Tag Archives: ebay tricks

Woulda coulda shoulda set a reserve price

I’ve never used a reserve price in any of my auctions so far, but when our halogen kitchen light bar sold for about $10, I wish I had.

The auction had a few watchers and an early opening bid at the minimum price. I was certain there would be a few closing bids to push the price up to a decent level.

I was wrong.

The guy who won the auction got an incredible price on a great light fixture. I told him so in the note I sent him when I waved goodbye to my fixture down at the Post Office. To add insult to injury, I had to buy a pack of packing peanuts to properly pack the package (say that five times fast). By the time I paid for the peanuts, I think I made about a buck three eighty off the light fixture.

Enough whining, back to the subject of reserve prices. Unfortunately there’s an extra fee that comes with setting a reserve price and it’s not cheap. For reserve prices set at less than $200 the fee is $2. Above that, the fee is one percent of the reserve price.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that if your item sells, you get the reserve fee back. You only pay the extra reserve fee if your item doesn’t sell. So, from one perspective it’s a gamble but from another point of view it’s an insurance policy.

Hmmm. Ambiguity. You gotta love it, or not.

There is another approach, and that is to set a higher starting bid level if you’re really convinced your item is worth a certain amount or you don’t want to see it fly out the door too cheaply. Of course, with higher starting bids, eBay charges higher listing fees. So again, it’s a trade off.

However, if you do sell your item with a low starting price and a reserve, your final fee will be less than setting a higher starting bid without a reserve.

There is another drawback with higher starting prices. They chase off a lot of buyers. So there you go.

By the way, if you do start an auction with a reserve price, it’s okay to tell bidders what the reserve price is. There’s no rule against it and buyers tend to appreciate your willingness to be honest and open about the situation.

Buried alive on eBay!

Ever feel like a zombie who has been buried alive?

When your eBay item is relegated to page two or three of search results, that’s what it feels like.

I wondered why my Nintendo DS Professor Layton games weren’t getting more hits so I decided to plunge into eBay’s listing analytics software. Digging a little deeper, I searched for my own items and found that I wasn’t appearing anywhere near the top of the eBay search results pages.

eBay has a good help center with tips for sellers who want to improve their position in search results. Here’s what eBay has to say:

  • Offer good prices and reasonable shipping
  • Provide good service
  • List in the right format and the right categories
  • Write accurate and relevant titles
  • Write clear item descriptions
  • Include great photos
  • State your terms clearly

The thing that popped out to me was pricing, including my shipping fees. My base price was good. It was a buck or two less than most others. However, my flat rate shipping of $4 might have been a problem, so I switched both games to free shipping.

The change immediately upped my position in search results. I’ll be very interested to see if this helps generate more interest and a few bids. Photos don’t mean very much with video games, so I only have one photo with these auctions. However, maybe a second photo would improve my search results position even more. Of course, a second photo costs a little.

Also, when I started these auctions I should have realized how many other eBay sellers are trying to get rid of the same DS games. I’ve sold a lot of items where there weren’t that many other listings. In those cases, getting on the first page of search results is not a problem.

From now on before I list anything on eBay, I’ll do a better job sizing up the competition. I’ve always looked at prices, but now I’ll get a feel for how many sellers have the same or similar items.

All auctions end on Armageddon

I’m about ready to list this bag-o-inkjet cartridges I have on the floor under my desk. It’s Monday of Thanksgiving week.

What’s the best day and when’s the best time to put my item up on eBay?

I’ll go for the seven-day auction. You have choices here and can shorten it to as little as one day or lengthen it to 10 days. Seven days is pretty standard. Fewer days can be good if you have a real hot item and a 10-day auction is nice because it includes two weekends.

Seven days is good because you get one weekend, most buyers are accustomed to seven-day auctions and there’s not the fee that is tacked on to 10-day auctions.

I hate to admit this, but I usually expect the worst from people, so I thought that the best time to end auctions would be while most of us are at work. I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that employees spend about 17 percent of their workweek doing online shopping unrelated to their jobs.

For an auction, this turns out not to be true. The busiest hours on eBay are between 6-9 p.m. Pacific Coast time.

Now, if I were to list this today, my auction would end next Monday. However, with this holiday weekend in the mix, I think next Monday will be a weird day. People will still be traveling or sick in bed from eating too much over the Thanksgiving holiday. Think about holidays and other big events when you list your items. For example, don’t schedule an auction to end on Armageddon.

I’ll list my printer cartridges tomorrow, Tuesday in the early evening, Armageddon notwithstanding.