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Create Merchandise Listings that Sell on eBayDocument Transcript
Listings that Sell on
FoundValue Training Program
Table of Contents
Section 1: How to Write a Title ................................................................ 1
Section 2: How to Write a Description ..................................................... 4
Section 3: How to Take Photos That Sell ................................................ 5
Section 4: How to Optimize Your Listings ............................................. 11
Section 5: FoundValue Listing Template............................................... 14
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www.foundvalue.com/content/ebay/tools/tools-tutorials.aspx contains confidential and proprietary information of
FoundValue Incorporated and is provided exclusively for use in the sale and representation of FoundValue services and
products. FoundValue Incorporated reserves the right to alter, modify, or change any information set forth in this
handbook. No part of this handbook may be used, reproduced or disclosed, in whole or in part, except with the express
written permission of FoundValue Incorporated. All rights reserved.
Create Merchandise Listings That Sell 1
Section 1: How to Write a Title
The auction listing title is your headline. Newspapers and magazines use headlines to
attract readers to the story. Advertisers use headlines to pull readers into the sales copy. The
title is the most important element of your listing. Since eBay defaults to searching the
title for buyer searches (buyers have to specify if they want to search by title and
description), you want to make sure your title is accurate and easily searchable.
Every listing should incorporate these key tips:
● Make intelligent use of your space. Remember that buyers search for items based on
keywords. Use words in the title that a buyer would type into a search box to find an
● Browse closed auctions of similar items to see which titles drew high bids in the past.
● Be sure to spell correctly.
● Always utilize ALL 50 characters or as many
characters as possible.
Clever eBay bidders search for
● Capitalize the first letter of each word in
misspellings to get bargains. For your title AND all characters of important
example, try entering ―barbi‖ instead of brand names or keywords (but don‘t
―barbie‖ You’ll see fewer listings and capitalize all letters of all words—it‘s hard to
lower prices. So, check your spelling! read)
● Be truthful. If you question the condition or authenticity of an item, do not advertise it
● Include category-specific grading scales if known. Using the incorrect grade may cause
the buyer to return the item or leave you unfavorable feedback. Be careful about using
―Mint‖ or ―Excellent‖ as they imply perfection with no flaws of any kind.
Create Merchandise Listings That Sell 2
Follow these important guidelines – and avoid common mistakes:
● Do not use silly or goofy phrases and text characters such as ―L@@K,‖ ―MUST C‖ and
● Do not include Web site addresses, email addresses or phone numbers in your titles.
● Do not use the word ―Used‖ in your title—it‘s not a searched word.
● Do not use words that may bring into question the legality of the item you‘re selling.
Example: Words like ―prohibited‖ or ―banned‖ are considered to be misleading because
they imply that the item is illegal.
● Profanity and obscene language are not allowed by eBay.
● Also read How to Write Titles to Attract Buyers at www.foundvalue.com/how-
Use Common eBay Abbreviations and Acronyms
Abbreviations and acronyms are helpful because they allow for more character space in
the listing title. However, not all abbreviations and acronyms belong in the title. In some
instances the actual word may be more recognizable and searchable. When in doubt, check
the FoundValue ValueFinder at www.foundvalue.com/content/ebay/valuefinder.aspx to
research completed eBay items for the more common usage.
AUTO—Autographed NWOT—New Without Tags
BNWT—Brand New with Tags NWT—New With Tags
EC—Excellent Condition OOP—Out of Package/ Out of Print/ Out of
MIB—Mint in Box (Box not necessarily
NIB—New in Box VG—Very Good Condition
NIP—New in Package• NM—Near Mint VHTF—Very Hard to Find
Create Merchandise Listings That Sell 3
The following is a list of commonly used eBay abbreviations and acronyms. Some terms
may be category-specific, and therefore should only be used when describing certain items.
Category Specific Abbreviations & Acronyms
1st—First Edition (Books, Collectibles, NRFB—Never Removed from Box
Toys and Hobbies) (Collectibles)
Ed.—Edition (Books, Collectibles, Toys OOAK—One of a Kind (Collectibles)
S/S—Still Sealed (Clothing, Shoes, and
F/E or FE—First Edition (Toys and Accessories)
VF—Very Fine Condition (Stamps, Coins,
FN—Fine Condition (Books, Comics) Collectibles)
AKA—Also Known As; an alias (DVDS, STER—Sterling (Jewelry)
Technical Abbreviations & Acronyms
CIB—Cartridge in Box or Instructions in LCD—Liquid Crystal Display
Box (as in computer equipment)
CIBO—Cartridge, instruction, box, overlay
MHz—Megahertz (processor speed)
(video games, computer equipment)
CPU—Central Processing Unit
RAM—Random Access Memory
GHz—Gigahertz (processor speed)
G or Gig—Gigabyte
Create Merchandise Listings That Sell 4
Section 2: How to Write a Description
A well-written description not only gives buyers valuable information, it also shows that
you're a conscientious seller. Your description promotes your item while giving prospective
buyers all the information they need. Use the following tips and instructions to make your
descriptions clear, accurate, descriptive and appealing.
