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Top tips on how to attract bidders at online auctions, from the UK's leading online auction house.
4 Mins

How to attract bidders

Ben Smith
Ben Smith

You’ve got your wares, you’re primed, ready to sell them and start making some money. Whether it’s a side hustle, your main business venture or you’re just selling some pre-loved items to make way for the inevitable deluge of Christmas presents, here are our top tips on attracting bidders…

Photos, photos, photos

I don’t mean to be repetitive, but an auction can live or die by its photographs. One of the few restrictions of online auctions is the inability of a buyer to actually hold or properly look at an item they are considering buying. You can go a long way to solving that by the quality of your photographs. Make sure every aspect of your product is captured – don’t just use a stock image of that coffee maker, take a picture from every angle. If it’s brand spanking new, make sure your buyer can see that. If it’s got a few marks or scratches, make that clear with a picture. There is no limit to how many images you can upload with William George, so you can really go to town.


Next up, write a compelling description of the product. Don’t leave the buyer guessing what it does or how fast it does it, tell them. You don’t want the customer to leave the auction website to google what the hell a Hypersonic 500 Chrome Kettle is, because they might forget about you and buy it elsewhere, condemning a beautiful relationship before it’s even had time to bloom. The more detail you can give, the better. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. What would you like to know?

Splling and grammer

Back in the early noughties there was a story doing the rounds that said the best way to grab a bargain on a famous new auction website, was to search for misspelt branded goods. The story went, that if someone was listing a Pleystation for sale, instead of a PlayStation, it was harder to find meaning it attracted fewer bids.

Not only does a misspelt item become difficult to search for, a product description riddled with errors doesn’t look very professional and could put off potential bidders. If spelling, punctuation or grammar isn’t your strong point, write a description, get it spell-checked and ask a friend to look it over. There are heaps of websites out there that you can use to help with your writing. It’s worth that extra effort to attract more bidders and ultimately drive up your profit.

Be honest

If your Hypersonic kettle is mint in package and never used before, say so. Equally, if it’s got some marks and scratches which affect its beauty but not its usefulness, be honest. Feel free to play up its strengths – it works – but don’t ignore the issues if there are any. A good, honest description which highlights the good bits without glossing over the bad will convince buyers they are getting a bargain and keep them coming back for more, helping you build a reputation.

Accurate pricing

All too often, customers are put off by a high opening bid. Yes, it might be the price you’d like to fetch, but get the bids rolling in at a lower starting point and watch the profits rise. You may want to consider running a no reserve auction. These are really appealing to buyers and will help you to stand out.

Delivery charges

Whacking on an enormous delivery charge is a sure-fire way to upset people. It makes people suspicious that you’re trying to glean extra, hidden profit out of them. Be open and accurate about the cost of delivery or maybe even consider working it into the cost of the item and offer free delivery. Kerching – the customer has a bargain. And you’ve got a sale. Wherever possible, offer the option for customers to collect, that way if they’re not too far away from you, they can save themselves some cash by fetching their purchase.


A little bit of marketing goes a long way towards shifting goods. We’ve got all kinds of packages making the most of our expertise to help you out. For a small fee we’ll include your auction in an email campaign, raise your profile on our social media channels or design a banner on our homepage. Whatever your budget, our marketing folk can tailor a package to suit your needs. And more eyes on an auction listing means more bids.

Now that you’re ready to go, head over to our Seller Hub to get started!