10 Common Mistakes Made By EBay Sellers

Do You Make These 10 Mistakes Selling On EBay?

Jez Browning

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EBay has forecast the introduction of a further 100 million users to their marketplace within the next year. Getting your products in front of these customers has become a daunting, frustrating, and often mystical task.

We analysed millions of listings creating ListSmart's intelligent optimisation software. Along the way, we found some common mistakes sellers make over and over again that hurt your ability to sell to these customers:

1. Why is that there?

Mystery Box

Mis-categorisation. Why are we finding an oven glove in the electronics category?

Imagine your virtual shop a little more like a physical shop. You'd give up looking for some nappies if they weren't in the babies section of Tesco, when someone had hidden them in the kitchenware aisle.

Be as specific as possible. People are lazy. Make it easy for them.

Some products are hard to categorise on eBay, so:

Hot tip:

  1. Conduct a search for your item, and see where the majority of the same or similar products turn up.
  2. Click on a listing that best matches your own and look for: "Have one to sell? Sell it yourself".
  3. This guides you to a listing tool with the correct category, plus other information already filled in.
  4. Just remember to check and change any information that doesn't apply.

2. Spelling mistakes

Yes, we saw hundreds of them. From mistyped brands to a scrabble explosion onto a screen. Typos are so common in listings' titles that there are bots out there taking advantage of people's laziness.

All word processing software has a spell-check function. Some even have a grammar check. Do yourself a favour, copy, paste, spell check, copy, paste. Especially for your titles.

3. What's in a title?

Everyone has advice on this, yet some sellers still fail. Let's take the following title:

Men's Gent's Aqua Green T-shirt 100% pure cotton fitted Calvin Klein CK Large

Scrabble tile title funnel

79 characters acting as a net to catch your customers' attention. Not everyone searches the same. Remember we're dealing with people. Hits (in red) will occur from the following different searches.

A Calvin Klein t-shirt is a pretty common item that is also prone to counterfeiting. If there was room then 'authentic' would be a great addition.

If you're dealing with a niche product for a niche market then your title can be more specific. Just remember to put yourself in your customers' shoes and think of different ways people will search for your product. After that, think how they may stumble across your product.

4. Watch your language

According to a study from Birmingham University, the type of language we use can not only lead to more conversions but also higher final prices:

"Among the results it was shown that "men's" watches sold for an average of £30 while "gents'" went for £70, and fragrances labelled "genuine" fetched £21 but "authentic" ones set buyers back £34."

This is because eBay can still be viewed by some as a bit of an online car boot sale. Confidence, genuineness, and personability should all be coming across from your language.

5. How do you look?

Adding photos of your items

No image? You'll be ignored. You get 12 for free. Try and use them all if possible.

Remember it's all about trust. Customers typically can't view it, or touch it face on. They have to totally rely on your images to decide the quality of the product.

If you're suggesting it's "new with tags" but the picture is of really low quality, poorly lit, and taken with a background of a cluttered bedroom - then, I'm not going to believe you. With a white background, well lit, and the product well presented. Yes, yes, yes. Ideally get the tags in too. For inspiration look to the pros, i.e. iPhone product pictures aren't shot on the desk you're working from with your laptop and half-completed listing screen as a background.

6. Show off your flaws

Highlighting flaws in your products

If you're selling goods that have flaws, make sure you photograph them as accurately as possible. Maybe use something for scale, i.e. a pound coin, ruler, etc.

No buyer likes to be misled, and no seller likes the hassle of returns or bad feedback.

Do your absolute best to describe any issues, and then back it up with pictures. Imagine what you'd like highlighted if you were buying it.

7. What does it do?

Don't assume that people who look at your item already know what it is and what it does.

Fill in your item specifics to the full. Not only will it help to hone a buyers search, but, it also tells them more about the product and its features. Winning!

Now the obvious: Make sure your description is...er... descriptive. People hate unnecessary reading, so keep it concise, and to the point about the product. There's a fine line between telling your customer the necessary and causing "noise" for eBay's search engine.

Use the description to mention things not catered for in other parts of the listing. For example: Returns information has room for further information.

8. I want it now

Shipping can be a way of getting the edge over your competitors.

Hitting all of eBay's Fast and Free criteria not only gives you an eye catching logo, it satisfies the consumer's desire for convenience that Amazon & co thrive on.

9. How much?

People falling over themselves to give you money

Pricing. This depends on the type of seller that you are. If you're private, then setting a low start price means less eBay fees.

However, studies have shown that a minimal start price can lead to a lower final price. A more modest start price can lead to a higher final price.

If you're a business, make sure you experiment to get the most out of your plan.

EBay isn't always about the cheapest price, it's about the experience your customers have. So fight for your top position through service rather than being the cheapest.

10. Respect

The one thing that all of the items above help to build is: Your reputation.

EBay wants *all* of its users to be trustworthy, and rewards the ones that shine.

Feedback is a vital metric. Obtaining positive feedback from every transaction should be paramount. Little things that give a personal touch can go very far.

An outreach email, whether hand-typed, or, an automated message, can prompt quick and positive reviews. You'll also start to attract regular, repeat customers, which, from a reputation and business perspective, is the aim of the game.

Sign up now to see just how big a difference ListSmart can make to your eBay listings.

Updated: 18th August 2016

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