● Make each sentence short - web page readers like to scan text. If your description is easy-
to-read, potential bidders will keep reading until they have all the information they need.
This will also minimize the number of email questions you will receive and save you time
in the long run.
● Include relevant keywords and power words.
● Stress any product benefits and (unlike the listing title) use active and enthusiastic
language. Examples: Time-saving, ease-of-use, money-saving, etc.
● Make sure to spell check your description.
Depending on the category, there are certain specifics that will need to be addressed in
● What is the item?
● What condition is it in?
● What company/artist/designer/author made it?
● What material is it made of?
● When was it made?
● What are its dimensions?
● What country/location is it from?
● Does it have any notable features or markings?
● Does it have a special background or history?
You may also want to consider adding a creative touch when writing your item
description by adding:
● What you especially like about the item?
● Who you think it would appeal to and why?
● Is there an interesting story about the item?
● How do you think it might be used?
● You can also check out this information online at How to Write a Detailed Item
Description at www.foundvalue.com/how-to/ebay-write-descriptions.
Create Merchandise Listings That Sell 5
Section 3: How to Take Photos That Sell
A good photograph of your item is your most powerful selling tool on eBay and
can have a large impact on the final selling price. Photos are the only way the buyer can
―see‖ the item: they can‘t pick it up, touch and feel it or examine the item for flaws. A
detailed photo can make or break the sale. For additional information online see How To
Set Up a Photo Studio at www.foundvalue.com/how-to/ebay-photo-studio and review the
tutorial at www.foundvalue.com/files/tutorials/photo_new/index.htm.
Build Your Photo Studio
By setting up a permanent photo studio in your
workspace, you‘ll always be ready to add photos to
your listing and optimize the opportunity for
selling. Inexpensive photo studio materials are
available on eBay or Craigslist.
Here are the basics for your photo studio:
● At least 4 feet by 4 feet of uninterrupted floor
space, including a wall with a power outlet.
● If you can, set up in a corner of a white or off-white room (blue or red rooms may add a
similar tint to your images).
● A table or a chair to place the items.
● Masking tape to secure the backdrops – use
black or white table cloths or fabric swatches.
● Camera tripod and photo studio lights (and a
digital camera, of course)
For larger items, you can drape the
backdrop over a door or just let it fall to
● Power strip to plug in the lights.
Create Merchandise Listings That Sell 6
STEP 1 — TABLE WITH BACKDROP
Put a table (or chair or whatever works for you) against a wall.
Tape your backdrop to the wall and to the table, so half of it goes up the wall and the
other half of it is on the flat surface of the table. Let the material flow across the corner,
making a rounded edge. Do not fold it. This ―seamless background‖ will make your item
seem like it‘s floating on the background.
STEP 2 — LIGHTS
Place your lights at 45 degree angles, on both sides of
Raise one light slightly higher than the other (it
doesn‘t matter which side). This will eliminate reflections
from the lights.
STEP 3 – TRIPOD
Shooting from a camera tripod allows you to keep
your shots rock-steady and gives you more freedom in
lighting your subjects.
Place the tripod a few feet away from the table. Use a
level surface if possible. Tighten all the locks of the tripod
legs. If your surface is uneven, extend one of the legs
more to compensate.
Attach the camera to the tripod. There should be a
threaded hole on the bottom of your camera where you can attach it to the threaded bolt on
the tripod‘s head.
Adjust the tripod height. Loosen the adjustment locks on the tripod‘s legs. Once your
height is adjusted, tighten the locks. Move the legs up or down in small increments until you
can only see the backdrop in your camera‘s viewfinder.
TAKE SEVERAL PHOTOS OF EACH ITEM
Depending on what you‘re selling, one photo is probably not enough. In most cases,
several photos will show off your item much better. It is your job to show potential buyers
what they want and need to see. Photos detail the condition of the item and help clear up
any doubts the buyer may have as well as saving you the time of answering email inquiries
about the item‘s condition.
The following are some guidelines for your taking your item photos.
GET CLOSE UPS
● Buyers want to see detail, so really make your item take up the whole frame.
