eBay nEws: Why eBay auctions work for some and are full of fail for others

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  1. #1 Jan 11, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2009
    I can't say that I agree with everything I read, but I did find some useful info here.

    Why eBay auctions work for some and are full of fail for others

    January 10, 10:53 AM
    by Auction Wally, Auctions and Antiques Examiner

    This article refers to eBay auctions only. Last week I had a chuckle as I read a blog post that declared "online auctions are dead".
    What this writer was alluding to, was that because people are no longer able to sell mass produced cheap items successfully on eBay anymore, then the online auction model is no longer a viable way to sell things.
    Well, rather than just state my case to the contrary, I'dI like to present evidence. Everything in the photographs here are posted by me on eBay and are doing very well.
    They all started at $9.95 and are offered without reserve. You can click on the links to see them for yourself.

    So why would this blogger and many others think that online auctions are dead? The blogger does not understand auctions.
    See, when eBay hit it's stride, auctions became availble to everyone as a buyer and as a seller. Since this was a novelty the marketplace exploded with activity, and for a while it was a cash cow for virtually anyone with a keyboard and some junk. EVERYONE wanted to sell via online auctions.
    The problem with this, is that much of what was being offered was low quality, mass produced things that are just not suitable for the auction market.
    The novelty wore off, these sellers were no longer getting good money for their items and the word spread, that online auctions are dead. A very mis-informed rumor.

    Online auctions for the right products are hotter than ever. Things like antiques and collectbles are in very high demand as small investors look for alternatives places to put their money, antiques dealers look for new stock, and collectors look for deals.
    But it you have to auction the right product in the right way.

    Here are a list of DOs and Don'ts to be successful with your online auction items.

    • Do sell antiques, collectibles and hot items that are in demand.
    • Do sell with a low starting bid with no reserve.
    • Do take several clear pictures of each item.
    • Do write an accurate description of what you have, if your not sure, state that you are not sure, your honesty will be appreciated, but stating something IS authentic when your not sure, will land you in hot water.
    • Do blog about your items and go beyond eBay to promote your offerings whenever possible.
    • Do state shipping and return policy up front and be reasonable about them.
    • Do list items that you can afford to let go for a low price if that happens. The auction game is not for everyone and just as any other game that offers high rewards, there are some risks.
    • Do place your item in the appropriate category and put it in 2 categories if it deserves to be placed in 2.
    • Do properly title your auction, this is an art in itself, see this article which expains further.
    • Do try to list at least several auctions at the same time to cross promote. Also, even though there is a link to "see seller's other items" on the page, make sure you indicate in every description that you currently have other nice items up for auction on eBay.
    • Do keep track of current trends and hot items in the marketplace. Even antiques and collectibles have cycles and sell better at certain times of the year. They also come in and out of favor with the marketplace. The best way to keep on top of your game is to briefly skim the best known content producers in the genre. Click here to see over 700 antiques appraisals, evaluations and articles.
    • Once your item is listed, track your email to see if there are any questions on it. The rule of thumb is, the higher quality items get more questions.
    • Do make sure that when you do bother to use a subtitle, you do so in a way that encourages people to see your other no reserve auctions.

    • Don't bother with a reserve or a high starting price. If you do this and your item does actually get a bid, it probably won't get more than one or two. Momentum is thwarted when you place a reserve on an item. There's another name for an auction item with a reserve, it's called a fixed price. Now, there's nothing wrong with selling something with a fixed price, except when you try to pitch it as an auction item. If a seller has a fantastic item I'm interested in, and I find out after I've clicked on the item that it has a reserve, I make it a point NEVER to visit that seller's items again. Why would I? I'm into real auctions and this seller has proven that they are not, I move on.
    • Don't bother trying to sell mass produced items that can be found in big box stores or many other places, UNLESS there is something special about the way your auctioning them that enhances the deal.
    • Don't title your auctions with cute words like L@@K, etc. That's web 1.0 marketing and it has no search engine value.
    Well, that's it for the Dos and don'ts, but take some good advice from an auctioneer who's been in the business for over 25 years, 10 of them on eBay. Auctions are NOT dead.
    Auctions of items which are cheap, mass produced junk are dead. Hopefully the other marketplaces will come to agree!

