Online auctions are the way forward. They’re quick, simple, and especially since lockdown, have a very large audience. Whether you’re a newbie or a regular seller, here’s some advice for success from Ellie, our Customer Care Advisor…
Do you know who you’re selling to? Do you know how to work your way around the internet? Have you done your research?
These are just a few questions you should be asking yourself when you consider listing an online auction. To create the most successful auction, you must make sure you are familiar with the website you are using, the system and the audience you’re selling to. Ways to do this could be exploring the site, chatting to the team and checking out their Trustpilot. If you are completely new to online auctions, maybe even watch a few auctions run in real time so you can understand and see real examples.
Tell me, what are you selling?
If you are selling something you don’t know inside out, it’s time to do some homework.
Especially when selling collectables, expect to get some very knowledgeable customers asking you the most in-depth questions. You’ll need to do some research and be passionate about what you’re selling to see the most positive outcome.
For some people, photos are the only thing that they will look at online. I am one of those people. Description, title, price etc are important but I want to look at the photos…entice me!
You need to make sure the photos are as attractive as possible. To nail this, you don’t need the newest camera but just a considered setting.
Make sure the item being sold is clean, we don’t fancy seeing your fingerprints in your beautiful vintage mirror. Talking about mirrors, we also don’t want to see your legs in camera shot, or anything for that matter! To get the best pictures, put the item in front of a clear, bright background. Natural light is best.
To save endless enquiries, don’t just stop at one picture. List as many as you can. We want to see photos of the front, back, close ups, the lot. Make us feel like we’re viewing the item in real life. I want every angle!
Short and sweet, that’s how we like it ideally.
Trust me, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much more business will be generated by captivating your audience. After all, why would they bother clicking if you’ve revealed all? A few bright key words are all that’s needed here. Give us the facts and figures in the description.
Here’s where the magic happens. This is where you can really bring your item to life. Tell me everything!
Of course, it depends on what you’re selling but consider things such as brand name, model, serial number, colour, specification, RRP, measurements, list the accessories and the condition of the item.
The more detail, the better. It will firstly reduce the number of questions you get, will tell everyone that you know your stuff and most importantly, doesn’t leave the buyer wondering what they’ve just purchased.
If you can grade the items, amazing. If you can’t grade the items, list what is/isn’t included, report the condition and have a detailed description of the item, incredible.
This won’t be super quick at first. It will take time to be this thorough, but this will make your goods sell. Anything less and you risk having to re-list the item.
I would recommend figuring out the delivery service you are going to use prior to listing, having a rough idea on how much everything is going to cost and what the delivery time will be like. Things worth considering are the weight, height, packaging, tracking and insurance costs.
I understand that some people think it’s best not to mention these kinds of things prior to buying but ultimately, you will risk losing a customer and end up with a cancelled sale if they are confronted with an extortionate delivery fee that they were unaware of prior to winning.
The more information you can provide on this in the description the better.
When it comes to collection, it’s always great to offer both. Understandably, not everyone can afford a pallet and would much prefer to collect. However, offering collection only can be an issue for those that don’t drive, aren’t local to you or have a vehicle that's way too small for the job. I wouldn’t recommend a collection only service as this will reduce your audience massively.
To round this one up, the way to the customer’s heart is ultimately going to be a stress-free, free of charge delivery service. I know for most this isn’t feasible, however do your homework and see if it’s possible to incorporate it elsewhere maybe?
I touched on grading earlier, but it deserves its own point.
For me, grading is a winner. You can never go wrong. The more you can tell us about an item, the better and I believe this is the easiest way to do it.
Here’s an example for you:
Brand New – This will include all brand-new stock and can be expected to be in full working order.
Grade A – This is the highest possible grade and with Grade A products you can expect excellent or very good condition and can be reasonably considered to be like new, refurbished or similar. Some Grade A items may have minor cosmetic marks and/or damaged/missing packaging.
Grade B – Items that are considered new that may show signs of mild use but overall looks great. May not come with original packaging and possibly missing some accessories but will be in working order.
Grade C – Items will show signs of everyday use and will be generally faulty or damaged usually needing repairs/refurbishment. Items may be broken, incomplete with missing parts and accessories.
Grade U – These are ungraded/untested goods. You can expect raw customer returns which we find vary dramatically from items being brand new or faulty/damaged.
We all know how Google works right? It takes 3 seconds for a customer to do a price comparison. To price correctly, look and see what the item is selling for elsewhere right now. This is an auction after all, be competitive and see what bids come in! Just make sure you set a reserve price if we are talking about sentimental or precious goods.
It’s also worth considering the VAT and Buyer’s Premium that is added onto the final price.
If you really want to succeed, marketing is the way forward. Check out our Seller’s Bible for our package details.
If you’re like me and not really clued up on marketing don’t worry, our marketing team will ensure your auction is promoted in the best way to reach your target audience, whether that’s through utilising our database, with a Facebook campaign or with partner activity. You decide on a budget and leave it to the experts!
Terms and conditions can be tricky to judge. You could decide to be vague and technical or be sensible and just be simple and concise.
Sometimes when I read over complicated T&Cs I’m left feeling confused with things such as returns, refunds and guarantees.
I really believe the way to handle this is to just be clear and to the point. Don’t worry about sounding blunt when stating facts that are not to be missed!
So, there are my top tips. Before long, you will be doing this without thinking. It will all pay off.
Head over to our Seller Hub now and get started. Happy selling!