Selling antiques and collectibles? Here are five ways to reel in those bidders that you may not have thought of:
1) Don't waste space on adjectives
Car dealers don't. Nor should you: Don't write: "You'll love this wonderful , unusual antique box, with its elegant design ..." Instead think of a typical car ad: 2005 Lexus, new tires, CD player, leather seats, GPS: $22,000 and do the same. Just give the facts: "A19th Century mahogany box with carved moldings, and interior lined with red velvet..." People don't have time to listen to songs of praise. If it's "elegant" they can see that. Stick to the facts and the item will sell itself.
2) Flat shipping charges sell
When people do a search on eBay your shipping charge now appears right next to your title and price in the search results.
If you don't have a flat rate charge, potential bidders see "Not Specified" or "Calculate" (if you are using eBay's shipping calculator) instead.
Not surprisingly, items with an actual shipping price get the first click from busy eBayers.
How do you decide on a flat shipping price? Go to your shippers' website -- like USPS -- and calculate an amount midway between the most expensive and least expensive zones. You'll win sometimes, and lose sometimes, depending on where bidders live. But it will all even out over a few sales and meanwhile you'll be beating your competitors.
3) Your antique has minor faults. Own up to them
Antiques are used items: their history is part of their charm. Customers love it when you mention a small fault, because you are not likely to be disguising a big one. Honesty will deliver you from angry emails, returned items, negative feedback and having to cope with eBay's dispute procedures ... maybe all four.
Don't try too hard to minimize faults: it can make them seem worse! Here's a real example: " There is one area along the top where on very close examination the glaze appears to be interrupted and there's a very slight color change there toward the inner bowl of the cup, so I suspect there might have been a very professional repair at one time, but I can't say for sure -- it really looks so great and you have to try hard to spot it. So pretty! The advertiser could have simply have said: Slight color change near the rim may be a professional repair. Shorter, and less alarming
4) Ernest Hemingway had an editor. You need one, too
When a seller describes an item's condition as "exallent" how much are you going to believe her? EBay has a spell checker: always use it. It's always difficult to see your own spelling errors, awkward sentences or faulty grammar. Ask someone else -- spouse, friend or work colleague -- to check your listing and see if it reads well. They'll be flattered you asked them.
5) Beware of terms and conditions, they scare people
Few customers read long lists of terms, rules and conditions (who's got the time?). If they do read them, you'll just look like a difficult, demanding seller. EBay's own rules cover most situations. Don't add your own unless you absolutely must.
So, remember: Avoid adjectives, stick to the facts, be up-front with shipping, check your spelling, and go easy on terms and conditions. Your bidders will love you for it!
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