  2. agreed. i find that selling things on ebay is all about how you market the items you are selling. there is always somebody willing to pay more but the trick is getting just more than that 1 person and having it be an item that many people want(like you stated).
  3. I agree with every ounce of the "Don't" section! For sure!
  4. I do too except not putting a reserve on auction, if you can't afford to let a big ticket item go at a low price than I would put a reserve on the lowest price you are willing to take.
  5. Once I see A reserve, I dont bid. I never even thought twice about it.
  6. Me too. I quickly hit the back button if an item has a reserve and don't think twice about it.
  7. ITA, hidden reserves are instant bid killers. i won't waste my time bidding because i feel like the seller is playing a game. instead why don't sellers just start the auction at the absolute lowest price they'd accept?

    also, for items such as a "gently used" bag, why do some sellers post a single picture or multiple blurry, poorly lit and uncropped pics taken with their camera phone?

    another suggestion to help sellers move their product, please be prompt, courteous and honest when it comes to answering questions about the item's authenticity, condition and provenance.
  8. I don't like reserve prices either. When I am interested and I see "reserve not met" I'm thinking...must be a high price...I can't afford it..and immediately lose interest. Now I know I could just bid what I think I can pay and let whatever happens happen, but psychologically it isn't that way.

    I also won't give much thought to auctions where there is only a stock photo and blurry creeds. That's really a pet peeve. It IS possible to get a clear, well-lit pic of a creed. So do it.

    I see so many high prices on buy-it-now things that are at stores for much less, and also high starting bids...I think most of the time those are sale-killers. Just my opinion.
  9. I recently won one of my HG bags--twice--but couldn't get it because the reserve was not met in neither auction. I contacted the seller to find out if she would relist the bag, and she said she would...with a higher reserve. :blink:
  10. Agree...I have a rarely used LE LV bag up that I paid over $3000 for...there's no way I'm starting it at $9.95 with no reserve. :faint:
    That theory may work for some items but not all...that's why for items like that, I use the BIN/OBO option.

    Now THAT is just wrong. :noggin:
  11. ^ tell me about it! crazy...
  12. i agree. with the prices ebay now charges to list an item, generally you have to at least start out at that amount to break even. but if you sell anything of real value instead of random crap out of your garage or 'yard sale'/flea market type things, you need either a reserve or a high start bid. these items cost a lot and it's not worth it for the seller to list low and possibly lose a LOT of $$ because they didn't secure themselves with a reserve. that's like basically playing charades. and with the plethora of fake clothing/shoes/bags/etc listed as authentic and sold for cheap amounts, it's not only oversaturated the buyers market but also lowered values on many luxury items because potential buyers factor in the cheap deals of the fake items into how much they are willing to pay on a possibly authentic one. :tdown: i really have a deep disgust for ebay...more so now than ever.
  13. ^That's what I think happened with my brand new Dior bag...I had mine listed for $400 and I was only offered $25 for it.
    I did an ended items search and saw that a similar FAKE one had just sold for $20. :tdown:
  14. LOL, a couple days ago I did the unusual for me and emailed a seller about her reserve because the bag was one I was interested in for a while. She listed at $250 starting (with unmet reserve) and a buy it now of $750. She responded that her reserve was $750. I wish a seller in that situation would just list their bag at $750 BIN--that would be showing honesty about the price she wants. So I was reminded why I skip all listings with reserves!
  15. WTF? I don't understand that seller. I too am instantly turned off by reserve prices. As a seller, I never put a reserve price. I rather do one of the writer's "don'ts" and start my opening bid at a "higher" price, that way, it's all on the table what is the minimum I am willing to accept for my item.