Wednesday, August 20, 2008

There's Much You Can Learn From Competing eBay Auctions

There's Much You Can Learn From Competing eBay Auctions
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If you haven't already, you need to start looking at your competitors' auctions because you can learn a lot, as long as you know what you're looking for.

To begin with, don't waste your time looking at currently running listings because you don't know what's going to happen with them. Instead, use the advanced search form and search the completed listings for auctions that sold.

To do this, simply go to eBay's advanced search form, type in your best keywords, check the "Completed listings only" checkbox and set the minimum number of bids to 1. Also, set the sort order at the bottom of the form to "Price: highest first".

This will show you competing auctions that have recently ended, with the ones that sold for the most at the top. Go through and take a look, ignoring auctions with a red price because they didn't sell. Pay special attention to the following things:

Titles. What are the other sellers putting in their titles and what are they leaving out? If your titles are very different then it might be a good idea to see if you can make improvements.

Descriptions. You'll probably notice that the successful sellers haven't just copied text from a company website or from an review. They've gone through the trouble of writing a little about the item and about themselves. Learn from their example.

Pictures. I can almost guarantee you that the top selling auctions will have good quality pictures which show enough detail to let eBayers see what they're getting. With items of any significant cost, you will probably find multiple picture, each from a different angle.

Style. Is it written conversationally or with a businesslike tone? The way you should write depends on your target audience, and these people seemed to like what the top sellers wrote. After all, their items sold.

Time. It might seem insignificant to ignore this as a factor, but pay attention to when the top selling auctions began and ended and how mamy days they were listed for. This might give you some clues about the best way to attract buyers who will bid your item up. Then you can schedule your items accordingly.

Price. If your competitors are selling using Buy it Now, check to see what the maximum price is that they've managed to sell for recently and consider setting your own Buy it Now price slightly below that.

Shipping. Search the listings to find the "sweet spot" for shipping. If you can figure out a way to get your shipping costs lower than the highest sellers then this might be a great opportunity to differentiate yourself in the market. You might be surprised at how much of an impact a small difference in shipping can make.

Once you've done your research and you find out what works, you can start to emulate your competitors. Of course don't just copy them completely. Instead, structure your auctions in a similar manner and make sure they include the same information.

Clint Herman is a successful eBay seller with over 6 years experience selling on eBay. He also loves teaching others how to sell on eBay. He is the author of "How to Get Started Selling on eBay," which is a beginner's guide to selling on eBay designed for people who are new to selling on eBay. The guide is available at

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