As a regular buyer of videogames and consoles on eBay, I’ve seen a wide variety of listings over the years, so I thought I’d share a few tips to help people improve their own auctions and hopefully sell their items more quickly and for more money.
Titles and Descriptions
Starting out with the obvious – using a good title and description. eBay titles only allow for 80 characters, so squeezing in all the relevant information can be tricky. I would recommend including the following when listing a game:
- The game title
- The console that the game is for and if it’s an import title, stating the region
- If the game is complete, include this in the title
and if you’re listing a console:
- The console name, ideally in full, and if you have characters left over, its abbreviations, e.g. “Nintendo Game Boy Advance (GBA)” or “Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)”
- The console region; especially important for import consoles
- If the console includes games, at the very least, mention that there are games included, but ideally specify the quantity. “Sega Mega Drive and 10 games” will gain more interest than “Sega Mega Drive” alone or “Sega Mega Drive and games”. If your console bundle comes with a particularly rare game, try and squeeze the title of this into the title too
As for the description, try and give as much information as possible, particularly for high-value items. The more information you can provide, the less likely you will have an unhappy buyer lodging a complaint against you. Some things to include:
- Particularly with CD-based games, state the condition of the disc. Many sellers omit this completely and although a disc with scratches might play fine, if the buyer is a collector, they will want to know the disc condition. This works both ways – if the disc is in mint condition, say so and it will help push the price up further
- If anything is missing, you should mention this. For games, this can be instruction manuals, bonus extras and download codes; for consoles it might be cables and controllers. If you’re not sure that everything is included, avoid using the word ‘complete’ and just list each individual item instead and let the buyer make up their own mind
- If you are selling a console bundle, it is important that you list any included games by title. Ideally, each game should come with a mini description, even just to state whether it’s complete or not. Collectors are often more interested in the games you are selling than the console itself. This will obviously take more time to complete, but can make a huge difference to the end price of your item
Particularly with retro gaming, photographs are vital when it comes to selling on eBay. Not only do they give a potential buyer a better idea of what they are buying, but it can save time typing out detailed descriptions if the same information can be conveyed with a few extra photos. eBay allows up to 12 photos to be uploaded for free for an item, and this is usually plenty. If you’re just selling low-priced items, one or two photos is fine, but if you’re selling a big-ticket item, include as many photos as possible; potential buyers will only ask for more if you don’t provide them upfront.
Also, if you’re selling a bundle of items, try to ensure that your first photo is an overall photo of all the items. I see many listings where the first photo, which is the one displayed in search results, is just of the console and any included games are in later photos, meaning that potentially rare games get overlooked.
For pricing, the advice differs depending on the listing format:
- Auction – setting a starting price and letting people bid as and when they like up until the end date and time of the listing is reached
- Buy It Now – behaves more like a traditional online shopping experience, allowing purchases to be made instantly
For regular auctions, I would recommend starting the price off at the lowest you’d be willing to let it go for; this way, you will be guaranteeing yourself that as a minimum. Setting a reserve minimum on listings is less common than it used to be and I would also avoid it – it just annoys when they are bidding and they don’t know when they will have reached the minimum accepted bid.
If you are selling a rare item, another option would be to set the starting price very low and just let the inevitable interest and bids from collectors drive the price up from the start. For this to be effective, you should include a good title, description and plenty of photos.
Timing is also important for regular auctions – whatever time you list the item, it will end at the same time of day. As a lot of bids happen in the last few minutes of a listing, avoid having your items ending too late at night or during the working day. Aim for evenings and weekends when more people will be browsing.
Buy It Now
As a regular user of eBay, this is my preferred method of buying an item as it saves time and you are just paying a fixed price instantly. When selling via this format, you can generally set a price a little higher than the going auction rate for the item as people often don’t mind paying a little more for the convenience of having something sooner. However, it’s important to be realistic with your pricing. eBay will give it’s own suggested price, but you should carry out your own research. Both the desktop and mobile versions of eBay allow you to filter search results to show sold items:
Under the Filter settings after completing a search:
Scroll down the left side of the page to see the option:
By looking at the price that recent items have fetched, you can set your own realistic price for your item. And if you want a quick sale, you could set your Buy It Now price to less than the average.
The Buy It Now option also allows the option to accept offers below the asking price. This can allow you to set a higher Buy It Now price and if someone pays that, then great, but if someone offers your an amount you’re happy with too, you can accept that price instead. However, when using this option, don’t see it as an opportunity to set a very inflated price. Even if you’re willing to actually accept much less, some buyers will be immediately put off by the initial price and look elsewhere.
Selling items well can take a little practice, but in no time at all, you will soon find out what works well for your items. The main advice is to just be honest, accurate and fair in your listings. If your listings are in any way misleading, it can easily to refund requests, upset buyers and negative feedback which can affect your future sales.
I hope the above guide proves useful to some and good luck with your sales!