5 eBay selling tips

The following 5 eBay selling tips have done good by me over the years whilst selling items on eBay and they’ve often contributed to me generating higher final selling prices on my eBay auctions.

1. Be as descriptive as possible

Ensure you give as much information as possible to potential buyers. Some eBayers will ask you questions if they don’t see the answers they crave but most won’t and that majority won’t bid on your item either. I often copy the sales copy from another seller’s item if I intend to sell a similar item – only if it has achieved the price that I want.

2. Keep the starting bid low & have no reserve

You may be nervous about this rule but it’s imperative that you get people bidding on your item as soon as possible. The higher the reserve/starting bid the less likely people are to bid. As soon as 1 person bids a £1 other people become convinced that this is a good item because someone else is interested enough to buy it.

Think of this analogy; You’re starving and there are two restaurants next to each other neither of which you’ve ate in before. Restaurant A is (comfortably) full of people whereas Restaurant B is empty. Which one are you going to choose to eat in?

3. Use as many (good) pictures as possible

People need to see what it is they’re buying to feel confident about buying it. They don’t want to make a mistake and be ripped off so if they can’t see good pictures they won’t bid. Take as many pictures from different angles as possible so yoru potential buyers are not left wondering if there’s something hidden they can’t see.

Also make sure you use pictures of the actual item you’ve take yourself. I’ve made the mistake before of using pictures from the manufacturer’s website and assumed that people would realise that my item was used and so would have some wear and tear – the didn’t and my mistake resulted in an unhappy buyer and a partial refund.

4. Make delivery as cheap as possible (if not free)

People hate to see those high delivery prices. Putting a high delivery cost on your item can push up your margin and it is tempting to imagine people are so stupid that they can’t calculate that with your heavily marked-up delivery price and the item’s listing value that they are being ripped off – but they can and do.

A high delivery price may seem like a good idea because it’s more money in your pocket but it’s a false economy because less people bid on your item and consequently you’ll get a lower sale price.

5. Make your auction end on Sunday night 8-9pm

Late Sunday night works for me – it may not be the optimal time but it is a time when people aren’t doing much; they’re practically sat at home waiting for Monday morning. Too many times, I’ve got bargains because people have set their auctions to end during business hours – when most people are banned from using eBay by their IT departments. Set your auction to end at a time when most people are at home and looking to buy, that way you’re more likely to get a bidding war at the end of your auction.


These tips really work for me. Do you use similar rules are do you have your own eBay selling tips?

6 responses to “5 eBay selling tips”

  1. Great tips Phil, I hadn’t thought about the aiming for a good auction end-time. I just sold a car on ebay and got a message from a guy after the auction saying he missed the end and wanted to bid still.

    The only other tip I would give is to not litter your description with unnecessary information. People often copy the specs of something from the manufacturer’s website, however if someone is looking for, say, a Nintendo Wii, they most likely don’t care about the speed of its processor or how much memory it has. If they were interested, they would have found that out beforehand. It’s a pain in the bum having to trawl through all that info just to find out what condition the item is in.

  2. Patrick: There is a definite pattern between a good auction ending time and a higher price. Ecommerce sites see similar patterns – at JJB Sports our best sales times were Sunday and Monday nights and the rest of the week never came even close to those peak days.

    Andy: Very good point.

  3. I agree with all these points except the delivery one. I find people tend to just see the delivery charge as a necessary cost and will bid on the item without considering too much about the delivery.

    I do this myself. It is completely stupid, but I will bid on something that is 1 penny and £4.99 postage rather than something that is £5.00 and free postage.

  4. “Be as descriptive as possible”
    This is an excellent tip. You can save a ton of question and answer time by being as descriptive as possible. If you get a couple of questions about the same feature, or benefit; consider adding these details to your description in the next auction, or if you have no bids yet; go ahead and edit this description.

    One thing that helps me to write very descriptive auction is : write your description as if you have no pictures. (of course you will have) but; if you are describing your item – features and benefits- as if you have no picture, you will find that you will naturally point out and describe (and bring attention to)every detail about your item.