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eBay auctions are fun. They should capitalise on that.

By Dan Wilson May 24, 2017 - 6:23 am

It’s one of those aspects of growing up. At some point your parents downsize and move into a smaller property and require that you take collection of your childhood possessions.

My mother has just recently moved into a smaller house and she has, entirely unreasonably in my opinion, required that my boxes comes to my place. I’m nearly 40. I found myself with a transit van full of stuff a few weeks back that I need to stow or dispose of. I don’t have the space to keep it all. It’s a consignment of my belongings, cast in aspic, aged 21. Some stuff I’ll keep. Much will be ditched. But some of it can be sold.

And so I’ve rediscovered eBay auctions. I have a huge big box of Lego and other stuff that I’ve been snapping and putting up for sale. I’ve been surprised by the Lego. It has been getting good bids. Those little spacemen are sought after and I have a load of them. I’ve been buffing them up and shipping them out. They’re keeping me in beer at the moment. Thanks chaps!

But other items like books and toys are also doing well. Sadly my local Post Office shut last year but the walk to my now nearest branch is not a chore. MyHermes is also proving handy for bigger and heavier items. I also haven’t experienced any problems with non-payers at all. Indeed, quite the opposite. Auction bidders do seem to cough up quickly and willingly and also leave good feedback and DSRs quickly. I leave feedback when they pay, naturally.

But what I had forgotten is that eBay auctions are fun. I enjoy logging in to find my watcher count has increased. It’s fun seeing the last minute frenzy of bids. There is also something exciting about the end of an eBay auction. I love checking in at the last minute to see how the sales will end.

eBay could be capitalising on this fun. Amazon doesn’t offer that.

eBay has offered sellers a clutch of free auction sales with their eBay Shops subs of late. I urge you to use them. They’re useful for liquidating slow moving stock or returns. But they are also fun. Maybe you (like me) had forgotten that?

  • Andy R
    3 months ago

    They’re fun if the Ebay system works, Dan.

    Error messages like this take the fun away: This item can’t be accessed because the listing has been deleted, is a Half.com listing, or you aren’t the seller

    As do days when buyers’ can’t bid or people can’t search. Watch out from the 20th or 21st of each month, when system problems seem to ramp up.

    But in general, yeah, auctions are Ebay’s USP.

    By your own admission, you’ve only just started with auctions again, if you’ve used them daily for years you get a fuller picture.

    If only the s*dding system worked……

  • Andy R
    3 months ago

    It also helps to be in categories like collectables, which have the potential to be interesting and sometimes unique.

    Unfortunately, once again, many of the changes on Ebay recently have hammered these categories at the expense of those with product identifiers, e.g, ending Turbo Lister with no replacement. Not to mention the forthcoming fees for scheduled listings, flagged up by Tamebay, once the seller hub replaces SMP. Having auctions finish at the right time is essential. It doesn’t make sense. Look at the auctions going unbid at 8am in the morning.

    Ebay is in danger of throwing away the very things that make it stand out, like antiques, collectables, crafts etc, and is focussing instead on mainstream items.

    Trying to mimic Amazon is futile, because Amazon is already there! We don’t need a second, inferior version of Amazon.

    The recent price rises for auctions on Ebay does not help either. Yes, you get a free quota, but we use that up in week one.

    Ebay wants more money from these areas, but instead of nurturing them, they crank up the fees instead.

    There is a gap in the market for a site that is friendly to left field, one-off items, in art, collectables, antiques, crafts etc, which doesn’t weigh you down with requirements and restrictions and which doesn’t try to bleed you dry.

  • chrissieboy
    3 months ago

    yes, auctions are great and i’ve continued using them even during the popular “BIN” times. They don’t seem to suffer from “best match” (haha, contadictions abound) and often get more views in a shorter time. It’s easy to combine invoices for cheaper shipping. I even put up with the “graphical view/sales” element. However when there is an outage (especially on a Sunday night – ebay’s best time for end of auction’s so they tell us) then it’s a nightmare and it happens very too often. The “free” auctions as part of shop subs is great but ebay need to do more and should offer free auctions for all listings limited to 2 times (list & re-list) to prevent sellers relisting time and time again the same unsold tat at too high a start price.

