BOOT CAMP 384 (05/07/05)
ebay Top Tips part 3, Selling
Once you’ve got a few
purchases under your belt you’ll probably want to try your hand at selling on
ebay. It’s really easy, a great way of getting rid of clutter and you never
know, you might even make a few bob!
The key to successful
selling is preparation; this week we’ll look at some simple steps you can take
to make your auction easier to set up and hopefully achieve the best price for
You can sell almost
anything on ebay but there is a list of prohibited and questionable items, which
you can view at: http://pages.ebay.co.uk/help/sell/item_allowed.html. Most restricted items
are fairly obvious: alcohol, animals, drugs, firearms, human remains and so on
but check the lists anyway as they make interesting
Once you have decided
upon something you want to sell spend some time looking through the ebay
listings for similar items. This serves two purposes; it gives you an idea of
the likely selling price and helps you compose a title and categorise your
auction, to make it easier to find. Listing Categories are displayed at the top
of every auction page so make a note of the ones used by lots that have
attracted the most bids and viewings.
Novice sellers often
have an unrealistic idea of what their property is worth and set high Start or
Reserve prices and then wonder why it doesn’t sell. Not only is this a waste of
time and effort you will also forfeit your listing fees. In general auctions
with the lowest starting prices generate the most interest. A high Reserve price
at or near the hoped for selling price can also be a turn-off for some buyers.
Don’t worry too much
about setting a low Start price, if the auction is going badly, only a few
people have looked at it and you fear it may sell too cheaply you can withdraw
the lot up to 12 hours before the auction ends, though you will still have to
pay the listing fee. However, bear in mind that most bids will probably be
placed in the last few minutes so if your lot has received plenty of interest
and you suspect potential bidders are holding off, grit your teeth and
The next step is to take
some photographs and the simplest way to do that is with a digital camera. You
can use a film camera but you will have to get it processed then scan the image.
If you haven’t got a digital camera you know where to look to find a bargain.
You don’t have to include a photograph but people really like to see what they
Take your time with the
photography, it is your main shop window and a well-lit picture with an unfussy
background will attract more attention than a dark grainy or out of focus image.
Take several pictures from different angles, capture any special features or
points of interest in close up, though you can crop your images later using a
photo-editing program once they have been copied to your PC (see Top Tip).
The first picture is
free, extra ones cost 12 pence so prepare two or three, (picture fees are
doubled if the auction is listed in two categories). The first picture can also
be shown as a thumbnail in the listings ‘Gallery’. This costs extra but it’s 15
pence well spent.
It’s easiest to compose your Title and Description
‘off-line’ using your word processor then copy and paste the text into the boxes
on ebay’s Selling pages. This also means you have a permanent copy, which you
can use or edit to save time should you sell a similar item at a later date.
The Title is the most
important element in attracting potential bidders as it contains the keywords
buyers are searching for. Unfortunately you only have 55 characters to play with
so chose your words carefully. Critical items include the manufacturers name,
model number, date, period, style, artist etc. If you are stuck for ideas refer
to the Title line of similar items that have sold successfully. You should also
put in one or two words relating to condition, such as ‘as new’ or ‘perfect’.
Don’t forget the car
boot sale side of ebay; it’s a great place to get rid of your unwanted junk. A
surprising number of buyers are on the look out for ‘fixer-uppers’ -- old hi-fi
equipment and cameras from top name manufacturers often sells well -- so if the
item is broken, worn or damaged say so and the key words here are ‘spares or
repairs’, ‘faulty’ etc.
There are no limits on
the length of the description but try to be concise and scrupulously honest. If
the item has flaws point them out and you will avoid problems later on. This is
your primary selling tool once someone has found their way to your auction page,
so talk it up, mention any unusual features but avoid too much flowery language,
you don’t want to put bidders off, or make them suspicious. If you know of a web
site where there’s more information put in the address. Finally, check your
grammar and spelling; you don’t want to give the impression that you are
careless or lazy.
Next Week -- ebay Top Tips, more about selling
Part 1 2 4 5
Cut out and Save part of an image to make it appear
phrases used to search for information
Postage stam sized image
TIP OF THE WEEK
An easy way to get a close up view from part of a photograph
is to use your picture editing software’s Selection Tool; this technique works
in most programs. Select the Tool then align the mouse pointer or crosshair on
the top left hand corner of the area of the photo you want to use. Click the
left mouse button and drag the pointer to the bottom right hand corner to define
the area. Press Ctrl + C to Copy the image to the Clipboard then Ctrl + V to
Paste it as a new image. Go to Save As on the File menu, give the new image a
name and save it in JPEG format.