Saturday, February 16, 2008

Tips For Would-Be eBay Sellers

Be careful. The watchful eye of Albert Belle sees all. He sees some interesting things going on at eBay. This time from the sellers. Beware, the ides of Albert "Joey" Belle.

I look for cards and deals on eBay, just like the next person. Sometimes I wish there was a watchful eye, like Albert's, looking after things. It would make life a lot simpler. But there's not. One can dream though. Quality control: Albert Belle style. Sounds like a bad reality show.

What can a seller do to make their product more desirable than the other similar products out there? Everyone's a critic and there's no pleasing everyone. There are things the seller can do to make the most out of what they have to sell.

1. If the card is listed as an auction, start with a low bid price.
More people are likely to at least watch your card, if they think they can grab it at a steal. Some will get into bidding wars because of that.

2. If your card is listed as a fixed price or an inventory item, check out what other people are selling it for.
It's a very simple thing to do and takes no time at all. This way, your card has a better chance of selling. If there is no other examples of your card, check a price guide and don't go over high value.

3. Make sure what you are describing is what you are selling.
I've seen more incorrect years for cards on recent eBay listings than ever before. Get your information correct. A confused customer does not buy.

4. Use a picture.
It's free for the first picture. Take advantage of that.

5. Have a picture of the actual card that you are selling, not just an example.
I can't tell anything about the card that you're selling from an example of another card from the same set. This is lazy.

6. Cut the stories.
I don't care about your ex-husband or your dying mother. I just want the card without the usual line of bull. Save the creative stuff for your novel.

7. Have sensible shipping rates.
Nothing turns me off of a sale faster than a shipping rate over $4.00 for a single card. Even $3.00 is pushing it sometimes. The higher the shipping rate is, the more likely the card will come with the least amount of protection, in my experiences.

8. Have discount shipping rates for multiple purchases.
I'm not paying $20.00 shipping on 10 cards. It's not gonna happen. You've just lost a lot of business.

These are just the basics. I'm sure there are more things that I'm missing. Have respect for the customer. Most of them are not idiots. If you want repeat business, take pride in your listings. A little work now, will save a lot of questions later.

Customers can be just as clueless as sellers can be. Here are a few tips for them.

1. Do your research.
Mistakes in listings happen. If you know what you're looking for, then half the battle is over already. You can spot simple mistakes and save yourself aggravation.

2. Read the listing carefully.
You can find out a lot if you read more and spend less time looking at the pretty pictures.

3. Look for shipping discounts.
It can save you a lot of money. Less on shipping, more on cards.

4. When all else fails, ask.
Don't be afraid to ask a stupid question. If the answer is not on the page, ask about it. Most sellers are friendly and responsive.

I'm not trying to pick on anyone. I just see a lot of these things happen. These pitfalls can be avoided with very little effort. Be knowledgeable. Be courteous. Be patient. Sellers want to sell and buyers want to buy. I'm a seller and a buyer. Hmm, I think I just picked on myself in two different ways.


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