Making that sale is all you really want. But when your auctions aren’t as successful as you would like them to be, it may be time to look a little deeper into the art of online auctions. The last thing you want is to be killing your auction listing before it even hits the auction site. Here are seven mistakes that might be negatively affecting your auction listing.
Auctions With Reserve
Putting a reserve on your auction can cause potential bidders to bypass your listing. Buyers are more cautious when they see that there is a reserve on an auction, because they are aware that even if they win the auction, their winning bid must meet the seller’s criteria or they will not be able to purchase the item. Try no reserve equipment auctions to better your sales. When buyers feel confident about the item they are considering, they are more likely to actually bid on that item. Think of it this way, an auction with a reserve creates a more reserved buyer.
2. The Wrong Products
You could be selling items that are not very popular or are in poor demand. Some of the more popular categories include electronics, equipment and clothing. By selling things that people are actually looking for, you increase your likelihood of making sales. But there’s more than just choosing the right inventory, you also have to write effective descriptions.
One of the secrets of successful online sellers is writing descriptions that showcase what you’re selling. Writing a killer description isn’t as difficult as it sounds. You just need to make sure that it is detailed. Since you’re selling online and buyers can’t physically interact with you and the product, you have to create that interaction with a detailed description. Notes on colour, shape, size, usability are all points that are found in well-written descriptions. Ask yourself, “If I were considering buying this, what would I need and want to know?”
3. Weak Pictures
It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words. And when it comes to online auctions, this saying couldn’t be truer. You absolutely must take pictures of your inventory. Whatever you sell needs to have strong pictures to go along with the description. Your pictures should be clear and detailed. If there is writing that should be seen, make sure it’s clear in the pictures. If measurements are important, be sure to diagram that as well. Take pictures of the inside of equipment and vehicles. And if there are multiple components to the listing, for example, a laptop, its charger and some software, take pictures of each piece as well as one shot with all three components in it. Every potential buyer will not read your description, so allow your photographs to tell the story. When your pictures are weak or missing, buyers are less likely to give your listing priority over another.
4. Short Auctions
Auction time frames are typically 3, 5 or 7 days. Depending on the site you choose to list your auction, you may have fewer or more days. Some sites allow you to list products for sale for extended periods of time without the auction or offer both simultaneously. If you are choosing the shortest possible auction time frame, you could be doing yourself a disservice. Short-lived auctions don’t necessarily give buyers the chance to find or see your listing. Make sure you are giving what you are selling enough time to be exposed to as many potential buyers as possible.
5. No Social Media
Don’t be afraid to leverage your social media accounts when it comes to boosting your auction’s visibility. Even if you only have a small following, the sharing of posts, messages and pictures can extend your reach exponentially. Send out a tweet, a Facebook or Instagram post or a message on any other platform you like to use. Let others know that you have something for sale. And be sure to provide a link to your listing so people can quickly and easily access it.
If you regularly auction items online, you may want to consider creating social media dedicated to your selling. This usually means that you will have a more niche audience, one that is interested in the inventory that you have to offer. You can increase your visibility and following by following and interacting with other accounts that are similar to yours. You can also follow some of the accounts they follow. This should get you a little notice and help you begin to grow your numbers, which can increase the traffic to your auctions and hopefully boost your sales too.
6. Going Too Heavy on Keywords
This is sometimes referred to as “keyword spamming.” You definitely want to use keywords in your listing so that your listings will appear higher in the search results and drive traffic to your listing. But using too many keywords in the same listing for the sake of driving traffic to your store or listing will backfire, and you may be in violation of the auction site’s policy. You want your description to help drive buyers to your listing, but if you go too heavy on keywords, you run the risk of overdoing it and chasing buyers away.
Do some comparisons to see what is the going rate for the product you’re auctioning. Make sure that your price point is a fair one and that you’re not short-changing yourself. Do some research if you’re having trouble with the pricing. Look at the manufacturer’s price, reseller’s pricing, and any other information you can find, then compare that to the condition and quality of what you’re selling and your bottom line. If shipping fees apply, decide whether or not the buyer will be responsible for those costs. Many buyers filter the search results for free shipping, so consider adding shipping costs into your pricing so buyers will feel like they’re getting free shipping.
Online auctions allow you to sell just about anything. When you do it right, you can maximize the return on your investment. The business of online auctions has been steadily growing and has become part of the way businesses and consumers interact. The next time you take on an online auction, be sure to use this checklist to keep your auction listing alive.