The OxStu guide to eBay

Style

Once upon a time, typing ‘Channel’ into eBay would yield a secret bounty of cut-price Chanel, listed by a fool. Sadly such unbelievable good fortune is a thing of the past, and eBay is no longer the fashionably-in-debt student’s Garden of Eden it once was. However, all is not lost. It is clear we can no longer rely on eBay for big names on a budget but its value should not be dismissed. If you know how to use it then a plethora of heavily discounted, current season Urban Outfitters and vintage dresses that only need the hemline shortening awaits you. Getting more for your money on eBay is not just a case of outbidding, but of outperforming. Here’s our guide to getting the most out of a website with more nooks and crannies than its meticulously sub-sectioned search tool would have you believe.

Buying:

1. When searching put yourself in the shoes of the seller, who is generally trying, but failing, to put him/herself in the shoes of the buyer. Celebrity names are always a favourite when classifying a style – the rule of thumb generally goes as follows: geek chic translates into Alexa, boho into Sienna and indie into Kate.

2. Use very specific search terms – sellers will announce a scalloped neckline as proudly as they will that it’s from Topshop.

3. Do not let the first picture put you off. Grainy, dark images are the fault of the camera, not the clothing. Clicking a step further may uncover a description that illuminates what the picture doesn’t. Putting in this kind of effort places you above the competition and means you’re more likely to win a real find.

4. Use a sniper site such a gixen.com, which allows you to enter a maximum bid that won’t be placed until the last few seconds. This has two benefits – you’re less likely to be tempted to go above what you originally wanted to pay, and don’t need to be at the computer when the auction ends.

Selling:

1. DO IT! So many people only see eBay as a place to buy, but if you’re a student it’s a fantastic way of streamlining your wardrobe into pieces you actually wear, getting money for the ones you don’t, and reinvesting this into ones you want.

2. Photograph the clothes on a model. This way you can style up less attractive pieces whilst demonstrating the fit. Everyone’s happy.

3. Don’t start too high. 99p listings are generally free on eBay, and are more psychologically friendly to the buyer. However, a word of caution: if you’re going to kick yourself over letting See by Chloé go for 99p then start higher – speaking from experience.

4. If you’re selling multiple items mention this in the item description. This is a great way of optimising your chances across your listings, and if a buyer shares your taste on one occasion then it’s likely they will on another.