When selling an item online, remember to research, highlight your listing, and follow through with your buyer. Research the item you are trying to sell. Research first, post second, and don’t forget to guide your buyer to the finish line. I am going to guide you through the selling online start to sold process slowly with this installment about the basics of selling online including listing items, art, antiques, collectibles for instance, online. If you already have an online appraisal from me, my article on how do I sell my antique will help as well.
You have to start with research. You can’t sell something if you don’t know what it is. So, find out what is it? How old is it? Who made it? Where was it between that date it was made and now? Was it repaired, restored? Was is part of a set? Was it special in some way? Was it owned by someone special? In a museum collection? Featured in the media or in a movie? Ask as many questions as you can to learn about your item. Research starts with questions.
As you research your item, remember to compare and contrast and don’t fall victim to these 3 online research problems. Ask yourself what’s similar? What’s dissimilar? about a completed sale or listing of an item like mine. Just because someone sold an item like yours for a low value that doesn’t mean you have to sell it for that amount. If you want to get more than the “going rate” for an item you are trying to sell, then you have to show potential buyers why your item is better than all the rest. Don’t rely on the sold listings for similar items as gospel. It’s not the last word, it’s not even close. Read why you don’t use eBay as a price guide.
Why are some sneakers selling for $35 and others are selling for $35,000—there are many reasons for that so you have to learn to know the difference. Consider pointing out those differences when you list an item for sale. Point out things like provenance, origin, collection history, background, condition and other key elements that place your item at the head of the pack and shows potential buyers why it commands more money in the market.
When you research, look for the highest priced items like yours. Look to see what differs from the highest and lowest priced items like yours. This will tell you a great deal about the market and what buyers like and don’t like. Make a list of pros and cons to help you highlight the best and worst aspects of your item. Accentuate the positive as the song says!
Selling online start to sold includes searching and recognizing the patterns that you find in your research about your item will help you decide the best way to market and sell your item for top dollar. For instance, were other sellers commanding more money if their item was joined with other like items or sold in a set, or in a themed group? If people are making more money once they group items, this is something you might consider when you list your similar item.
So, if you have inexpensive items that can be grouped, consider listing them as a group lot. Consider grouping items by type (kitchen collectibles, patchwork quilts, costume jewelry), by color (cobalt blue, avocado green, red), by style (Art Deco or Duncan Phyfe), by maker (McCoy, Haeger, Hull, Hall, Glidden), by form (teacups, sleigh beds), by art movement (abstraction, realism), by set (service for 12 of Haviland Limoges china), and the list goes on.
Using Key Words
If there is something written on your piece (a phrase, a maker’s mark, a date or mold number), search using that information. If you are selling on eBay or trying to sell on eBay, look at what others are doing to sell their item. Read my 3 tips for selling on eBay. This may spark ideas that will help you with your own listings. I’m not a big fan of copy cats but seeing what others are doing and then making it better with your own input proves helpful. If there is something that you think is missing from someone else’s listing of a similar item, try to improve that listing when you list your item.
Selling a similar item is one of the features of eBay that could prove helpful. Again, like you did with your item, compare and contrast listings. Ask again, what’s similar? what’s dissimilar? and what would make me think twice and move to buy an item. Put yourself in the buyer’s seat. What would may you click the buy it now link?
For eBay sellers, you have to choose a category, write a description of your item, add a photo, and give details about shipping, turn around time, payment methods, etc.
Choosing your Category
The category of Collectibles is a very common category used on eBay. It is a catchall category but it also is one which is popular with buyers. As you sell and have success selling, you’ll start to recognize which categories work best for the items you are marketing online.
Once you select the categories and subcategories, you can post/list your item. Be sure to consider the basics when selling online start to sold. Don’t be too specific at this point in your eBay listing. You don’t want to over think your category selections. Choose categories that most people would expect and most people would search.
If you are listing a Weiss piece of costume jewelry with rhinestones, don’t forget to tell your potential buyers whether it is a necklace, bracelet or earrings. Get the basics down in the category so your listing shows up when they are looking in that category. Don’t get caught up in the minor detail of the piece here and remember other parts of your listing like your item’s photo will show buyers that information down the road. For now, stick to the basics when it comes to category selection. Once you have selected your category, consider the next step.
The title is your marquee, your first act, your introduction. It’s really important. Consider what your title looks like to the eye. That’s right, your title has to be informative sure, but first it has to catch people’s attention, so make sure it looks good. While many people like all CAPs, it seems like screaming when it appears online and no one likes screaming—even if it’s text screaming. It is well documented that it is easier for the brain to process information that is offered in upper and lower case letters in a sentence. This is the same for a title. So, use upper and lower case text when typing your title listing.
Be sure the first letter of the first word is an upper case consonant. I know, you think I am crazy but it is proven that a vowel –other than A–as the first letter in a sentence or title is viewed as unpleasing and not expected to the eye when reading. Ask book publishers, newspaper editors, and others. I have written my fair share of books and my syndicated column, Art & Antiques by Dr. Lori, for decades and the consonant rule is one to live by.
Also, while eBay allows only so many characters or letters and spaces in your title, don’t use them all. That’s right conserve a few of those characters and don’t use all the characters that eBay allows in the title of your item. Try to save about five character spaces for the buyer’s visual resting space. Again, it seems picky but you are basically designing your listing as an advertisement so it has to be pleasing to the potential buyer’s eye as this is the person who is viewing the title and its related listing. It’s all about attracting people to your item.
Well, that’s a good start. There is a lot more to the listing your item online for sale coming up so check back when I discuss more tips about selling your art, antiques, and collectibles online. Watch videos on Dr. Lori’s YouTube channel with more selling online start to sold tips. Send photos of your eBay items for Dr. Lori to value before you sell.