EBAY TIPS FOR SELLERS

Here are some tips that will help improve your eBay selling experience.

  • Build up your feedback before selling expensive items. See feedback tips to learn how to do this.
  • Always ship using delivery confirmation or signature confirmation for items $250 or more that are paid using PayPal.
  • Learn about eBay scams so you can avoid them.
  • Ship items promptly. Take a look at our shipping tips for more ideas.

Take a look at the auctions tips below for ideas on how to get the most out our your listings.

TOP 10 EBAY TIPS FOR SELLERS

Over the years of selling on eBay, we have learned a few things that consistently helped improve our results with our auctions. Some of these tips are pretty obvious, but others are not. If you employ these techniques, I'm sure you will see better results on your eBay auctions too.

10. ALLOW INTERNATIONAL BUYERS

Every bid counts, even if it comes from the other side of the world. Odds are they won't win the auction, so why not let them bid. If they do win, you can charge a separate handling fee for international buyers to compensate you for the extra time it takes you to fill out the customs form. Just be sure to insure ALL international packages.

9. END AUCTIONS ON SUNDAY

The best day for your auctions to end is Sunday. More people are at home on Sunday than any other day of the week. For the opposite reason, Friday and Saturday are the worst days to end your auctions. Time your auctions to end at 10 PM EST or 7 PM PST. It is not too late for the people on the east coast and not too early for the west cost.

8. OFFER A RETURN POLICY

Reassure your buyer that your items are not broken or defective by offering a return policy. Also, be sure to accurately describe any damage in the description.

7. START YOUR AUCTIONS AT $0.99

You want to encourage as much bidding as possible on your auctions. A low starting price gets people interested and they will add your auction to their watch list and start bidding. Studies have shown that auctions that have more bids attract more buyers. You also get the advantage of paying only a $0.20 insertion fee. Unfortunately, this strategy doesn't work on everything. Items that don't normally get many bids may not have enough bid action to rise up to the expected price before the auction ends. Items that average 10 or more bids are good candidates to start at $0.99.

6. USE A GALLERY PICTURE

This is something eBay should do for free, but this is a cash cow for them. It is essential that potential buyers see a picture of your item when it is displayed during search results or when the buyer is browsing. You need to catch the buyer's eye when they are scrolling through the list of auctions. They may pass right over your auction if you don't have a gallery picture. Be sure the gallery picture shows everything that is included in the auction.

5. DON'T GOUGE WITH SHIPPING CHARGES

Nothing turns off buyers more than excessive shipping charges. People know that they are being ripped off and they will leave your auction and not return. Charge a reasonable handling fee. Think twice before offering free shipping though. Studies have shown that buyers have two prices in their head: the item price and the shipping price. It seems the two are disconnected. As long as the buyer is satisfied with the shipping cost, they will start bidding and forget to factor the shipping cost into the total cost.

4. WRITE A GOOD DESCRIPTION

Here is your chance to talk up your item to potential buyers. You want to be honest and describe the condition, what it is made of, brand name, dimensions and possibly the reason you are selling it. Be sure to note any damage or any other unique features. Always assume the buyer doesn't know anything about the item.

3. TAKE QUALITY PICTURES

Since the buyer can't pick up your item and look at, you need to provide the next best thing with pictures. Take pictures from the front and back of the item so buyers can get an overview. Then take a few key close up shots paying special attention to any high wear or damaged parts. Put yourself in place of the buyer, and ask yourself what photos would you want to see? A good set of photos can also provide proof against fraudulent claims too. If you list frequently, get yourself a photo hosting service to save on the picture fees.

2. HAVE IMPECCABLE FEEDBACK

Your feedback score must be at least 50 or buyers won't fully trust you. Start out a new eBay ID by buying from other sellers until you reach 10. Then you can start selling lower priced items to build up your feedback. Don't try to sell expensive items until you have established yourself. You need to keep your feedback rating at 99% or higher to keep potential buyers' trust.

