How important is the timing of your listings?

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We all want to maximise our profits from ebay.  There are lots of things that are suggested in order to do this, ranging from Spell Checking to purchasing (sometimes) expensive auction templates.

There is one really important thing that we can all do to get the best exposure for our items ... one that involves no cost, and just a little experimentation.

Now, the advice I will give is very general - simply because the outcome of your research will differ depending on many things, but primarily the items you are selling.

The prime rule here is this - Consider Your Customer! What are you selling and to who?  This will determine the best start time, and more importantly the best ending time for your item.  For example are you aiming to sell business to business?  If so, you are not going to achieve much by ending your auctions on Sunday evening.  In this case you may find that the best slots to end items are around lunchtime on a weekday, or between 4.30pm and 5.30pm.

Likewise, if you are selling to young Mums, avoid early morning, mid afternoon and early evening.  It stands to reason that you want your items "available" at the times that your target market are also "available".

Now, here's the action plan!  Once you have initially analysed your times to avoid, and may be a couple of times that you think may work well, you can start listing.  A great idea is to use the inventory function in SMP.  Set up two identical templates and name them for example Item A - 4.15pmFriday and Item A - 5.15pmSunday.  Then list them both, maybe together, or maybe using the Schedule function.  Over time, you can see the success rate which appears in the Inventory.

If you aren't using SMP, draw yourself up a simple spreadsheet in Excel or likewise.  Basically you are wanting to know what the success rate is so you will need to know how many items are listed and how many are sold.

Keep on constantly reviewing this success rate because you will think of other angles.  For example, I quite often end things such as  watch batteries for 5pm - 8pm on a Saturday night as I figured that those people who have forgotten to buy a new battery on their shopping trips on a Saturday may just be tempted to buy one online on a Saturday night, knowing that it will be in their possession before they get chance to go out again the following week!  I also fly in the face of popular opinion by ending the odd listing at around 2.30 AM on a Sunday morning.  I get one or two drunken purchasers I'm sure!

You should also consider the geographical location of your target market.  If you are willing to send to North America you should amend some listings to take into account their waking hours.

You will find that by experimenting with listings and different formats that you will fine tune your business and get a good hit rate.  Again, it will depend on your product, but you may see hit rates increase by 25% just by trialling a few things.

This is a different guide really but once you start adding  Shop Inventory items, you will again need to refine your strategy to take these into account.

Good luck!
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