Tuesday, September 18, 2007

10 tips for buying and selling success on eBay

1. Build A Positive Feedback Rating
Having a good feedback rating makes other eBayers comfortable doing business with you. I won't buy from someone that has less than 98.5% positive feedback. Keep your feedback rating high and you'll continue to have lots of customers.
2. Be generous with your feedback
Post feedback quickly and leave specific comments. Leaving a comment that says: "great seller," is nice –but it is more helpful to say, "Item arrived quickly in perfect condition, just as described." Or: "Quick Professional transaction –good email and just what I ordered." If the seller sells something specific you can mention it such as: "Beautiful Print –I will enjoy for many years."
This type of feedback is very helpful to future buyers and it tends to get you better feedback comments in return.
3. Create an About Me page on eBay
eBay allows you to create a page to describe you and your family or even include your pets, hobbies, interests – basically anything you like. If you have a web site, this is the only place on eBay where you are allowed to place a link directing buyers to your web site. USE IT! The About Me page is searchable on outside search engines like google and yahoo. This can help generate traffic to your listings so be sure to mention the types of things you sell.
4. Understand the rule of odd cents
Most people bid in even numbers. If the bid increment is 50 cents, make your bid .52 or .53. This way you will just outbid someone by a few cents instead of a large increment. This is very important when sniping (see next item)
5. Learn to snipe
eBay’s proxy bidding system allows you to set your highest bid and then forget about it. eBay's system will keep bidding the minimum increment up to your maximum. This is fine if you know exactly how much you want to pay for something. If you are not sure how much you want to bid or if you know an item will be hot, then learn how to snipe at the last minute. Here is how to snipe:
Open one window with the auction description. Open a second window and place the highest amount you will pay for the item and hit "Review Bid." Now enter your username and password –but don’t hit "Place Bid" yet. Wait until 15 or 20 seconds before the auction ends. (Refresh your first window to see the time left). At the right moment, hit "Place Bid." With luck your bid will arrive at the perfect time to beat out your competition.
6. Search Completed items
To find out what a product is worth, it doesn’t do any good to find prices for on-going auctions as this could change minute by minute. Searching Completed Items (from the eBay search box) is the best way to determine an item’s worth or value.
7. Become an expert in your field
Become an authority on what you do in your online auction business. If you sell printer ink cartridges, you want to be thought of before anyone else.
When you become an authority in your field, a whole new universe of business and opportunity is opened up to you. I buy certain types of things on eBay from the same sellers over and over. I wouldn't dare do business with anyone else, not when they have proven themselves and their product.
You want to earn that same type of position in the minds of eBayer’s for your niche. Also continue your auction education. Read books and training manuals, visit the chat and message boards, attend an eBay University when it comes to your town, go to eBay Live, and keep learning all the time.
8. Master the art of writing an effective auction headline and item description.
Your headline is your advertising and your item description is your salesperson. On the web, how your potential buyer perceives you and your product is everything.
Be sure to use descriptive words in your auction title (headline). Common words like Rare, Unique, Powerful, New, Unusual, Stunning, Top Notch, First Class, etc. are not as effective as more precise brand names, model numbers, sizes, etc. Use common words (like those above) only when you have enough space for them in addition to the precise description terms. Just be sure not to exaggerate. Don’t call something ‘rare" if it is not.
Copy writing is the art of showing you and what you sell to your buyer in the best possible light. It’s the most important thing you have going for you. If your item is used and has a crack in it.. be honest and say so.. but minimize the negative aspects of it.
9. Learn simple HTML commands to spice up your auctions
Don’t be afraid of HTML. Anyone can do it. You can make your text bold, increase or reduce the size, add color backgrounds, etc. by typing a simple html code within your listing. Go to: http://echoecho.com/ or http://www.davesite.com/ for simple and free online tutorials on how to do HTML.
10.Take the time to take good photos
Here are some simple tips to take good digital photos:
Clean up the area around the subject or use a backdrop
Always use a tripod to make your photos sharp
Avoid clutter in the photo
Shoot outdoors on a cloudy day or in open shade. Don’t shoot in direct sunlight, as the contrast is too high
Indirect window light is also excellent. I often shoot objects ona table next to a window with a white or gray sheet for a backdrop
Get reasonably close to the object
Show a close-up of any repairs or defects
If relevant, show the product being used.
If size is an issue, show some thing such as a coin or a ruler toto indicate dimensions.

Bonus 11. Use multiple photos. The more photos you have the better. Buyers want to see your items before they bid so take photos that show it from multiple angles. Upload your photos to a free hosting site like photobucket or flickr and use html to pull the photo into your listing. eBay can host them for you also.. but they charge a fee.

Good luck!

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