How To Get The Highest Prices For Your Items on Ebay
NOTE: Also check out the section on "When Is The Best
Time To List Your Items" so your items have the best chance of selling.
Next, there are many factors to consider for your items to sell for a good
LIST YOUR ITEM CORRECTLY TO GET THE BEST PRICE
Put your item in the correct category. There are shoppers
who only shop by checking the category list over and over, limiting the number
of possible buyers if your collectible salt and pepper set is listed under
porcelain dinnerware. Some people think that the most general category
possible will get their item the most views, but this is not true on ebay. If
you are listing sixteen items, take a few seconds to double check your listing
details so you don't put items in the wrong category accidentally.
RESEARCH YOUR ITEM FIRST
Not researching the item you are selling is a common fault.
You call the pattern Blue Onion when it is actually Delft. First, the Blue
Onion collectors go away unhappy, then the Delft collectors never came at all.
Besides knowing what to call your item, you should research its value. There
could be six of the exact same item listed for $2.99 each but your price is
$12.00. It doesn't take a genius to see that your auction is the last of these
auctions to even get a look, let alone a bid.
A LITTLE OUTSIDE ADVERTISING ALWAYS HELPS
What do the top sellers on eBay have that you don't? The answer--a
website! The purpose of the website is to help drive traffic to an eBay auction, increasing
the bids and, hopefully, earning you the most money. In fact, some webmasters are simply
going the free route, opting to build cheap websites or blogs using platforms such as
Blogger and Wordpress. Aside from that, there are dozens of free tools available online
as well. Tools such as a free site template,
plugins for Wordpress, ecommerce storefronts and so much more, make building a free site
an extremely logical decision. Or, If you feel as though your budget allows, you could get
your own hosting and domain name, establishing a permanent site to help drive traffic to
your eBay auctions. However, hiring someone to design, program and code the site can get
A GOOD PHOTO BRINGS A HIGHER AUCTION PRICE
Take a good clear picture of your item, as close up as you
can to get the entire item into the picture. Before you click the shutter, see
if there is anything ugly or unnecessary in the immediate background. You
could move the background distraction or put your item in another location to
take the picture. Then, your picture must be optimized. With the help of a
photo program, crop the picture to include the item only. No one cares about your
living room, and it is maddening to wait forever for a photo to load only to
find out that your time was wasted because the seller couldn't take a minute
to crop their picture. Tweak the color of your item until it matches as much
as possible. Most collectors specialize, and the color does make a difference
to them. If they are forced to guess on the color of your item, they just
might pass altogether. Next, shrink your picture down to 72 dpi (which is the
most that monitors see anyway) to make your picture load faster. If your
starting picture is small, you can shrink the dpi without shrinking the size
of the picture that people will see. If your picture fills the entire screen,
you can probably make it much smaller so it loads faster and makes for more
comfortable viewing. When a special feature should be highlighted, make a copy
of your large picture before shrinking it, then crop out a
"close-up" view of that feature only as a second photo. Try
sharpening your photo - sometimes this helps and sometimes sharpening makes
the picture look worse, but you can always click on undo.
When you take pictures without enough light, you have problems. The color will
never come out correct, even with good photo software. A white item will look
dirty and gray, and lightening the picture doesn't help much. And, shadows can
look like flaws to buyers. It always makes for a better photo if you adjust
your camera to match the lighting you are using.
ADVERTISE WITH YOUR PICTURE
If you are not using ebay's picture services, you could
simply write your photos into your written description. But, unless one of
your photos goes in the space "Enter the Web site address of your hosted
picture," you won't get the little camera icon letting buyers know that
you do have one or more photos. Some buyers will pass your auction right by if
they think you don't have any photos.
A cheap (25 cents) way to get a lot of advertising is to put your photo into
the gallery. Some people shop through the pictures of the gallery only. And,
the gallery picture now also goes on the general listing page. Lots of buyers
get a little sidetracked at looking at all the photos that they pass right
over some of the auctions without this extra photo.
LACK OF PHOTOS HURT AUCTION SALES
Be honest with your photos. You might put into your written
description that the item has a "small" defect in the back. Showing
a photo of the perfect side only would be deceptive on your part, and it makes
a lot of buyers not trust you. If a buyer's idea of a small defect is much
different than yours, you will end up with a very unhappy customer and
possibly have to issue a refund to keep your reputation. You don't have to put
a large close-up of the flaw, since this makes the problem look worse than it
really is, but do show both sides of the item at the same size if one side has
a problem. Buyers may decide that the flaw is not enough to bother them.
NO PHOTO IS AN AUCTION KILLER
Collectors are very picky. They may have twenty items that
look the same to a casual viewer (or an underinformed seller), but all twenty
have some little difference in the collector's eye. If you don't offer any
photo at all, they will assume that yours is not Number 21 for their
collection. Not researching the item you are selling is a common fault. You
call the pattern Blue Onion when it is actually Delft. First, the Blue Onion
collectors go away unhappy, and the Delft collectors never came at all - an
excellent reason to add a photo. Years ago, people could say "I don't
have a digital camera." They did start out pretty expensive. Not any
longer. If you plan to sell more than one or two items, you can't afford to
not get a digital camera. Even an inexpensive digital camera can produce a
good picture if you follow the directions. If you only plan to sell one or two
items, you could scan in a photo from a regular camera, have someone else take
some photos for you, or borrow someone's camera.
