How To Use eBay Listing Upgrades And Options Efficiently.
The biggest area eBay sellers waste money on fees is by using listing upgrades and options that do not increase selling amounts enough to cover the extra cost.
This article explains the best use of all eBay upgrades so you can avoid paying fees on unhelpful options.
When I first wrote this report eBay offered Home Page Featured and Featured Plus options to allow sellers to buy better positions in category and on the home page. These options were dropped in 2008, and replaced with Featured First. The Featured First upgrade allowed a seller to get higher positioning, but was not guaranteed. Featured First was dropped as an option some time later leaving sellers no way to get their items added exposure.
Because you cannot purchase better positioning, the only way to improve the visibility of your listings is by maintaining high Detailed Seller Ratings (DSR) and high sell through rates.
High sell through rates are based only on your asking fixed price or on your reserve amount, you can try lowering these amounts, but I'd just ignore that factor and list more items with no reserve. Here's an article about Detailed Seller Ratings.
Also, since the last time I updated this information eBay has deleted a few of the options: Highlight, Border, Gift Services, are no longer available. These are all upgrades I said were a waste of money in the last update which lends authority to my recommendations.
Since eBay made changes to entice eBay sellers to open a store, I've included information when needed if the costs for these listing upgrades is different for store owners.
Here's a list of the listing upgrades available and information about when to use each listing option:
- Reserve Fees - Store owners don't pay reserve fees, others pay either $2.00 or 1% of the reserve price up to $50 maximum fee whichever is higher. I only recommend using reserves for thinly traded items where you might not get enough bidding to push the price upwards. If you aren't a store owner, using a fixed price listing rather than an auction with a reserve will lower your eBay fees on all items selling for between $85.34 and $1875
- Buy It Now costs between 5 and 25 cents depending on the price, but is free for the first 50 listings a month if you do NOT have an eBay store. I only recommend using Buy It Now with reserve auctions. For example an auction with an opening bid of 99 cents, a reserve of $250, and a BIN of $275. In this case the BIN gives pricing information to bidders and improves the chances of meeting the reserve.
- The Gallery is a way of showcasing your item with a picture next to the listing or allowing people to search for items with pictures. This is free and should always be used. If you use eBay photo hosting, gallery is automatic. If you host your own images, you need to insert the URL of an image into the first image field. If you have regular repeat buyers using a recognizable background in the gallery image will allow your buyers to spot your listings more easily.
- Gallery Plus makes the gallery image expand when hovered over. If you use eBay photo hosting, Gallery Plus will allow users to see all your images in a larger size in the search results or category. This costs an extra 35 cents or a dollar depending on the listing type. It's ALWAYS a waste of money.
- Listing Designer is not worth using. If you have to have a fancy listing you can buy a template or create your own in a few minutes. Using a template does not increase your bids unless you are very active in one category and have lots of regular repeat buyers.
- Subtitle costs 50 cents or $1.50 depending on listing length, and is often used incorrectly. The subtitle is considered part of the description by the eBay search system and ignored unless the searcher has checked the search descriptions box. This means it's not a good place to stuff keywords. The few times it makes sense to use subtitles are discussed elsewhere in this report.
- Bold is a way to make your auction title stand out from the other listings in search results and category lists. It costs $2.00. Bold is never worth using for cheaper single item listings. If you are selling multiple items with fixed price listings in a competitive market, Bold may result in more sales.
- Scheduled Listings cost 10 cents are aren't worth using unless you are planning on returning from a vacation and want some listings to go active just before you get back. Timing auctions is a waste of effort and money. I know a lot of sellers swear ending an auction on a specific day or at a specific time increases bids, but it doesn't. Spend your time improving your skills rather than jumping on the statistically challenged bandwagon.
- Listing In 2 Categories doubles your insertion and upgrade fees. Note: if you are NOT an eBay store user the first 50 auction listings are free for the first category, but you'll be charged for the second category. Adding a second category makes sense if the item you are selling is attractive to people browsing in different categories. If you are listing an item people search for based on keywords, this option won't help you.
- International Site Visibility shows your item on the eBay.uk website in addition to the ebay.com site. This option costs 10-40 cents for listings with durations of 10 days or less or 25 cents to a dollar for 30 day listings. This option is not available for all items, but is worth doing if your items are interesting to European bidders. Use this if there is a high likelihood a UK buyer would buy your item anyway.
One note about International Visibility. EBay recently lost a lawsuit in France over fake merchandise sold on the eBay.fr website. Because of this when you list an item with a brand name in the title eBay using International Visibility eBay will tell you to verify you're complying with foreign laws. There is no way to check off that you've done this so just back up and try relisting again until eBay allows the listing to start.
- Value Pack combines Gallery Plus, Subtitle, and Listing Designer for 65 cents. I don't recommend using Gallery Plus or Listing Designer so you'd be better off just spending 50 cents for the subtitle than using this option.
- Combining Options - You can combine any or all of these options to improve your sales. You should test each option separately to determine which option results in the most cost effective boost to your selling prices.
One last note: It is very easy to set some listing upgrades as defaults. Subtitle seems to be the most common default error. Make sure you pay attention to your listings, preview them and check your fees before you list so you don't end up using listing upgrades because you checked a box by mistake.
PS The above information is excerpted from pages 32-35 of my Auction Revolution eBay manual.
PPS My article called "Does An eBay Store Make Sense For You?" will help you decide if paying eBay a monthly store fee is in your best interests.
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