Vital eBay Shopping Hacks
If you think you are ready to become a very well versed eBay bidder and start winning every auction, you came to the right place. Shopping at eBay is very different from shopping at Amazon or Target, where you find what you need, compare prices, order from a huge stock, and wait for the item to come to your door. eBay is a totally different world.
Let’s talk about that before you get ready to hit that Place Bid button. There some things to take into consideration:
- The timing of the auction
- Seller reputation
- Product specifications
You can definitely find some treasures on eBay, but you should always use caution. Most of the time eBay sellers are not serious businesses with a need to maintain their brand’s reputation. A lot of times people sell the stuff they don’t need at home. And there is nothing wrong with that, but be vigilant.
Search and research
The most important thing when it comes to buying on eBay is taking your time to not only find what you are looking for, but making sure it’s really what you hope it is. If you do enough research, you are less likely to lose money, get scammed, or buy a useless product.
When you are starting your research, you have a few filters and options for your search:
- All listings – no filters applied, you will see all the offers, including auctions and buy-it-now
- Auctions – this is what eBay is famous for and what lets you get a great deal sometimes
- Buy it now – this is for people with no time who like it like Amazon
- Accepts offers – those sellers will sometimes agree to a lower than asking price.
If you are in the market for similar things for a long time, save the search and you will easily spot new items when they show up without a need to create a new search over and over again.
If you don’t have a lot of eBay experience just yet, try sorting your items by Time: Ending Soonest or Ending Soon. Time of the day is very important here, because certain hours are great to be a buyer and get the lowest price. You can get a good idea about that by clicking Completed Items under Show Only in the left navigation.
Once you sort all your interests by time, scroll down the list and start monitoring the items that end in a few minutes and up to 30.
This type of search is the best way to spot and get the best deals. Advanced button is right next to the search box. This will open up a plethora of options, so use as many as you can and be as specific as you can to filter out what you don’t need.
Here are some things you should definitely select:
- title and description
- ending time
- best offer
- free shipping
eBay selects category automatically when you are searching for an item, but do choose “All Categories” and find stuff that might be cheaper just because it’s placed in the wrong category and does not generate much interest.
Researching the seller
If you have gone through the steps above and found your item, don’t rush to buy yet. The next important stage is researching the seller. The more you can find out about him, the better chance you’ll have to make a good deal.
You can see the seller information to the right of the “Current Bid” area. Give yourself 15 min or so to do some reading before time runs out. Clicking the number next to the seller’s name will take you to their feedback page.
Some people buy only when the seller has 100% positive feedback. This is great, but it might limit your chances of finding something to bid on.
Just like in every business, some sellers might have gotten a bad review here or there, and it sometimes might not even be their fault. If you look at their 1, 3, and 6 months history, you can determine the pattern or see that the seller just really had one or two bad buyers.
Researching the item
Once you are happy with the seller, take a very close look at the item. It’s most likely a used item from somebody’s home and you want to know about every imperfection. Most good sellers will be very informative about such imperfections. You can always ask additional questions.
Next step is shipping information – Shipping and Payments tab. Take a look at the item location and make sure you won’t be overcharged for shipping. Payment Details will inform you about methods of payment accepted by the seller.
Sniping on eBay
If you are comfortable with the seller and the item, it’s time to place a bid, which might be tricky, especially on popular items that are being watched by many people.
Make sure you are properly logged into your account – you don’t want any surprises there in the last bid seconds. Next click “Place bid” and open a new window. You should move that window to the side and out of your way.
Select your maximum bid. This is the most important step. Think about the maximum amount you could spend and don’t play games. Let’s say you want to spend $85. Select something like $85.99 instead of $85, $85.1 or $85.50, which are popular among bidders. Then click “Continue” and wait.
This part is very important, because people tend to freak out and bid too early. You will win the game if you’ll have patience. Click the final button 3-4 seconds before the auction expires. If that is too intimidating, click submit button 15 seconds before. Either way you are likely to come out the winner.