Saturday, 14 December 2013

eBay seller tips and tricks: FASTER sales with HIGHER PRICES. Better profits with ebay!

Over the last few years I've had a few spells of selling via eBay, with moderate success, mostly getting rid of clutter, basically the stereotypical eBay user. I always wondered how people managed to sell quite SO MUCH stuff, with relatively new users being "power sellers" with six figure feedback scores etc.

My first thought was "they must spend all day just listing and packaging, and making trips to the post office".....Which is probably true.

I'm not interested in selling, just whatever I can find to make a few quid on. I don't have time to sit about buying up lots of stuff, just to flip it, and even if I did, I couldn't store it all, and I wouldn't want it sitting about for ages.

My work over the last few years has changed considerably, I rarely set foot on a site now and most of my work is done in the workshop, so I basically decided to go back to eBay to shift a few things, and re-invest it back for more practical and sensible items.

So I've spent a little while on the internet recently doing a little research into what items were already out there, steak out the competition of sellers with the same item, what the going price was that kind of thing.

Now I also have used other selling sites over the years, with varying results for craft lines and that kind of thing. and I got me thinking whilst I was researching, you know how it goes, a couple of clicks later and you can really start to wonder away from where you started! I could probably get back into eBay with the craft lines, over runs, off-cuts, and generally things that are starting to clutter.

So now we really get to the "juice".....but I'll cut to the chase! There's loads of stuff on eBay, my few items need to stick out, get noticed, get watched, and get sold! That's the point. "THE SIZZLE THAT SELLS THE STEAK", "THE SHOWROOM FLOOR THAT SELLS THE BENTLEY". Doesn't matter what witty quip you add, you need to stand out!

Here's what I found out!

1. firstly there's lots of stuff on eBay, yes! But there's also loads of rubbish, the chaff among the wheat so to speak. eBay uses algorithms much like search engines it would seem, so first off you need the title to be as good as it can be. There is a  character limit, so use it to best describe your item. make, model, year that kind of thing. don't be tempted to waste your time with "must see" "great item" or rubbish like that...If you must, spend a few pennies on a subtitle (TBH, why bother!). currently there is a tool for title optimisation, but it's only available until 15/12/2013, you can view it here. I found this tool to be of some use, but more over a little common sense and looking at similar listings helped me more than this.

2. talking of similar listings, eBay actually has a function to search VERY closely, just click on the ADVANCED SEARCH button, and you can look up not just current listings, but also completed listings, more on that later.. looking up this way lets you know whats on ebay, and whats been on ebay, it also lets you work out good titles that people are, or have been using.
The above is simply a screenshot of the results of a search for "oak table", completed items only.
You can really maximise this tool to see what's selling, and for what price. If you're clever you can equate this to items to go out and hunt for, from the point of view of selling these on for profit. From this results list, you can work out if there is demand, and if there is, you can start looking to supply! prices in RED didn't sell, prices in green did. you can then go into the listing and see how many bids, and how many bidders etc. (the more bidders, the bigger the demand).

3. assuming you have something to sell and have given your listing a good title for people to find, the next thing I think about is pictures. I use a Canon EOS 700D for my photo's, for basically all pictures. I'm not a photographer, nor do I pretend to be, but the point is this: Take the best photo's you can! I'm not going to write a massive long piece on how to take great pictures, you can find loads of info on that, in books and on the net. however, basically, do the best you can, lighting, angles, close-ups, just think of all the things you'd want to see if you were buying!
Hopefully you can see the listing above, it's just one I picked out of the "oak table" search, I've blurred the listing number etc. The point for this one is my next tip. this listing actually had a whole host of pictures, and pretty good one too. but they were using the ebay uploaded pictures. when you go down to read about teh item, you can't see the pictures. but it's really easy to do! NO, NOT SELLERCORE!
For those of you who don't know, sellercore is a seller tools, that you have to pay for, it's basically, from what i can see a pretty good HTML editor, that is FAR better than the, (IMHO) rubbish one ebay lets you use. but you have to pay money for it! But WAIT, lets use a free one! lets use a blog service! I used Wordpress, mostly because I'm ore familiar with it, and more importantly because I don't blog from there.....
Wordpress give you 3GB of storage space for pictures, so you can take your photo's, upload them to your account, and write the listing for your item using the wordpress HTML editor - even if you don't know HTML it matters not! add in all the pictures, etc as if you were writing a word document, swap to the HTML view select all the code that will be what you've just typed and copy it. then go into your ebay listing, swap straight to the HTML editor and hit past, save and preview. everything you just typed will be visible in the listing! as wordpress are basically hosting the images for free. there are loads of free image hosts out there, but doing this just makes it quicker and simpler, to do all the text as well in double quick time.
one extra thing I did was upload a few of these pictures up to ebay as normal, this means people can see an image in their search results. And TBH , they are giving 12 free pictures, so why not?!

so now we have a hot steak, lets make it sizzle! Image your looking to buy a car. If you go look at one, you'll want to see and hear the enging running right? well you can't via ebay, so why not have the next best thing?
YouTube give out free accounts, and hosting..... shoot a video of the item your selling, just a few minutes, again just like the pictures, details, see it in action, show any defects etc..... it may seem over kill, but look at as a buyer: two identical items, similarly priced, but one you've seen in action, you see it work. you've been shown the details, for only one. Which one becomes the most likely for you to buy or bid on? 

4. Adding videos is really simple. I use a smart phone. record the video. free editing software, that's basic but does the job. upload it straight to my account and make it unlisted (so it doesn't get seen by anyone who searches, just people who have the link). I couldn't resist, so here's one of my woodworking videos, the process is the same for here as it is on ebay, although ebay has stopped letting you add auto play videos :-(

adding this video is as simple as adding a picture to a blog:
 the site I use is this one vtubetools. you simple paste the URL into the box and it'll generate the code. this you just paste straight into the HTML view of you eBay listing, and save it!

It really is that simple! I spent about an hour playing with my first listing, but once I got the hang of it, i did the rest in about a couple of minutes. and there really was a big difference in sales and speed of sales! worth the effort to get my items sold over somebody else's!

let me know if you have any questions, comments etc. I really thing that this is a great way to sell. I'm looking at the moment about maybe dabbling into using some of these search techniques to find poorly listed items, to flip for a profit. might be a bit of fun as well as making a couple of quid!

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