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Top 10 eBay Selling Mistakes

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In its short history, eBay has established itself as a legitimate marketplace for all kinds of goods. Buying and selling via Internet auctions have become a way of life for many individuals and businesses. Some eBay sellers, however, do not get the best results from their auctions because many continually make costly errors in their listings. Here are 10 of the most common errors and tips for avoiding them.

  1. Excessive shipping fees. If your quoted shipping price is higher than those of your competitors', you will lose out to them. Most seasoned sellers prefer to raise the initial price of the item and offer competitive shipping costs.
  2. Lack of descriptive text. A photo alone will not sell your item. You also need a concise, but complete, description of the item. Try to put yourself in the position of your potential purchasers, and craft the copy in terms of the features and benefits of the item you are selling. Your text must impress a jaded buyer, who may be looking at an entire page of similar items.
  3. Too much text. Try to completely describe the item in a few sentences, and don’t write a novel. When it comes to effective copywriting, it is quality -- not quantity -- that counts. Read your competitors' listings and try to differentiate your item.
  4. Poor layout. Internet readers are used to seeing concise material down the center of the page. Long tedious paragraphs are not as reader friendly as short independent sentences with some space between the lines. Typing in all caps does not help you sell, and will likely hurt. Stay away from "cute" animated images that can junk up your listing. Consumers shopping for items have no time or need for anything of that nature.
  5. Bad photos. A bad photo can actually be worse than no photo at all. When you photograph your item, be sure to light it properly, and include as many photos as possible to convey the appearance of your item. To read more, see Photography Tips for EBay Sellers.
  6. Not thinking internationally. By offering your items to overseas bidders, you can dramatically increase your base of potential buyers. And in an auction model, more bidders generally means more profit. Remember, eBay is global.
  7. Listing in the wrong category. Most people shop by category. Therefore, a poor choice of category can make it much more difficult to sell your product. If you cannot decide on a single category for your item, or if it is equally at home in two different places, pay a little extra and list it in both places.
  8. Jumping on the bandwagon. Unless the bandwagon is heading to a goldmine, stay off it. Try to diversify yourself from the many listings for the same objects. If 25 people are selling a clock similar to one you have, wait and sell the clock when there are less similar items being auctioned off.
  9. Setting a price too high or too low. If your asking price is too high, you are wasting valuable time and money. Likewise, if your price is too low, you could be leaving money on the table. Do some basic market research, and get a good idea what comparable items sell for.
  10. Poor timing. Many items sell year-round -- but not all. If you have something seasonal to sell, such as holiday-related items or anything that can sell more effectively at a particular time of year, be patient and post it in the months leading up to that particular season or holiday.

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