1. OPTIMIZE YOUR TITLE

By far the most import part of your eBay listing is the title. By default, the title, not the description, is used for search results. If you have a bad title and leave out critical keywords, few buyers will be able to find your auction to bid on it. An easy way to find the optimal set of keywords is to search the completed listings for your item. The ones that sold for the highest prices usually have excellent titles. Take a look at several of the top sellers to get ideas on how to word your title.

There are only 55 characters allowed in title, so choose your words wisely. Don't use words like "look", "beautiful", or "incredible" in your title. Instead include keywords that buyers might use when searching for your item. When you are selling multiple units in your listings, try to include the plural and singular keyword in the title. If there is extra space leftover in the title, consider adding a common misspelling of the primary keyword. For example, if you are selling a laptop, include "labtop" in the title. Not all buyers spell correctly when they are searching for items. Cleaver buyers will intentionally search for misspelled listings to look for bargains. You want your item to show up in as many searches as possible. Use our Misspelled ebay Listing Search Engine to find the common spelling errors.

HONORABLE MENTION

Here are a few more things that didn't make our top ten list, but are worth mentioning:

DON'T END YOUR AUCTION EARLY

Occasionally when you are selling an item, someone will email you with an offer to end your auction early. Unless you know better, don't take it. Even though it might sound like a good deal, they are only offering you a fraction of what it is really worth.

DON'T END YOUR AUCTION ON A HOLIDAY

Pay attention to the calendar. If you start a 7 day auction on August 27, it will end on Labor Day, September 3rd. That's a really bad time to end an auction as many potential bidders are out doing other things. Avoid ending auctions on any holidays.

WATCH THE COMPETITION

Before listing an item, check if any others are currently listed or just sold. If there are too many out there, you may want to wait a while. If the one just sold with several bidders and there aren't any others, you can try a buy it now at the same price to get one of the losing bidders to buy yours right away.

ACCEPT PAYPAL

PayPal is so widely used on eBay that you must accept it. However, don't only accept PayPal. Many people won't use PayPal and will pay by cashier's check or money order. There is no need to accept personal checks.

GOOD COMMUNICATION IS VITAL

Always be cordial in your communications. There is no reason to provoke someone to give you a negative feedback, even if they deserve it.

USE USPS PRIORITY FLAT RATE SHIPPING BOXES

If your item weighs more than 2 pounds and you can fit it into one of the USPS priority flat rate shipping boxes, you are in luck. You can ship to anywhere in the country for $8.95. Buyers will appreciate low shipping costs for heavy items.

Useful Seller's Tools

Marketplace Research

When you are purchasing inventory for resale on eBay, you need to have a clear idea how well it will sell. EBay provides two weeks for pricing history completed auctions. For popular items, you can usually find enough sales in the last two weeks to get a good estimate of the resale value.

For more uncommon items, there may be few if any sales of the item within the last two weeks. Even if you find a previous sale, it is difficult to know of if another one will sell for a similar price. For example, if two people are interested in a rare item, it could sell for a very good price as they bid against each other.

For $24.99 a month, you can subscribe to eBay's marketplace research service. This gives you up to 90 days of pricing history of completed auctions. You also have the ability to sort and graph the data. You can filter out items that did not sell and only show items that received at least one bid. EBay's marketplace research is an indispensable tool. See Marketplace Research for more information.

Automate Leaving Feedback

Once you start having a lot of sales, the task of leaving feedback for your buyers becomes a chore. If you don't leave feedback in a timely manner, buyers will send email requesting that you do. Reading and answering those emails will take up even more of your time. EBay's auction management software has a feature to automate leaving feedback for buyers. It is worth the subscription cost of $15.99 a month just for this feature alone.

You can set up Selling Manager Pro to automatically leave positive feedback when you receive positive feedback. If someone leaves a neutral or negative feedback, it will not leave any feedback so you can leave your own feedback. Selling Manager Pro can be configured with several feedback comments that will be randomly left to buyers. This gives the appearance that a real person is leaving the feedback. See Selling Manager Pro for more information.

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