Why Aren’t my Ebay Auctions Making Money? 8 Quick Fixes

On Ebay, there are two types of sellers: those that know how to sell, and those that don’t. The good news is, it’s completely up to you which of these categories you fall into. If you’re Ebay sales are falling flat or just plain falling, it’s your auctions that are to blame. With some quick fixes, you can spruce up your auctions in no time and start increasing sales once again.

If you fall into the category of “not making money on your Ebay auctions”, read on and see if one or more of these reasons applies to you:

1. Your Photo is a Mess.
Photos are necessary on Ebay. They’re what sell the item in the end, and what buyers expect to see… and plenty of them! No matter how small or cheap your item is, a great photo will enhance the auction. If you can’t take a good photo, learning a little Ebay photography is pretty easy. Just search “Ebay photography” on Google to find hundreds of help pages. The more photos in your auction, the more money you could potentially make.

2. The Description is Incomplete.
When buyers buy, they want to make sure they’re bidding on something they want. If you can’t describe the item, they can’t be sure what it is. Sometimes sellers (especially newbies) wrongly assume buyers will read between the lines, or assume the condition is obvious. That’s not how Ebay works. Give a robust, telling description that tells the buyer everything they need to know, soup to nuts. That includes the condition, the color, make, brand, model, anything included with the item, the working condition, the origin, interior features, exterior features, and the uses for the item. Or, you can stick with the terse descriptions and drive away buyers like the Bubonic Plague.

3. Your Shipping Costs Aren’t Competitive.
Shipping costs have become quite competitive on Ebay. Why? Buyers have demanded free shipping and lower shipping prices, and ecommerce has listened. This means higher shipping prices are really going to drive away potential buyers. Sure, it’s going to eat into your profits, but it’s going to keep you in the game. Find a way to get your shipping costs lower, whether that means offering free, slower shipping via UPS Ground or USPS Parcel Post, or factoring the shipping cost into the item price. Also, be sure to research your competitors to see what they are charging currently for similar items.

4. Your Feedback Score is Low.
On Ebay, your feedback score is like your license to sell. You want to keep that license at all costs, or you’ll be losing customers left and right! This can be done very easily. Like any retail business, the customer is always right. Even the most unreasonable questions, comments, and requests should be answered cordially. Sometimes the buyers that ask the most questions wind up purchasing the most, and really appreciate the time you take to answer their questions. They’ll also be the first to sing your praise in the form of feedback and DSR ratings (those star ratings that Ebay has). If your feedback score is low, don’t worry, you can improve it! Just keep selling, being honest, and keep shipping your items out fast. You’ll have your score back to near-perfect in no time.

5. The Market is Over Saturated.
Not all items sell on Ebay. In fact, most don’t sell, but Ebay still makes money on those items (while you lose money). Ebay encourages you to list, list, list every single item you have until it sells, no matter what. In reality, some research should be done prior to making big investments.

As you’ll find out with a little Ebay research, the marketplace can be very oversaturated in a certain niche. For example, Beanie Babies used to be all the rage on Ebay when the website was very young. Today, Beanie Babies aren’t nearly as possible as they once were, and the price of these collectibles has gone down considerably. If you were to enter the Beanie Baby field today as a seller, you would find far more competitors and probably a marketplace ripe with sellers, but rather dry in terms of buyers. Avoid this type of scenario all together and search completed listings and average selling prices on Ebay prior to making big inventory commitments and purchases, and find a fresher, less competitive niche that has buyers hungry for those items.

6. Your About Me Page is Flat.
The About ME page should be a confidence boost for buyers that you’re someone credible to buy from. It can contain information on your policies, what you sell, what discounts you offer, and your philosophy on selling on Ebay. There’s no limit to the length of this page, and you’re allowed 3 links on this page as well. Take advantage and point to your most attractive pages, whether it’s a clearance store page, free shipping offers, or just to your storefront. This page is where you should be gaining buyer’s trust, and getting rid of any doubts they might have about you as a seller.

7. Your Customers Are Afraid to Buy from You.
Just like the About ME page is a confidence booster, the auction should feel safe and trustworthy. Provide a guarantee to customers that the item is authentic, comes from a pet-free smoke free environment, and is completely brand new (or in whatever condition) and you’ll make customers feel much, much more comfortable to make a bid.

8. You Haven’t Filled Out the Item Specifics.
Underneath the gallery photo inside the item page, and above the description, there’s a box that states some of the item details. This is often the first thing buyers read as they enter your auction. If you’re not filling this out, you’re making a mistake! It’s also used to help sort your item in Ebay searches, so not filling it out can hurt you in valuable clicks. Ebay has made this box of item specifics easily scannable to buyers, so feel free to add your own item specifics in the “other” box. Buyers won’t spend long on your page, so if you can grab their attention quickly while they’re “above the fold,” you’ll have a better chance of getting them to bid or buy.

If you have all of these basics already done, then you should be on your way to making more money on Ebay.

Introduction photo of cassette tape by Ronald K on flickr.

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