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eBay selling strategy - start 'em high or low?

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by Holy Zoo, Nov 9, 2003.

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  1. Holy Zoo

    Holy Zoo Gort (Retired) :-) Thread Starter

    Santa Cruz
    Although I've bought nearly 500 items off ebay, I've sold under a dozen.

    I'm looking for some tips from y'all. Lets say I'm selling a popular item, there's always 1 or 2 up on ebay, and usually sells (for argument sake) in the $200-$300 ($200 minimum, $300 high end) range.

    What's the best strategy:

    1) start at $1, no reserve, buy it now with for $300?
    2) start at $1, reserve at $200, buy it now for $300?
    3) start at $150ish, no reserve, buy it now for $300?
    4) start at $150ish, reserve at $200, buy it now for $300?

    I know that you get lots more bidders with #1, but on average, does $1 starters push their way up into the high end ($300) or sell more in the low end (say $220).

    My casual observation is that #2 seems to work well, gets lots of bidders. But of course, the listing fee is a lot higher.

  2. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialist™

    Well, the only risk is that you can get screwed by low bidding so I think you have it right by having a reserve to prevent this possibility.
  3. Roland Stone

    Roland Stone Offending Member

    My brother is an avid eBay seller, and if you have a popular item, he'd recommend option one. Assuming your item normally sells for $200 on eBay, it's going to get to its auction price whether you start it at $1 or $150. And the more bidders, the better for you; maybe they'll get into a sniping contest during the final minutes.

    The only time you really need to use reserve or a high first bid is when you're unsure how to list the item to get maximum views; you're unsure how much the item is worth; completed auctions reveal a wide range of winning bids; or the item is so valuable that you simply can't risk a low auction, even at the expense of a higher listing fee.

    Of course this is in my opinion! In the end, it's your money/item. If you're going to stay up all night worrying and checking on your $200 item that's only bidded up to $30 with twelve hours remaining, then by all means, buy the insurance of a reserve or higher first bid.
  4. MikePh

    MikePh Forum Resident


    I'm an avid seller and usually settle on #3 to protect my investment, depending on what I paid for the item...

    Watch out for holiday/slow weeks and try to end late on Sunday/early Monday.

    Also depends on what it is...
  5. ascot

    ascot Senior Member


    I would go with the lower opening price and a reserve. You may want to set the opening bid in the $75-$100 range just to give an idea where the reserve will be.

    I see we have a new section in the Forum, too (eBay auctions). :)
  6. Gary

    Gary Nauga Gort! Staff

    An obvious thought - make sure it's listed correctly! :eek:
  7. Craig

    Craig (unspecified) Staff

    North of Seattle
    Make sure you describe it as Stunning!
  8. Holy Zoo

    Holy Zoo Gort (Retired) :-) Thread Starter

    Santa Cruz

    All - thanks! Excellent advice. (er... STUNNING advice). ;)
  9. Gary Freed

    Gary Freed Forum Resident


    The Buy-It Now option usually attracts fewer bidders initially IMO.
    Reserve can be a turn off too. Set your opening bid price a little bit under what others have bid for a similar item on the last day or so of a similar auction. It should put you right in the ball park to get a few initial bites.

    The best thing to do is observe other auctions, what the closing bid price is yielding as well as the bid activity during the last several days of the auction.
  10. Sckott

    Sckott Hand Tighten Only.

    South Plymouth, Ma
    If you want to be competitive, look to what the item is going for, how it's being sold.

    If you start basement-level-low with no reserve you need only worry if your item sells "too low". That's rare these days for eBay. If you're bidding on something semi-valueable, there's 40 people who want it, and will drive the price up easy to usually at or above market value.
  11. Parkertown

    Parkertown See what love can do

    Hey, while you guys are at it, how about the LENGTH of the listing?

    A week? 10 days? 3 day auction? What's the most effective you think?

    Probably depends on the item...
  12. Dave

    Dave Esoteric Audio Research Specialist™

    Jeff, as a side note it is best to have your auction/s ending at around 5-6pm. EST. for the most amount of bidding and final minute sniping. Sunday is always the busiest day of the week on Ebay.
  13. aceman400

    aceman400 Black Triangle Fan

    I like 5-7 days. 10 days cost more and I don't really see higher prices.
    I'd start it at 9.99 and have a reserve of $200. The reserve helps protect your investment. Skip the buy it now. I used to use it but have stopped.

  14. MikePh

    MikePh Forum Resident

    Starting on Thursday evening for a 10-day gets you the benefit of exposure during two weekends and a Sunday close.
  15. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    Has someone actually researched this? By my own thinking, I would think a closing of 9-10PM eastern time would mean most folks would be at home after work and available for the evening to do their last minute bidding and sniping. Earlier, and the west coast is still at work (and really should be working instead of eBaying... ;) ).

