Sellers spend a great deal of time perfecting their auction listings. They labor over their titles until they find the perfect combination of keywords and perfect the layout and item descriptions to encourage bidders. Timing, however, is at least as important as the content of an auction listing when it comes to selling effectively on eBay.
Like nearly all websites, eBay doesn't experience traffic in smooth, continuous flows. Instead, there are peaks and valleys that can be measured by day, week, and season. Listing so that your auction spans or closes on a visitor traffic valley can mean that you don't earn as much as you could have. To take advantage of this, do your research and learn the best time to list your item on eBay.
Matching Listing to End to Peak Traffic
There are two simple principles you should keep in mind whenever you prepare to list an item. Once you've settled on a title and description, you’ll need to decide how long your auction should last. The longer you list, the more bids you’ll get. Many of eBay's visitors check the site once per week or less, so a listing of at least seven days is preferable, and ten days is ideal. The vast majority of eBay bids are placed within the last few minutes of an auction listing's lifespan. Though it takes days to accumulate watchers, most of these people won't actually bid until the auction is nearly closed. Once your auction is down to its last half-hour or so, it will also begin to appear in "closing soon" results, which can draw in still more bidders. But that's only if there are bidders around to see it.
The Best Days and Times to List on eBay
Peak traffic on eBay's main site runs in daily and weekly cycles, following the same pattern seen around most of the Internet. Usually, daily peak traffic is between 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. Eastern Time, and weekly peak traffic is usually on Sunday evenings during that same timeframe. To maximize bidding for daily peak time, set your auction to be completed during these times so that it will gain the largest possible daily audience. Listing seven-day auctions every Sunday evening is also a convenient way to time your auctions well without having to think about it too much while also avoiding the surcharge on ten-day listings. If you are going to list your item for ten days, however, the best time to list is on Thursday evenings, which allows you to gain exposure for two full weekends. The difference can be quite significant, especially compared, for example, to endings on weekday mornings, when even people who were watching your listing closely are unlikely to remember to bid.
Other Ways to Maximize Your eBay Bids
Another key way to maximize your bids is to set your minimum bid amount low. Starting the auction off with a low threshold makes your auction seem more approachable to buyers and gives them an incentive to get in on the action. To ensure that you’re getting at least the desired amount, however, be sure to set your reserve price—the amount that must be met in order for the item to be purchased.
There are other things you can do to boost your profile. If you commit to donating part of your proceeds to charity, oftentimes, your items will generate more bids and garner a higher sales price because buyers are more apt to make a purchase that will help a charity. Your listing will get greater prominence in searches, as eBay adds a unique charity logo in the search view and includes a full description of the charity donation in the listing.
Sellers can choose to donate any amount of their profit from 10% to 100%. Another beneficial aspect of donating part of your proceeds to charity is that eBay discounts the final value fees by the same percentage that’s earmarked for donation, and any donation is tax-deductible.
Participating charities include Digital Citizen Fund, Feeding America, United Way Worldwide, The Humane Society of the United States, The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights, Kiva, Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary, Heart for Ethiopia, American Cancer Society, ThreadED, March of Dimes, Americares, ASPCA, Blind Center of Nevada, Care, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, Save the Children, Team Rubicon, Unicef, World Vision, WWF, and American Red Cross.