INCORRECTLY PRICED AUCTION ITEMS MAY NOT SELL
There are two items exactly the same listed at the same
time. Basically, everything about both auctions matches except the opening
price. The item is expected to sell for about $28.00. One starts the auction
at $14.99 (Auction A). The other starts the auction at $28.00 (Auction B).
When both auctions close, Auction B has received NO bids at all. Sure, the
item is worth $28.00, but people don't want to pay what an item is worth. They
want a deal at an auction. Auction A received 10 bids and sold for $28.00 The
first few buyers were trying for to get a great deal. Then the competition
began, and some went back and put in another bid. Competition simply works
with auctions. Even after several bids got the price up and up, people could
still see that the starting price was very low - so they will check out your
Reserve auctions can may both sides happy. The seller in
Auction B does not have to sell the item for less than $28.00 if the reserve
price is $28.00 ($27.99 is even better). But, if that seller makes the opening
price $9.99, the buyers will still think DEAL even after seeing that there is
a reserve. This brings competition without the risk. The most common reason
for using a reserve is in case ebay has an outage so the buyers can't get in
and bid, and it is good insurance in a questionable economy.
THE WRITTEN DESCRIPTION DOES COUNT
Some sellers think that they can say about six words about
an item since they put in a photo. No. People with older computers, on a bad
ISP, or that just highly value their time do a lot of their shopping without
photos. They "turn off" the photos in their browser and search by
written descriptions alone. At least put a real description of what the item
is. This is also highly valuable when people do searches. A search can't find
a 3" Goofy in a karate outfit if the description only says "No
damage, shipping is extra." Added to all of that is the title of
"Goofy Toy," and you can see how difficult it would be for this item
to be found. Few Goofy collectors want to do a search for "goofy"
just to find one special one - there are thousands of Goofy items listed,
including Goofy Grape and someone who tells you he got the item from his goofy
Write your description in an effort to answer any question buyers might have.
You could get many, many buyers looking during the last five minutes, and that
simply not enough time to ask a question and get the answer. Getting a
question answered was much quicker before ebay made themselves mediators. In
fact, it is to your benefit to put your email address in your description for
last-minute questions. Anyone who ever goes anywhere on the internet will have
their email address added to "spam" email lists. It is just the
price we pay for the privilege of talking to anyone in the world for free (no
stamp, no phone bill). Hitting the delete key is not hard to do. If you have
kids and worry about the possibility of receiving adult-type email, don't let
the kids use email until you check the mail. Anyway, if a buyer doesn't have
enough time to get their questions answered, they will most likely not bid. In
the event that someone has a question in the last hour or two, or even the
last 24 hours (when your item is in the "ending today" category), do
your best to be available. Check your email often.
The more people that find your auction through a search, the more bids you
could get - theoretically, depending on all other factors also. Include your
item name in the description. Adding the color (although it seems obvious by
the photo) may double your amount of visitors. People search in different
ways, and they don't all spell the same or use the same terms. For example,
using "eye glasses," "eyeglasses" and
"spectacles" in your description will bring in three times the
number of visitors as any one of these alone. Add the maker's name also if you
If you have had trouble in the past with an auction or two
and would like to prevent the same problem in the future, you are allowed to
put some sort of notice or warning in your description. But, be aware that bad
auction dealings are such a minority, as are bad auction people. Try to make
your words sound businesslike and polite instead of threatening or belittling.
Otherwise, you may get your wish and not get have any more bad auctions simply
because you will send all potential buyers away in fear or disgust. They may
not want to take a chance on being your next "victim."
THE AUCTION TITLE
Titles with funny characters (*** @@@ ^^^ " ") in
them do not attract more bidders. While searching through a list quickly,
these characters actually get in the way and prevent the eye from seeing that
one word or phrase you are looking for.
Doesn't it seem obvious that what the item is should be included in the title?
There are many, many auction titles that give no clue as to what the item is.
"Large China!" That's quite a title. It is for a marble - a
valuable type of marble. Someone doing a search for marbles won't find it. The
description also does not contain the word marble. (This is an actual auction
listed at this very moment!) The auction is in the marbles section, but only a
small percentage of buyers shop through the category. If you ran an auction
this way and then accidentally listed it in the wrong category, absolutely no
buyers would find it. The word "jerk" suddenly comes to mind! Why
would that be? Enough said.
Unless you are a real professional, don't use a background
on your auction page. Most of the backgrounds used are way too large. In fact,
most backgrounds can be found in the pages that take forever to load - then
you find out that the item wasn't even worth the wait. That is a quick way to
lose customers. Even if you are a professional and can make your background
small enough that it loads instantly, why? Why bother? Backgrounds do not add
anything worthwhile to an auction, they sometimes get in the way of the
picture, and they are annoying. Even worse adjectives could be used for music
on an auction page! As mentioned in a section above, photos that take up the
entire screen and photos that are absolutely huge but are 90 percent junk and
10 percent item are a waste of bandwidth and time.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Getting good prices for your items starts with common
sense. Give your visitors every reason to come back to see your auctions next
time and to see your other auctions now, and get rid of everything that is not
essential or takes up their valuable time. If there are six other auctions for
the same item that you want to sell, look at the one that is getting the most
bids and the ones that is getting the least (or no) bids and see what the
differences are. If you are new to selling, do a lot of browsing first. See
how other auctions look. If you don't have a photo editing program, you
absolutely need to find one if you are going to list more than one auction
ever - and even then if you want to get a good price for your item.
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