Create Merchandise Listings That Sell 7
● Take a close-up of a section of the item in addition to the entire item. This will give
buyers a better idea of the item‘s condition. You may also want to show it from two
● Take a close-up photo of any signatures or markings.
● Take a close-up photo of any imperfections, like chips or stains (be sure to disclose these
in the descriptions as well).
Note: Many digital cameras have ―detail‖ settings that can help you take well-defined
Understand the Size of Digital Photos
The size of your digital image file (defined in terms of kilo-bytes –―K‖ or ―Kb‖) is very
important because it determines how fast your image will load on your buyers‘ computers
when they are trying to view it on eBay. The smaller the image size, the shorter the
download time, and the faster the buyers will see your items. We encourage you to keep your
individual image file size to less than 40K – FoundValue does not accept images greater than
To make sure your images load quickly, save your image files in JPEG (with .jpg
extension) format because that format uses very few kilobytes for each picture. Once your
images have been uploaded to the FoundValue listing tools, we will automatically resize your
images and optimize them for your auctions.
If you‘re having problems with your digital camera, don‘t get frustrated. When you‘re in
doubt, read your camera’s manual or for a quick online resource ‗google‘ the camera‘s
Set up the Photo Shoot
If you have to take photos of several different things, you will be much more efficient if
you plan a little before you begin and organize your photo shoot.
● First, make sure the camera has enough battery charge and memory for all the pictures
you want to take.
● If you are going to take pictures of more than one subject, plan the best order to reduce
individual setup time.
● Plan the settings to be used for all of your subjects. Try to take the ―front shots‖ of all of
the items first -- before moving the camera or lighting for the ―detail‖ shots. This will
save you a lot of time compared to changing the setup over and over again for each item.
Create Merchandise Listings That Sell 8
Lighting is the key to good photography. It is worth taking a little extra time to adjust the
lights to get a clear picture. Experiment with moving the lights a bit toward the front of your
subject. You don‘t have to have the lights exactly on either side of your subject. Shadows are
best reduced by raising the lights so they are higher than the subject.
Turn off most of the ―room‖ lighting because it may have an undesirable effect on the
image color accuracy. But leave enough light on to view the subject in the camera viewer,
until you are ready to actually shoot.
Don‘t use your camera flash. Direct flash from
Did You Know? a camera is almost the worst way to light anything.
It heats up the areas closest to the camera, washes
Don’t use the camera flash -- it heats up
the areas closest to the camera, washes
out the color and creates highlights that distract
out the color and creates high-lights that your viewer.
distract your viewer.
You can try different angels, setup, etc with
Make the investment in a photo lighting kit
with full spectrum lights that illuminate
your lighting placement. The point is to make your
detail and color with better accuracy than item look its best.
Photo lights simulate the crisp, full color Composition
and ultraviolet spectrum of natural outdoor
light. Before you start shooting, think about how
you‘re going to set up your shot so that your item
looks its best.
● Clean up your item before you take its picture.
● Arrange your item in a manner that shows it off to its best advantage.
● Eliminate any distractions from the
Use your tripod to set up your shots.
A tripod enables you to position the item
and the camera just right and adjust the
lighting as well.
Once you point your camera at your table,
you can leave it on the tripod from photo
Create Merchandise Listings That Sell 9
Example: These two pictures were taken of the same items using the same camera. Notice
how the picture on the right shows off the detail better to potential buyers. Which one
would you bid on?
Checklist: Take Your Photos
Now you‘re ready to take your photos!
1. Place your item on the table in the
center of the backdrop. Place it as Tip
close to the front of your seamless
Practice taking a picture of the same item at
background as possible. different distances, and you’ll get an idea of
how to frame the object in your camera’s
2. View your item through the LCD view finder.
viewfinder of your digital camera to
Watch out for distracting backgrounds – If
see if any obvious shadows are the item is something that won’t fit on a
present. Adjust your lighting to table, try to make the background of the
compensate. If you need less light, photo as simple as possible.
you can move the lights farther away
from your subject.
3. Focus in on your item. Get close up. Buyers want to see detail, so make your item take
up the whole frame. Do not use the zoom. Instead, move the camera closer to the item.
4. Take your picture (without the flash).
5. Once you have taken all the shots, transfer the images to your computer and take a look.
You don‘t have to check every image but you want to make sure the images look good
before you move on. Take a few practice shots to make sure your setup is correct, and
then take all the shots for each camera position and lighting.
