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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Patience is a virtue in life and on eBay. eBay sellers often become 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 it takes weeks, months, or even over a year for your items to sell.

But there are things you can do to increase the odds of your item selling in a reasonable amount of time beyond the basics of finding good items to sell, taking good photos, writing enticing and accurate descriptions, and pricing your stuff competitively. eBay is a very competitive marketplace. Going the extra mile on every single listing is important to improving overall sales

Pricing Items 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.

Offering Free Shipping

Perhaps it’s a psychological thing, but some buyers will avoid making a purchase from a seller that requires them to pay for shipping. Knowing this, you can probably attract more buyers and move more merchandise if you offer free shipping. If you’re worried about shipping costs cutting into your profit, don’t be. If you consult the eBay shipping calculator after weighing your item in the packaging that you’re going to send it in, you can build the estimated cost into your listing price (or amend the listing if you’ve already posted the item). 

Offering 30-Day Returns

eBay has covered this in webinars, broadcast it on eBay Radio, and made it clear in announcements: 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 looks less favorably on 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 if you do offer returns, you should also make sure to include a disclaimer that any item that’s sent back must be returned in the original condition in which received to be eligible for a full refund.

Using Best Offer

The Best Offer option is comparable to a reverse auction. The seller sets a base price on the item, but buyers can submit offers. Granted, some offers are ridiculous and very low, but the good thing about that is that you get to set the threshold of what you’ll accept. Any offers that come in for less than that amount automatically get rejected. Buyers on eBay are always looking for a deal, and if you aren’t using the Best Offer option, you are missing opportunities. 

Some buyers won't even look at listings that don't have the best offer option, so you are losing buyers right off the bat. Also, some people want to make sure they are dealing with a human being, so you may want to set a threshold lower to avoid missing offers and the chance to negotiate. If an offer comes in one penny below the price you set, 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 reply to every offer that comes in manually.

Shipping 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 lives 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.