Some tips for selling on EBay…
1) Research what you’re selling.
Run a search for items similar to yours that are “Completed Items”. This will give you the last 30 days worth of auction history for items matching your search. You can get a pretty good idea of the market value of what you’re selling this way. Prices in Green are items that sold, prices in Red didn’t sell.
If the item is still something you can find new in stores you can research the price through Amazon or Froogle. If I am auctioning something new in stores I usually don’t expect more than 50% of the current new selling price.
Some items I won’t even put up on Ebay. Books and CDs for example, I always sell them through Amazon. All the books I have sold on Ebay have gone for peanuts compared to what they go for on Amazon.
2) Descriptions should be complete and truthful, lots of pictures
If your item has more features than usual similar items play it up in the ad (Laptop + Docking Station!). Take lots of pictures. Give info about the usual specs of the item, note anything extraordinarily good or bad.
I have sold plenty of items that were “For Parts” “As-Is” and gotten decent prices for them.
If you don’t know a lot about the item, let your customers know. I recently picked up some weird old Sparc laptops. I could get them to boot up, but had no idea how to thoroughly check them out so I put it in the Ad. Some helpful bidders sent me some commands to query the processor type and speed so I ran the commands and posted the output.
3) Start your auction at $1.00.
So far I haven’t been disappointed by the final value. Starting at $1.00 gets people more interested than starting closer to the final value. I have never used a reserve price because I like to live dangerously, but a reserve price is one way to protect yourself if you absolutely can’t take less than $X for the item.
4) Run for standard 7 days.
I feel 10 days is too long, 5 or 3 days and your item doesn’t get enough exposure.
Keep in mind that a lot of Ebay traffic is generated by their automatic search e-mail system and EBay’s partnership with google.
But a large amount of traffic is generated by people surfing to the site and typing in keywords. 7 days gives you a good exposure to
5) Mind the End Time
I don’t have any hard proof on this one, I just like to make sure the end times of my auctions are during weekday afternoons. When you go to www.ebay.com and type in a keyword, the default search shows you matches in order of “Time: ending soonest”. If you are ending your auction during times when there is a lot of traffic to the site there is a better chance of getting some last minute live bidders in on the action.
6) Don’t gouge on shipping
This is one of my biggest peeves as an Ebay Buyer and Seller. Yes I have seen iPods for a Buy It Now $9.99 with $300.00 shipping.
Generally I only charge for the exact USPS or UPS shipping price.
I usually keep a selection of packing materials on hand that I pick up before they get to the dumpster at my workplace. Tape is cheap, the 10 minutes I spend packaging something up is part of doing business.
Now my tune might change if I was doing this full time or hiring someone else to do it, but that’s how I operate right now.
7) Be responsive to e-mail. Check your spam filter!
If one person has questions about your item, chances are many people had the same question. You may want to incorporate the questions and answers into the auction detail.
8) Get a free account at UPS.COM, use it to simplify shipping
You can print shipping labels and pay for shipping by putting in your from/to shipping info into the UPS.COM site and printing out the labels from a laser or inkjet printer. Tape it to your box and then drop it at any UPS store or place that accepts UPS packages.
9) Know your market, expand your market
If you know a lot about a particular market, find out what is selling the most and most profitable in that market.
A lot of items I sell are rare or hard to find electronic or computer parts. If I come across something in a flea market that is in good shape for a decent price I usually just buy it and worry about selling it later.
10) Learn from your mistakes.
I love ebay because its about as pure a marketplace as you can get. The bonus is that there are always tons of visitors moving through that site. If you have something someone else needs, you can find a buyer!
If your auction was an utter failure because of low selling price, no bids, not enough hits on your auction then:
. Did you price something too high?
. Not enough or bad pictures?
. Weak description?