Don‘t be surprised if you are disappointed in the photos during your first few tries. It
often takes several attempts with different lighting before you have even one picture that is
good. For more information, you can also read How to Take Photographs at
Create Merchandise Listings That Sell 10
Upload Photos to Your Computer
Once you‘ve taken your photos, you need to transfer them to you computer.
● First option: If your camera uses a direct cable connection, try this method first. If you
can‘t locate where the cable plugs into your camera, check your owner’s manual (it‘s
amazing where they can hid these tiny plugs).
Turn the camera on first, switching it to ‗Playback‖ mode (the same switch that lets
you view photos on your camera‘s LCD screen).
Insert the cable into the USB or Firewire port on your computer. Most Mac and
Windows PCs will automatically recognize the camera as a device, and launch a
photo-capturing software program.
● Second option: If your camera uses a Compact Flash Card, SK or SD memory card, your
PC may have a built-in slot to read them. If not, just purchase an inexpensive USB
photo card reader for the memory card format your camera uses. First plug the memory
card into the reader, and then into a USB slot to your computer. Again, most computers
will recognize the device and launch the photo software program.
When you are saving your images to your computer, you should always put them in a
separate directory. For instance, you can call the directory ―FoundValue Images‖ or
something more specific. When your camera saves a picture it will give it some arbitrary
name, like NIK43566.JPG. This won‘t mean much to you but the numbers go up, so you
can tell in what order you shot the pictures. You can name your pictures anything you want,
so you should change the file name right away to something useful like
―ChanelPurseFront.jpg‖. If you name your files well, you‘ll be able to quickly find images on
For more information, you can also read How to Transfer & Upload Photos at
Create Merchandise Listings That Sell 11
Section 4: How to Optimize Your Listings
There are millions of auctions on eBay, all competing for the buyers‘ attention. Effective
optimization is essential to making your listings stand out and be successful. Remember that
if no one knows about your items, no one will buy them. The trick is to get your items out to
where buyers can find them – and then close the sale.
Understand eBay Buyer Behavior
The single most significant promotional tool at your disposal is the eBay search engine.
Over 80% of buyers locate items they wish to purchase by using the eBay search engine. In
other words, they type keywords into the search box located on the top of every eBay page
and get back listings based on that search. The other 20% of eBay buyers browse through
categories to find the items they want. In this case, buyers select a category from the eBay
home page and then they drill down by clicking through sub-categories until they find
something that interests them.
Since the majority of eBay buyers will find
your listing based on the keywords in your Tip
listing title, it‘s essential to spend the time to
create a stand-out title. See ―How to Write a Start and end your auctions at peak
Title‖ found earlier in this section for important traffic periods when traffic is the
hints and examples.
Generally you should start and end
Placing the item in the correct category your auctions on Saturday or Sunday
when you list is also important so that buyers evening between 6 and 10 PM
can browse and find your item. One way to
determine the best category is to run a
ValueFinder search for that item (as discussed in the ―How To Start Selling‖ section) and
note in which eBay category similar items were listed.
Determine the Best Timing
Besides creating a great title, the second most important thing you can do to effectively
market your item is to accurately time the auction closing. Although there is no magic
formula for determining what times and days are best to launch and close your auctions,
some days can be better than others. When determining the best time to start and end a
listing, there are many factors to consider:
● Don‘t go by when you have the most free time or when the family is in bed and you will
not be disturbed.
● Ask yourself how many possible buyers will be at their computers at closing time.
Remember that eBay uses Pacific Time.
Create Merchandise Listings That Sell 12
Hint: You will also need to consider what time it is in the Central region and on the East
● The amount of bidders available at closing time is of utmost importance to your
auction. Most of the bidding on any auction will occur in the first 24 hours (when it is
listed as new) and on the last day (when is listed as ending today), with most people only
looking at one of these two times. And the bulk of the serious bidding will be in the
last 5 minutes!
● You can give yourself the flexibility to list items at a starting day and time you choose —
up to 1 week in advance. In the FoundValue listing tools, you can choose to schedule
your auctions for the best times even when you are not around to launch them. eBay
charges an additional $0.10 per listing for this convenience.
eBay Promotional Features
eBay offers a variety of listing upgrades that are geared towards increasing attention to
your items when eBay buyers are searching. These listing upgrades can cut into your margins
if you‘re not careful how you use them. As a result, we‘ve chosen only the most effective and
least costly features that help achieve optimal results.
The gallery image is a miniature image, or thumbnail, of your item that appears next to
your listing when an eBay user searches or browses in a list of items. According to eBay
statistics, gallery listings increase the final price by an average of 12% and are 10% more
likely to sell. At a cost of only $0.35 per listing, the Gallery feature is the best choice and
worth the investment.
