Saturday, February 27, 2010

eBay Coach's Top Five Ways to Get More Bids on eBay Items

You found a fantastic item. Several people are watching it. No bids yet. Should you worry? NO! One reason is because many buyers use sniping tools and their bids are not placed until the last few seconds. I received an email from a reader the other day arguing that XYZ item (that I had blogged about) was NOT a good seller because it didn't have any bids on it - the item had 4 days left. Hey, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I don't think this person understood sniping and how much it is used.

Sniping aside, there are things you can do to increase the likelihood of bids being placed.

1) Spend time researching keywords. This is how your buyer finds your item in the first place. I have mentioned this concept many times before. You can get a free trial at both Hammertap and Terapeak. Each is about $20 per month. And, in my opinion, the best $20 you can spend on your eBay business. At least take the free trial and see what these tools can do.

2) Have a fair return policy. Give buyers the option to return the item if they aren't satisfied. You will gain much more than you lose when offering a fair return policy. I am often criticized for this. Sellers say, "Well, I want to sell my item not rent it." Make sure you are specific about your return policy - item must be in original condition, not used, with all packaging, with tags, must not smell like cigarette smoke, or be covered in pet hair. Buyer will pay return shipping. Use common sense. Click here to learn how to write your return policy.

3) Provide clear photos, and more than just one photo. The only thing between you and your buyer is a computer monitor. You MUST take the time to take, edit, and post a great photo. Show several views of the product, and always include close-ups of details. You don't need an expensive set up. Here is an article about how to make an eBay backdrop for less than $1.

4) Offer international shipping and / or visibility on international sites. We live in a millennium of the global economy. Time zones and distance does not matter. You may not even sell the item to an international customer, but they sure help increase the bidding. I see this all the time on my own auctions. Not sure how to ship an item internationally? No problem. Click here for instructions.

5) Use common sense and treat customers the way you would like to be treated as a customer. Be professional, courteous, and friendly. Just like mom always said, "You'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

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Sandy said...

I honestly get more real, down-to-earth advice from this blog than any other eBay expert I've ever followed. Thanks so much for another great post!

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything but global shipping. It's been more of a headache than it is worth, dealing with dishonest and impatient buyers. Most are good, but the bad ones ruin it for me. There's no good tracking mechanism when you ship outside our borders.

Kristi said...

I know, I too have debated about offering global shipping. I currently get a lot of international business, but like the pp said, I also have gotten burned by impatient people or items that never seem to arrive even though I have sent them. I have learned to always keep receipts from the PO for this reason alone. Thanks for a wonderful article!

Anonymous said...

The thing that puzzles me is I can have a ton of watchers on an item, it can be started at 9.99 which is well below some sellers starting bid,be in mint condition or even brand new, charge only what the post office charges for shipping, plus a 1.00 handling fee and have 100% feedback...
auction closes with no what's wrong with this picture? Oh, and I sell internationally too, over 9 years on eBay.

Shirley E Childers said...

If you have done your research and you know the item is a hot are sure it will sell at a high price...start with a low listing price..even 99 cents.

You will get lots of watchers and bidders.

I often do this with dolls. Last week I started a doll at 9.99 and it sold for over $200. It had 24 bids. Here is the item #360236889617


Bethany Primrose said...

I'll agree, adding International shipping has drastically increased my eBay business. Yes, there's the occasional problem, but no more than domestic ones. Even if you don't want to ship worldwide, at least consider adding Canada as an option. We get a TON of Canadian buyers. Ebay has recently added more protection to sellers' feedback that sell internationally.

As far as watchers vs. bidders, be sure to pay attention to what time your auction is starting/ending. I tend to do most of my listing late at night, which is not necessarily a good time for buyers. You could easily end up with 100 watchers for an item, but when the auction end time comes up, they just plain aren't awake. Remember to take east coast/west coast into consideration as well. (I personally never use snipe programs. If I really want something badly, I will do the bidding myself at the last minute. Otherwise, I just enter the amount I'm willing to pay, and hope I don't get outbid.) We started using the 'scheduling' option with eBay when listing an item. You can now schedule items 24 hours a day, up to two weeks out. There is a 10 cent fee to schedule an item, but it generally gains *several* more bids for our items, since they are starting & ending at a reasonable time and not at midnight or later. Well worth an extra dime.

Insomniac Arts

Kelli said...

Shipping internationally is so easy, and you can increase your customer base by millions. Millions! It is a no-brainer in our opinion. The couple of times there were delivery issues (and I am talking out of thousands of International shipments) is a tiny dent in the sales we've made to happy International buyers.

Don't be afraid to ship internationally!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for always sharing such wonderful and easy to understand articles.

I just wanted to note how completely I agree with the first paragraph of this one. We have found that 99% of bidding happens in those last minutes.

Case in point. The other day we had an auction closing for a Ranger Reward Coin. It got a couple bids early on, but in the last about 10 minutes it jumped from around $20 to over $70.

We find the only time we see bids early in an auction is A. The user is new to eBay and came in through a google search or something like that. or B. Its one of our special Penny Auctions - Penny auctions always get those early on bids.

Having no bids on an auction with 4 days left really means absolutely nothing other than there is so much time left that buyers figure bidding early on will only drive up the price on the item and cost them more. I know when I buy that is how I think. I will always click watch and come back as close to the end as possible (I don't use snipe tools but many do).

Anyways, thanks again for sharing wonderful articles. I love them!

Kim Sager from ThenAndAgainTreasures on eBay.