Buying and Selling on Ebay

Discussion in 'Business & Economics' started by Seattle, Feb 5, 2018.

  1. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    I find this to be an interesting subject. If others don't then it will be a short thread.

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    Ebay can be looked at as a learning tool with immediate feedback on the subject of marketing. I use it mainly as a place to purchase small items as the shipping fee tends to be reasonable on there and I haven't joined Amazon Prime.

    Where I have more experience though is in buying and selling guitars. The best scenario to be on Ebay is when you are a buyer and a seller. If it's currently a buyer's market and you are selling then you can make up for that by also being a buyer.

    If it's a seller's market and you are a buyer, it's helpful if you are able to be a seller as well.

    In my case I had a bunch of guitars and other stringed musical instruments (most of them popular models in very good condition). I had accumulated them over 15 years. I used some, some weren't getting much use and with some, I just wanted a change.

    I was able to sell some of them for more than I paid for them, some slightly less, and some were just things that I wanted to get rid of as I live in a small house and wanted less clutter.

    I intended to buy a few other guitars that I would use more and just put the rest of the money in the bank. As I sold more I learned about other guitars that I didn't know about and ended up spending most of the money that way.

    In the end I got a several reasonably expensive guitars used in like-new condition at great discounts.

    I learned a lot of techniques for selling and buying just based on the immediate feedback and on what worked and what didn't.

    Auctions are rarely the best way to go if what you have is valuable unless it's really valuable and popular. In that case you might try an auction with a starting price that is good enough to be a final price. Otherwise, you might get only one bidder and not get much for your item.

    Otherwise fixed auctions are best. You can always change the pricing as time goes on. I start out a little high. If it doesn't sell I try a little lower. If it's still not selling I'll go lower for a day or so but at this point people generally start contacting you, asking a bunch of questions and asking if you would lower the price more.

    At this point I always bring the price back up to the second price that I had it listed at...and it usually sells at that price.

    Another technique is to list it at a fixed price that is much higher than you had planned to list it at but still in the reasonable category for someone who just has to have your specific item. You also enable the "Make an Offer" option.

    Most everyone will now contact you for a discount. You can set the listing up so that you automatically accept offers above a certain price (that you set), automatically rejects offers below a certain price and in between those two price points it leaves it up to you to manually accept or reject the offer.

    I had a guitar at $300 (inexpensive guitar) for almost a month with no buyer. I changed to the "Make an Offer" option as described above, listed the guitar for $350 and someone offered me $300 and I had it set so that it automatically accepted that offer. That happened within a few hours of making that change.

    In general, if you lower your price too much, people think there is something wrong with it. If you are having no offers when you have something at a reasonable price you usually need to either raise the price or just give it more time.

    Sometimes the problem isn't the price. It's just that there are no buyers who are interested in your item at the moment. Lowering your price only means that when someone does come along they will now get it for less than they would have been willing to pay you.

    Key is also to take good pictures and many of them. Knowing how to write descriptive listings anticipating questions is paramount as well. You can't just put up a couple of under-exposed pictures and then write that this is a great guitar.

    You do need to look not only at what others are pricing their similar items at but also look at the expired auctions/listings to see what similar items actually sold at.

    Regarding buying, I always buy used guitars and at the best price that I can get. I also generally only buy guitars that are popular enough or at a low enough price that I know I can resell them easily if I later decide to.

    This last time around I bought a couple of guitars that sell for just over $1,000. I bought them used, but in like new condition. One was an opened box item and one was less than 6 months old. They both looked absolutely new. I got one for $650 including shipping and for $700 including shipping.

    What experiences have you had with buying/selling on Ebay?

    Edit- I don't know why the forum software is messing up my formatting in parts of this post. Can you not use numbers or dollar signs?
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2018
    Xelasnave.1947 likes this.
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  3. Xelasnave.1947 Valued Senior Member

    That is so very interesting.
    I have some antique stuff that I have thought would be best converted into astronomy gear so I must have a look and see what goes on.
    I also hope others share their experience.
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  5. Seattle Valued Senior Member

    Thanks Alex. Just to quantify my experience, I sold a bunch of instruments and ended up buying 4 electric guitars and one banjo, all like new and didn't have to add any money as it was all funded with just the stuff that I had sold.

    Good luck with funding new astronomy gear. I have two telescopes in the basement as well.

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  7. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Try putting your dollar signs in italic font.

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