eBay is still the number one auction site on the web. There have been competitors, but when you are in the market to buy or sell no single website comes close to the membership level and exposure eBay offers.
This short article will impart upon you the most important thing you can do to maximize your profit when listing items on eBay.
The most important tool on eBay for the seller is the search function. You need to learn how to effectively use the search function to be a high profit seller.
Search for the item you are selling.
This might seem simple but you would be surprised how many people just blindly list their items on eBay without doing the most basic search to check on supply and demand.
It does not matter how rare or valuable your item is, you need to do a search for it before you list. By searching (don't leave out completed auctions) you can find out the current ration of supply (your item) to demand (number of buyers who want it.) Armed with this information you can decide your opening bid price or if you should just hold on to your item for a while longer.
Key things to look for:
a) How many are currently listed?
b) How many sold in the past?
c) How many bidders bid in each auction?
d) Did the same bidders bid in each auction?
e) If the same bidders are bidding, does each new auction have one less bidder?
f) Is the item being sold by multiple sellers?
g) Do the sellers have anything in common?
A few years ago I was going to list a CD-ROM game from a popular RPG system. I had originally not planned on selling the CD-ROM but, after a quick search on eBay, I found them selling for $200 each! I knew I hardly ever used the thing so I started doing some searches. What I found was very interesting.
This particular item had been showing up on eBay at the rate of one per week. There was never more then one listed and the new listing always overlapped the old listing by about 5 hours. The bidding pool was obviously limited. Each week, one less bidder was bidding.
When it got to a bidding pool of five members I jumped in and listed my copy. Everything was going great for about three days. The bidder pool had all converged on my auction and it was up to $60... Then something happened...
Six new auctions appeared from users with nearly new accounts. The bidding on my auction stopped.
Those six new members must have seen the high price the CD-ROM was selling for and rather then doing proper research and learning about the demand for this product they all blindly dove in. Every auction did sell but with only one bid each. I figure I lost about $100 because of this and the other sellers clearly lost a whole lot more!
A few years ago the reverse of the above happened, this time I was a buyer.
I had been looking for a long time for this one particular RPG book that had long been out of print. One day I found one on eBay, mint condition still in the shrink wrap!
I jumped for joy!
I didn't need one in shrink wrap but I did want one, so did someone else.
We started a bidding war and that item went from $5 to $299.99! I lost the auction in the end but I felt a little bit better knowing I wouldn't have to listen to my wife ask me how in the hell I could just drop $300 on an old RPG book!
Well, within three days time eBay was flooded with copies of this book. All those sellers must have seen the one copy sell at a super high price and they got greedy.
I snatched up five copies that week for a total cost of $40!
If those sellers had done proper research they would have known that the only reason that book sold at such an inflated price was that their were two bidders with more money then brains that wanted it. When everyone tried to jump in and get a piece of that "big money" they found the tables had turned. The laws of supply and demand were now on my side!
Use the search feature on eBay. Knowledge is your friend. It can be the difference between selling at a huge profit and just selling.