Friday, December 19, 2008

Use Ebay’s Buy It Now Feature to Your Advantage

Online auction sites like Ebay are very competitive. Sellers do whatever they can to make sure buyers bid on their items rather than a competitor’s. The lengths they go to include keywording, careful auction timing, and the use of Ebay’s many features which make life easier for buyers and sellers alike.

One of Ebay’s most popular features is the “Buy It Now” option. With Buy It Now, bidders can choose to purchase the item outright at a predetermined price. This option is best suited to buyers who want the item and don’t want to risk losing it to a higher bidder. Its appeal comes from its limited availability: once a bid has been placed, Buy It Now is no longer an option. Buyers will be tempted to make the purchase right away, before someone else places a bid.

But some pros caution sellers to be careful when deciding whether to use Buy It Now on their Ebay auctions. Should you offer this option? If so, how should you price your products? Are there times when you shouldn’t offer Buy It Now?

Buy It Now can be risky for sellers. If an item is listed for its full course of seven to ten days, it has the chance to attract watchers who will place bids at the last minute. But if someone comes along and snaps up the item at its Buy It Now price, the seller will never know how much money the item would have generated otherwise. They might even wonder if they should have listed the item at a higher price.

Sometimes it makes perfect sense to use Buy It Now. Holiday shoppers in particular are going online to look for gifts, and many won’t want to wait for auctions to run their course. Additionally, the holidays are a time when impulse shopping is at its peak. By using Ebay’s Buy It Now feature over the holidays, you’re allowing buyers to make purchases before they change their minds.

When should sellers avoid Buy It Now? If you’re selling an item of uncertain value, it’s best to let that item remain on the auction block for a full seven to ten days. For example, let’s say you’ve got some collectible plates but aren’t sure how much they’re worth. If you put them up with the Buy It Now option, you might be asking for much less than the plates’ actual value. Keen collectors would certainly buy the items right away, but you would have made a much larger profit had you forced buyers to place bids.

Ebay sellers should do some research before listing items with the Buy It Now feature. Search completed auctions to see how similar items have been performing. It’s a safe rule to price your items slightly on the low side, since Buy It Now makes it much more likely that they will be purchased quickly. But take care not to price items so low that they’re no longer profitable! Keep an eye on market trends by doing frequent searches for items in similar categories. If the market is saturated with items of this type, you could set your Buy It Now prices low, or switch to different items until the market recovered. If demand outweighs supply, go ahead and set your Buy It Now prices higher than normal.

Buy It Now is a useful feature when used correctly. Take this advice to heart and you’ll have no problem deciding which of your auctions should incorporate Buy It Now.

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