12 Tips for Better Sales on eBay

After recently selling a few things on eBay, I’ve compiled some suggestions for you in hopes it’ll increase legitimate bidding activity.

Readability

  • Use a large, readable font. On a 22″ wide screen LCD monitor, 14 point is ridiculously small. Try 18 point and the Georgia font.
  • Create sections in your auction description with bold headings. (e.g. what’s for sale, why you’re selling, item condition, shipping or local pickup, retail pricing)
  • Check for spelling, especially in the title.

Completeness and/or full disclosure

  • Explain yourself. Most auction descriptions are too brief or simply repeat the item name. Why are you selling the item? How long have you had it for? What comes in the box?
  • Even though eBay auctions have a built-in shipping, return policy, and payment tab, repeat the shipping, handling, and payment details in the description. (You know, for redundancy and decreasing miscommunication.)
  • Don’t use stock photos. The bidders will usually ask, so save them time.
  • Display several clear photos of the item. If you know someone with a DSLR camera, get a white foam poster board and take the photos of the item(s) on it. Try to take the photo in some shade. If it’s too bright, get a friend to hold a diffuser over the item(s). For best results, make a light tent. (See “How To: DIY $10 Macro Photo Studio” or “How to Make An Inexpensive Light Tent – DIY“)
  • Link to a few glowing reviews of the item.

Don’t pay unnecessary fees

  • Host photos elsewhere. There’s no need to pay eBay more money for photo hosting. If you have Flickr, WordPress/WordPress.com, or Tumblr, create a set/page with a gallery of photos for your item(s). Don’t forget to link to the photos within the auction description!

Increase views, watchers, and bids

  • Use eBay’s first free image so it shows up in the listings.
  • End the auction around 9:30pm, and if possible, on the weekend. This will help get more buyers looking at your auction, especially for more expensive items. If you end the auction at 3pm on a weekday, it’ll be more difficult for people at the office to participate in the last few minutes of a bidding war. Don’t forget to calculate the time zones you want to cover. (For example, if you want to end the auction at 9:30pm EST, start the auction at 6:30pm PST.)
  • For a fee ($0.10), eBay can schedule your auction to start at a certain time and day. If you want to save that ten cents per auction, and you’ll be at a computer when you want to start the auction, fill everything out and save as a draft. You can post it later.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to take some photos of some more items I’m going to put up for auction.

Do you have more time-tested suggestions? Please take a few minutes to share them with a comment, and explain how it’s helped you. Thanks! (Back off, spammers. I’ll nuke comments and ban IP addresses without hesitation.)

Published by

Bryan Villarin

Bryan is a Happiness Engineer at Automattic. He's also a photographer, card magician, and cat whisperer. (Thanks to my friend and colleague Steve Blythe for the sweet photo!)

2 thoughts on “12 Tips for Better Sales on eBay”

  1. I agree. The time for end of auction is one of the major factors. At least in Germany (where I sold most my items), I found that 6pm-7pm on a weekday works good for me. Later than that, people might be off doing the evening activities (dinner, movies, whatnot).

    Also, check for big events happening during that time. One time (again in Germany), my auction ended on the night of a big Champions League soccer game. Boy, did that item go under value…

    From Bryan: Wow, great suggestions, thanks!

    Like

  2. Especially size 10 Times New Roman, I have to zoom in and in eBay, everything else does as well. Also, clutter free and sharp to the point sentences work well and so do actual photos rather then the stocks.

    And I fully agree on the short descriptions – unfortunately these I skip since communicating with the seller might take days. And as for bad English, i dont wana by from tem becos it say someting!

    Like

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