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Great tips to help you sell your items at auction. Stand out in a crowded market by learning the best way to list your auction items.
6 Mins

How to sell in a crowded market

Luke Davies
Luke Davies

Online auctions are a fantastic place to get your item(s) sold. Attracting thousands of customers every week who are interested in a plethora of things and are ready to spend. Unlike a shop, the footfall isn't defined by the high streets attractiveness and the "sale room" is unhindered by physical space. This means there is massive potential for reaching a large customer base. These are all fantastic plus points for a potential seller but with more and more people realising this, how do you make your items stand out in an ever-crowded market?


There are several tips and tricks you can utilise to make your sale rise above the rest and get noticed. 



As bidders can't physically interact with what they are buying, your pictures have to work as hard as possible to display the item in a positive and accurate light so that bidders have confidence that they know what they're buying. There is no limit on how many images you can submit, so the more, the merrier.


- Use high quality (resolution) images (file size limit is 6MB)

- Show different angles

- Include any distinguishing marks, features or imperfections

- Snap a variety of perspectives in good light against a plain background

- If the item is unusually large or small, then take an image of it alongside other objects to give a sense of scale. 

- For pieces of clothing or jewellery, we prefer not to use images of items being worn

- Avoid adding filters or effects or altering the image 






Having a strong product description, accompanied by images, should give the buyer enough information to make an informed decision. Look at your descriptions through the eyes of the bidder - you know your item like no-one else, but the trick here is assuming that no-one will know anything unless you tell them.

- Be honest and descriptive. Give measurements where they are relevant and details of the material, the metal, the colour, the provenance.

- If it's a vehicle, include the mileage, the service history, the MOT expiry.

- If it's a diamond, provide detail on the cut, clarity, carat weight and colour – tell us about any previous appraisals and certification. 

- If you're selling a watch, tell us the bezel diameter, the model and serial numbers, the paperwork and servicing details, let us know any marks or scratches.

- Bidders want facts rather than opinion. They will make up their own minds, so don't embellish things. Keep it factual and concise.

- Clear statements are best - leave the bidder with no doubt about what you are saying.

- Give precise measurements and stay away from phrases like "possibly" or "may have been" – just stick to what you know for sure and can evidence.


Spelling and grammar:

Ensuring your spelling and grammar is correct is a crucial element of any listing as errors can significantly affect the overall presentation of your item. If a lot looks, unprofessional bidders can question the credibility of your lot. There are various online tools to check grammar and spelling, and this can reduce the number of potential mistakes in your listing. A professional presentation, free of errors will increase the levels of trust and confidence a bidder has in your lot. Grammarly or spell checker will help you keep on top of this if it's not your strong point.


Opening bids and reserves:

It's not uncommon for sellers to overprice their item before an auction and the most significant single reason why an item may be passed in an auction is that the reserve price is set too high. This can be for several reasons such as sentimental value, the seller having a greater understanding of the value or an aggressive strategy to ensure the reserve is met.


A high starting price can discourage online bidders because you may have out-priced them.

However, if a lower opening bid is offered, it can encourage more online bidders to interact with the item and potentially drive the price up. 


Bidders don't see your reserve prices, but they can see if the current bid has met or exceeded the reserve price, so if there are 10 bids on your item and it's still not there, then they may well overlook it. Create competition amongst bidders by offering your items with no reserve or low reserves.


Delivery costs:

You'll be surprised at how much delivery can impact the online bidder's decision making. If they consider the price to be inflated, it can stop them from bidding on your item altogether.

There are many things you can do, though:

· Incorporate the delivery cost into the reserve and offer free and tracked delivery. You can obtain a quote for this service from a variety of couriers including Royal Mail. 

· Use competitive rates from different couriers.

· Provide collection – but bear in mind this will limit the number of viewers willing to bid and travel.


Customer service:

Experience can play a huge role in returning bidders. This makes interacting with them a crucial opportunity. If an online bidder wins one of your items and you're tasked with preparing shipping or collection, you must professionally interact with them and ensure the experience is smooth. Bad experiences can sour relations with the online bidder and the auction house.


Also, if an online bidder sends an enquiry, it's another opportunity for you to provide a positive customer service experience, and this can encourage them to engage more with your lot(s). Be sure to respond promptly and patiently to enquiries. Nothing upsets a bidder more than not getting an answer to their question in the run-up to the big day (82% of respondents stated that they would not bid on an item if they had submitted an enquiry which goes unanswered or is answered at the 11th hour).


This is just as true after the sale as it is before, and where aftercare is appropriate, then merely respectfully listening will bring any unresolved issues to a close swiftly. Customer care is a great way to get ahead of the competition, particularly if you are looking to become a regular seller who buyers will return to time and again. 



It is worth considering factoring in a modest budget for additional marketing to get your lots in front of as many eyes as possible. This is where we really stand out from the crowd. Our in-house design team can create bespoke campaigns for your lots to suit a variety of budgets, and these packages really drive results.


The final piece of the puzzle is the easiest one. List your item with William George where you will never be charged any seller commission, ever! You get 100% of the hammer price every time. With a team of experts on hand to help you through the process and targeted marketing for your sale, your items have the best chance of getting sold!


Download our seller's bible today and get a great insight into creating a successful auction. You will also get a handy checklist to help you make sure you have everything covered!