We’ve already gone over the basic elements in creating a listing, and provided a few tips and suggestions that will get you started – but for a truly successful listing there are a few further aspects to your basic listing that may prove useful.
The most powerful aspect of any listing of course is the title and the description. The title is the first thing a would-be buyer sees either in category view or from a search, so it needs to be informative and compelling, and the description is what will cinch the sale or create enough ambiguity that they buyer will drift off to view another auction rather then bid on yours.
With that in mind let’s start with the title and description, and then go over other aspects of listing strategies and tips to help move your sales up to the professional level:
By far the most important element of any listing is the description – you literally can sell rocks if you have the right description and tone, remember “pet rocks” and mood rings? The object itself doesn’t have to be exciting or worth all that much to fetch a great deal of interest, and when it comes to auctions interest is what makes you money. Normally sane and thrifty spenders will often find themselves bidding far more then even they know an item is worth if their interest has been peaked and they get into a bidding war.
The key is to be descriptive, upbeat, and to point out the saleable features and true worth of the item. I once saw the air from a 1950’s Harley Davidson motorcycle tire go up for sale and actually be bid upon because the seller had the foresight to point out the scientific interest sealed air from 40 plus years ago might have!
Whenever possible providing links to reviews and manufacturer sites that list MSRP and provide details from a reliable source is a good idea but include the important attributes yourself as well, so people who don’t want to surf to and from other sites can still know what exactly it is they are bidding on and why they want it.
Part of a successful description is the title – be certain to make it succinct but catchy, and include as many descriptive terms that a buyer is likely to search on as possible. Making an eye catching clear first impression relies on your title so make certain it meets the following criteria:
contain keywords and be clear and descriptive
possible it should include the brand or item or model number
but avoid non-descriptive words like “wow” that aren’t likely to be
Avoid ‘keyword spamming’ use only the manufacturer name of the item for sale, for instance don’t say “like Honda” for a generator made by Hibitsu corporation
For more on search engine manipulation practices that eBay forbids see their site regarding Search Manipulation policies.
When it comes time to create the actual description be certain to address all the questions that potential buyers might ask, including specifics on:
exactly the item is and what it can be used for
is new or used and what condition it and its’ packaging is in – include
any flaws or noticeable aberrations
company or manufacturer, when it was made and what it is made from (if
dimensions and weight
special features or history
What shipping and payment methods you accept, what exceptions you might be willing to make and details on shipping and handling costs, even if you just refer to the appropriate section.
Note: Using humor or a special ‘human touch’ in your descriptions can be very effective methods to boosting interest in your listing.
When you are finished be certain to proofread the title and description, run a good spell checker against it and confirm that everything you are stating is accurate and verifiable.
The pictures you display of your item are the 2nd most important element in a successful eBay listing. Obviously you need at least one, but statistics have shown that having at least two and taking advantage of the advanced listing feature to have a gallery image is a sure way to enhance the likelihood of buyers reading your ad.
Quality images are important, and some important tips for getting an image that will work well include making certain that you:
light the item and place it against a background that enhances the image
certain no reflections or background clutter shows up in the image
medium resolution such as 1024x768 that will provide quality but not be
too large for quick downloads
object properly and are close enough to show appropriate detail and to
fill the entire frame
OWN images unless you have permission to use others, and be clear if
the image shown is of your actual product or from a manufacturers site
Edit the image as needed before posting it, some tools are available on eBay itself for basic editing and most digital cameras have some software that is provided by default.
NOTE: If you save your image as a JPG be careful not to save it too many times, since JPEG is a ‘lossy’ compression scheme and quality is lost every time the image is resaved.
It is a good idea to package and label your items before placing the ad, this not only allows you to know for certain the box dimensions and costs for shipping materials before you place the listing, but you can weigh it and obtain the appropriate costs from UPS or USPS as necessary.
When you do a lot of shipping it is a good idea to physically sign up with Fedex or UPS for an account, and negotiated rates. Not only do they supply free shipping boxes and labels in most cases, but you can get substantial discounts and even local pickup in many cases!
