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8 Deadly eBay Mistakes

Lily O'Halloran


8 Deadly eBay Mistakes

Becoming a successful seller on eBay requires avoiding the eight deadly mistakes that many sellers make.


1. Unremarkable auction titles.

Effective auction titles are of the highest importance. The title you write will either entice bidders to view your auction, or cause them to pass it over. You have 55 characters to create the best title possible for your listing.

How should you approach the art of title-writing?

The secret to writing a remarkable title is to make the most of each character; don’t waste a single space. Maximize title effectiveness by including as many keywords as possible, and double-check each word for misspellings.

I can’t count the number of times I have picked up an item below cost due to a misspelled keyword – usually the brand name. I sure enjoy it, but I’m sure the sellers are at least a little disappointed. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment. Spend a little extra time on auction titles. They will make or break your sales.


2. Boring or confusing listings.

Boring listings tend to drone on and on without really saying anything at all. Do these sellers really think buyers are going to spend the time to read it all, much less bid on the item after they are bored to tears? Save the fluff for your pillows, and stick to the details.

Confusing listings leave me… well, confused. You know the type, the puzzling listings that amount to one or two cryptic sentences that must be written in code. I mean, come on! Seriously, these puzzling auctions leave bidders perplexed. What exactly is for sale? No one wants to bid on a baffling auction. Who knows what they might win? Don’t mind-boggle your bidders. Let them in on the secret.

What elements should comprise your listing?

Good auction descriptions state clearly what is for sale. They include a comprehensive list of important details, such as the product brand, name, size, color, model number, condition, and any other key details. Great listings also include benefits of the product, explanations about additional features, and add a sense of urgency. Then they do the unthinkable… they ask for the sale. It’s true! Ask any marketing executive, a call-to-action enables your listing to seal the deal.

Truly excellent listings take it a step further. They take into account the readability of the description. For example, multiple short paragraphs are better than one long paragraph. Why? They are easier to read. Avoid huge or crazy fonts; they can be difficult to decipher. Dismiss the temptation to add dancing graphics or wild images that have nothing to do with the product for sale. Keep your infatuation with dancing hamsters to yourself, and focus on selling your wares instead.


3. Absent or low-quality photos.

Forget about trying to sell products without a picture. Very few people, if any at all, will bid. Learn from other sellers’ mistakes that photos are a must. Not just any photo though. Low-quality, grainy, or blurry photos can do more harm than good. Why? Poor pics lead some buyers to believe that the seller is trying to hide something.

Fortunately, drop shippers have access to professional stock photos of all products. Readymade photos are a huge-time saver, and take away the hassle that comes with taking your own images. Just another great benefit of drop shipping!


4. Ridiculous payment policy.

Do sellers really think it is a good to yell (in all caps) at bidders that they should not bid if they do not intend to pay? Do sellers mean it when they say they are going to chase the buyer down and ruin their lives for not sending a timely payment? I wonder why their sales fall flat.

Payment policies are great… when they are written with everyone’s best intentions in mind. The purpose of a payment policy is to inform buyers of how and when to pay for the item. Consider a simple, but direct policy.

Payment is expected within 5 days. I accept PayPal and money orders.

Add a blurb about shipping to receive better results.

I ship within 24 hours of payment.


5. Not accepting PayPal.

The majority of eBay buyers has and wants to use PayPal. Why? It’s the fastest, easiest method to send and receive money. From a buyer’s point of view… the faster you receive payment, the quicker you will send the order. PayPal enables buyers to pay with their checking account, debit account, or credit card. Offer buyers this convenient option to increase your sales.


6. Not living up to your end of the deal.

This is one of my pet peeves. If you state that you ship orders within 1 day of receiving payment, don’t wait a week to ship! That is incredibly annoying. If you ship 5 days after receiving payment, then say so. Buyers may still bid, and they won’t be disappointed. They will now what to expect, which is the purpose of a shipping statement.

I’m not talking about how long the mail takes. That is out of a sellers hands assuming they ship the method that they stated. Do what you say, or don’t say it in the first place. Otherwise, you set yourself up for failure, negative feedback, and disappointed buyers.


7. Holding feedback captive until you get yours.

This is another stickler. Don’t hold buyer feedback hostage until you receive yours. When buyers complete their end of the deal – send payment, leave appropriate feedback. Consider the timeliness of the payment and the attitude of communication, if applicable. You may not realize it, but many buyers stray from listings where the seller states that they do not leave feedback until they receive it.

Most buyers do not set out to rip off sellers. What is the likelihood that a buyer is going to pull one off when they have been an eBay member for years and have perfect feedback? Refusing to offer feedback until you get yours is demeaning to buyers. Treat buyers with respect, and you may be pleasantly surprised.


8. Sell big-ticket items when you have zero feedback.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but buyers are leery of bidding on big-ticket items from new sellers. If your dream is to sell high-end products, then start building positive feedback right away. You can acquire feedback by becoming a buyer yourself. You don’t have to buy expensive things. Feedback is not based on the dollar amount of the item you purchase.

Buying on eBay provides you with another benefit – the ability to experience what it feels like to be a buyer. Give yourself an edge with a good perspective of both sides of the deal.

Although there are more than eight deadly eBay mistakes, this article covered the most common missteps I see sellers make. Consider using these tips to watch your sales go from floundering to flying. Make your sales soar!



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