4 Strategies to Consider When eBay Items Aren't Selling

An eBay seller worries that no one is bidding, and her products won't sell.
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eBay sellers are often frustrated when their items don't sell as quickly as they would like. Many don't understand that eBay is a marathon, not a sprint, and it takes time for the right buyer to come along. Sometimes weeks, months, or even over a year. But there are things you can do to increase the odds of your item selling in a reasonable amount of time. eBay is a very competitive marketplace. Going the extra mile on every single listing is important to improving overall sales.

Offer 30-Day Returns

eBay has said in webinars, on eBay Radio, and in announcements, that offering a 30-day return policy pushes listings up in your search results. Cassini, the eBay search engine, sees stores with a 30-day or longer return policy as more customer friendly, and eBay wants buyers to have the most pleasant experience on eBay as possible. On the other hand, less than a 30-day return policy, or no return policy, results in being pushed down in search. eBay punishes sellers with seven- or 14-day return policies, or no policy at all.

So sellers must look at the big picture here and understand that the total gain is much more valuable than a few losses on returns. Remember, if an item is returned, you can always sell it again. And make sure to include a disclaimer on returns that the item must be returned in original condition for a full refund.

Use Best Offer

Best offer is comparable to a reverse auction. The seller sets a price on the item, but buyers can submit offers. Granted, some offers are ridiculous and very low, but it is all part of the game. Who wouldn't want to get an item as cheaply as possible? Buyers on eBay are always looking for a deal. If you aren't using best offer, you are missing opportunities. Don't take low offers personally. This is business.

Some buyers won't even look at listings that don't have best offer, so you are losing buyers right off the bat. Also, some people want to make sure they are dealing with a human being, so don't use auto-decline. As soon as you set a threshold, if an offer comes in one penny below that, and you are using auto-decline, you won't even see the offer and it will be automatically rejected. Unless you have thousands of items in your store and replying to offers is taking a huge amount of time, it is better to manually reply to every offer that comes in.

Ship Internationally

There are 7 billion people in the world, and only about 350 million of them live in the USA. Granted, a large percentage of the world's population live in third world countries and probably don't buy on eBay, but the point is that sellers are missing opportunities for sales when they don't offer international shipping. eBay has made great strides to make the international shipping process easy.

For example, there are no customs forms to fill out and everything can easily be printed from the shipping workflow for international orders, just like for domestic packages. All that is needed is the seller's signature on the label and it is ready to go. Remember, international customers are just people in other countries who want to buy things - they are just regular people who live somewhere else.

Price Competitively

The first knee-jerk reaction when an item doesn't sell is to lower the price. Don't do this! Price may not be the issue. For example, if your local neighborhood sushi restaurant had a buy one get one free special, would you automatically go there for dinner? If you don't like sushi, probably not, because you are not their customer so a drop in price isn't going to interest you. If your item has been sitting for a while, check your research and make sure the price is right. Raising the price actually can spur watchers into action, so try that technique if you have watchers that aren't buying.

Patience is a virtue in life and on eBay. Find good items, take good photos, offer good service, and price competitively. Then wait for the right buyer to come along.