If you sell on eBay long enough sooner or later you will fall victim to bad buyers and those dreaded “Buy It Now” spammers who open new accounts and gleefully run up your costs willy-nilly without ever planning to actually buy anything. Fortunately eBay provides you some tools to help manage this, the most valuable of which is to set buyer requirements that block user accounts most likely to be a problem for you.
The Buyer Requirements feature allows you to block buyers that don’t meet your criteria, currently the included options are users that:
registered in your country
negative feedback score
received Unpaid Item strikes
currently winning or have bought '1-100' of your items in the last 10
Do not have a PayPal account
To take advantage of this feature in your listings you choose the “My Account” column in “My eBay,” then click on the “Preferences” button. From there click the “Edit” link in the Seller Preferences section.
Make the changes you wish to have in effect, then click “Submit” to save those requirements to your profile – they will then be applied to all listings.
NOTE: Requiring a user have a PayPal account doesn’t mean they have to pay with that account, but it does normally provide additional security as PayPal account holders typically are much less likely to not pay.
You can view blocked bidders in case you wish to make an exception list by viewing the “Buyer Requirements Activity Log.” If you wish to set up an exemption only for specific members this is where you would find the “Exemption List Page” where you can enter the User ID of any member whom you feel it is safe to allow to bid despite the current restrictions.
In addition to blocking bids by the “Buyer Requirements” eBay also provides you ways to protect yourself and limit your sales to specific users, examples of some of these advanced listing capabilities include tools to allow you to:
Block bidders and buyers unless pre-approved
Cancel bids from bidders you wish to disallow
Note: Typically cancelling bids should be a last resort, principally because a cancelled bid cannot be reinstated. Valid reasons to cancel a bid would include:
When a bidder contacts you requesting to back out
You cannot validate the identity of the bidder
A few of the available upgrades that you may wish to utilize including:
your main photo shows on the preview page
Highest level of visibility
Item appears with other featured plus items first on the category and search pages
Places your item in the special section above the general picture gallery
surrounds your listing with a border
additional title room for more descriptions
in Two Categories
list in other related categories without having to create two separate listings
One of the more powerful ways to get your auction noticed is to pay the extra fees to have it become a featured auction. This is not something a low-value item seller would necessarily consider, but rare and one-of-a-king items, more expensive items or automobiles or antiques are excellent instances where using these features can more then double the exposure you will receive.<>
This puts your auction in a rotating collection of auctions that will appear on the eBay home page itself when users visit. Aimed more at high-volume repeat business vendors this may not be the best option for the majority of sellers but is great when maximum exposure is desired.
With this type of featured auction buyers who search with the gallery feature will see your item(s) featured in the picture gallery.
Arguably the best value this option will make your listing stand out both in category and search result views and like Gallery will place a copy of your listing at the top of the category and search results. At a price of less then $20 it is a great buy and recommended for moderate to high-priced items as a way to really help push sales.
Besides the obvious benefits of the featured auction options a side effect is to help drive sells of other items you have for sale. Provided you have multiple items for sale at any given time you can either put a link within the auction or suggest the buyers view your “other items for sale by this seller” to help get more interest in all your related goods from already interested buyers.
EBay has several ‘power seller’ features available to aid you in creating templates for commonly listed items and covers these with excellent tutorials such as the one found HERE for the Professional Selling Manager. You also can review any of your recently sold items and click the “sell similar” to recreate the listing using the previous one as a template. A listing of the various tools available and links to eBay’s pages regarding them follows:
Freely available application for medium to high volume sellers allowing bulk uploading of listings.
Allows you to handle all of your activities from one location in My eBay
The features and ways to enhance your listing that eBay offers are astounding, and in most cases one or more really should be used to optimize the visibility and interest your listing gets. From simple bolding and highlighting to springing for eBay home page featured auctions the level of public interest you need to apply is available to you with a few simple clicks. Just make certain the return for any investments you make in using the advanced features justifies the costs, and be sure to take full advantage of the features that you do pay for!
What to Sell on eBay!
Where the Sources Are!