Saturday, June 25, 2011

Selling Online

I like to surf eBay, checking out the sections that sell stuff that I am interested in. Sometimes I buy something if the price is right. Mostly I just look. I would really love to email some of these people privately and ask them why on earth they have their auctions set up the way that they do. I could probably create a book or a DVD on how to improve your online auctions, but since I'm a giver, I'll share a few tips for free.

1. Rotate your pictures to the correct view. It's really hard to get a good look at an item when it is sideways. I'm not sure what viewer I use to see my photos (hopefully Mr. BTEG will chime in here) but I can rotate pictures there easily. I think eBay even offers you an opportunity to rotate pictures while you are uploading them. Find a way to do this.
2. I am interested in dolls and things related to dolls, which means taking pictures of small things, preferably close up to get a better view. Seriously, if your digital camera doesn't have a macro feature, find someone who has one. Make friends with someone who has a camera with this feature, just because he has it. A blurry picture, or a picture taken from far enough away to keep the picture from being blurry, does not really display your item to its best advantage.
3. Pay attention to the lighting. A blurry picture is only better than a blurry picture taken in the shadows. Some people who sell big ticket items very seriously online, have a photo tent with lights placed at several angles, to get the absolute best effects. This isn't an necessity. Take your item to a window and use the light from that big thing in the sky with which God has blessed us. Use a bright light inside your home, or even two, if it's winter or whatever.
4. Be descriptive. Believe it or not, there are people who sell something like, say, doll furniture, where measurements are really important, who don't offer any measurements in the description. OTOH, if you are selling a well-known brand of doll, you don't really need to give the height of a doll. People generally know what size the goddess of pink plastic is.
5. Pick a good background. People really don't need or want to see everything on your kitchen counters, or all the assorted piles of papers and whatnot in your computer area. There has to be a blank wall somewhere in your home.
6. Pay attention to where your auction ends up. Every now and then I see an auction for a full-sized adult piece of furniture in the doll furniture section, or something similar. eBay does let you search for the right category by typing in keywords, but it is up to you to make sure your item is in the best category, or even the right category.
7. Don't throw stuff into your auction just because you want to get rid of it. I wonder about doll furniture auctions where a doll, sometimes a very obscure or ugly doll, is included with the furniture. Maybe some people say, hey, I'd like to buy a piece of doll furniture for which I have no doll that I could display with it. And I have no preference on what kind of doll I would like. I would imagine this doesn't apply to the majority.

I also have the observation that sales in the doll sections really seem to have decreased. Some items are still popular, and some are absolutely incomprehensible to me. I don't understand why people would pay up to $100 for an outfit for a Titanic doll, especially when there are multiples of the same outfit listed at the same time, and more being listed almost every day. But in general, things are just not selling. You can scroll through a page of almost 200 items where most of them have no interest. I wonder if the auctions for, say, practical items like kids' clothing have gone up as people are looking to save money there.

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