by: Jamie Sloan
Last year alone, millions of people made a profit on e-bay. Some were just selling odds and ends, while some ran huge businesses exclusively on e-bay. The amount of commerce done on the internet is only expected to increase, making prospects for e-bay users bright. You very well may be one of the people who’s discovered the great benefits of making money from e-bay auctions. I myself have been an e-bay user for a little over a year and have had great success with my auctions.
When my friend began her business on e-bay selling high end purses, it started out quite rocky. Her auctions weren’t getting the hits she wanted and usually sold off of one bid, instead of creating the bidding frenzy that beautiful bags like she had should have!
So, she called me up knowing I had been successfully using e-bay for almost a year at the time. She gave me her login information (we’re best friends- she trusts me!) and asked me to check her her sales and current auctions and see if I noticed where the problem was. When I saw her current auctions, alot became obvious!
So, I compiled a list of things that I had used which had made me successful which I suggested she implement into her own auctions. I even revised the auctions she had active at the time. One of those auctions- a gorgeous brown Coach purse- sold for $546.00. She had listed it for $125.00. It was her biggest sale yet and she was thrilled.
The funny thing is, the methods I use are not some internet guru secrets. They are just things I picked up during my time using e-bay, but seem to be overlooked alot of the time. Here are what I have found to be the top 7 overlooked tips for successful e-bay auctions:
1. The Importance of a Good Title- When you’re creating a title for your auction, you’ve gotta think like a buyer. When I checked my friend’s listings, she had a beautiful, brand new brown patchwork Coach purse titled as ‘coach purse’. This is way too general! A buyer knows what they want; in your title, include color, any brand name, main keywords that people will search, and condition is possible. I changed her title to “Brown & Beige Patchwork Coach Purse-Brand New”. By the next day, it had over 100 new hits. Previously her auctions were hardly even reaching 100 hits throughout the whole 5 days.
Another mistake people often make is writing things like ‘The best wristwatch ever!!!!” Even if you do believe you’re selling the best wristwatch ever, is this really what a buyer is searching for? Of course not. Use a more descriptive, detailed title like ‘Gold Armani Wrist Watch w/ Leather Band-New”.
One more thing when it comes to titles: make sure keywords are included. For example, whatever the item you’re selling actually IS, include that in the title. On e-bay, I mostly sell high end women’s heels. I always make sure to include in my title ‘Womens Shoes” because this is a common keyword. An example of a title I would use is:
“Brown Marc Jacobs Womens Silver Stud Pumps Shoes”- I know that ‘pumps shoes’ sounds awkward, but many women will search for “marc jacobs womens shoes”, and I want to be sure my item shows up in the results. Use these tips when creating your title and you’ll be sure to see increased traffic to your auction.
2. Give honest descriptions- Sure, that stain, tear, or other defect may be sooo small that it’s almost impossible to notice. Still, mention it in your auction. If you send an item out and a buyer realizes that the item has a defect that you didn’t mention in the auction description, they will be disappointed and very possibly leave you negative feedback. Anyone familiar with e-bay knows that feedback is everything. It is what makes people feel comfortable buying from you and proves that you are a trustworthy, reliable buyer.
It’s best to provide a photo of any defects so potential buyers can see what they’re getting. And believe me, if you say that there’s a defect but don’t show a picture, people will e-mail you asking for some. I have sometimes had a defect so tiny on a shoe that I couldn’t even get it to show up in a picture. If that’s the case, say it! Provide a picture of the area where the defect is and also explain in your listing that it’s so miniscule that you can’t get it to show up in the picture. Buyers will trust you much more and be way more willing to buy from you in the future. You also won’t have to deal with an unsatisfied customer who can damage your feedback rating and make future potential buyers hesitant or even completely dissaude them from buying from you.
3. Offer International Shipping- So often I see sellers who are providing great products but don’t offer international shipping. Let me tell you- about 30% of my sales are to international buyers, and very often international buyers will pay more for products. I never understood why people are restraining their own sales potential by not offering international shipping.
Remember, the buyer is the one who pays the shipping, not you!! Even though international shipping is expensive, you are not paying it! And don’t be discouraged thinking sending things internationally is difficult- it’s super simple and not much different then sending things within the country. If you use USPS (the method I find most efficient for prices and service), you may have to fill out a short customs sheet that takes no more than a minute. Don’t be lazy! Offer international shipping and see your sales soar!
