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A list of common mistakes made when selling in online auctions and how to avoid them.
2 mins

Mistakes to avoid when selling at auction


Selling in an online auction is an excellent way to make money, however, it's important to avoid making common mistakes that could cost you a successful outcome or reduce the profit you can make.

Here we explore some of the most common mistakes people make when selling online auctions and how to avoid them.

Mistake 1: Inadequate descriptions

One of the most common errors people make when creating their listing is not providing enough detail in their descriptions. Buyers want to know exactly what they're bidding on, so it's important to provide clear and detailed descriptions of your item. This includes things like the condition of the item, any flaws or damage, the size, weight and any unique features.

Solution: Take the time to write a thorough and accurate description of your item. Make sure you include high-quality photos that show the item from multiple angles, highlighting any unique features. It's also a good idea to include any relevant information about the item's history, provenance or other interesting details.

Mistake 2: Starting the bidding too high

Many sellers make the mistake of setting their starting bid too high, which can turn off potential buyers and reduce the likelihood of a sale. While it's important to set a fair price for your item, it's also important to be realistic and set a starting bid that will attract bidders.

Solution: Do some research on similar items that have sold in recent auctions to get a sense of what a fair price might be. Set your starting bid at a price that will attract bidders, but also allows for potential growth in the bidding. This can help generate interest and increase the likelihood of a successful sale.

Mistake 3: The wrong reserve price

Often sellers can be tempted to set a reserve (which is the minimum price they're willing to accept) which is too high. It might be that they’re attached to the item they’re selling or they just want to make a good profit, but it has to be realistic. This can lead to a situation where the item sells for much less than it's worth, or not selling at all. Also, opting to sell with no reserve obviously proves popular with bidders, but you should only do this if you’re willing to accept the end result.

Solution: Set a reserve price that reflects the minimum price you're willing to take for the item. This will help prevent selling the item for less than it's worth and will give potential buyers a clear idea of what they need to bid to win the auction.

Mistake 4: Ignoring the importance of timing

Timing is an important factor in the success of an online auction. Some sellers list their items at the wrong time, which can lead to lower bids and a reduced profit. For example, selling ski wear in the height of a scorching summer isn’t going to drive huge interest.

Solution: Do some research on when the best time is to list your item for auction. This will depend on the type of item you're selling and the audience you're targeting. Some items are more seasonal than others and you want to be listing when there is an appetite.

Mistake 5: Not promoting your sale

Finally, some sellers don’t see the importance of promoting their item. While listing an item in an online auction is great, actively promoting the sale will increase the audience that see it and generate more bids.

Solution: With a little marketing spend (we have packages starting at just £250) our team will use social media and other channels to get your auction in front of as many relevant pairs of eyes as possible. Also you could share the listing with friends, family, and other potential buyers, and encourage them to share it with their networks as well.

By taking the time to write thorough descriptions, setting realistic starting and reserve prices, timing your listing appropriately, and opting for marketing, you can really set yourself up for a fantastic outcome! Head over to our seller’s area to learn more.