I’m sure you’ve all heard me say that when you’re selling items on eBay you need to search both current and completed listings to get a good starting price for your item. But what do you do if your item has never been listed or sold before? What if you’ve searched everywhere and can’t find a price for your item? This is when you have to get a bit creative, searching for similar items or items made by the same company or artist. This kind of strategy could occupy a post of its own, but today I want to focus on what to do after you decide on a price and list your item in auction.
As a long-time eBay seller I’ve been in this situation many times, and I often receive requests from buyers asking me to end the auction early for a certain price – this is almost never a good idea. If you’re considering doing so, check out this breakdown of different scenarios and how I recommend you handle them:
If your auction has just started:
In this situation, you have no idea how much interest your item might receive. You could wind up losing money if you accept the starting bid or a lower offer. Not a recommend action.
If your auction has bids:
It is never a good idea to end an auction when you have bids. eBay frowns upon this kind of behavior, and although they will let you do it (after jumping through several hoops) you never want to. This will almost always offend your bidders and will make you look very suspicious and untrustworthy as a seller.
If your auction has no bids, but is almost over:
In this situation, you might be starting to feel desparate. You’re worried no one will bid and your item won’t sell. If you don’t absolutely have to sell the item at the end of the auction, I would wait. People might try to offer you less than the starting bid in an attempt to play off of your fears. If they offer you more than the starting bid, you might consider accepting their offer, but a low-ball offer should not be entertained unless you desparately need to sell the item.
If a buyer offers you a significantly higher amount for your item:
This is the only situation where you might want to consider their offer. If you’re 100% confident in your pricing, you could choose to accept their offer, provided it is above the value of your item. If you aren’t sure, there’s a possiblity that your item is worth even more than they’re offering. Maybe you listed the item way too low and the buyer knows it. He’s trying to offer you a higher amount to make you think he’s being generous, when in reality, he could still only be offering half of the retail price of the item. You really need to consider your confidence level in your pricing and your desire to sell the item in a situation like this.
Finally, you should remember that you can always relist the item in your store. List it for a higher price and allow buyers to make you an offer. If that low-ball buyer was serious, he’ll come back and make you another offer. At that point, it will be up to you to decide whether or not you like their offer, but when the item is in auction, give it a chance to sell. A lot of buyers will use snyperware to bid on an item at the last possible second. You have no way of knowing if someone is planning to bid on your item until the auction is closed.
Good luck, and happy hunting!