Effective eBay Listing

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By Amy Lin on 11 December 2006 (Updated 26 April 2010) 2 comments

Think of your listing like you would going into an interview. You have a limited amount of time (space) to sell yourself (item) to an employer (buyer) who will have to decide between you and quite a few other candidates. You highlight your strengths and brush over the weaknesses. You offer references. You follow through. You are quick, clear, accurate, and concise. Here is a checklist to making an effective listing on eBay.

Space counts. Take advantage of every single space in the title. Remember, most of the time people find you by doing a keyword search. You want your listing to show up in as many searches as possible. If you have a Coach wallet you want to sell, your title might look like Coach wallet men leather black billfold designer. If you have unused space, fill it up with words like NEW, NWT (new with tag), NIB (new in box), RARE. Special tip: in the example, notice I didn’t add “mens” or “men’s” as a word to use. This is because if your title has men, your listing will show up in any search for “mens” or “men’s” as well. It’s like a three in one word! Also, any symbol (-, &, /, !, @, #, etc) is treated as a space. So don’t use any!

Be specific. You will be surprised how many people DON’T READ before they buy. Protect yourself by providing clear and accurate descriptions. So that if a buyer complains there was a smudge on the used iPod you sent, you can point out that the smudge was described and a photograph of that smudge provided in the listing. Be very detailed with its condition (new, new with tags, still sealed in box, gently used, etc), both visually and practically. Just imagine what information you would like to know if you were shopping for that particular item yourself.

Price wisely. Listing costs money so you can’t afford to do too much trial and error. The most useful information you can get is from doing competitor research. Find out what people are currently asking for and how much it has sold in the past month. This is a must-do because otherwise, you’re wasting money listing an item that is priced too high, or you’ve cut your profits because you’re not pricing high enough. This is also a great way to find words to use for your title.

Take good pictures. This is key to closing the deal. If the buyer can’t see exactly and clearly what he’s buying, he’ll click on the next listing that has a better picture. Try to use natural light instead of relying on flash which affects the color and texture. I also recommend paying for the gallery option (not the gallery PLUS) that adds a small version of your picture to the search results. It depends mostly on how many competitors you have. If there’s only a handful of listings that show up for the search, then it’s not as necessary, but if there’s many, not having a gallery can cause buyers to skip over your listing unintentionally because it was sandwiched between two listings with gallery pictures.

Don’t overcharge on shipping. EBay doesn’t count shipping charges in their calculations for the Final Value Fee, but this doesn’t mean you can gouge the buyers either. You can find out exactly how much it would be to ship your item by going to the shipper’s website. Your “handling fee” should be no more than $5.

Free relist. You list an item and it doesn’t sell. You relist it and it sells. EBay will refund you the listing cost of the relist. You only get one second chance though. If it didn’t sell the second time, but sells on the third time, you won’t get a credit. Of course, on the fourth time you would. Confused yet? Just keep relisting unsold listings instead of creating new ones for the same item.

Feedback speaks loudly. If you’re timely with shipments and accurate with descriptions, you’ll get good feedback and that gives future buyers confidence to bid on your listings. So answer questions quickly, package well, and ship promptly. Good feedback is all the references you need.

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Will Chen's picture

This is so true. I often pick items with great pictures over other items that were priced less. There's no doubt that visual appeal is a big part of shopping.

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Guest

Ebay charges a final value fee on shipping charges. You have old information. Better than worrying about a free relist is to list it as an auction using the first 50 auction listings per month taht are free. Try to avoid listing fees when once a month there is a day when auctions are listed free. Also buy a few things and yoru ratings will go up, as buyers cannot get negative feedback, only sellers.