9 No Fuss eBay Selling Tips

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2006-11-1319

Keep these eBay selling tips close at hand when you go online to sell!

eBay selling made easy!

Going the auction route for stuff you no longer need at home is something anyone can do. We’ve been using eBay lately to sell some new items we don’t need and we found it to be a convenient way to let go of the smaller items we had lying around and gathering dust that could be better appreciated elsewhere, such as board games, toys, bric-a-bracs and collectibles. To me, anything that isn’t used after 2-3 years is considered clutter just taking valuable space in our limited surroundings, so with minimal fanfare, off they go to eBay or our trusty consignment shop. These are just some of many ways to cash in on clutter.

Unless you’re a big eBay junkie, you might have the same opinion as I do, which is that the interface isn’t that intuitive or user-friendly. But a few tries on the auction block, I was able to compile a few pointers on putting up my items for bidding on eBay. I concentrated on making the experience as easy and convenient for myself as possible with hopefully generating the best prices possible for my items.

  1. List your item at a reserve of $1.
    This way I attract the best possible market price to my item without fussing about how much it should really be valued. After all, your perception of value for your item may be very different from what the market thinks so it would be just a waste of time to guess what that price is. The market should take care of the pricing for you: note that buyers compete to bid on items that are under valued, pushing the price up to the market value.

  2. Apply a shipping fee that is twice the real shipping cost.
    The shipping fee is to cover the actual money and effort you put in when packaging your item. Setting your shipping and handling fee to twice the real cost, seems like a reasonable amount. A university study showed that buyers were irrationally insensitive to shipping and handling charges (ie, if S&H went up by a dollar they would not reduce their bids by a full dollar). So take advantage of this without going overboard.

  3. Have the auction expire in the early morning hours.
    As in buying, timing can be important in sales as well. The assumption is that you are targeting most of your buyers from the same time zone as you are, and if so, set the auction to end during the hours when nobody’s around. People who are highly interested in your item will put in their best bids much earlier before they go to bed and this will encourage your item to most likely be priced at its true value. If you set your auction to end during the day instead, most buyers will hang around to wait till the last minute to offer their bids and this causes auction sniping. Through sniping, your item will end up being priced lower than it actually should.

  4. Shorten the length of your auction.
    I think 3 days is a good length. Sure, you may possibly increase your buying audience by allowing viewability of your item for longer. But I’ve observed that the serious bids won’t be placed until very close to the end. Theoretically, you may be able to snag a casual buyer during a longer auction but I did not see much difference in price when I set the auction for a shorter time.

  5. Don’t feel obligated to do special shipments.
    For the easiest turnaround, I set my terms clearly during the auctions and never swayed from those terms. I got contacted for various offers that involved special considerations such as discounts and insurance but I quickly declined all such requests. I did not think it was worth the trouble to bother with offers that departed from my usual terms.

  6. If your item does not sell, re-list it again. But only one more time.
    I figured that if an item does not sell beyond 2 attempts at auction, it’s time to find some other way to deal with it. Perhaps it is destined for the donation heap, the consignment shop (if they will accept it) or just the plain old recycling/trash bin.

  7. If you are selling items with bar codes, don’t worry about listing your item, eBay makes it easy for you.
    Selling on eBay is really easy with their feature that handles listing an item with a bar code. You simply log into eBay and follow the steps that lead you to enter bar code information. Once done, eBay prefills everything about the item based on the code and also displays the appropriate photo for it. All you have to do now is set the price and terms.

  8. For non-commodity items, use a good photo.
    If you’re planning to sell an item that does not have a bar code, then you would need to provide your own information. Make sure your photo of the item plus anything else you list with it is as attractive as you can make it.
  9. Check out other auctions for ideas.
    Why bother with reinventing the wheel? I’ve checked out other auctions to see how they lay things out to get ideas for creating my own auction. But be very careful that you do not use others’ materials when creating your auction, or you may get banned or penalized by eBay.

This analysis of buyer behavior is also worth reading. By doing as above, I felt that I was able to make the process as painless as possible for myself.

Good luck with your own sales!