The boldface title is exactly what it sounds like; the auction title is listed in boldface type
to help it stand out among the other listing. At a cost of $1.00 per listing, we only use this
Create Merchandise Listings That Sell 13
option in the Premium Service because it makes sense for higher value items that may need
more promotion to sell. According to eBay statistics, bold listings increase average final
prices by an average of 21%, boost bids by 20% and are 4% more likely to sell.
Track Your Listings’ Popularity
You can view the ―counter‖ at the bottom of your auction listing page to keep track of
how many people view your listing. Counting the number of visits can help you determine
the marketability of your item, as well as how popular or unpopular your item is with eBay
buyers. This can also be a great tool for understanding whether your title and picture are
attracting potential buyers.
Potential bidders are able to add an item you are offering for sale to their ‗Watching‘
list—a list of goods they are considering purchasing but are not yet ready to bid on. You are
able to see how many buyers are watching
your item (and that might choose to bid on Tip
the item as the auction comes to a close)
from eBay. In addition to Watchers, you are You can attract more bidders to all your
also able to monitor how many buyers have auctions by listing just one special item
that attracts a lot of attention.
actually bid on your item and how much
time remains until the auction closes. Even if your other items are not as unique
or expensive as your special item, more
bidders are likely to view your auctions.
QUESTIONS FROM POTENTIAL BUYERS
During an auction, a buyer might email additional questions about an item via eBay. It is
very important that you respond promptly to buyer email questions to keep momentum
building around your listings, and to build trust between you and the buyer. You want buyers
to return to your site and look at other items you‘re selling. If someone asks a question that‘s
really useful to showing the value of an item -- or if you find several buyers all asking the
same question about your item, you can have both the original question and your response
posted within your eBay listing. Simply go to eBay‘s Respond to Question screen, and
check the box that reads: ‗Display this question and response on my listing so all buyers can
see it.‘ But be careful with this eBay feature. Once your response is posted, it can‘t be edited
and remains with the listing until completion.
Create Merchandise Listings That Sell 14
Section 5: FoundValue Listing Template
The ―look and feel‖ of the recommended FoundValue template helps to make your
listing clear and easy to understand. It helps make a great impression and instills confidence
with your potential buyers.
With your photo and contact details inserted at the top of the listing, buyers know who
they‘re doing business with, and therefore are more at ease.
Create Merchandise Listings That Sell 15
The policies about Payment, Shipping, and Returns are clearly illustrated in every listing
and generated for you automatically. These policies reflect best practices that FoundValue
recommends for sellers, and by using the FoundValue listing tool you must abide by them
with your buyers. Having these policies prominently displayed within the listing answers the
questions most buyers have. Here are the current policies:
Payment I accept payment through PayPal or via money order.
Payment must be completed within 3 days of auction close. If payment is not
received, your purchase may be revoked and a Non-Paying Bidder alert filed.
You are required to have a PayPal account to use the FoundValue listing
Sales Tax Sales Tax Disclaimer
In state residents may be charged state sales tax during the Checkout process.
eBay will collect applicable sales taxes from the buyer, but you are required
to report and pay any sales taxes on items as you are the seller of record.
Shipping All items are shipped within 2 business days after receipt of payment. I only ship
to the US. Buyer pays all shipping expenses, which are based on zip code. I take
great care to package every item to ensure safe shipment. I charge a small
handling charge to cover my cost of materials and time.‖
Your buyers pay for actual shipping & handling costs based on their zip
code. For reference, your listing will display an approximate shipping cost
unless you specific a local pick-up. The actual cost is calculated after the
auction ends and the destination of the buyer is known. Your listing even
provides bidders with a shipping calculator for an exact shipping amount
based on their zip code.
Returns I accept returns only if the item was not as described in the auction. Buyer must
notify me of a return within 3 days of receiving the item and return the item within
10 days; buyer is responsible for return shipping charges.
I do my best to accurately describe each item I sell. If you have any questions,
please email me before placing your bid.
A clear return policy is essential for managing sales. Remind buyers who
have questions on delivery of your return policy and be firm.
Legal I have used my best efforts to inspect the items(s) for sale and create descriptions
Notice and furnish photographs that fairly and accurately depict the type, condition and
image of the item(s) at the time of sale. I make no express or implied warranties
or representations regarding the condition or suitability of the item(s), and to the
extent allowed by the law, specifically disclaim any express or implied warranties,
including but not limited to ANY WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY OR
FITNESS FOR PURPOSE.
Now it‘s up to you to take the next step and create a listing for your item that you‘re proud
of and gives you a better chance of successful sales.