    I'd say that if the items is popular and always sells for a price acceptable to you, start it at $9.99. I think that's still within the range of the lowest listing fee. I don't know if the end price is any higher, but I do see auctions with low opening prices get a lot more bids. And a lot more bidders means the chances for last minute bidding could be greater.
  16. Clay

    Clay New Member

    Saratoga, CA
    For Bond or Disney DVDs a buy it now with a bid ~8% less is the best.

    For popular items:
    start $1 or $9.95 should do it.

    I use full disclosure (you find stuff wrong with things you never noticed until you inspect it to represent it accurately on ebay)

    I like fixed shipping.
    If large or heavy say continental US for the fixed price.
    Fed ex for heavy stuff or big stuff.
    USPS for everything else and get free boxes on line and free delivery confirmation on line when you print your label on line.

    $1 example:

    $9.95 example
    used 24 season 2 sold for $41
    HO train stuff sold way more than I thought it would

    $19.95 example (my minimum I could part with it for) sold for $91
    I did offer it here for $~35 first.

    I try to list Tuesday 5 day, Thursday 10 day, Sunday 7 day auctions.
    I have been shooting for 7:00 PST end time yet I like the idea above to end a bit earlier like 4:00.

    Some ideas.

    You need great pictures too.

    If you know exactly what you want and what it is worth use buy it now.
    In the examples above, the items sold way higher than I would have thought so the BIN would have been too low.

    Also check similar items and use a category that gets more hits and higher prices.
  17. Clay

    Clay New Member

    Saratoga, CA
    Oh Yea!

    Great new Category. eBay Auctions
  18. ascot

    ascot Senior Member

    Clay is right about the pictures. I sold off a number of old board games my parents had stuck in their garage for them. I took the time to take the pieces out and lay everything out for the camera. People saw exactly what they were getting.

    I don't know exactly how much of a difference this made but the sale went well. I think maybe it's ingrained in people's minds that since they can't actually hold and examine an item, the more of it they can see in the pictures, the better.
  19. -=Rudy=-

    -=Rudy=- ♪♫♪♫♫♪♪♫♪♪ Staff

    On the flip side, do any of you find yourself passing up eBay auctions that don't have pictures? I've been doing that. If something's sort of rare and there's not much chance I'll find another one, I might consider it. But I still would rather see something before buying it.

    Lately I've been doing the same for auctions where the seller doesn't take PayPal.
  20. ferric

    ferric Iron Dino In Memoriam

    Buy it now for $10.00 and $290.00 for shipping and "handling". I hope this has been helpful. ;)
  21. Clay

    Clay New Member

    Saratoga, CA
    Here is another good example of a low price with no reserve.
    $9.95 listing for $.30 plus vendio pictures service.
    65 hits and $160 in 2 days and 5 more to go.
    this is a great way to sell for popular items.
    not my auction -
    For super unpopular items just list it for the selling price - like the 1970 GM issue VCR tape of the Caprice I sold for the listed price of $9.95 - only one person wanted it. My NOS sony tt dustcover listed for $9.95 hoped to sell it and it sold for ~$29 - go figure.
  22. GregY

    GregY New Member

    I recently sold some childhood toys and, as awful as the pictures I took were, they really seemed to help the auction. I just took pictures of *everything* and said "Please ask any questions before bidding." My auction ended up pulling in a lot more money than I initially expected.

    So pictures definitely help, even if they're a pain to take, transfer, crop, put on a web host and then link to.
  23. tjluke68

    tjluke68 New Member

    EBAY's been baffling me lately. I had a white label Columbia LP of LOLA ALBRIGHT up with a starting bid of $24.99 and no takers! The auction ended last night around 11 pm. Last auction ended the week before, in the early evening for $88! And it was a promo also. I just don't get it...???

    So I'll probably relist it and it will sell for more than $24.99 this time (I hope) and the winner won't know that he could've gotten it cheaper the 1st time around...???
  24. KeithH

    KeithH Success With Honor...then and now

    Beaver Stadium
    Definitely post pictures. If you are selling a CD, include the following:

    * A picture of the actual disc. That tells collectors which version you are offering.

    * The record label, catalog number, and where the disc was made. Again, this helps collectors. Too many people on eBay are lazy and only show the album cover (or they do it out of a lack of knowledge of what the collector is looking for). A picture of the cover is often useless.

    * Be accurate and thorough in describing the condition of the disc (label and play sides) and inserts.

    Be sure to accept payment by PayPal. This is the age of the Internet. I find it a turn off when sellers don't accept PayPal, as I really don't like having to get a money order and then taking it to the post office. It's old-fashioned, time consuming, and slow for the buyer and seller.
  25. mal content

    mal content Guest

    Although what I sell is more musical gear than Cds/records, I usually move a lot of stuff with Buy It Now. If it's something you can research Ebay value of in same condition, and buyer can do the same, it may well move. I've even gotten a slight premium at times over usual value (I'm up to 1000+ feedbacks which helps). And BIN only costs a nickel.
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