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The Top Five eBay Mistakes New Sellers Make

Lily O'Halloran


EBay provides the opportunity of a lifetime. Where else can you reach such a tremendous pool of potential buyers? With a little know how, auction listings can gain immense exposure. However, just as a seller should know what to do, they must know what not do as well. Learn the top five mistakes new sellers make, so that you may avoid these troublesome missteps.


1. Add a long list of what buyers should not do.

You know the auctions I’m talking about; the listings that include more content on what not to do than on product details and other pertinent information. Those auctions make buyers run the other way – fast! Why some sellers think they should go on and on about how many times they have been ripped off, cheated, treated unfairly, and so on in their auction listing is quite puzzling. What message do they think they are sending? That doing business with them ends in a miserable mess for everyone involved? I’m sure they don’t intend to scare off buyers, but treating potential customers like common thieves is not the way to attract bidders.

Auction listings should be all about the product. Words should be chosen carefully to portray the product in the best light possible without any false exaggerations. Policies should be added to listings. However, the policies should cover information about acceptable forms of payment, shipping costs, delivery time, and returns. Treat potential customers with respect to attract buyers and earn customer loyalty.


2. Charge outrageous shipping and handling fees.

No one appreciates a greedy seller. Charging drastically over-priced shipping fees is not the way to make a profit. Charging anything at all for a handling fee is ridiculous to most buyers. After all, handling packages is part of a seller’s job. There are rare exceptions to the rule. A handling fee may accompany fragile merchandise.

Let’s take a look at a fictitious scenario. A buyer pays $19.95 to ship a package, as per the seller’s request. The buyer then receives the package with a $5.95 postage sticker on top. How do you think that buyer feels? Do you think they are pleased that the seller pocketed $14 to handle the package? The result is an angry, frustrated customer and bad feedback for the seller.

Is there a better way to make a profit? Yes! Learn all there is to know about creating a great auction listing and writing an effective title. Earn a profit by creating demand for your product. Buyers that feel they got a good deal are satisfied, happy customers. Happy customers become loyal to sellers and shops that treat them well.


3. Limit auctions to hot products.

Selling products that have a high demand can actually be more challenging then selling moderate demand products. Why? Everyone and their mother, brother, and uncle have already jumped on the band wagon. Competition between sellers can be fierce. When the market becomes saturated with one product, sellers have to undercut prices. What happens when the trendy new product becomes a thing of the past? Sellers are left with large quantities of a faded fad; there goes their profits!

Choosing a niche and sticking with it is a better solution that picking only one product to sell. A niche is a distinct segment of a market. Choose something that you find interesting. Become an expert in your field. Spend time researching the products that you want to sell. Learn all you can about their features and benefits. The more you know about a product, the easier it is to sell.


4. Add animated graphics and unfortunate backgrounds.

Nothing is more distracting then a multitude of animated graphics jumping, whizzing, and whirring around the screen. Sure they may be cute, but an auction listing is not the place to add these types of graphics. Sellers run a business. Successful businesses are run in a professional manner. Animated graphics do not fit into the equation, unless they themselves are the product being sold. Truth be told, one lively graphic may be suitable. However, sellers should err on the side of caution: less is more.

A professional-looking background used in auctions adds a nice touch and can complement the listing content to create an attractive, enticing auction. However, wild prints and bold splashes of color do not look professional. Neither do colors that make the text next to impossible to read. Crazy prints and ill-colored backgrounds shout inexperience and unprofessionalism. That is not the message a seller wants to send. Buyers deal with sellers that they trust, or at least appear credible. A plain white background is always better than a regrettable one.


5. Add huge, full-size digital pictures.

High quality digital pictures are a must for every auction listing. However, buyers are not going to wait around for enormous, full-size pictures to load. There are plenty of auctions that don’t require waiting time. Internet users want instant gratification; that’s the nature of the web. While photos are essential, they must be cropped to a standard size for the best results. An effective photo size is 300 pixels high by 400 pixels wide. This standard allows for quick loading and an adequate view of a product. Don’t have photo software? Search online for a photo freeware application.



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