Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sell Successfully with Online Auctions

The Internet has literally hundreds of auction web sites, all trying to cash in on the online auction craze. There are five basic techniques I will discuss that will dramatically increase the success of your online sales. I have actually put these to the test myself and they really are successful.

1) Keywords in the Listing – The single most important element in an auction listing is carefully selecting the keywords you use in your listing. Start with your title and fill your title up with keywords that accurately describe the item. Do not use keywords that are not relevant to your item, you will only waste the buyer’s time and yours. Use as much of the allotted characters allowed to write your title. In the description, write it using keywords to best describe your item. The more keywords you use there is a better chance a potential buyer will find your auction. Be careful not to use spamming techniques of any kind, it is a waste of time for everyone and could result in being banned from the auction site.

2) Misspelled Keywords – A technique that is commonly overlooked is the use of misspelled keywords in your listing. Intentionally including misspelled words can increase the audience of your listings. For example, on eBay as of right now, searching for the term “jewelry” – correctly spelled, there are 192,701 auctions with “jewelry” in the title. If you create your auction with “jewelery” also in the title and description, there are 2,018 items listed, so by misspelling words you can increase the traffic to your auction.

3) Low Starting Price & Reserves – Start your auction at a low opening bid price and secure your desired selling with a reserve price. Lower opening bids will encourage more bidders to bid up the price to an amount they are willing to pay. For example, I recently listed an older Dell Latitude laptop on eBay and started the price at $0.99 with a reserve price of $150 and successfully sold for $197.50. Coupled with a low opening bid, you want to make sure there are plenty of keywords in the title & description so there will be sufficient traffic to your auction. A well-written auction would not allow an item to sell for $0.99, since we know the item will sell for much more than that. When we set a reserve price, it means we do not have to sell the item unless the bidding price meets or exceeds the reserve price. A reserve price insures the seller of not having to forcefully sell the item if the reserve has not been met, but the seller has the option to do so if desired. !

The reserve price set by the seller is not shown to the buyers, in order to encourage bidding up the price to find out what the reserve price is.

4) Timing of Auctions – An important technique to know is the timing of your auction as to when it closes. The auction should be timed to close during the late evening hours, such as 10-11pm at night. Research indicates most ideal time to close an auction and encourage the most bids is Sunday at 11pm. The idea is to time the auction when the majority of people are home and able to place final bids. I’ve researched this myself with several auctions and had them close at different times and the ones that close late at night receive a higher number of bids than those that close during the day.

5) Pictures – Pictures are a vital element of listing an auction on any site. Buyers want to see what they are purchasing before placing a bid. Include multiple pictures of your item, such as different angles, back side, or inside if it can be opened. Be sure the pictures are professional looking and is presented clearly to the buyer as to what they are bidding on. Typically, picture sizes should be under 100K to ensure fast loading for users with slower Internet connections. If they have to wait too long for a picture to load, they will click off and go to the next auction, thus you have lost a potential bidder.

The techniques outlined here are just the beginning of creating successful auctions. There are several books & websites online that are dedicated to successful selling. However, implementing these techniques will dramatically increase the success of your auction sales.

About The Author
Jason Ziarko

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