll enjoy some better peace of mind by going with one that has an established reputation. After all, 1,000 positive reviews is nothing to scoff at.
If you’re still unsure, you can always click on the number beside the seller’s name and navigate to their feedback profile. From there, you can read some feedback from other shoppers on their experience and make the best choice for you.
Look out for eBay’s refurbished goods icon
If you’re shopping for any tech online, you should check out eBay’s refurbished store. As we touched on before, purchasing refurbished products will not only let you save a few hundred bucks, but it’s also a more sustainable way to shop.
Whether you’re ready to buy a new camera, your beloved Dyson has finally carked it or you want a more powerful laptop to take your gaming experience to the next level, there’s all of that and more in eBay’s refurbished section. But keep in mind that there’s two definitions of refurbished over at eBay: seller refurbished and certified refurbished.
The difference? For starters, anything that’s deemed “certified refurbished” will have a little blue badge on its listing that reads Refurbished. By choosing to apply this badge, only authorised sellers can enter into an agreement with eBay that enforces three strict rules. The product must:
- Be in like-new condition
- Be inspected, cleaned and refurbished by a manufacturer or manufacturer-approved vendor
- Be in new packaging with original or new accessories
There’s also a few other caveats that sellers must agree to, which includes free standard delivery, an express delivery option, 30 day seller paid returns and a minimum warranty of 12 months. If you ask us, all of that sounds pretty neat. Who doesn’t love big discounts on big brands, such as Nikon, Dell and more?
Meanwhile, if you buy anything seller refurbished, you don’t have access to all of the bells and whistles that come from going with a certified refurbished product. You’re putting a lot of faith in the seller and its origins are likely to be unclear. The item could’ve been damaged in transit, returned and fixed or it may have been a secondhand product that’s been restored to working condition and resold under a lower price tag. Many would describe this more accurately as “reconditioned”.
How to find the best deals
Never take eBay prices at face value. If you want to find the best price, search any product and click onto the tile you’re interested in. Chances are there will be a cheeky discount code hidden inside. Below its pricing you’ll often see a small line of text that reads, “Take X% off this item. Show me how”.
When you click on “Show me how”, a small pop-up window will appear outlining the discount you’ll receive if you take the suggested code and use it at checkout. You’ll often be told when the voucher code will expire and be redirected to its Terms & Conditions if you’re curious to know more.
If you’re an eBay Plus member, it’s a good idea to stay signed into your account since you’ll be able to see exclusive discount codes that can be more than what’s offered to standard eBay accounts.
Another thing you can try if you’re not looking for anything specific is to head on over to the eBay Deals landing page. There you can shop by category and explore the best deals to buy that were handpicked by eBay on everything from homewares to fashion as well as tech and gaming. There will often be a couple of featured items highlighted on the main page, so you’ll always know what’s hot right now.
Join eBay Plus for unique benefits
If you’ve found that you’re shopping online more and more at eBay, you should consider making a Plus account. For as low as $4.99 a month, you’ll enjoy year-round exclusive savings, free express metro delivery and free returns on millions of items.
Trust us when we say you’ll appreciate the exclusive savings part. Ebay loves to throw tons of sales at its members, such as its eBay Plus Weekend Sale that recently took place in late May.
As for the free returns, be assured that regardless of some seller’s return policy, you won’t have to pay for postage to send anything back. It doesn’t matter if you simply didn’t like a product or you had a chance of heart, you’ll still be eligible for a free postage label from Australia Post or ParcelPoint thanks to your Plus membership.
However, keep in mind that this perk only extends to eBay Plus items. If you’re unsure how to tell, look out for the eBay Plus badge, or stick to the eBay Plus Deals page instead.
If you’re not sure you can commit to $4.99 a month, you can always take part in a free 30-day trial. But save your free trial for the next time eBay decides to rewards its members with an exclusive sale, so you can buy, buy, buy the next time it’s on and see if you like it enough to renew each month.