  • 3 months ago

    I love running auctions and I find it essential to drive traffic to your buy it now/other items too.

    You get a higher price if you list buy it now and wait for a good offer but auctions are the best way to generate guaranteed cash flow short term.

    It also helps keep the office tidy and cleats dead stock and unwanted bits

    There’s maybe 1 in 10 that doesn’t pay but usually buyers do.

    I do agree it’s costly and you don’t usually get anywhere near full retail price but it’s money in the bank

  • Andy R
    3 months ago

    Just to emphasise the point about system problems – customers are saying they can’t pay or checkout again today.

    I tried buying a lawnmower spare part and the checkout would not let me pay – there wasn’t even a Paypal link. I got an email confirming the purchase, but there’s nothing on the Ebay site.

    So far this month, Downdetector says Ebay has been having problems on the 24th May, 23rd (twice), 22nd (twice), 21st, 18th, 17th, 16th (twice), 15th, 14th, 13th, 12th, 11th, 9th, 8th, 7th, 6th (twice), 5th, 4th (twice), 3rd and 1st.

    So if your Ebay sales have tanked this month, check downdetector.

    It doesn’t really matter whether you list fixed price or auction with crap performance like this.

    From Ebay? Not a peep. As per.

  • 3 months ago

    One problem with the new auctions is that the eBay systems don’t seem to have been adjusted to cope with them.

    If you send a BIN item to auction, eBay appears to be identifying it as a duplicate listing, and therefore demoting it in search.

    So using the “free” auction allowance to get rid of slow-moving stock is a non-starter, because some 7-day auctions are finishing with just 3 or 4 page views.

    Another, probably related, problem, is that eBay has issued some policy breaches to some sellers for using the “send to auction” button. The system is identifying this as “withdrawing items from sale to sell them off-eBay” (even though they are being instantaneously relisted on eBay, but as an auction).

  • John
    3 months ago

    Ebay are idiots really.Auctions are the one thing they have above Amazon yet do nothing with them.Where are the two day auctions?.Why cant we set by hours instead of 1,3,5 etc days.Its lunacy.Why arent fees cut on auctions that start at 0.99p to say 6%.Drive traffic.Instead Ebay just makes a mess.Today i had a message off them.We are removing your duplicate listings.I have no duplicate listings.I have 5 listings.Expensive products.No doubt Ebay has picked up my auction that has the same EAN code as one of my BINs and classed it as a duplicate.I sell 90% on Amazon now anyway,but i wish it was 50/50 with Ebay.Ebay isnt finished,but it really does need new management quickly.

  • Alan Paterson
    2 months ago

    I am confused John. why is the 1,3,5 day auctions “lunacy”? Please remember that you can schedule a listing start time which means you have complete control (to the min) what day, hour and min it finishes.

    Why would fees differ just because an item starts at 99p? Why is this a “mess”?

    As regards the duplicate listing policy I think many sellers forget why it was introduced in the first place. Pages and pages of listings of the same product for certain keywords. Something had to be done. It wasn’t a popular policy change but it was better than the alternative. The “old” system was not giving good buyer experience with sellers trying to “monopolise” the search standing by flooding it with the same product.

    If you “wish” you were selling 50/50 with Ebay and Amazon you gotta ask…….is it Ebay holding you back?

    “Ebay are idiots really” you started your post. Really? Just because a seller doesn’t understand or does not agree with policy……..its usually because said seller dent have all the information on why decisions or policies were put in place in the first instance. If said seller then makes a judgment call and declare Ebay “idiots” without having all the facts……well its not Ebay that are being the idiots. (with respect).

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