How To Get a Bargain on eBay

Part of my background in online selling is running eBay Powerseller accounts. From about 2002 to 2005 one of my main sources of income was one of 4 separate Powerseller accounts in the 10-30k gross monthly categories. A large part of my ad copy writing, call to action and experience in how people think goes back to this time in my learning curve.

In a recent post I touched on the “garage sale effect” which says that poorly packaged and designed pages sometimes make people think the opportunity is more unique. This can be seen in everyday things as simple as a handwritten thank you letter.

Real estate agents use a font that appears handwritten to get a higher open rate on their direct mailing. We touch on this approach in my post about trying to choose from 100 different BBQ spices at the supermarket.

With this in mind, we can see that part of what pushed me out of eBay as a business is the streamlining of its marketplace. As more people got organized and reinvented the wheel, ads become more templated, mass produced and professional. The garage sale vendors of early eBay became the Fast Food drive-through sellers. And while this form of raw capitalism does drive down the prices and often create better customer service in order to compete, it also changes the marketplace away from bargain hunter’s paradise.

Products became so regulated in prices, and categories became so well watched, that no bargain can slip through. Everything on eBay became a set value and never will a real steal make it through to the auction close time.

If you are looking at an ending soon auction, then you are seeing the true value if that item and a bargain is not to be had.

Some things like over posting of ads and time of day or week can have small effects. An auction closing at an odd hour can lower the competition and create a lower price, but in general the market is pretty pure.

So what is left in finding that new Canon 60D camera body at a steal of a price? How should you approach eBay to even have a chance at a true garage sale moment?

If you search like most people do and put items in order of price, you will find a value and avoid being ripped off. But, you will not get a garage sale steal. If you put the live auctions in order of ending soonest to get a last minute bid in on an item, you will also not get a bargain. Sniping the bid works fine on something of low demand, but anything mainstream and in demand will get bid very close to the market value every time.

So the tip? Search for your new camera this way.

Select buy it now only listings an put them in the order of newly listed. You will now be able to refresh every now and then and see items the money they go live. What you are looking for is the novice seller that listed an item for far less than the market value on eBay.

You have been watching the auction and you know that every auction ends at say, $500-$650 for this item.

The sellers often do not research the going value and just plug in what they think it is worth. You can then buy it now the moment it hits eBay, the only true way to get a garage sale steal.

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About author

Todd Kron

of Sellaholics is a veteran of Analytics, PPC, Display, video, UX, conversion optimization, affiliate programs, web design and web programming since 2002. My background includes affiliate sales to 6 figures, director of a web design agency, and currently the digital manager for a leading energy company located in Huntersville, NC. From search to sale 1000 different ways is my background. Sellaholics is a Google Partner Agency.