I was recently asked by a dear friend what was the key to successfully sell on Ebay. My answer was a single word…Research.
Research is the key to successfully selling in an online auction format. Ebay, the most popular online auction happens to have the perfect tool. The Advanced Search feature enables you to see how past listings of your item sold. It also enables you to see what works in a listing and what doesn’t and can provide the very best way to make your listing a success. Here’s how I use it.
- On the home page at the top is a search box. To the right of the search button is the word “Advance”. Click that button. Type your item in the keywords box and select the “Completed Listings” box in the Search Included section.(you can also look at the sold listings, but I like to see the failed listings as well…I’ll explain that later.)
- You can make your keyword as specific or as general to your item as you wish. A general search will get you more results, but a specific search will offer you more feedback on your specific item. Example: if you’re selling a particular model of a pair of roller skates, you can specify your model in your first search just to see what your item specifically had been offered and sold for. Follow that up with a general search of the keyword “skates”. The reason you should do the general search is because not all Sellers are specific in their listings and some are not even familiar with the items they list, so your particular pair of skates could just be listed somewhere simply as “skates”.
- You will get a list of all listings. the green ones are those that were successfully sold and the red ones are those that didn’t sell. Take a close look at which items sold and study to see what distinguishes the successful listings from the unsuccessful ones. Also look closely at those items that sold for more money than the others and determine what was special about them.
There are mainly three things that I focus on while studying listings:
Advanced search is a great place to find detailed, well written descriptions of your item and guess what? It’s not against the rules to “borrow” well written listings. Just make sure the description actually describes your item. What you’ll discover is the more information you put in a listing, the less questions you will get from Buyers. I usually open Notepad on my computer and when I see a good description of my item, I copy and paste it in Notepad for later to use as a guideline to writing my own description.
I personally have found a great deal of success on Ebay by starting most of my items for sale at .99 cents. The idea of getting something at a discount fuels the popularity of competitive bidding and online auctions are competitive marketplaces. Buyers come to bid. If your starting price is too high, even if the prospective Buyer would pay that price, they may not bid. Most Buyers would rather compete to that price than to start there. You can set a Reserve price for a small fee that protects you from selling your item for less than you require for it if the bidding doesn’t meet your expectations.
AUCTION ENDING TIME
Sometimes the difference between items that sell and those that don’t can be as simple as the time the auction ends. Consider this; there will probably be fewer last minute Bidders for an item ending in the middle of the night than say the afternoon and the Seller would be missing out on the feeding frenzy that is the last few minutes of an auction. I personally know Buyers that only peruse Ending Soonest items because they like slipping a bid in while the seconds tick away. There are even apps you can buy that will bid on your items with just seconds left in the listing. The best way for me to find the most Buyers at the end of my auctions, which is the most critical time, is to schedule my listings to end in the afternoon. I don’t have proof, but I figure there’s more people on the internet in the afternoon than at any other time, especially at work. I live on the East coast, so I schedule my auctions to end at 3:30p in the afternoon. The reason is, working people on the East Coast are winding down their 9 to 5 work days at this time, while on the West Coast, they are heading to lunch.
Advanced Search offers this and other information that gives you the best opportunity to sell your item for the most money. A little research can go a long way.