Copyright © 2006 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

aleish November 18, 2006 at 9:32 am

Very helpful tips.. I am planning of transfering a house and there are things that we dont need and it is very impractical for us to bring it in our new house.. so i think it is best if i sell it.

A non Mouse November 19, 2006 at 9:56 pm

Charging douple on shipping is against eBay rules and you should fit the time/effort into the bid price and not the shipping price.

I would also suggest that you have the bidding end on a Sunday evening- as most people make bids on the weekend

Silicon Valley Blogger November 19, 2006 at 10:47 pm

Thank you for your comment! This is the actual eBay shipping policy — the key here is to be reasonable. My suggestion was to double your shipping costs to cover the handling fee (time and effort).

Francis November 25, 2006 at 6:36 am

Charging douple on shipping is against eBay rules and you should fit the time/effort into the bid price and not the shipping price.

Some buyers might feel cheated and offended after they receive the item and possibly leave negative feedback…

Allen Harp December 27, 2006 at 12:53 pm

If you product is perceived to have good value, you will make a nice profit over and over. The bidders will see to that. You might be able to jack up the handling costs once in a while but you shouldn’t have too if you have properly presented your article for bidding.

Just my two cents.

Jack Earl February 14, 2008 at 11:30 am

Thanks for the tips. I will have to start putting items on eBay once again.

Kelvin Loh December 21, 2008 at 8:37 pm

If you have a unique item for listing that can trigger emotional buying like Millvina
Dean,the late last survivor of the titanic who auctioned off her precious Titanic memorabilia to pay off her nursing and medical needs as she is fragile with age; then you will not need any tips at all to sell. That is one big secret about selling to emotion and to trigger buying on eBay.

TheDan January 8, 2009 at 9:45 pm

eBay wants you to offer free shipping now. Why is that you ask? Well, eBay does not earn commission off of shipping. If, however, you don’t charge shipping, then they earn a percentage of all of your shipping too. I listed a few easy tips on my blog too. Check out:

eBay selling tips #1
eBay selling tips #2

James February 3, 2009 at 7:30 am

Instead of charging double shipping try selling premiums like Shipping Insurance, Express Shipping etc to get more per sale of your auctions. I have a Free <a href=”http://www.AuctionCashSystem.com”eBay Selling Guide if you want more eBay Selling Tips.

Aaron March 2, 2009 at 5:53 pm

#9: Copy somebody else’s auction set up which appeals to you.
Why bother with reinventing the wheel? I checked around other auctions to see how they laid it out and found the attractive ones that were worthy of cloning and based my auction off of those.

Christani March 16, 2009 at 10:27 pm

This is great site. If you product is perceived to have good value, you will make a nice profit over and over.Thanks for the tips. I will have to start putting items on eBay once again.

Steve October 23, 2009 at 11:05 pm

Thanks for the information. So far I am also doing good with eBay. I started about 2 months back.

Made nearly $3500 so far. This article may help some newbies out there.

Anthony Taylor November 30, 2009 at 6:34 am

Another good tip for eBay is making full use of the 55 characters you are provided with for your item title. Try and think of other words people might use to find this item – for example some people may type ‘Lord of the Ring’s while some may type ‘LOTR’ instead.

You should also include a call to action in your title to entice the buyer to find out more – ‘Next Day Delivery’, ‘Shipped within 24 Hours’ etc.


Lucie December 6, 2009 at 7:17 am

Great Tips, I especially agree that having a good clear photo makes all the difference, people want to see clearly what they are buying.

P Scott January 12, 2010 at 8:12 am

I agree – a good pic is vital, and not just a stock shot either 🙂

Dave February 13, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Very good and different. Solid set of tips for selling on ebay. Thank you…

Sean Fitzpatrick February 15, 2010 at 5:27 pm

As someone who has been working with Ebay recently, I cannot state enough to watch what kind of listing you are choosing! I chose the wrong one and ended up having a group of products listed triplicate and having to pay for them all. Ouch.

Sunclair May 4, 2010 at 8:56 am

Your suggestion about looking for other auctions is good. I always do a check on the auctions for a similar or same product which has already ended. There I can see how well similar products have done and compare the content of their auctions. That way you can find the layout, keywords and images that work.

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