John Ryan: Top 10 Internet Auction Success Tips

Published: Tue 13 Feb 2007 12:29 AM
Top 10 Tips To Selling Successfully on Internet Auction Sites
By John Ryan -
The trading world has changed in New Zealand ever since Trade Me came on the scene. However, New Zealanders have always been good traders, first highlighted by the trading prowess of Maori, every since the first settlers arrived in New Zealand. This desire has continued and been manifested by the modern version of electronic trading best show by eBay and Trade me in New Zealand including a host of smaller sites like SuperBuy. So how do you become a successful netpreneur and powerseller. As a successful seller on internet auction sites, I often get turned to for advice. Since I registered on internet auction sites in 2000, I've ran a lot of profitable auctions which I follow these guidelines. Most importantly, always try to be fair with other users who deal with you and never be intimidated by any competition. Internet auction sites are big enough for us all, and currently there is one seller registered to 78 buyers.
1) Low starting Price
Before you list your auction, ask yourself what's the lowest amount you'd be prepared to accept for your item. A low starting price will attract more bids and at a quicker pace - usually within the first day of the listings. Research shows that a .99c starting price will get you bidders within a few hours. Many vehicles and high value items are sold with a low starting price especially by established powersellers - because unless it's an extremely poor week, the item will normally end up with a lot of bids and at a price that's acceptable to the seller.
Additionally users are more likely to view auctions which already have a successful bid as it generates interest in your item. It's like if you see a market stall with hundreds of people standing around it - your curiosity would tell you to stop & see what's generating all the interest. Use human curiosity to your advantage.
2) No Reserve
Many sellers still place reserve prices on their item. A reserve price is one which unless it is met by your sellers you are not obliged to sell the item. An example would be if you have a reserve of $10, and your item sells for $9.00 you do not have to complete the sale and release the item. Reserve items, although very occasionally may be necessary in the case of extremely high value items or businesses for sale are off putting to bidders. Why would you bid on an item with a reserve price on, unless you already were aware of what the reserve was. Personally I'd look for alternative items without a reserve price.
Some internet auction sites have removed the Reserve Price option from some of their sites in a move that is welcomed by the majority of users. It could be a sign that this policy change will be extended to many more sites.
3) Images
An Image is worth a thousand words. Take photos of your item to clearly show the condition of it, and any damage or unusual aspects of it. Most internet auction sites allow you to include one photo free of charge and if you use your own image hosting service you can easily include as many photos as necessary to show your item in a detailed manner. Many powersellers use up to 20 photos for one single item. Ask yourself how many are necessary for your item and also consider using the gallery option so the image will appear within the search listings. One new feature present on auction sites is the ability to upload short videos. Take advantage of this. A moving picture is worth 100 photos.
4) Cross-Promotion
You've worked hard to get users to view your listing, so while their viewing it also include a link to any other items you've available. This is allowed in addition to the already provided link to "View other sellers items". You can use commercial services to include images and descriptions of your other items.
5) About Me Page
Sell yourself on your About Me Page. This is your chance to establish some credibility for yourself. The biggest reason people will not buy from you online is because you have failed to establish any credibility for yourself. So include details about you and your business. Where are you situated?, how long have you been registered on internet auction sites? What do you specialise in? If you are a high volume seller, you may also want to include a photo of yourself. Have a look at other About Me pages to see what works and what doesn't.
6) Return Policy
Nothing gives buyers greater confidence than knowing that they can return the product if it's not for them. So consider drafting yourself a returns policy. Will you accept returns? What if the item arrives faulty? How long is the policy valid for? It may seem like a big risk to offer such a policy knowing that you'll have to incur a cost relisting and reshipping items but only a very small number of users will return items.
7) Feedback
Leave feedback for the winning bidder as soon as the item is paid for. Some sellers like to protect themselves by only returning feedback when you have provided feedback first. I consider this unprofessional and your bidders will most likely think the same too. Don't be scared of getting a negative or neutral comment on your feedback record. The majority of users will consider all of you feedback before bidding, not just looking at one or two comments.
Additionally if you deserve any feedback left for you, such as if you were late shipping, accept it was your fault. Don't be too worried about admitting it with an apology in response to your feedback. You may also want to compensate your winning bidder with reduced postage or a bonus item to show it was a genuine error on your part.
If you know that there is going to be a delay in completing any transaction, email the bidder and inform them. Apologise with a comment such as "This is a rare incident that's completely out of my control. I hope by looking at my feedback record you will see this is a completely isolated incident". Always try to keep on good terms with all your buyers.
8) Instant attention
Give immediate attention to your bidders and prospective bidders. Don't delay for days before responding to emails or phone calls. Following a successful transaction you may want to email your bidder to tell them when the items will be shipped and when they can expect it to arrive.
I know many sellers, some of them powersellers who takes days to respond to a simple email. If you don't have time to respond immediately consider delegating the responsibility to someone else who can respond on your behalf. Never give any bidder reason to doubt whether you are a genuine seller or not.
9) Internet Auction Site Stores
Opening an internet auction site Store is a necessary step for any medium sized seller. Not only do you benefit from cheaper and longer listings within your shop, but you can also cross-promote your products more easily, send out newsletters and establish a trusted brand for your listings.. Also you'll gain more coverage (and hopefully bids) for your listings by appearing in the internet auction sites store directory.
10) Shipping
Don't be tempted to over price your shipping costs and try to make a small profit on this. Firstly, you can be found out to easily, and it's one of the most unforgiving actions for a seller to do. More importantly over pricing your shipping costs is usually against internet auction site policy.
If you offer digital goods such as an eBook or special report, you may consider a small handling fee to cover your time and administration costs. If you do, make sure it's fair and clearly highlighted within the item listing. The last thing a bidder wants to do is find out there are unexpected costs associated with a purchase they've made. Good luck with your internet auction sites selling activity.
Author's URL:
John Ryan's website 'SuperBuy' reveals his inside secrets and sources that help him achieve success on his internet auction sites.

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