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Don Heiden on InstagramDon Heiden on Youtube
Don Heiden
Don Heiden
Don Heiden is a 30-year veteran of online reselling going back to the days of Yahoo Auctions. He runs The Auction Professor YouTube channel posting videos and content about various reselling platforms and topics, and he is a member of the eBay, Amazon, Hip, and other affiliate programs where he may earn a commission when linking to products on those sites. He can also be found on most social networks under the same name, including Instagram. He is also a published professional artist which includes works produced for The Walt Disney Company. He holds an Associate Degree in Database Design, Construction, and Network Administration. He also holds a Bachelor Degree and Master Degree of Research & Communications from The University of Toledo.

8 thoughts on “eBay Selling Strategy: Auction versus Buy It Now”

  1. In the stamp marketplace high quality stamps sell for more, sometimes a lot more, as fixed price listings but patience is required. A fixed price stamp listing offered at the Scott valuing guide price based on centering (grade) may sell immediately. If not, best offer can speed sales. Stamps that do not sell may eventually sell if the price is gradually lowered until someone notices it. High quality scans and accurate descriptions are a must. Item condition is missing in the Stamps category, but condition description can be made visible by setting Item Condition to “used”. Item specifics required by eBay are generally useless. Filter descriptions and abbreviations are not consistent with the wider stamp market and many sellers cannot accurately grade or describe stamps. The most important item specific would be the Scott catalog in the United States, but it is missing. The result is that buyers have some difficulty finding some stamps and a lot of difficulty finding other stamps. Auctions sometimes work well for lower quality stamps, especially in group lots. But the market remains glutted. Best offer limits above auction start prices can give impatient buyers a way to buy before bidding starts. How many potential buyers and sellers understand how auction best offer works?

    Sellers in collectible categories like railroad color slides may achieve better results with auctions if the slides are high quality, older, and well presented.

  2. Auctions began to die after ebay decided to cloak bidders. Call me cynical but a bidder you can’t identify could be a shill bidder.

  3. First of all, there was no auction in history before eBay where the auction ends while there are active bidders. Stupidity. That said, here are the only good reasons for listing an auction rather than fixed price:
    1) You have a rare item with multiple buyers wanting it.
    2) You have a rare item and can’t find any active or sold listings for it so you have no idea what it’s worth (pick a high starting point and see what happens).
    3) you have something you want to get rid of and will accept whatever you can for it.
    4) You are low on your allocation of fixed price listings for your eBay store and have plenty of ‘free’ auctions listing left. Use them and start the bidding at what you would have listed them for fixed price. When you get a bid, end the auction early making the bidder the winner. You might even mention you will do that in the listing.

  4. I have been on eBay 23 years and generally sell unique rare items often only one of eBay. I had used auctions exclusively for 20 years but have not gone to 95% Buy It Now as I was often getting killed on the final auction price. I would not be surprised if auctions are less than 10% of the total listings.
    But another major issue that killed eBay auctions is many people no longer trust them. For example, a HUGE seller of antiques are artwork based from Rhode Island is using shills to raise the prices and has been doing it for years. When you see the underbidders have 300 bids past 30 days but 90% of bids are for this same seller you know it ain’t kosher. I have reported this to eBay over 100 times but nothing has ever been done.

  5. Maybe it was an oversight, but the author stated there were only two options on eBay: Auction listing or Buy It Now. In fact, there is a third option: auction listing with an option to Buy It Now.

    Apart from that, when eBay moved Buy It Now to 30-Day GTC effectively killed my business. Previously, I could put up 25-30 items with a 7 day BIN and I would sell a fair number of items. Not now. Recent experience with auction listing / BIN option is promising.

  6. Auctions are all but dead, ebay no longer regulates duplicate listings. So you can list 20 of the same items, flood the market and kill prices. Only auctions that do good are one of a kind item or a rare color, once in a while I’ll do good if a bidding war takes place. The sad part is I started with auctions years ago when it was fun, lets see how this item does but now its hoping I even get a bid on it

  7. AS A BUYER – For me, there is absolutely NOTHING more frustrating than a BuyItNow listing that someone else finds and buys before I do. There often is only a short window of time for a buyer to find a BIN listing – unlike an auction, which eBay runs for several days (usually a week). It is HEARTWRENCHING to search for something for years (I have) and then AT LAST, one appears but it is BIN and POOF it is gone before I have a chance at it.

    This happens often enough that there is now at least one company you can subscribe to, that constantly searches eBay listings for BINs meeting the search words you register, and sends those listings to your phone as soon as they appear (if you want; you can tailor notifications as you like).

    AS A SELLER – An unbelievable win for me was listing a poor old beaten up silver plated coffee pot that ordinarily would bring $50 or so, with similar ones proving that price. It sold for OVER $500 ….!!!! (I thought it was a scam, but no, it turned out to be a legitimate sale and honest buyer – he just wanted it.) And earlier I sold a $30 book for $106. My $10 pharmacy bottle sold for over $50 because the winner’s mother in law had the same name as the embossed druggist’s name on the bottle….

    My big problem selling BIN is that it limits what I can sell the item for. So what I tend to do is list with Auction format but with the starting price being the minimum I am willing to sell the item for.

    All the above being said, I think it is VERY encouraging to have the option of listing in an AUCTION format, but with a BUY IT NOW option for the bidder to choose. THAT is flexibility but it is hard to believe eBay would cook up such a useful selling option.

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