EBay can be a powerful tool to find great deals online, offering shoppers an experience seldom seen anywhere else on the web. In order to use eBay to your best advantage, here is some advice to keep you above the fray.
The first step to researching a great deal on eBay is to search through the completed auctions for the final bid price, and also look through the current auctions for bid prices and the number of people competing for the item of interest. To search through the completed auctions, go to the Advanced Search menu and check off the “Show completed listings only” box.
Remember that finding a cheap listing with low competition is only half of the battle. Always research the seller’s reputation. Look at how long they have been selling on eBay and the number of auctions they have successfully completed. Be aware of notations such as Power Seller, and any stars next to their name. These denote how reputable a seller is. Lastly, look through all of the feedback on the seller, and analyze the negative feedback to see how the seller dealt with an unhappy customer.
The third, and quite possibly the most important step is accurate bid timing. Proper bid timing can mean the difference between a great steal and losing an item. There are two main strategies to winning an item: incremental bidding and sniping. Incremental bidding is where users gradually outbid each other until the auction is complete. Proxy bidding is where a user enters the highest amount they are willing to spend, and then the system automatically places bids, each just higher than the competitor’s.
Another strategy is sniping. Sniping is where one waits until the last few seconds before placing a bid. Sniping can net great deals, as the price is often kept lower than in situations where each user continually outbids another, driving up the cost. Sniping can be difficult for a beginner, as several factors must be taken into account, including network lag time. There are services on the web, some free and others paid, that will do the sniping for you.
Lastly, here are several tricks that the EBay pros use to find the lowest prices. Check misspellings on the item you want. Once in a while, a seller will have misspelled the listing, which puts it out of the way and reduces competition. There are search engines around the web that will scan eBay for misspelled variations on a query. Also, remember to check shipping costs, as some sellers will auction off a low priced item (say $10) then charge $20 for shipping.
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