BUYING TIPS: THE BASICS
Whether you're new to eBay or are an experienced shopper, these tips can help you bid and buy safely.
Do your research
- Learn all you can about the item. Read the item description carefully. Make sure you understand details about P&P and payment options. Don't make assumptions about information that isn't included in the description.
- Find answers to your questions. If you have any questions or are unsure about something, click the Ask a question link in the listing. Common questions include "Do you accept returns?" and "How will you deliver the item?" If you've already bid on an item and you're having a problem communicating with a seller through email, you can request the seller's contact information.
- Check the seller's Feedback profile. From the listing, click the seller's Feedback score. This is the number in brackets next to the seller's user ID. On the Feedback profile page, you'll see what other buyers have to say about doing business with the seller. Make sure you look through the seller's overall ratings and detailed seller ratings, as well as Feedback comments.
- Research the item's value. Look at similar completed listings by searching completed listings. You can also visit online shops that sell similar items and talk to friends to help determine what the item is worth.
Consider your buying options
- Determine the maximum amount that you're willing to pay for the item. Take into consideration what the item is worth to you, how difficult it will be for you to find another one and how soon you need it. Then decide the highest price that you're willing to pay.
- Understand what entering a maximum bid means. Our automatic bidding system means you can enter your maximum bid once and the system will automatically increase your bid only as much as is needed for you to stay the highest bidder without going over your maximum bid.
- Make every bid a serious one. Make sure you don't bid on multiple similar items from different sellers if you only want one. If you're the winning bidder in more than one auction, you're obliged to purchase all the items you've won.
- Consider Buy it now. Does the listing you're interested in have a Buy it now option? If so, consider whether you're willing to pay the Buy it now price in order to guarantee that you get the item without having to wait for the auction-style to end.
- Consider Best Offer. If the seller offers Best Offer, come up with a price that you believe would be the best price for both you and the seller and make an offer for that amount. In some categories, you and the seller can send each other counteroffers until you come to a price you both agree on.
- Make sure your contact information is up-to-date. Check your personal information to make sure it is correct. Also, check that any spam blocking software that you have installed doesn't prevent a seller from communicating with you.
- Start early if you want to buy with Best Offer. The way to win with Best Offer is to start early in the listing so you can allow time for the seller to respond
- Plan for alternate access. To help you stay on top of your bidding and purchasing while on the go, make sure you've downloaded the eBay app for your mobile device.
SELLING TIPS: THE BASICS
Key words are truly key
Take the time to get your keywords right and bidders will come. When buyers search, eBay automatically looks for words in the listing's title only, so it's crucial to write your listing in your customers' language, and use the keywords they search for - especially brand and product names. Consider "stylish plunging neckline plum dress". No one's going to search for "stylish", "plunging" or "plum". Instead, consider the practical search “new size 10 purple silk Whistles dress”. There are some keywords that are sure draws including old, vintage and sexy. If relevant – use them, they build traffic to your sales.
Choose the right category for your product
It might sound obvious but it’s very important to always choose the most specific category to sell in. If you think it should appear in more than one category, you can pay a fee to do this and maximise your product’s visibility.
Opt for 10-day auctions to ensure the max number of bids
When listing an auction, you can choose whether it lasts one, three, five, seven or 10 days. The longer your item is listed, the more chance of people seeing it, so unless it's time-sensitive, pick 10 days. For buy-it-now listings, you can choose three, five, seven, 10 or 30 days. They cost the same, we advise selecting the 30 day option.
There's also the "Good 'Til Cancelled" option, which renews automatically until you score a sale.
Pictures are important
The vast majority of users will not bid on items they cannot see. Upload a photo and provide several views of the product, as well as close-ups and feature details. For best results, take photos in natural light against a neutral background. It allows people to see what they are interested in and that you actually have it. Remember, a good picture often holds up a less than perfect listing.
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery
Check out the best of the competition to understand the marketplace you are operating in. There is no worse feeling than to have sold a very expensive item for a very low price because you did not know its value. Consider your pricing strategy carefully. Follow the eBay pricing recommendations and check other eBay listings for similar product prices. Browse online shops to find out how much the product sells for new. Making your offer as attractive as possible will make your listing stand out from competitors. If a brand or product is unfamiliar to you, you many also not know how to draw bidder. Do searches for items similar to yours. Take a critical look at the listings and pricing – especially if there are more bidders and higher prices. You can learn much from your competition.
Timing, Timing, Timing
Get the timing right. The busiest time for buyers is Sunday evenings, so schedule your bids to end around that time. Avoid times when most people will be busy, such as weekday mornings, or any big events such as sports matches or TV finales.
Consider the impact of postage costs in advance. If you don’t offer free postage, you will need to pack your item, then weight and measure it so you can calculate postage costs. Use the eBay postage estimator service to check your pricing – you don’t want to be out of pocket having to cover excess postage once the product has sold.