Tips for Selling in Online Auctions like eBay

power-sellers-logo_KbcmNowadays, creating a listing on online auction platforms like eBay can be quick and simple – there is even software that will help create multiple listings for you in a short period of time. However, if you’re really looking to move an item quickly there are a few extra steps you should take that will help boost visibility and bids for your listings.

Know What The Buyer Sees
The simplest way to do this is to make a few purchases before creating a listing. The pathing for buyers and sellers, while not completely different, definitely has a different feel. Looking at listings from the buyer’s perspective will help to give you an idea of what each listings MUST include, as well as what each listing may be missing.

Know Your Subject Matter
Most sellers will have a specialty of some kind if they’re listing many items for sale. So, to make sure that you aren’t outgunned, you’ll need to become an expert about the items you’re selling. If you’re listing antiques you should be able to tell any potential buyer the entire story behind the piece as best as you can. If it’s a car that you’re listing, be ready to answer specific questions about engine size, gear ratios, modifications and any repair work that has been done. Locking in that buyer and putting them at ease with specifics will make collecting payment a much smoother process.

Show You’re Trustworthy
Keep communication open and frequent with any interested buyers. An unwillingness to answer questions or provide additional photos or information can make buyers skittish. Offering online escrow as a payment method can also be a great way to put a buyer’s mind at ease. Online escrow benefits you by verifying all purchase funds upfront, so you won’t have to worry about insufficient funds or credit card chargebacks. Buyers can breath easy knowing that their funds won’t be deposited until you’ve proved that the item has shipped, or has even arrived for a final inspection. Online escrow is increasingly beneficial with high-dollar items or when shipping over long distances is required.

Know the Lingo
You have a limited amount of space for the headlines of your listings. Just like the headlines of a newspaper or news website, this is your chance to pull in shoppers. Headlines like “Car for Sale” aren’t nearly as catchy as “Vintage ’77 Camaro Needs a New Home.” Take the characteristics and unique identifiers of your item and work them into the headline as best you can.

Know Your Fees
There are different fees that sellers will incur for additional bells and whistles on your listing. If you don’t take the time to analyze those fees and add-ons, you can end up losing your shirt if your reserve price or bid minimum is too low. Fee calculators – like this ebay fee calculator – will help give you a more complete picture of all the fees your listing includes.

Second Chance Offers
Just like it sounds, this feature allows you to offer the item to the second place bidder should the original auction winner drop off the map, or simply refuse to pay. With this feature, you can award the item to the second place bidder if their price is agreeable to you.

Like any skill, managing several listings on any online auction platform has a learning curve. If you start by buying a few items to get the hang of the buyer’s perspective, you’ll have a much better idea of what you’ll need to create for your potential buyers. Creating the perfect listing for your audience will take time, but with the tips listed above and other online tools, any beginning seller can quickly become a well versed power seller.

For more tips on online auctions, be sure to see our posts on online auctions for beginners, and tips and scams online auction buyers should avoid.



  1. […] For more information about how to keep you personal and financial information safe online and on mobile devices, see our posts about protecting against financial fraud online, protecting your finances online, and how to safely sell through auction websites like ebay. […]

  2. […] While there is no hard and fast rule as to what types of items are best suited to each type of auction, it ultimately comes down to how quickly the auctioneer or owner wants to sell their items. For more tips on how to buy and sell in online auctions, be sure to see our posts on a first timer’s guide to online auctions, a history of livestock auctions, and how to sell on sites like ebay. […]

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