Buying and Selling on eBay: Tips, Tricks, Problems & Questions

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by HansderHund, Jul 27, 2012.

  1. Sartoriamo

    Sartoriamo Senior member

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    Nov 29, 2010
    Fallbrook, CA
    BIN/OBO vs NR auction wall of text

    I think the core issue with NR auction vs BIN/OBO is simply the time it takes to find a "real" buyer. Unless you have a well-known business where people come looking for your stuff, knowing there's fantastic inventory, it's tough to aggregate enough views in an auction to get much activity. So then it becomes the domain of the most egregious cheapskates, and for someone like me, the place where I'm most likely to take a loss: i.e. if a GW $7.99 SC goes out at auction with a single bid of $9.99, then it's a loss of time, effort and money. Experience has taught that I'm simply not prepared to sell an SC for $9.99 (or $10.49) at auction when I know it will sell for $79, or $69 or even $39 on a BIN/OBO, even if it takes a while. That makes it a simple equation for me. No auctions unless I'm blowing out old items to make space in my closets. Back when I was originally experimenting, I remember having items fail to attract a single bid on auction, then get re-listed as BIN/OBO, and go out at full price. It's all about the "right" buyer coming along at the right time. The little auction "snapshot" of 7-10 days is guaranteed to get only the buyers who are constantly trolling for deals, and a small handful of new lookers attracted by the low start price.

    The one exception is true grails, which can do OK if enough activity shows up. But even with those, I tend to list them first as BIN/OBO to attract views, then push them to auction once enough watchers have aggregated. I see some folks do everything on NR auctions, but when I do that, I just take far too much of a hit, and then I get mad all over again when I'm shipping stuff that I took a hit on, knowing that every minute I spend on it is aggregating further loss.

    There's also something about the nature of buyers: a huge number of people simply can't be bothered with auctions, as it's something to have to think about, set aside the time for, program a snipe engine for etc. We all do it, because we are addicted to "steals", but auctions appeal to that same mindset. Is that who you want as your customer?

    Many of you may have encountered Barry Schwartz' work about the paradox of choice, from his book of the same name from about a decade ago. He identifies "satisficers" and "maximizers": the first, for whom "close enough is good enough", and the second, who need to squeeze every last dollar out of a deal, or get the "perfect" item. The first group are generally a lot happier, and less depressed, whereas the second group, even after a decision is made, always second-guess themselves about whether they could have done even better. I'm willing to assert that satisficers are more likely to buy something at BIN/OBO (the best of them just at BIN, which happens surprisingly often, I find), while maximizers will begin with an often offensive lowball on a BIN/OBO, or become the only bidder on a NR auction. But the maximizers are also the ones most likely to try for returns for spurious reasons, often trying to force a SNAD to maximize the refund. These are the folks who keep scanning listings for their chosen item even after they've bought one (just in case someone posts a cheaper one)!! These are not the people I want as my customers.

    On a related note, I have been mulling over a different type of strategy, since the theoretical appeal of auctions is getting a deal or steal, but there is the occasional advantage of a bidding war, provoked by bidding pressure and fear of loss, noting that's far more likely when an item is rare or highly desirable. The problem with the BIN/OBO is that there's no purchase pressure, as there is with auctions. I'd like to try creating pressure by making it clear in the listing that the BIN price will reduce by a certain amount or percentage over a certain time period, say ten percent a week. We all know that various people "squat" on BIN/OBO listings, presumably waiting for the initial asking price to lower, but without any real pressure to bid. By decrementing the price progressively, and making that known in advance, it might engender fear of loss that someone else will pull the trigger before they do, resulting in an earlier sale. We all do this on an ad-hoc basis when we put items on sale, but I am intrigued as to what the results would be if it was implemented overtly. The idea of combining longer exposure with some purchase pressure is appealing.

  2. ThomGault

    ThomGault Senior member

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    Oct 21, 2016
    Charlotte, NC
    Two comments on your proposed plan: 1. I (and presumably other buyers) don't necessarily 'squat' on binobo listings waiting for the seller to drop price, but instead waiting for eBay to publish a coupon. For, example if there's an item listed for $30 for which I would pay $30 but don't need immediately, I might watch it until eBay releases a $15 off if $75 coupon and then also buy a $50 item I value at $40, and combine the items to achieve an acceptable price for me.
    2. I'd guess that there are two subgroups of eBay buyers who wouldn't be affected by the sense of urgency which you try to create: (a) buyers who are jaded by previous puffing sellers and don't believe extraneous info in the description, (b) buyers who don't even read the description.
    I'm not saying your plan wouldn't work, just providing food for thought.

  3. rhyme

    rhyme Senior member

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    May 15, 2014
    Need some advice on how to handle this. Should I have the buyer open a case and call eBay to cancel based on buyers remorse so I can avoid neg feedback or just tell him to go fish?


    The shoes were listed as 8.5 US in "item specifics" and in listing title. Returns no accepted was also displayed in the listing.

  4. ace13x

    ace13x Senior member

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    Nov 6, 2015
    I think its a viable plan. There is a seller on eBay that I've bought multiple items from which does that exact same thing. All his auctions are BIN/OBO and he lowers his BIN by $5 every few weeks. In his case, I know he's got a reliable supply of new stock, so turn over is important, and he's not trying to bleed every last penny out of his items. It also helps me that I know he reliably accepts a certain percentage of his BIN, so if an item is currently too pricey for me, I'll sit on an item until his BIN falls to where I'm sure my offer will succeed. If it sells before that, no skin off my nose, someone valued it more.

    Edit: the consistency also keeps me coming back and regularly checking his items.

  5. dadjeans

    dadjeans Senior member

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    Mar 23, 2015
    Steel City, Ontario
    There's a used furniture consignment shop here which posts the date and amount of each upcoming price drop for an item. I assumed this would just result in people camping on items and waiting for the last drop before purchasing but they move enough items that they've opened another three locations in the last few years using the same pricing model. The model probably works better in a brick & mortar business but it's enough to get me thinking. Having a firm, consistent and transparent model seems to work well for them.

  6. Fueco

    Fueco Senior member

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    Mar 8, 2012
    Front Range Freak
    Anyone else noticing a massive slowdown in sales this month? I had a sale at 12:01 AM today after no sales or payments received since Tuesday.

  7. ChetB

    ChetB Senior member

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    Jun 5, 2011
    UPS is killing me.
    • I stayed home from work to sign for a package; never got a knock or a notice on the door. Later than night tracking was updated with a "sorry we missed you." Harumph.
    • Same thing happened twice more over two more days; they kept saying "sorry we missed you" but there was no sign of them attempting delivery.
    • I called UPS and they said "we'll hold it at the facility." Went to the facility and they hadn't held it :/ Promised it would be delivered that night though.
    • Went home again and sat by the door; left signs on every possible entrance saying "I'm here to sign for package. Please knock or call me at xxx-xxxx." Nothing. Got another "sorry we missed you; we'll try one more time."
    • Called again, and they said they'd hold it at the facility, once more. I'm not holding my breath.
    Is there any way out of this hell? Every time I talk to a UPS person they talk like robots and just say, "The tracking says that you weren't home. We'll reattempt delivery."

    I checked the address and it's correct. At one point the tracking said something like "an error was found and corrected," which makes me think something is screwy on their end...but that was days ago and still no resolution.

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