Without a doubt, eBay has been one of the most popular online marketplaces for almost a decade. Even though most new products can be found much cheaper in online shops, eBay keeps growing steadily. It’s probably the network, the reference system and the big name that keeps customers coming back to make business with confidence.
Personally, I find private auctions extremely interesting. It’s the collectors items, the used goods, the rarities, or peculiar things, like the seller mankymoomin who writes funny references, that can be real bargains, make for extraordinary gifts or are simply fun to follow.
On Make Use Of we have given quite a few tips and introduced you to many tools that will help you get the most out of eBay, shop the pro way, manage your auctions, find alternatives to eBay, and much more. However, all of that material primarily focuses on buyers. Now here are some points to consider to get the most out of your auctions.
1. Compare and Learn
Generally, the best way to find out what and how to sell successfully, is to read listings of a few (similar) items and see what seems to work well. Don’t try to sell items that don’t go well for anybody. In preparing your listings, learn from successful sellers and copy their excellence. But do remain unique.
2. Title – select it carefully
Compete for attention and subsequently money begins right here. This one line can make a huge difference, so be sure to select the right keywords, add relevant information and discard anything no one will search for, such as punctuation, exclamations or similar nonsense.
3. Spelling – it’s not a TV production
Be smart and spell words correctly, especially in the title. Bad spelling makes you look like an amateur and only a minority will find your items: those that spell wrong as well and those that hunt down common spelling mistakes with special tools.
4. Description – be precise and to the point
Thoroughly and honestly describe the item, but still make it easy for a potential buyer to understand and evaluate the offer quickly. Keep a short attention span in mind! Don’t compose a novel, structure your description well, use short sentences or lists, and try to answer potential questions upfront.
5. Category – pick wisely
Many people don’t search for keywords from the main page. Instead, they skim through categories or search within a specific category. You don’t want to lose these bids! If in doubt, invest in multiple categories.
6. Picture – a must have
A picture can say more than a thousand words. Hence invest some thought and effort into creating a high quality photo with good light and smart perspective. When trying to sell a valuable item, invest in a gallery picture.
7. Timing – not to be neglected
Although auction sniper tools are very common these days, timing can still make a huge difference. Either way, most bids are received close to the end of an auction. Thus auctions should end when most people have time to be online and follow them. So keep your target audience in mind. Housewives will probably be very busy early in the day, while someone working in an office may be online anyway. Apart from that, keep the season in mind and don’t try to sell thick coats in the midst of a hot summer.
Things I don’t want to mention separately are good communication, timely replies, fair shipping & handling fees and quick shipment. In short, even if you’re “just” a private seller, it’s recommended to act professionally, be reliable, and build a good reputation. Don’t scam your customers and don’t make them wait, it’s going to cost you!
What did I miss? What are the best bargains you made on eBay and what were your greatest mistakes?