This goes hand in hand with my other guides - check them out for more. I'd like to share with you the things that you should be doing to get the best possible selling price for your phone on Ebay. The advice given here will work for practically any item but do remember that each different market may have it's own characteristics that need to be given consideration.
Disclaimer: Auction prices are volatile; after all, you only need two really interested bidders to drive the price up. A good performing auction is not a real indication of future success. I can only help you increase the probability of getting a good price, and not guarantee it. Remember this.
Here are my tips:
1) Fill out the 'Item Specifics' field.
This process takes virtually no time to do and provides you with lots of benefits. I believe that a greater proportion of mobile phone buyers use this than for other categories, for example, to search for phone status: unlocked. Not filling in these parts will cause your item to be missed.
If you do not know your item specifics, look them up on a website. There is no excuse for not knowing.
2) Don't sell on a new account
Selling high value items on a new account looks suspicious, and indeed you will achieve a lower selling price in general as customers factor in the risk. If you don't have any other good accounts to sell it from, consider asking a friend with good feedback to sell it for you.
I like to see more than one picture of the actual phone (not stock picture) to assess the general condition, and also what it comes with. In this day and age of cameraphones and digital cameras for under £20 there is really no reason why this cannot be done. For extra authenticity, you can watermark the images with your Ebay ID, which prevents them being stolen by others
The description is an important part of the process. Don't clutter up this section with a load of text that is difficult to read, just break it up into small chunks. A lot of people copy and paste in the stats but my own feeling is that people browsing for the phone will have a fair knowledge of the stats already, and it just clutters up the information. I like to know the age of the handset, whether it works, accessories bundled, simlock as a basis for bidding.
The title is important as generally most of your visitors will arrive as a result of the keywords in there. Make sure you look on the internet to see if your phone is known by any other titles, or keywords that may get you extra hits; for example: K750/K750i, T28/T28e. If your phone is new, make sure you say so.
Importantly, if your phone is damaged or not working, it's best to say this in the title too, maybe by using the word 'Faulty'. Although you can put this in the description, you run the real danger of a customer not reading it and winning the auction. Now, although the customer technically is in the wrong, you will certainly almost be forced to accept the return either via the DSR or Paypal, which means loss of fees. Avoid this situation by being totally upfront.
6) Ending time
If on an auction, your ending time needs to be considered, as most bids and bidding wars will happen at the end of the auction where it has maximum visibility as people hunt for bargains. It is impossible to guarantee an ending time where you will have little competition (owing to shorter auctions coming in later), but generally, a longer auction period gives you better exposure with the probability of more watchers. Don't end it during the day on a weekday, target evenings and weekends when Ebay traffic is likely to be higher. Use the scheduler tool if you are not around at the right time.
7) Auction Format
Several things you can choose here. Yes, you can use a Buy-It-Now only format. Generally, this will give you a higher profit but at higher fees and a chance that it might not sell at all. For this, you would need to look at the current market as if you were a customer to determine what price to charge. What alternatives are available? There is a small premium that people will pay, because they don't want to wait.
At the other end of the scale, there is the start at 1p or 99p method. Lowest insertion costs but there is no control over the price. However, a lot of bids early on will lead to a lot of watchers. In some situations, the auction bidding can exceed the Buy it Now price by some way, especially if your auction is good.
You can attempt to control price somewhat buy using the Auction-with Buy Now or reserve price. Both are not that great value in my own opinion. Reason being, Auction with Buy Now, the Buy now is often taken off relatively quickly by low-bidders (the Buy Now disappears once a bid has been placed), making it redundant.
The reserve price has to be minimum £50 so probably would be unsuitable for any phone older than 1 year.
Even with the newer phones, the auctions tend to gravitate to the market rate. Those that end significantly under usually have something fundamentally wrong in the listing, for example, spelling mistake, wrong end time, 0 feedback, etc.
8) Postage Costs
Don't aim to compete on postage costs. You may see people sending phones for £3.00 but this is unrealistic. For any reasonable value phone, I would aim to send it Special Delivery. This should cost £4.75, but can be £6.00 if there are accessories such as the charger bulking the weight up. A good, large Jiffy may be about £0.70-£1. Hence, depending on other factors, a postage charge of £6-7 is reasonable for a boxed phone.
The reason for Special Delivery is that you get proof of signature. Recorded Delivery does not give you any next day guarantees and travels with the normal mail. Some postmen do not even bother to get a signature for a Recorded Delivery. Either way, Recorded is a very risky way of sending high-value items and should only be used for lower-end items, lower-risk documents and so forth.
9) Other scams
This links in nicely with the next point; that people will want to scam you for your handset. They fall into quite a few easy parts:
- Scammers from other countries asking if they can pay Western Union, always say no
- Scammers from high risk countries like Nigeria, always say no
- UK Customers that request you send to a 'friend' - always say no. On this point, you must only send to a Verified address on Paypal. Doing anything else is asking for trouble.
- People that win the auction, then send a fake Paypal payment - always check your account at www.paypal.com to make sure the money is in, and cleared. Remember, ECheque payments are not payments until they are cleared, so do not send anything until they do.
- It is good practice to try to block all 0-rated bidders out, in reality if a given person is intent on winning your auction, they can, owing to the hive of activity at the end.
10) Safeguards and misconceptions
Cheque payments are fine as long as they are cleared in your bank. The same goes for postal orders. If the customer sends a payment by post, remember to make them aware that the responsibility is theirs to ensure arrival. If uncrossed postal orders, Special Delivery should be used by them.
Before postage, be sure to double check the phone is working, and to write down the IMEI number of the handset. Reason being, a common scam is to buy a phone, claim it is not working, then return it, having changed some of the parts around. If you've followed all these steps and the customer tries this, then play hardball, as Paypal is on your side. If you've packed the phone correctly, the chances of it breaking in the last 24 hours is virtually zero, incidentally the same probability that the customer is telling the truth.
I hope that these points have been of use to you. If they have, rate me as helpful and I'll write some more.
How to maximise your selling prices on Mobile Phones
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22 January 2008
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