What should my eBay listing schedule be for my products? (free HDMI cable to best answer if allowed)
December 30, 2007 3:52 PM   Subscribe

What should my eBay listing schedule be for my products? (free HDMI cable to best answer if allowed)

I have recently started selling HDMI cables on Amazon.com as well as on my own site. I have done my research and I can be the lowest priced seller on eBay while still making a decent profit.

I need help choosing a selling schedule that will attract buyers while maximizing sales. Should I list every hour? every half-hour, only at night?

Any help is appreciated, and If it is acceptable under Metafilter rules I will mail a free 2M HDMI cable out to the answer that I deem the best. Thanks --Adam
posted by weiler63 to Computers & Internet (17 answers total)
I doubt it really matters all that much; you really just want to keep a stock of them online; but not so much that buyers see a ton of them on there. I'd go more by the amount of stock you have currently listed; this would depend on the amount of volume you expected to sell. Possibly 10-15 of them always "live"?

Of course, your selling software probably doesn't allow this. In that case, I'd post a few and see how long they take to sell, and then adjust your numbers from there. Every half hour might be a bit excessive unless the cables are extremely popular; if pressed to throw out an actual number I'd lean more toward 3-4 hours in between each.

In short: you don't want too many listed at once. If buyers see one going for $20.00 and another just listed for $5, they'll wait a while for the cheaper one. Then someone bids on that one, and another one of yours appears, and so it continues. Remember the laws of supply and demand when you list things on eBay.
posted by DMan at 3:59 PM on December 30, 2007

With something like a cable, I honestly don't think it matters when you list as long as you list with a fixed "Buy It Now" option. Your cables aren't something like a unique collectible that you're auctioning and trying to squeeze the maximum value out of; you have a renewable supply, so periodic listings at any time should work for you.
posted by MegoSteve at 4:02 PM on December 30, 2007

Best answer: Check out the ended items for the cables. I'll bet a lot of them ended with Buy-it-now. If so, you'll probably be selling a lot of them with buy-it-now, so it doesn't matter when you start the "auctions". Depending on the depth of the market, you'll want to make a number of listings with multiple items available for each. If the cables aren't selling via buy-it-now, then you probably have a good opportunity to grab a good market share by setting a reasonable buy-it-now price. When I'm shopping on eBay for things like cables, I don't even bother with auctions that I can't use buy-it-now on and I'm sure a lot of people are the same way (this was also my experience when I sold relatively low value items (records) on eBay).
posted by ssg at 4:05 PM on December 30, 2007

I totally agree with ssg. Buy It Now on lower end items is pretty much mandatory when I'm looking for something like a cable, because I want the item now and don't want to have to go through the waiting and hassle of bidding against someone else for it, especially since that process could lead to me not winning and, as a result, wasting my time.
posted by MegoSteve at 4:09 PM on December 30, 2007

Fourthing Buy It Now, but I would try to end the auctions in the evening, especially on Friday, Saturday and Sundays.
posted by cdmwebs at 4:24 PM on December 30, 2007

Nthing "Buy it Now" listing as being the best bet. For something like a cable, you'd want to just go "yup, I'll buy that, you're done" - why wait seven days for an auction to close when you could get it off Amazon?

(For one-off items, my standard rule of thumb is a ten-day auction, timed to close between 6:30pm and 8:30pm on a Sunday or Monday night - that way more people are at home to snipe it. I forget where, but there was actually some research showing that items closing at those times earned a higher price.)
posted by The Shiny Thing at 4:27 PM on December 30, 2007 [2 favorites]

Here is some of what The Shiny Thing and I mentioned: http://lifehacker.com/software/ebay/ebay-hacks-choose-a-good-listing-time-131254.php
posted by cdmwebs at 4:36 PM on December 30, 2007

I had a collection of Polaroid SX70 cameras to sell, and I had to be careful to not compete against myself. So I tried to not have more than 3 at a time up at once, and even then I tried to list different models. The same model could go for $75 one day, then the next listing go for $30. All it takes to get a good price is to get 2 people who want it at the same time.

In your case, you are selling a commodity item. Those cables have been pretty expensive, but are starting to come down in price. (In fact, my new $99 DVD recorder came with one!) You should consider having no more than a few up at once, and offering a Buy It Now option. If your Buy It Now price gives you a decent profit, and is still obviously lower than what they would pay elsewhere, you should have no problem selling them.
posted by The Deej at 5:03 PM on December 30, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for all the advice so far, I think the Buy-It-Now option has been the best advice so far. I'll wait until I get a few more posts, then PM the poster for their shipping info for the HDMI cable. If anyone has any advice on my eBay listing I'd love to hear it; here's the link-

posted by weiler63 at 5:40 PM on December 30, 2007

Response by poster: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=220187901074&ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT&ih=012
posted by weiler63 at 5:40 PM on December 30, 2007

I think the listing looks fine. It is funny, though, how quickly the HDMI cables have come down in price. Of course you can still pay $50 - $100 at Best Buy if you really want to.

