Steps to Listing on eBay - Best Practices
Content provided by e2u Solutions
eBay has become one of the fastest growing market places,
with businesses of all sizes using it as either a useful
additional outlet or as their primary shop front. As more small
or new businesses start to use this vibrant, well-established,
portal, it is important for eBay traders to be aware of best
practice and how to avoid pitfalls, which in turn, can decide
whether their business survives.
To maximise your eBay business, follow the simple steps that follow:
EFFECTIVE ITEM TITLE
Maximize Title Characters. Use all 55 characters in your item title to maximize
exposure to buyers.
Be descriptive and include things like item condition and brand name. Remember
not to compare the item you are selling to another brand name item in the title.
This can help,ensure you are within eBay’s listing guidelines.
Give buyers additional descriptive information and make your listings stand out
with 55 additional characters about your item as they browse categories or view
search results. Include words they would generally not search for, but that would
be of interest to them such as item age or origin.
Or, promote the extras you offer, such as “batteries included,” “free shipping” or
“money back guarantee.”
Key (Search) Words
Since most buyers find items via the Search Box on the eBay Homepage, make a
list of potential key (search) words you think they would use to find your item.
Include a combination of product type words to cast a wide net, e.g., “Digital
Camera,” and specific key words such as the brand name “Canon” or model
number. Note: All key words in the title must be relevant to the item offered for sale.
Keyword spamming can lead to possible suspension.
DETAILED ITEM DESCRIPTION
Clearly and accurately describing the item that you are selling in your listings is the
number one best practice. Include details on the product type, brand, condition,
attributes, model number, size, style, measurements, color, etc. If the list of
specifications is lengthy, we recommend placing this information below other
important product details.
State Product Condition
It’s important to mention the product condition (i.e., new, used, or refurbished).
Disclose full product details including defects and any information that may impact
a buyer’s decision to purchase your item. If the item you are selling is not new,
avoid describing the item as “like new.” If your item is refurbished or used, call out
in your listing that it is “refurbished.”
If the product you are selling is a great deal for buyers, point this out by stating the
amount or percent
savings you are offering on your item. For example, you could state, “the RRP is
£200, but our Buy It Now price is £100. You save 50%!”
Make it Easy to Read
The description should be complete and easy to read. Bullet points and clear
spacing make for easier reading and helps to better organize your listing
Write Seller FAQ’s
In order to save time and make for a smooth transaction, post your Frequently
Asked Questions so prospective buyers can get answers without sending you an
email. You can choose to display custom FAQ and other important information to
buyers when they click on “Ask Seller a Question” from any of your item pages.
Use Skype to Communicate
Skype allows you to call or chat from your computer over the Internet. Using an
inexpensive communication tool like Skype can help speed up transactions with
buyers on eBay. For example, include a Skype button in your listings so buyers can
contact you quickly with last minute questions.
Using PowerSeller Logo
If you are a PowerSeller, we recommend including the PowerSeller logo in all of
your listings to add credibility with buyers.
CLEARLY STATED POLICIES
Define your shipping policy by including handling time, shipping costs, shipping
methods and ship-to locations when you list your item. Remember that using the
Shipping Calculator will automatically calculate up to three different shipping
services based on buyer location worldwide. Visit the eBay Shipping Centre to
research rates and see a Shipping Calculator demonstration. Learn more at
State payment methods and details in both the “Description” and the “Payment
instructions & return policy” fields. In the event that you do not accept a specific
form of payment, state it in a positive tone by outlining which methods you do
accept rather than those you don’t.
Buyers are more likely to purchase from sellers who have return policies. Whether
you accept returns or not, clearly say so in your listings. List in both the
“Description” and the “Payment instructions & return policy” fields.
Sales Tax Information
Provide sales tax information where applicable, including listing states on whose
behalf you collect sales tax.
Providing a warranty on items can help overcome a buyer’s resistance to buying
online and may be the deciding factor in whether a buyer purchases your product
over that of another seller. If you offer a warranty, clearly describe it and make it
prominent in your listing.
State your expected response time to buyer emails and how long it takes you to
ship items after receiving payment.
It’s helpful to state your Feedback policy including when you leave Feedback for
Stating your policy upfront will minimize conflicts.
USE POWERFUL PHOTOS
Research shows that good photos can increase bidding on items. Follow these
tips to improve and enhance your pictures.