4. Send a Thank You card with your purchase- You can get packs of black decorative cards from any general store, WalMart, or even discount chains like TJ Maxx. Buy a couple packs and with people’s packages, send a nice thank you card.
You don’t have to write a dialog, just a simple “Name of Buyer, Thanks so much for your bid! Enjoy your purchase, and I hope to do business with you in the future! Your Name or Business Name” If you want to really go all out and rake in some super feedback, include a small free gift. When I sell a pair of shoes I usually include a free headband or pair of earrings. If you’d like to try this out, try to find something that compliments whatever it is that you’re selling. You could also include a little bag of candy or some tea light candles (go to the dollar store for great knick knacks and free gift ideas). Use your imagination to make your customers satisfied and loyal!
5. Offer combined shipping Buyers love combined shipping. If you offer a good combined shipping deal, and have more than one item they’re interested in, they’re ten times more likely to buy both items. Some people choose to determine combined shipping depending upon the two items the buyer is interested in, while others have set shipping rules. A good example is to charge $_.__ for the first item and offer to send the second item free, or for $1.00-$2.00 more. Usually the additional weight of the package isn’t much so it’s possible to offer combined shipping without losing any profit at all. Determine your own rates depending on the weight of the items you sell and the shipping service you use.
6.Keep communication with Buyers open and offer more pictures upon request. Of course in your listing you must include good pictures to attract buyers. Most people include 2-4 pictures per listing, depending on the size of the items and any special details you’ve got to show. I always include at least 3 pictures, and more if I feel the item needs more pictures of some detail it has that is unique.
Even though you have already provided your buyers with good pictures, it’s helpful to write in your listing “Contact me with any questions or for more pictures. (with your contact info)” This is another method that makes buyers instantly trust you more and feel more comfortable placing bids. They feel that the communication lines are open and that they can get more info on the item if needed. And don’t be discouraged thinking that you’ll spend the whole day responding to e-mails requesting more photos; If you’ve already included good pictures, most people won’t bother asking for more. Of over 50 listings where I’ve written this, only one person ever asked me for additional pictures. Check your e-mail though at least once a day to see if you’ve got any questions, people love quick responses and will reward you with good feedback for your effective communication.
7. Always use Delivery Confirmation- This is a biggie! Make sure that when you post your shipping costs, delivery confirmation costs are included so buyers aren’t questioning the extrra expense when they receive their invoice. Delivery confirmation is a cheap effective way to ensure both your own and the buyer’s investment.
First of all, you do not want to get scammed. What? Scammed? Yes, it happens. I know that most of the scamming referred to on e-bay is about sellers who scam their buyers, but don’t be naive; we sellers are also at risk. Although the majority of the e-bay community is good people who are just trying to conduct legitimate transactions, there are those rotten apples which make it hard for all of us.
The usefulness of delivery confirmation was brought to my attention my an acquaintence of mine who does some selling on e-bay. He sold some very high quality digital remote for around $250.00. He shipped the item using delivery confirmation, and after about a week told me he received an e-mail from the buyer saing she’d never received the product. She filed a whole complaint with e-bay and made a big fuss about it. GOOD THING he had the delivery confirmation number and was able to prove that the product had been shipped to her address. Don’t let one of these scammers get a chance to cheat you out of your money.
Making delivery confirmation a requirement is also something that will make serious bidders trust you more and see that you’re a legitimate business person who wants to secure shipment. Think about it; if someone requests NOT to use delivery confirmation, you can guess where their intentions are. The extra .75 is not breaking anyone’s piggy bank, so don’t feel bad about it.
There you have it! Use these highly useful yet highly overlooked tips to generate more traffic to your auctions and enjoy higher sale prices. To e-bay success!
Check out http://www.freelancemommystudio.com for more e-bay and work at home tips and programs!
About The Author:
Hello all! My name is Jamie Sloan, and I am a full time student at Berkeley College. I am studying International Business. Upon graduating Berkeley, I’d prefer to get a job at the United Nations while continuing my education. My ultimate academic goal is go achieve a Ph. D in Anthropology.
I speak four languages fluently and am studying Arabic as my fifth. I make an income excluxively online through internet marketing, but make extra cash using e-bay. Enjoy the article!
Copyright Jamie Sloan 2008, Re-use of this article is permitted along with author’s name and link to website http://www.freelancemommystudio.com