On ebay, you’ll often encounter very low starting bids on items — 99 cents or even 1 cent. I’ve seen items that start out at 99 cents, then go on to sell for hundreds of dollars.
We use eBay mostly to dispose of product returns. One trend I’ve noticed lately is that (it seems) more items we’re starting out at 99 cents actually end up selling for that amount. If the item is worth say…five dollars, it’s not that big of a deal. But the more the item is worth, the more you can get burned by setting the starting bid too low.
The idea behind starting out a bid low is that it should generate bidding interest among buyers. But sometimes for whatever reason, that just doesn’t happen. If I’m relatively certain that there is enough interest in the item, then I’ll go ahead and start the bidding at 99 cents. But if I’m not certain (and I’m growing less certain these days about eBay outcomes), I’ll put the starting bid closer to the cost of the item. In my case, the main goal is to get rid of the returned product, but at the same time avoid a huge loss on it. (By the way, the eBay insertion fee goes up along with the starting bid you set).
How many bids you get depends on a great many variables including how your listing is presented, the day the auction ends, the run time of the auction, the time of day the auction ends, and most importantly – demand versus supply for the product. So if you stand to loss a chunk of change and you’re not certain of the outcome, start your bidding out higher to avoid getting stung.