Love it or hate it, Ebay is still the biggest online auction site and one of the most powerful market places in the world. With sales reaching over $82 billion in 2016, there are huge profits to be made for both casual sellers and anyone who is serious about building a business online.
One of the biggest attractions of selling on Ebay is that it is just so easy to get started. Almost all of us have at least unwanted item in our homes, and many of us have entire garages and lofts full of items that could realise a good profit online. Alternatively, you may be aiming to become a power seller and make a living from selling items on Ebay.
Don’t be put off by those who tell you that the golden day of Ebay have gone and that no-one Is making money anymore. Whilst it Is true that it is not nearly so easy to make money now as it was a few years ago, smart Ebay sellers know that the gold rush is far from over. Hike in fees and competition from Chinese sellers have certainly led to some vendors withdrawing from the marketplace but there are still plenty of buyers out there looking for what you have to sell.
Stand Out In A Crowded Marketplace
However, it is not as simple as just throwing up any old listing and waiting for your item to sell any more. Like any form of online selling, there is an art to getting it right on Ebay. Did you know for example that only 40% of Ebay’s auction listings actually sell? 60% is a quite staggering failure rate and I’m quite certain that many more items would sell if vendors took the time to ensure that their listings had the very best chances of selling.
Whilst bulk listings may save time and money, they are a false economy if nothing sells. It’s better to handcraft each listing and really optimise them to match what buyers are looking for. Once you have a really great listing, you can always save it as a template in case you wish to sell the same item again in future.
Of course, not every item that you list on Ebay is going to sell. Even the most experienced seller will not make a sale every time. However, by applying a set of very simple and easy to learn principles, you will give your items the very best chance of finding a happy new home. The great news is that none of this is rocket science, but the proportion of vendors who get it wrong is amazingly high.
Most potential buyers will never get past your title as they scroll down the search results, so if your title is badly formulated you are already at a massive disadvantage. Some sellers try to sell with bad out of focus pictures or worse still no picture at all! Others skimp on the description, fall down on pricing or mistime their items so they don’t reach their maximum potential audience.
So without further ado, let’s get started and turn you into a star seller.
Title – You Don’t Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression
Your title is the first thing that buyers will see and often the only thing that buyers will see when they scroll down the list of items for sale. However, before you even appear on that list you need to make sure you are using the right set of keywords to appear in the search results. It is surprising how many sellers fall at this very first hurdle.
Before you think about crafting your title, you need to know what words your buyers are typing into the search box to find items similar to yours. Luckily, Ebay has a handy tool called completed listings which you can use to find items like yours which have already sold. You can also find out how much they sold for and glean a whole host of useful information for your listings.
To find completed listings, just type the name of an item similar to what you are hoping to sell into the search box in Ebay. On the left hand side of the screen, near the bottom there is an option to show only completed listings. There is another option to show only sold listings which is of course what you are most interested in. On the sold listings tab, jot down some of the keywords which other vendors are using. Those which appear again and again are the most effective and obviously match words that the buyer is typing in.
Even subtle differences in spelling and the words used can make a massive difference in how you appear in search results. Imagine that you are listing t-shirts but buyers are looking for teeshirts. Whilst Ebay will pick up some of these differences in keywords and still list them in the search results this cannot be guaranteed. If most sold listings are using the word teeshirt then list your item as a teeshirt and not a t-shirt.
How Many Characters in an Ebay Title?
The Ebay title consists of 80 characters which will allow you to insert several relevant keywords. Describe your object accurately using keywords – do not worry about making a sentence or being grammatically correct. All you are concerned with is ensuring that your object is described well and will show up when customers search for relevant items. What would you type in if you wanted to buy your item?
Don’t use fluff words in your title, you don’t have room for them. Don’t use superlatives – people don’t type these into search boxes. Therefore, don’t describe your item as “magnificent”, “wonderful”, “excellent”, “outstanding” etc. It’s a waste of words and you need all of that space for your keywords.
Some Ebay “experts” suggest using misspellings in the title. It’s true that a great many words are misspelled on Ebay. Do you want to use them in your title? Personally, I don’t think so. If you want to use misspellings, then leave them for the description. Ebay has a handy tool called search suggestion for buyers which will help them to spell any words they are unsure of. Therefore, I think it is a waste of time to include misspellings in the item title.
Another thing not to do is to capitalise your title. You might think it helps it to stand out, what it actually does is make it look shouty and annoying. The same with text speak and abbreviations, you may think that it helps to save space but buyers are generally annoyed by such things. The exception to this are commonly used auction abbreviations such as BNIB which most people recognise as Brand New in Box.
I like to think of the item title as informing and the description as doing the selling. The title is what catches the buyers eye in the “shop window” and the description is what convinces them that they want to buy it. However, some experts believe that most people don’t even fully read the item description before purchasing the item, they decide to buy based on title and image alone. If this is the case, your title and images need to sell the item for you.
In the next part of the series we will look at how important images are to your Ebay listings.