12 Tips for Better Sales on eBay

After recently selling a few things on eBay, I’ve compiled some suggestions for you in hopes it’ll increase legitimate bidding activity.

Readability

  • Use a large, readable font. On a 22″ wide screen LCD monitor, 14 point is ridiculously small. Try 18 point and the Georgia font.
  • Create sections in your auction description with bold headings. (e.g. what’s for sale, why you’re selling, item condition, shipping or local pickup, retail pricing)
  • Check for spelling, especially in the title.

Completeness and/or full disclosure

  • Explain yourself. Most auction descriptions are too brief or simply repeat the item name. Why are you selling the item? How long have you had it for? What comes in the box?
  • Even though eBay auctions have a built-in shipping, return policy, and payment tab, repeat the shipping, handling, and payment details in the description. (You know, for redundancy and decreasing miscommunication.)
  • Don’t use stock photos. The bidders will usually ask, so save them time.
  • Display several clear photos of the item. If you know someone with a DSLR camera, get a white foam poster board and take the photos of the item(s) on it. Try to take the photo in some shade. If it’s too bright, get a friend to hold a diffuser over the item(s). For best results, make a light tent. (See “How To: DIY $10 Macro Photo Studio” or “How to Make An Inexpensive Light Tent – DIY“)
  • Link to a few glowing reviews of the item.

Don’t pay unnecessary fees

  • Host photos elsewhere. There’s no need to pay eBay more money for photo hosting. If you have Flickr, WordPress/WordPress.com, or Tumblr, create a set/page with a gallery of photos for your item(s). Don’t forget to link to the photos within the auction description!

Increase views, watchers, and bids

  • Use eBay’s first free image so it shows up in the listings.
  • End the auction around 9:30pm, and if possible, on the weekend. This will help get more buyers looking at your auction, especially for more expensive items. If you end the auction at 3pm on a weekday, it’ll be more difficult for people at the office to participate in the last few minutes of a bidding war. Don’t forget to calculate the time zones you want to cover. (For example, if you want to end the auction at 9:30pm EST, start the auction at 6:30pm PST.)
  • For a fee ($0.10), eBay can schedule your auction to start at a certain time and day. If you want to save that ten cents per auction, and you’ll be at a computer when you want to start the auction, fill everything out and save as a draft. You can post it later.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to take some photos of some more items I’m going to put up for auction.

Do you have more time-tested suggestions? Please take a few minutes to share them with a comment, and explain how it’s helped you. Thanks! (Back off, spammers. I’ll nuke comments and ban IP addresses without hesitation.)

Userscripts.org rocks

I finally made a Userscripts.org account for my favorite Greasemonkey scripts[1. The list is slowly being built.]. Why not just use Delicious? Because Userscripts.org can send me an email when any of my favorite scripts are updated.

If you’re unaware of Greasemonkey’s powers, Lifehacker will get you going.

Netflix gift card giveaway

Four Netflix gift cards to give away (266/366)

If you haven’t tried Netflix, they’ve sent me[1. and I’m sure lots of other members] four gift cards for a free month trial. The catch is that you need to be a first-time customer and that it’s limited to one per household.

Leave a comment if you want a code. I have four to giveaway.

At 12:00pm PST on Friday, September 26th, 2008, I’ll pick the four using the Random Integer Generator from RANDOM.ORG.

Update 9/29/08: So much for that. Not many people need these. Oh well. Just so you know, I now have two left.

Update 11/20/08: These expired on October 31st, so…yeah. Comments are closed.

Loving Instapaper

I started using Instapaper the first day it was released. It does a much better job by helping me better maintain the stuff I want to read later. (No, I don’t think browser bookmarks are good for this because they’ll get out of control.)

I was using del.icio.us to tag items I want to look at later, but those haven’t gotten touched for a long time.

Win eBay auctions with Unwired Buyer and Auction Sniper

I just won an auction for an iRiver iFP-899 on eBay (link) — and I wasn’t at my computer. The ones that aren’t set with “Buy It Now” are selling for $100+ at the moment.

My two weapons:

  1. UnWired Buyer (free)
  2. Auction Sniper (first three snipes are free, add three more snipes per referral – more details)

A few days ago, I set a maximum bid within Auction Sniper. Today, I was on the way back from school when I got a text message notifying me that in five minutes, I’d be receiving a phone call from UnWired Buyer. I wasn’t planning on bidding in realtime, because Auction Sniper would do that for me within the last five seconds of the auction.

Listening to the bids being made in real-time, I chuckled and listened in anticipation for the final seconds. At the end, the voice said something to the effect that I won with a bid of $78. I hung up and giggled with glee for about a minute.

If you’re curious, I bought this device in hopes that it’ll record class lectures much better than my iPod + iTalk. Also, I might use it to start a podcast. Have I mentioned that before?