Thursday, July 25, 2013

Auction or Fixed Price?

One of the decisions you have to make for every eBay listing is whether to sell something in the auction format or in the fixed price format. I've been experimenting with both.

Recently eBay ran a promotion where I was able to post as many auction style listings as I wanted for a week, so I got a good taste of the auction format. I think that we all think of the word "auction" and imagine getting several bids on an item, but the truth is that for most of my auction items, I only get one bid. I think this is pretty common--and it can even happen for "popular" items because there are just so many items out there. I learned this within the first couple weeks of starting on eBay, so I'm careful with what I set as the opening bid for an auction and make sure to choose a price where I'm fine with the price being the one and only bid (in other words, the sale price). Of course I do sometimes get lucky and see a little bidding war happen for an item, but that's a lucky thing, not an everyday situation for me at this point.

A nice aspect of the fixed price format is that you can also check a little box which says you'll allow customers to message you with their "best offers" for your items; a lot of sellers recommend this because it gives people a sense of control over the price they're paying. So if you list a fixed price item, you can strategize about your pricing so that you're pricing the item at a fair price but also a price where you'd be OK with taking a little less than what's listed. Now eBay has offered me a promotion to list a bunch of fixed price items without a listing fee, so I'll be doing a lot of fixed price listings over the next week. I'm never sure what duration to set these listings for; I usually choose 30 days, but I think I'll try different time periods.

Any preference for auction vs. fixed price?

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