51 Secrets to eBay Success

Tips 16 to 31

Create Your Listing

16. Listings formatted with HTML look more professional than plain, unformatted text. Use the HTML editor built in to both eBay's "Sell Your Item" form and eBay's free Turbo Lister. With the HTML editor, you can format description text quickly and easily. -J.G.

17. When you write your title, don't use all capital letters. Uppercase and lowercase letters are easier to read and will help people quickly see what you're selling. -M.C.

18. When creating your listings, provide a complete and specific item description with as many clear, detailed photos as possible. You cannot over-describe or overrepresent your item. Not sure what information to include along with your item description? See the next tip. -J.G.

19. Clearly list your terms and conditions, as well as shipping, returns, warranty and guarantee policies. You can use an existing template to help separate the terms and conditions into sections and highlight them with bullet points, so people can read them easily. -C.S.

20. Develop a listing schedule. Before you place a listing, consider the best times for starting and ending an auction for your particular product. For example, if you had American flags to sell, you would probably want the listing to end several days before the Fourth of July, rather than just after it--thus allowing you enough time to ship your product to your buyers in time for the holiday. If you're working in a niche area, pay attention to the days and times your items do the best, and start keeping a listing schedule. Then stick to it. Your clientele will learn when you list items, and you will get much better results from your listings. -D.E.

21. For advanced users, use seller's assistant pro. It will help you put your listings together offline, then load them onto the site using its bulk-loading feature. There's a free trial, then the service costs $24.99 per month. -C.S.

While You're Selling

22. Feed the frenzy. You can feed a bidding frenzy on your item by using a low opening bid price and no Reserve, which should attract more bidders at the outset. The more people bidding on your listing, the more likely that two or more of them will get drawn into a personal bidding war. At that point, winning the item becomes almost as important as the product they want to buy, and these bidders might eventually pay more than they intended to pay to beat out the competition. This can lead to you getting much more for your product than you expected. -D.E.

23. Don't get stuck in a rut. If an item isn't selling as well as it once did, take a look at your photos, title and description to see if they can be freshened up. -S.L.

24. Just because you're moving merchandise on eBay doesn't mean you're making a profit. If you can't sell an item with enough of a profit margin, it's probably not worth your time and effort to sell that item. -M.C.

25. Once you are notified of a sold item, you should promptly respond using the eBay check-out system. Give buyers an invoice with their total including shipping (which you can calculate using eBay's shipping rate calculator). -C.S.

Ship It

26. Once the buyer has paid, arrange for shipping as soon as possible. Make sure you pack the item securely. For more tips on packing and shipping, check out eBay's packing and shipping community help board. -C.S.

27. Be reasonable with shipping and handling costs. These costs often make the difference for buyers choosing between your listing and the competition's. One sure way to get buyers to move on to another listing is to bait them with a low price and then spring high shipping and handling costs on them. -S.L.

28. Have a regular shipping day or days. State those dates in your listings so people know when to expect their packages. -S.L.

29. Use the built-in postage service from PayPal, the eBay company that allows you to accept online payments from credit cards or bank accounts. The service allows you to purchase postage and print labels from both UPS and the USPS using your PayPal account; it's a big time-saver. -C.S.

30. Schedule courier pickups through the USPS web site--it's free, and your regular mail carrier will come to get your packages. All you have to do is pay the postage, and you won't have to wait in long lines at the post office. You can even insure the packages without having to go through a lot of hassles. -C.S.

31. Once the item is shipped out, track the package and make sure it has been delivered. Follow up with a quick e-mail to the buyer, asking for feedback and whether the item was satisfactory. -C.S.

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