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*Five* Quick Ebay Tips for Selling Smarter

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Back in college, I used to sell a lot of stuff on Ebay for some side cash. I relied on arbitrage, buying it cheaper from somewhere locally or online and then selling it on Ebay, to make most of my profits and came away with a pretty good understanding of how to sell a commodity type good (where one version is identical to another, such as DVDs, electronics, etc) for as much as possible. I’ve flipped through a bunch of the Ebay books and always felt they never really touched on the real meat of Ebay and how to really take advantage of it. Here’s my little list of tips that you may find useful.

1. Use a custom auction template
Get yourself a copy of Dreamweaver, or any other WYSIWYG HTML editor, and build yourself a nice auction template (don’t use an Ebay one). This gives your auction a professional look and it standardizes your terms & conditions, your allowed payment methods, and other little fine print stuff. The only thing that changes from auction to auction is the description and shipping. I can’t quantify the usefulness of this tip but giving yourself a professional look, especially if your feedback is low, is very important. Once it’s higher, it can’t hurt you.

2. Use Buy-It-Now (BIN) Intelligently
With a commodity type good, you can do a lot of research on its average price per sale. Usually you’ll see a cluster of sale prices in a general 5%-10% range (depending on the price), with the optional Buy It Now (BIN), you want to put that price at the upper end of the range of sales. BIN only costs you, at most, twenty five cents; so you’ll need to use it accordingly. This is an example of something I used to do. I bought Michael Jordan Washington Wizards jerseys for about $12 a piece, I listed them at $9.99 (the lowest listing fee at the time, now it’s $4.99) knowing full well the price range for the jerseys was between $20 – $25, plus shipping. I added a BIN on every auction for $34.99 or $29.99 (depending on my mood) at a cost of 20 cents. Of the 150 jerseys or so, I would only need to sell 6 jerseys at the lowest BIN to recoup costs if every jersey I sold was at the higher end of the range. People are willing to pay a premium to get something NOW, so let them.

3. Using Bidder Management Systems
Occasionally you’ll run into someone who is a deadbeat bidder. Use the Blocked Bidder and other bidder management tools to prevent them from screwing with you and from ruining your auctions. FiveCentNickel has a good explanation of these tools so I’ll refer you to his blog.

4. Auction Timing
This site has a great resource for figuring out when to end your auctions, but basically it’s on Sunday or Thursday – preferably during a time when people will be surfing the web (after dinner or during lunch). I only ever paid attention to the weekend rule of not ending on Friday and Saturday and not ending at strange hours (too early, too late). I did end an auction on Friday night by accident and it turned out badly.

5. Don’t Use Reserve
It’s a waste of money, you might as well list your product at the price you want to sell it and avoid the reserve fee.

Those are four quick tips that you may or may not have already known. Yeah some of those are common Ebay tips but I see a lot of auctions that just simply don’t follow these basics so I wanted to mention them. With these few quick tips, you might save yourself a few bucks, sell for a few more, and when you add it up in the long run, it can lead to greater Ebay profits. If you know of any quick tips that are good to know, please do leave comments!

{ 7 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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7 Responses to “*Five* Quick Ebay Tips for Selling Smarter”

  1. nickel says:

    Sounds like five tips, not four… 😉

  2. jim says:

    I have no idea what you’re talking about.

  3. Jose says:

    The ending auction time tip was very good.

    • echidnina says:

      Yeah, I hadn’t ever thought of that before! I haven’t done a ton of eBay selling, but it makes a lot of sense. When your time left is low, your auction is at the top of the searches, and if you’re at the top of the searches when more people are on eBay, you have a better chance at getting more bids.

  4. nickel says:

    Jim, your permalink still gives away your inability to count. 😉

  5. jim says:

    I have been betrayed by technology.

  6. Tony says:

    This site sucks and so does Jim.


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