The success of your eBay business depends on the success of your individual listings – here’s how you can make them the best they can be
Yes, it’s that time of year again and by the time you read this I will be either a) upside down and terrified on an extreme Disney ride or b) sipping an ice cold G&T by the pool or c) relaxing on the beach! B and C are definitely my preferred options and I’m certainly looking forward to chilling out for a few weeks!
Whilst my holidays may have finally arrived, I certainly don’t want you to miss out on the free tips and information I provide for you every week, so, I’ve planned ahead and for the next few weeks, rest assured that you will still hear from me each Friday!
I know that like me, many of my blog readers are busy parents who right now are at the start of those long school holidays. At this time of year it’s very easy to lose your momentum – simply because there are so many other things to think about – namely your children, who, if they are anything like mine were when they were younger, need entertaining for hours on end!
With this in mind, if you really can’t concentrate on anything else for the next few weeks then now is an ideal time to take a step back, have a good look at your online listing descriptions and make sure you are maximising the sales potential of your items – particularly on ebay where your keywords and descriptions are vitally important.
The success of your online business on eBay will depend largely on the success of your individual listings and if you want to do just a tiny amount of research to confirm this, just take a look at ‘Completed Listings’ on eBay using ‘Advanced Search’ as this will swiftly show you that the listings lacking in information or images tend to sell for significantly less than their rivals, even if the item is exactly the same.
Creating eBay listings that sell products needn’t be a difficult process for you though and to help you, I’ve put together my top five listing tips so that you can tweak your own listings when you have a spare moment.
This is the most important point of the five I will give you today…
- 1. Write your product title carefully!
You don’t have a lot of characters for the title of your eBay listings – only 80 to be precise – so it’s important to make every word count. This is your opportunity to fit in the keywords that a prospective customer will really be searching for – not the words that you guess should be there. What you need to do is put yourself in the buyers shoes and consider which search words they are likely to enter in order to find what you have for sale.
Think about what you would search for if you were looking for your item and be as descriptive as possible within the space constraints. If it’s applicable you should include the make of the item, the model and any specific characteristics where appropriate. Also look at the keywords top sellers of similar items are using in their titles to get ideas.
By using the default ‘Best Match’ search and looking for similar products you’ll be able to see which products appear high in the searches – and the keywords being used to advertise them.
You may also wish to consider capitalising the first letter of each word within your title as this can draw attention to your listing over others, without alienating any potential buyers who would rather not be ‘shouted’ at with a completely capitalised heading!
- 2. Create a great description
One particular error that I’ve seen eBay sellers make time and time again is to assume that all interested parties automatically know all of the details about the product. When I see a description that contains just once sentence saying something along the lines of “red skirt size 10″, it really makes me want to weep! (Or simply place a bid myself knowing that I’d be able to sell it on for a profit!)
What brand of skirt is it? Is it new or used? What is the waist measurement? What is the length? Does it have pockets, belt loops, zips or buttons?
All you need to do is think of the questions that your customers are likely to ask and then actually answer them within your description; it’s what the space is for and the more information you can provide the more you will set your buyers’ minds at ease as they realise that you know what you are talking about. Plus of course they won’t have to waste their time or yours messaging you with questions.
- 3. Add lots of photos
Every eBay listing should come complete with at least one photograph, as it’s compulsory! This will be shown in the search results as a ‘gallery photo’ and will help a prospective customer see, at a glance, that you actually possess the product that you have for sale and what it looks like. Your initial photo should be as clear as possible, with a plain background and showing as much of the product as you can fit into the frame.
The option to add a further 11 images is available within the gallery section, so my advice is to use every one of those spaces to fully show off your product. Many eBay sellers don’t take advantage of this, yet eBay selling statistics show that those listings with a gallery of images consistently sell for more than those with just the one picture so if you can, you should include shots of different angles of the item that you’re selling, or photos that show detail that might be missed in your one main photograph.
You should also add images into your main description – this is easily done using a template found free online.
- 4. Using ‘auction’ format? Start and end it at the correct time
If you are using auction listings rather than a ‘Buy It Now’ and you don’t schedule a start time for your listings then they will automatically start as soon as you press ‘list’ and will finish at the same time in the specified number of days. So, bear in mind that if your eBay business is full time the chances are you’ll be creating your listings in the middle of the day, which means that by default they will also finish in the middle of the day.
That could be a problem for anyone that would like to bid on what you have for sale that works a standard nine to five week, so you’ll need to consider what the best start and end times are.
The auctions that tend to make the most money on eBay often finish during the evening or at weekends. Statistically the very best time to complete an auction listing is on a Sunday evening; however any evening could work well for your selling strategy.
It only costs 5 pence to schedule a start time (and it’s free if you subscribe to Selling Manager Pro), and therefore the ending time of your auction so if you invest that tiny fee to ensure you complete your sale at a better time, you are likely to maximise your profits.
- 5. Set a low start bid
This isn’t a worry for Buy It Now listings on eBay, but for auctions you should always start out with a low price, even if it’s an expensive item. It’s generally better to set a reserve price if you’re determined to make a certain amount rather than setting a high starting price. Why? Because a low starting price will help a buyer realise that they have the opportunity to get a real bargain.
Even when the price rockets up they are likely to stick with your auction and keep bidding because that first low bid has convinced them that it’s good value. For most people it’s difficult to stop bidding when they have watched the item from the start and really want to win it!
Finally, a bonus tip: Build a good, solid reputation
A good reputation is vital on eBay and should apply to your business as a whole. Always put the needs of your customers first, answer their questions about your products quickly and knowledgably and dispatch your orders as fast as possible. This excellent customer service will, in time, earn you an excellent reputation, inspiring more and more people to buy from you on a daily basis – which after all, is what you want!
I hope that this has at least given you a brief insight into what you should be concentrating on in order to make your listings a success,
As always I wish you the best of success,