I've been an Ebay member for over 5 years now and with over 750 total transactions, about 300 of those being sales, and with 100% feedback so far, I think I am qualified enough to offer some selling guidelines.
The way you present your item for sale can make an enormous difference in the amount of money your item will bring in. Here are some helpful hints.
1) Be 100% honest BUT, don't dwell on the negatives. If the item has imperfections be sure to list them but try and accentuate the positives!
2) If you are going to be selling on a regular basis invest in a good digital camera! You can pick one up for under $50 and it will pay for itself in the long run. Take good, high resolution pictures! Especially if it is a higher dollar item. Buyers want to see what they are buying!
3) On higher dollar items take the maximum pictures allowed and pay the extra $1 or so for the super-sized pictures! It amazes me to see a $600 guitar advertised with the one lousy freebie picture. The extra $1.50 you'll pay to present 12 quality, super-sized pictures to prospective buyers
can net you 10-20 percent more for your item!
4) DO NOT USE ALL CAPITAL LETTERS!!! ALL CAPITAL LETTERS ARE ANNOYING AND/OR DIFFICULT FOR MANY PEOPLE TO READ. ALL CAPITAL LETTERS SHOWS A LACK OF WRITING SKILLS AND MAY EVEN COST YOU MONEY IN THE LONG RUN! An OCCASSIONAL capitalized word to stress a point is OK, but using all capitals is not good. Try using the 'bold' feature or a larger font if you like.
5) Give a decent description of your item. If you leave things out that should be mentioned people will be suspicious. Don't make people have to email you to ask what the cosmetic condition of your item is. That is a 'no-brainer'. Would you bid on an item where the seller didn't mention the cosmetic condition of the item? I wouldn't.
6) If you are going to be selling higher dollar items, establish some positive feedback through buying or by selling lower value items first. Prospective buyers are often unwilling to bid on valuable items if the seller does not have sufficient feedback. I see items sell all the time that a seller with sufficient feedback could net 50-100% more for.
7) Accept PayPal as a payment option!!! And not only accept PayPal, but become a premiere member and accept credit card payments! I know the charges can be tough to take but you will increase the number of prospective buyers possibly by tens of thousands! Many people would love to bid on your item but don't have the cash available. But these same people would be glad to buy it on credit, often times for more than the item is worth! In the long run you will make out big-time.
8) Start your auction so that it will end at a time when both east and west coast buyers are likely to be home and awake! On most auctions, bids will come in during the last few seconds of the auction. You want to make sure your auction is ending at a time when the most prospective buyers have access to their computers! I like to start mine at around 6PM-7PM PST. That way, when the auction ends, most west coasters will be home from work and most east coasters will still be awake. Also, Sunday-Thursday evening ending times are preferable since many people are out of the house on Friday and Saturday evenings and won't be available for last minute bids.
9) Don't make your ad too short or too long. An ad that is too short will likely leave out pertinent information. On the other hand, a rambling ad may bore the reader to the point where they will lose interest. The ones I hate are the ads that have a little tiny sentence on the item for sale and then 10 paragraphs on the seller's policies.
10) Pay the 10 cent fee and use one of the built-in auction theme's. It will outline your auction with a professional looking background of your choice and will make your auction look more polished.I like to also use a slightly larger font, in bold, and a nice color. Blue works well for me and it's easy on the eyes. A nice color and font will also make your ad stand out and look attractive. Bidders tend to bid more on items that are presented in a professional manner.
11) Proofread your auction!!! Your educational background will be quite obvious to prospective buyers. A well written auction ad will bring in a better price 9 times out of 10. If you don't have the skills, then maybe you can get someone to help you.
12) Do not alienate prospective buyers! Some of these sales are run like prisoner of war camps. Stuff like, "I've had too many of you stupid bidders screw me so I'm going to list 20 things I won't tolerate". I'll just pass these ads by. I don't quite understand the rationale. Here you are competing with millions of other sellers and you start by making the bidders feel inferior. Great selling tactic!
13) Communicate with the buyer, before and after the sale. Check on the status of your item during the auction and answer questions promptly. After the sale make sure you let the buyer know that you have received their payment and when you will be shipping. Once you have shipped the item, let the buyer know when you shipped it and by what method, i.e. USPS Parcel Post, Media Mail, Priority Mail, UPS, FedEx, etc. If there is a tracking number then pass that along also.
Well, I hope this will help you. It helps to think of what you would want to see in an ad that you are looking at. Nobody wants to see something like...'Guitar for sale...$350' and then a single low resolution picture that doesn't show a thing. I'd want to know exactly what kind of guitar, what year was it made, what is the cosmetic and working condition, has it been modified or is it original. And I want to see good pictures and lots of them! Let people know everything you'd want to know before you sent off your hard-earned money for something sight unseen! Also, treat buyers how you would want to be treated after the sale. Let them know what's going on. I've bought stuff before and not heard a word and then 2 weeks later the item just magically shows up. Let them know what's going on! It will pay off in the long run.