Good luck!
posted by The Deej at 6:28 PM on December 30, 2007

Based on what I learned amassing a mountain of gold from the auction houses in World of Warcraft:

List your item between 10pm-12am Central or Mountain Time Sunday night and do a 7-day auction. People are at home on Sunday nights and have a lot of free time after dinner. They'll see your auction at the top of the listings close to its final selling price. But because they don't want to stay up late to wait for the end of the auction, they'll use the "Buy It Now" function to end it and go to bed relaxed that they've won and it's coming in the mail. It's devious but it works.

Bonus tip:

Use a nice round amount for shipping costs (and any surchanges). Integers are easy to add. Your shipping cost should be $5 not $4.99. People have no problems doing $2.xx + $5 and ignoring the change. But $2.49 + $4.99 is too much to deal with mentally (even though it's just $2.49 + $5 - $0.01).
posted by junesix at 6:41 PM on December 30, 2007

Yes, buy-it-now... and

Check out Sellathon, Hammertap or one of the other eBay research tools for more useful info.

Your listing looks fine.

Try varying your auctions, use other categories, different title wording, some CAPS, test other starting and higher buy-it-now prices, longer/shorter descriptions, etc.

Also, make the gallery thumbnail square and maybe use a color background.

Consider getting a second eBay account just for selling.
posted by Fins at 6:42 PM on December 30, 2007

OK, ignore the 7-day auction part but I still believe setting the auction to end around bed time is optimal when used with Buy It Now.
posted by junesix at 6:43 PM on December 30, 2007

I think your listing looks fine, but I'd be concerned about your feedback rating at this point. I'm sure if you start to crank the HDMI cable sales, though, you should be able to get yourself in the optimum 99%+ range.

I don't think junesix's advice on the shipping amount is good at all. Psychologically speaking, $4.99 seems a lot cheaper than $5.00. I think every major department store and marketer would agree and have for the last 100 years or so. It's irrelevant that people can't add $2.49 and $4.99 easily, because Paypal will do it automatically when your buyer pays you.

Regarding your shipping, you might want to spell out the shipping includes a handling fee. Most experienced eBayers are sophisticated enough to understand charging $4.99 shipping enables you to sell the cables for $2.49, but there's always someone that gets all offended without taking the two seconds to think about it. It's always the people buying the cheap stuff that are the most obnoxious about shipping cost, because they think you owe them an even better deal.

I do like the idea of cross promoting your cables in related categories, or adding relevant info to your title and subtitle. Just be careful about doing that too much lest you be accused of keyword spamming, though. Limit yourself to one keyword phrase per listing and you should be okay.

Your return policy is contradictory... when you put Lifetime Warranty and "Must return within 3 days"... well, which is it?

How are you making any money when you are paying for a gallery and a subhead on each listing? You're paying $1.50-$1.75 in fees on each listing. I'd experiment with whether the subtitle and gallery add to your sales volume; maybe it makes a difference, but maybe you could cut those out and pass (part of) the saving on to your buyers.
posted by MegoSteve at 8:29 PM on December 30, 2007

Just throw up a handful of multiple item fixed price listings. I suggest up to 10 items per listing, to stay under the $25 threshold, which means listing fees would be 0.60 plus the value pack (includes gallery and subtitle) at 0.65 = $1.25. No economy going for 10 day listings on this item, though there often is.

You want to be visible in the search results, so you might try two listings at a time, and listed every day, or every other day. Having a couple of consecutive hits probably makes you more visible in a page of results, and having listings seperated in time means you will be on several different pages of results.

This means having ~6 listings of 10 items each running all the time, and that might be too many. Customers will see the abundance and decide there is no need to act.. So, maybe cut back to 5 items per listing, and only 4 active listings at a time, or whatever.

Another reason for multiple item listings is to encourage multiple item purchases - remember to offer a combined shipping discount. No matter how easy shipping the item is (like, even if there is no physical item to ship), the cost in time and effort must be at least $1-2 per customer, so do what you can to increase the dollar amount of each order.

At some point an ebay store might be justified.. $16/month plus $0.05/listing and 10% Final Value Fees.. That is looking like good economy, except that I'm not sure how well your store items will show up in search results - I've no sense of the difference between Occasionally, Sometimes, and Frequently, and you have to know you are facing a lot of competitors paying for a Premium store.
posted by Chuckles at 10:00 AM on December 31, 2007

Sorry, that should be a lot of competitors paying for an Anchor store..
posted by Chuckles at 10:02 AM on December 31, 2007

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