Doing some eBay research to discover the value of your item before you list it can have real value. Some research tools are found right on eBay, while others are found elsewhere. Once you pin down the value of your item and figure out what eBay selling format to use, you’ll increase your chances of making a sale and putting money in your pocket.
How to Conduct eBay Research
The classic tool for researching the value of an item can be found right on eBay, by doing a “Completed Listing” search. Type a couple keywords for your item in the “Search” field, then once your search is done click on “Completed Listings” and sort them by “Price + Shipping: Highest First.” Listings with prices highlighted in red are unsold, and ones highlighted in green are sold.
At Kabbage we recommend perusing both sold and unsold items to learn how to sell on eBay. You can ask: Why did only some of these sell? Sometimes the unsold items were priced too high, which immediately deters buyers. Perhaps the Item Title was lacking, which made it less likely to come up in search results. If you are selling an antique or collectible, there can be a wide range in value based on variables such as size or color (for instance, red Depression glass is much rarer than clear Depression glass). Finally, whether you are selling electronics or antiques, condition can be crucial; items in pristine condition easily fetch the most bids.
Alternative Ways to Decide How to Price Items on eBay
What do you do if you can’t find your item already listed on eBay? While this is increasingly rare given the worldwide popularity of eBay, you do have other options. Do a simple Google search and see what comes up; for a fast search, click on “Images” to see if your item is pictured. Seek out sites specific to your category; for instance, Abebooks is a great site for rare books and periodicals. Do you have a painting you picked up at a yard sale that you suspect is a Picasso? Riding the coattails of popular shows like Antiques Roadshow, many schools, libraries and other institutions are running “appraisal night” fundraisers where you can get your special treasure informally checked out for a smaller fee than a written appraisal from an auction house. If, ultimately, you can’t find your item anywhere, simply list it on eBay for the price at which you would be comfortable selling it. The market (your bidders) will let you know if you are in the ballpark.
Once you have done your research and you have a good idea of the value of your item, pricing it will be contingent on what selling format you use (Fixed Price or Auction). Price is an excellent format to use for new items such as electronics or clothing; buyers love the ease of purchasing items immediately without the hassle of waiting for an auction to end. Simply price your item competitively once you have done your research, and don’t forget to keep your shipping cost low and maximize your Item Title to ensure it comes up in search results (“New Nike Air Jordan Sneakers size 9 / blue & white mens basketball shoes NIB” will sell much better than “Nike Sneakers”).
How to Sell on eBay: Auctions
eBay Auctions are often good for antiques and collectibles because you have bidding wars between collectors. If you are listing an Auction, you have the option of setting a low Starting Price to attract bidders right at the starting gate. The risk with this is the possibility of getting only one bid and selling your item for just the Starting Price, but if this is a concern you can always set a Reserve Price as well. The paradox of this is that bidders often dislike Reserve Prices; don’t be surprised if they actually ask what the Reserve is. A good solution to these issues is to set a Starting Price at the very least amount you would be comfortable selling your item. If it doesn’t sell the first time around, you can always re-list later with a price reduction.
Using these eBay research tools to figure out the value of your item and understanding eBay selling formats will maximize your chance of making a sale, moving your inventory out the door, and filling your pockets with cash.