Whether you’re a veteran eBay seller or a newbie, chances are you’re always looking for ways to improve sales and earn more income on the popular marketplace. And you should be. With 185 million active buyers worldwide, eBay offers online sellers a huge audience. However, you have to know what you’re doing to be successful. You can find a lot of advice online from expert sellers, but we’ve done the homework for you and came up with the top five tried-and-true tips to attract buyers, increase bid prices, and sell more. First, it’s important to know how eBay works.
eBay Selling Formats
You can choose from two selling formats on eBay, the traditional auction-style or fixed-price method.
The auction-style selling format is eBay’s claim to fame, its cornerstone. You can run a traditional auction, in which buyers bid on your product, for one, three, five, seven or ten days. You simply list an opening price, and then buyers can bid the price up from there. At the end of the auction, the highest bidder is the winner. You can set a reserve price on auction listings, which is the lowest price you will accept for the item. That way you have some control over the final sale amount.
The fixed-price method, also known as the Buy It Now format, allows sellers to set fixed prices for their products. Buyers know the exact price of an item and can purchase it right away, without bidding. This method is quick and efficient because there’s no bidding or waiting for the end of an auction.
Tips for eBay Sellers
1. Know When to End An Auction
When it comes to online auctions, timing is everything. If you’re selling on eBay, it’s most important to think about the end first. When you decide to end your listing has a lot to do with its success. Most experts and experienced sellers agree that Sunday is the best day to end a listing, specifically Sunday evening. Why? Most people are home and online on Sunday nights.
Experienced eBay sellers advise scheduling your auctions to end between 6 pm and 10 pm EST. So, if you set your auction to end about that time, odds are you’ll get more bids for a higher price. The final moments of your auction are also the time your item will appear the most in eBay searches.
2. Optimize for SEO
You can’t sell your products if no one sees them, so it’s extremely important to optimize your eBay product descriptions for SEO. A description should accurately describe your item in detail and feature every keyword a buyer might use to search for it. To get started, make a list of keywords to put in your description. For example, say you’re selling a pair of Nike Air Jordans. You’ll want to have the model, color, size, and year on your list. However, you’ll also want to add more general keywords like basketball shoes and sneakers. You can look at your competitors’ sold items to see which keywords they used to sell similar items.
Be sure to front-load your title and description with the most important keywords. Shoppers tend to pay more attention to what’s at the beginning or top of the listing. Throughout your product description, use keywords that describe exactly what you’re selling including:
- Brand name, model, serial number, color, etc.
- Benefits or best attributes of the product.
- Basic features and specifications (you can take this directly from the product packaging or operating manual).
- Condition of the product – check out this eBay guide on describing the condition of your products – get as specific as possible.
- List any included accessories.
- Make sure you follow these dos and don’ts for listing products on eBay.
3. Post Quality Images
A photo of your product can add credibility, and buyers are much more likely to continue bidding when they’re confident that they’re seeing an accurate representation of what you’re selling. Follow these tips to ensure you’re posting quality images:
- Don’t use stock photos or images from the manufacturer. Buyers want to see the actual item, exactly what they’re buying.
- Use a solid, clean background. Light backgrounds generally work best.
- Multiple photos are ideal, shoot for about six close-up photos of the product from all angles.
- If there are any defects, make sure you include an image of that defect that clearly matches the description.
- Consider including an image to display a visual size comparison photo when appropriate. For example, if you’re selling handbags, include an image of a woman holding one. This way, the buyer can visualize how it might hang on her arm or how big it might be in comparison to her body, etc. without having to go grab a tape measure.
- Lighting can make a major difference in how attractive the product looks. If you take a lot of product pictures, you might want to consider a do-it-yourself light tent. Here’s a DIY guide.
- Here is a great guide on how to make your product photos better.
4. Offer Free Shipping
While offering free shipping can cut into your profit margin, it’s a necessity. Amazon Prime has set the standard for customers’ shipping expectations. They ship fast and free. If you don’t follow suit, shoppers may be put off, and it’s easy for them to buy from a competitor who not only sells the same product but who also ships it for free.
5. Allow Easy Returns
eBay currently offers five return policy options that you can choose from:
- No returns accepted
- 30-day free return
- 30-day buyer-paid returns
- 60-day free returns
- 60-day buyer-paid returns
Obviously, the most attractive return policy for buyers is free returns. It instills trust in shoppers and mitigates the fear of buyer’s remorse, which might keep some buyers from bidding on your products. Also, when you handle returns properly, you’re more likely to receive positive feedback – and sellers with many positive reviews receive more bids.
Your time is valuable! If you spend a few more minutes working these tips into your auction listings, chances are you…and your product will get noticed. Now, go sell something!
Do you have any eBay auction selling tips to share – or maybe you sell on another auction website? Share your tips in the comments below.
Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published August 2014 and was updated in April 2021 to reflect more accurate and relevant information.