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Making the Most of eBay

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 23 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
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EBay is a wonderful place for buying and selling almost anything. But have you ever noticed that some people seem more successful at using it both as buyers and sellers? All it means is that they’ve learned how to use eBay properly. There’s an art to it, but you can learn to use eBay to your advantage, too.

The Most from Selling

The first thing to do is research thoroughly before listing your item. See what similar goods sell for on the site (you’ll find that the prices can vary widely in many cases).

Take time composing your listing. Be very thorough – the more information you include, the better your chances of coming away with good money. Add pictures. One is fine, but for items of some value, use more. You pay a small fee, but it can bring a high dividend.

Don’t be afraid to point out any flaws in your item; in the long run, honesty is always the best policy and buyers will appreciate it.

Obviously, the more people who see your listing, the greater the chance of it selling for a high price. Keywords are important, to put your item in many different categories. Use as many as possible. You can also pay extra to have your listing at the top of a page. With something valuable, it can be well worth the extra outlay.

If your item is rare, don’t be afraid to say so – and why.

Set a realistic starting price. Don’t be ambitious and set it too high – you’ll simply discourage bidders. Conversely, there’s no need to start at a penny if the item is worth considerably more.

Take the time to discover the cost of postage and include that (as well as any packaging charge). Make payment easy for buyers, by offering the multiple options of PayPal, snail mail or cheque. With high-ticket items, eBay has an escrow service that protects both you and the buyer. In other words, take advantage of all the tools eBay has to offer.

There are also outside tools you can utilise to make your listings look snazzy, but they’re largely unnecessary. People are interested in the item, not flashing surrounds; in fact, many find them distracting.

The Most from Buying

Be a savvy buyer. That means not bidding on impulse, but only on items you really want. When you’re bidding, set an upper limit and stick to it. That’s easy to do (at least in theory!). Simply bid your highest amount when offering your initial bid.

If the item is something you simply must have, no matter the cost, monitor the last few minutes of the auction. A handy technique and one that works especially well against inexperienced bidders, is to add a high bid in the last few seconds of an auction. It’s an almost unbeatable strategy – unless the other party has already tabled a higher bid.

Know the value of items you’re bidding on. Follow the progress of the bidding daily using the “My eBay” facility. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of the seller to determine condition, etc., and ask for more pictures if you feel you need them.

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