EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 138 - March 06, 2005 - ISSN 1528-6703     5 of 8

Conveying Color Accurately in Online-Auction Descriptions

Email This Story to a Friend

Have you ever had a customer complain that the item they purchased from you online is a different color than the photo in your auction description? Online photos don't always accurately capture the color of an item, and different computer monitors depict color differently. This can lead to disappointed buyers, refunds or even negative feedback.

Lisa Kramer developed a color chart for online auction users to help prevent such problems. The Online Auction Color Chart has 909 color squares, each of which is assigned a unique color label. When a buyer and seller each have one of these charts, they can better communicate colors.

Sellers can benefit from the color charts when describing clothing, fabric, furniture, autos and accessories, art, china, pottery, glassware and wedding supplies. Kramer said users are finding other uses for the chart, including taking it with them when the shop in the offline world when they are trying to match home decor.

Sellers can give the Online Auction Color Charts to potential buyers, and buyers can send one to sellers to verify the color of items before bidding or buying. Having a common language to describe colors can help to avoid disappointments and returns.

The chart does not contain all colors of the spectrum. Kramer said sellers should describe their items as "close to" or "similar to" or "a little lighter or darker than" colors shown in the chart.

One color chart costs $2.25 plus $1.50 for first-class mail. One hundred copies cost 85 cents each plus $16.25 Bound Printed Matter shipping.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

You may quote up to 50 words of any article on the condition that you attribute the article to and either link to the original article or to
All other use is prohibited.