Ebay is the consumer phenomenon of the 21st century, millions of people around the globe buying and selling billions of dollars worth of goods, with Ebay itself making hundreds of millions from the commisions.
But wait! Just because something is on E-bay, it doesn't mean thats the cheapest price you can get it! If you shop around, sites like Amazon, Dabs, etc will often have new, postage free products that are cheaper than the second-handers on E-bay. Get your local free-ads and look in there. Go to the charity shops and thrift stores, browse the cards in newsagents windows, and get down early to the Sunday Morning Car-Boot or Garage Sale. Thats the first way to beat e-bay.
If you insist on buying on e-bay, remember that most things are sold in an auction, that is the highest bidder at the end gets the item. If something is unpopular, this is great for the buyer, because you'll get it cheap. If something is sought-after, you could get into a bidding war, and end up paying over the odds. How do we avoid this?
Make sure you do a thourough search of e-bay for what you what, and don't bid yet! In the search-boxes, try mis-spellings and alternative descriptions. If it hard to find something, chances are you'll be up against less competition. See when the item ends. Auctions that end in the middle of the night, during school hours or very early mornings, will end up being cheaper. Avoid e-bay auctions that end in the evenings, especially sundays, they'll go for a much higher price. But still don't bid!
When you decide on a purchase, check out the cost of postage, where its coming from and the method of payment. If postage seems a rip-off, find something else. Really look at the sellers feed-back rating. Go in and see what they've actually sold, and if they got good feed-back for selling, not buying, and that they've been trading at least 6 months. Avoid any selller with poor feed-back, and don't just rely on good buying feed-back. Still don't bid!
The best weapon as a buyer you have is an e-bay bid agent. Commonly called snipers, bid-nappers, bid-nippers, etc. What these services do is to try and avoid getting you into a bidding war. They bid on your behalf, in the last seconds of an auction. They really work, and I have got many a bargain by using these services, and its great to see your bid-nipper slip in at the last second, leaving the competition with no time to respond. Great!
Most e-bay bid sniping companies with give you a free trial, or so many "free goes" every month. If you're a heavy e-bay user, its worth paying for full sniping capabilities, and the bid-nippers come in at an even later stage, with 1 or 2 seconds to go. Try them out, you'll never go back to traditional bidding again!
Thats enough of buying on e-bay. As a seller, how can you make sure you get the best price for your wares?
First, a bugbear of mine. Postage. Be reasonable with the amount you charge, do include the cost of packing materials, but don't take the mickey. Bidders will respond better to a seller whose postage is fair.
Next, listings. Always have a gallery picture, and be careful how you describe your product. Check out people selling similair things, and see how they describe them, and what sections they're putting them in. eg if you're selling a book about weddings, put it in that book section, but its also worth putting it in the bridal section. Think about what you would buy.
Make you listing profesional, with nice-size pictures that show your item off in its best light, using your own hosting for pictures if you want to avoid that expense. Avoid bright colours and over or under-sized text, and choose a normal font. Be clear with your description, and try to write in any questions that you think your potential buyers might want to know. Be honest, and always have a sense of humour.
Now for the really important part. Avoid the 1 or 3 day listings. Go for 5, 7 or 10. Always finish your listing in the late evening (after the kids have gone to bed) and preferably on a Sunday. Pay that little bit extra to delay your auction so that it will finish, at say 9pm on a Sunday night. That way you will definitely make the most for your item.
Thats it, my tips for beating, or at least getting the most out of e-bay. Happy bidding!
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