How to Create a Successful eBay Auction Listing

Since I’m listing a bunch of stuff on eBay this week, I thought I’d pass along a few things I’ve learned about eBay over the years. I’ve been an eBay seller for about 4 years now, and I’ve had some successes and made some mistakes along the way. Here are some of the things I’ve learned about creating a great listing.

1. Do your research. Know what sells and what doesn’t sell on eBay. Do an advanced search on closed auctions to see if the item you want to sell is worth listing. Write down what your item typically sells for. Take note of the category in which it’s listed, what the starting price is, and what the shipping cost is. It helps to sort the search results by highest price first. You can then take a look at what the sellers who sold their items for the most did to maximize their success.

2. Take great pictures. If you can, take your picture outside in natural light. Make sure you have at least one close-up of your item. If you have multiple items in one lot, make sure you get a picture of all your items together, as well as a single picture of each item. Make sure your item is clean and well-presented. If you are selling clothing, iron it before you photograph it. Try to take your picture on a clean, neutral surface. I usually use my wood table. A sheet or blanket also works well. Don’t take a picture of your item sitting on the floor, though. People don’t like to buy stuff (especially clothes) if they know the item was lying on the floor.

3. Use the gallery picture feature. When people are browsing a ton of listings, they are more likely to click on your listing if they see a thumbnail picture next to the title of the auction. It’s easier to skip over an auction if there’s no preview picture to draw them in.

4. Write a great title, using lots of keywords. You can use up to 55 characters to write your title. Use them wisely. An example of a poor title is “Pretty dress size 8 L@@K!!!!!!” The only words in the title that people are likely to be searching for are “dress” and “8”. A better title would be “EUC GYMBOREE Winter Princess Dress 8 Fall/Autumn BTS”. You use 52 characters, and every word is a word people are searching for. Use eBay lingo to your advantage. EUC is “excellent used condition”. Gymboree is the brand name and “Winter Princess” is the line. You’re selling a size 8 dress that is perfect for fall/autumn and BTS (back to school).

5. Write a great description. You don’t need to write the life history of your item, but you do need to describe it well. Important things to mention are color, size, brand, condition, and any flaws. Be sure to disclose any and all imperfections, no matter how minor. Take pictures of the flaws. People are more likely to buy from you if you are honest and upfront. Think about the things you would want to know if you were considering purchasing your item. Disclose whether or not you have smokers or pets in your home. Be upfront about shipping costs and payment terms.

6. While we’re on the subject of shipping costs, don’t overcharge for shipping. It’s fine to tack on a small fee for handling, but don’t try to circumvent eBay fees by jacking up your shipping. People will see you as dishonest, and they will be less likely to buy from you. It may also earn you a negative feedback if someone pays $8.00 for shipping and receives a package with postage of $2.50.

7. Have a clear payment and refund policy. What methods of payment do you accept? I highly recommend accepting PayPal. A lot of potential buyers won’t bid on auctions that don’t accept PayPal. How long does a buyer have to pay you? What is your refund policy? The more clear you are about these things, the more confidence buyers will have in you as a seller, and the less likely there is to be a misunderstanding that leads to a bad transaction.

8. Finally, don’t end your auction on a Friday or Saturday. People are out and about on the weekends and won’t be bidding on your auctions. Some say that Sunday evening is the best time for an auction to end. I’ve had good luck ending my auctions any evening of the week, except for Friday and Saturday.

There is a lot more that I could add to this list, but that would be a book, not a blog post. For further reading on this subject, check out How To Construct The Perfect eBay Auction Listing and eBay Listings That Draw New and Repeat Customers.

If you have eBay wisdom you’d like to share, feel free to post a comment!


By , on Jul 17, 2007
Lynnae McCoy I'm Lynnae, wife of one and stay-at-home mom of two. I'm committed to getting out of debt by being frugal with my choices in life.


Popular Articles

{One Comment}

  1. I think resarching to see what similar items well for is really important before listing, otherwise it could cost lots in fees without a sale. I think that is the main reason I had success from the start.
    I also found having the auction end on the sunday afternoon was better than during the week.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Disclaimer and Legal Mumbo Jumbo

I'm just an average mom, trying to live a frugal life and get out of debt. I write about things that have (and haven't) worked to improve my family's financial situation. What works for me may or may not work for you, and you should always consult a financial advisor before making important financial decisions.

In accordance with FTC guidelines, I state that I have a financial relationship with companies mentioned in this website. This may include receiving access to free products and services for product and service reviews and giveaways.

Any references to third party products, rates, or websites are subject to change without notice. I do my best to maintain current information, but due to the rapidly changing environment, some information may have changed since it was published. Please do the appropriate research before participating in any third party offers.

For additional information, please review our legal disclaimers and privacy policy.