Use Gallery Feature
Entice buyers to click on your listings from search results pages by including a
picture of your item next to your listing. Draw even more attention by upgrading to
Gallery Plus. With Gallery Plus, buyers see a larger image of your item when they
mouse over your Gallery picture. This feature is especially effective for increasing
bids and sales of high ASP items.
Clear Photos at Top of Listing
Be sure that the photo is one of the first things that a buyer sees. Ensure your
images are in-focus, free of background clutter, and well lit. Photograph your item
at a close range, at an angle, and using at least two light sources to show more
detail. Also try experimenting with photo video technology especially when selling
high end items.
Multiple Images/Multi-Dimensional Views
Remember that buyers are not inspecting the item in person, so provide as much
detail as possible, particularly if the item is not new in the box or is damaged.
Include the tag, label, or box in the image.
Use Your Own Pictures
Copying pictures (without permission) from another eBay Seller or
manufacturer/retailer may be illegal and can lead to suspension.
Manage File Size
If you are hosting your own picture, the file size should be under 50 KB (kilobytes)
for quick page downloads.
Add Picture Icon
Ensure the camera icon appears next to your listing on the search results page (if
hosting your own pictures and not using the gallery feature), otherwise buyers
won’t know that you have photos in your listing. Check the SYI (Sell Your Item) box
that says “The description already contains a picture URL for my item.”
PROMOTE YOUR LISTINGS
Write Reviews & Guides
Share your expertise on the items you are selling and drive traffic to your listings
via eBay and internet search engines. Write Reviews & Guides that feature your
top-selling products today—it’s easy, effective, and free.
Personalize eBay My World
Personalize your “My World” publishing space on eBay to tell the community about
yourself. This is a great opportunity to add a human element to your eBay sales.
Share what you sell and tell the community about your interests. Let other
members get to know you and give more visibility to your listings!
Use Item Specifics
For applicable categories, be sure to fill in the “item specific” fields so buyers can
find your items more easily when searching. For example, a buyer may search for
a specific size or colour when buying shoes or clothing.
Use Pre-Filled Items Feature
For applicable categories, automatically fill in your listing with item specifics
information. Pre-filled Items feature can provide basic pre-written descriptions
about your item and provide a stock picture in some cases.
Cross-Promote Other eBay Listings
Every listing should be viewed as an advertisement for your other listings. Include
a link in your descriptions that goes to your eBay Store or About Me page (that lists
your inventory). Consider using a linkable phrase such as, “Click here to find other
great items I am selling on eBay.” You may also link to your eBay Store categories
using clickable photos. For instance, you may recommend a battery in a laptop
listing using a photo that links to the Battery category in your eBay Store.
Detailed Seller Ratings
When buyers leave an overall Feedback rating (positive, neutral, or negative) for a
seller, they also have the option to leave Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) in four
areas: item as described, communication, delivery time, and postage and
These DSRs allow buyers to provide additional information about the transaction,
and provide a more complete picture of the seller's customer service. The ratings
can then be used by buyers to learn more about the sellers they’re thinking of
shopping with, as well as by eBay to differentiate good sellers from those who
aren’t meeting buyer expectations.
Here are 10 tips of utilising the new DSR’s:
1. Specify reasonable flat-rate shipping
2. Highlight your shipping, return and other important policies ‘above the
3. Provide 2-3 shipping options CLEARLY spelled out
4. Call out international shipping information –set expectations around
time and customs, and other international ‘gotchas’.
5. Provide a clear and easy to understand return policy
6. Provide (and communicate) discounted combined shipping
7. Keep it simple
8. Ship to UK only? (consider splitting into two seller IDs)
9. Amp up your customer service
10. Consider free shipping as an option
11. Communicate, communicate, communicate
The new Best Match
Best match is designed to work alongside the new Detailed Seller Ratings
scheme. The default page for search results will change from Item Ending
Soonest to Best Match. In brief, if your DSR’s stand in good stead and represent a
customer focused and professional selling platform, your item will be shown high
on the search results.
eBay will be adding new factors into Best Match which will reward sellers who offer
fairly priced items and provide relevant and comprehensive title descriptions. This
will happen in the following categories:
• Car Parts
• Consumer Electronics
• Musical Instruments
To maximise your visibility in Best Match, here's what you can do:
• Continue to describe your item as accurately as possible in the listing title
• Continue to offer great value to buyers
• Continue to provide buyers with a good all-round service which will help to
maintain high Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs)
About the author
Mark Chivers, of e2u Solutions, is an accredited eBay Education Specialist and
has been trained by eBay. e2u Solutions provide a full range consultation services.
Telephone: 08452 481 100