Money Master Online
The monthly magazine for all home business needs
The Article Bank
The extensive collection of all matters relating to Online Auctions
Frequently Asked Questions
How long should an auction be, 3, 5 ,7 or 10 days?
My belief is that the longer an item is on-line, the better you are likely to do. However I also think that more important than how long an auction should be is when should you submit it. You need to work backwards for this. The busiest time for eBay is Wednesday evening and Sunday afternoons. If you work back from there you can work out the best time to submit an item. For instance if you launch a 10 day auction on a Thursday evening it will be on eBay for two Sundays and this is good. Submit on a Tuesday and a 5 day auction will end on Sunday. The more people who are viewing near the close of an auction normally means more bids.
Are Pictures That Important?
Quite simply yes. There are very few items that will not benefit from having a photograph. You can use an ordinary camera plus a scanner or a digital camera.
These days digital cameras are not too expensive and if you are serious about selling on eBay you should seriously consider getting one. (Look on eBay, you may find a bargain!)
What is the best payment method?
From my experience 60% of my customers use Paypal and about 35% send personal cheques. The good thing about Paypal is once you are notified that the payment has been made you can dispatch the item. No waiting for cheques to arrive or be cleared.
I also find it very convenient for paying for items as well. Again if you are serious about selling on eBay get a Paypal account.
How can I quickly build up a good feedback total?
What I did when I started was offer fairly low priced goods working on the theory that this would give me quantity sales. Then when the orders came in I dispatched them by first class post well packed using Jiffy bags. (I was selling audiotapes then.). I also made sure that I answered emails promptly and in a friendly manner. The effect was that I quickly got over 50 positive feedbacks many of which commenting on the well packed quick delivery. Once you have got a good feedback rating you can consider selling higher priced items.
How should I set a minimum price and do I need a reserve?
There are many arguments as to whether you should set your minimum price at the lowest level you actually want to sell the item for or whether you should pitch it lower to attract bids and set a reserve. Low opening prices do attract bidders and get an auction moving. If for example you want to get £14 for an item if you enter it in auction it will cost you 30p listing fee. If you put it in at £1 and set a reserve of £14 you will pay 15p listing plus 30p reserve. (And remember you only pay the reserve fee if the item is not sold.) So I think that you are better off to go in low but do set a realistic reserve. Like most things in this business the real answer is to test both approaches and see which works best for you.
Why can the same article be listed by two people at the same price and one sells whilst the other does not?
Quite often it comes down to how well the item is titled and described. You have to consider the Title as you would a Headline in an advertisement and the Description is your Copy. Give as much detail as you can, don’t over hype but give an honest description. If the item has any faults state them because your purchaser will soon discover them and if you have not forewarned them you could easily find your customer demanding a refund.
What can I do to help my sales?
On important thing is to use good and appropriate keywords in your title. If people are to find your item then make sure there are good keywords in the title. For instance if you are selling a CD Player do not just put CD Player as the title. Include the Make and Model Number as well. Talking of searches I always use the Search Tab on the eBay Home Page. This search allows you to exclude items, for instance if you were looking for shoes you might want to exclude terms such as children’s or Ladies if you were actually looking for a pair of men’s shoes. This search facility allows you to do this or you can also search by price or item numbers. You have far more scope with this search facility rather than using the search box.
How can I find out more about selling on eBay?
The first thing is to go to the eBay Site Map and read all the information that you will find there. I would also suggest that if you have not heard about our tutorial program UK Auction OnLine then you might like to have a look at this. Two books that I have found very helpful are Make Your Net Auction Sell by Sydney Johnston. This is available from Ken Evoys Make Your Site Sell web site. Also I would also recommend Joseph Sinclair’s eBay-The Smart Way which is available from Amazon.