6 ways to make your listings more attractive and your products more valuable…

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Anyway – back to today’s topic…

Take a few precautions, make a few simple changes, add value to your cheap acquisitions and make them more appealing to buyers. The following tips show how.

#1. Should you scan or photograph your product? Which is best and why? Your gallery image, the one that shows outside your listings, has to be perfect to attract people to click on your listing to read more about your product.

Images inside your listing must also be clear and professional looking, but you can get away with slightly lower quality images inside your listing.

But – should you scan or photograph your product or are the two end results always the same?

The answer to this is, in effect, no, the same item scanned and photographed can present very different images, with clarity and colour varying significantly between the two.

I personally find scanned images give more definition than photographs, but almost always the scanned image will have a yellowy hue that isn’t on the photograph.

Photographs can blur with an unsteady hand on the camera; scanning usually gives a clear and close up image every time.

Scanning tends to be faster than taking photographs and your images can be sitting there on the desktop seconds after scanning, compared to having to transfer photographs from camera to computer before cropping and naming each one.

And if you scan parts of your product and photograph the rest, you leave potential buyers wondering why colours vary so much between your images. They’ll wonder if you’ve doctored any and if your images anywhere near the real thing?

So all-in-all, if I have a choice I favour scanner over camera, especially for the mainly small flat products I sell, such as postcards, photographs, theatre programmes.

But you can’t stick a car on a scanner bed, can you? And scanning jewellery and most other metal objects can scratch the scanner bed and require expensive replacement.

You can, however, scan documents accompanying those items, such as vehicle documentation and provenance accompanying limited edition designer jewellery.

So you have to choose which is best for whatever item you are listing and if and when both options are appropriate. And that leads to two other important considerations:

  • Which type of image gets used for your gallery illustration?
  • How do you explain minor or more obvious colour variations between images?

Where possible I use the scanned image for my gallery illustration, which usually provides greater definition and shows closer detail than photographs.

I only use photographs for items or views that won’t show up on a scanned image, such as showing the item from several different areas in one image, or where really close up detail is required – as in a street name, for example, or facial features in a vintage photograph – and only a scan will properly show those details.

Where both formats are used in my listing (that is scans and photographs) I add something like this to my description: ‘Illustrations show the product scanned and photographed, causing colours to vary a little between formats. Images 1, 2 and 3 are scans; images 4 to 6 are photographs. The scanned images are closer to the actual colour of the product. The photographs provide images that are not possible using a scanner.

#2. Keep items as close to their original state as possible. Keep original product packaging for ornaments and toys and other collectable items. Collectable items always fetch more money with their original packaging, as do items intended as gifts.

Obtain new boxes for items lacking their own packaging or to make cheap items like costume jewellery look more valuable. And you must not suggest boxes are original to the product, especially where the box bears an important maker’s name.

But there’s nothing to stop you placing collectors coins in plain velveteen boxes used for jewellery, or refurbished toys in plain cardboard boxes packed with tissue paper.

#3. Don’t write prices directly onto packaging or product. Not only does this make a collectable item less valuable, but it also makes life difficult for people wanting to re-sell their purchase at a higher price.

So, for example, you will often see a deep indentation where someone prices an item with a heavy hand, even where the pencil mark can be rubbed away.

But if you have an item with heavy indentations – where a price used to be and buyers can see you paid just £1 for something now priced in double-figures, for example – here’s a tip…

It involves trying to make the indentation reflect a price closer to what you are charging now. It’s done by taking a thick pencil and turning £1 into £14, for example, or changing £2 to £20 pounds – or even £200.

Use a heavy hand like the first person did and try to copy that person’s handwriting. Then rub away your pencil edits. The end result should make it appear you paid more than you actually did for whatever you are selling.

#4. Make whatever repairs possible without spoiling an item and lowering its value. But do not repair valuable items yourself unless you know what you are doing. Most collectors and dealers prefer to have their own repairs made to damaged antiques and collectibles.

Do an advanced search on eBay to see what a perfect example might fetch before buying a damaged specimen for resale. Then calculate the cost of repairs – or refurbishment / restoration – and only buy where cost of the damaged item plus repairs is much lower than potential re-sale value.

Bear in mind a restored item almost always fetches less than a perfect original specimen.

If repair is appropriate, find a reliable specialist from antiques trade magazines and directories, or do a Google search for something like: ‘glass + ornament + repair’; ‘Restorer + for + Lalique + plate’; or ‘Steiff + teddy + bear + repairs’.

#5. Look for multiple same-product items in need of repair or renovation, selling at boot sales and flea markets, antiques fairs and in second-hand shops. Few people want to repair items themselves, so prices will invariably be low for damaged goods. Now take the best parts from each item and create one or several perfect or near-perfect items to re-sell.

Where all pieces are original there’s no need to say the finished item has been repaired or restored. Otherwise say something like ‘Tastefully and professionally restored’ to describe items in mainly original condition with a few later pieces or recent work applied.

#6. Prove authenticity of products you know are originals of items that are commonly faked or where your claims can not be substantiated. For autographs, have a handwriting expert check and sign to say the item is the original writing of the subject and not a facsimile or fake.

Give proof of ownership for items alleged to have previously been owned by a famous person or made by an iconic firm.

Look for photographs showing the person using or posing alongside the item, for example, and show the receipt for the product you bought from the official re-seller of a famous deceased person’s effects.

Include printed and signed documents for products made by iconic designers like Tiffany, Lalique, and so on.

Anything else is hearsay and if you don’t have proof, you must not say the item is definitely by a specific maker or belonged to a named individual. You can say you believe the item is by a specific maker and belonged to a named individual, but only if that’s your honest opinion.

So there you have six easy ways to make your products more attractive and more appealing to potential buyers, as well as possibly fetching a good deal more money than whatever those items cost you.

Well I hope you found that helpful and please do remember to claim your 2 free bonus reports here.

This article first appeared on Auction Genie. Read more and comment here