Techniques for Locating Super Bargains on eBay


So, you want to find 'Super Bargains' on eBay?

Then you need to be looking for ads that are 'badly constructed' and for some reason - 'turn shoppers off'. This is where the gold is. There are literally thousands of them on eBay, and locating them is easy - when you know how!

15 Things that drive bidders away from auctions - and 'turn bargain hunters on'.

1) - Auctions with no image in gallery.
According to eBay, items with a Gallery picture sell for an average of 14% more than those without one. Most shoppers 'click' on the gallery image to open an auction page, they just instinctively pass over those without them. That's good for you - check them out.

2) - Auctions with bad pictures of the item up for sale.
Pictures that are 'out of focus', not detailed enough, or they don't properly show the item will always drive bidders away. Who wants to bid on something when they can't tell what it is? The bargain hunter has to be a little more cautious here, also. Is it out of focus on purpose? So you can't detect condition or flaws. But, if the item is well described with adequate condition information, the seller has impeccable feedback and a liberal return policy, you may have located a bargain worth bidding on.

3) - Auctions with a short or bad title.
Shoppers locate items on eBay by search strings. Ebay's search engines then find those strings in the auction titles. Poorly constructed titles will limit the number of searchers finding those ads. The savvy bargain hunter knows to open these ads and check the merchandise.

4) - Auctions that have misspelled words in the title.
A common eBay occurrence is auctions with misspellings. These often do not generate much traffic because bidders don't find the auctions in their searches. Fewer viewers result in lower prices. The super bargain hunter zeros in on these auctions by predicting what those misspelled words might be and searching for them.

5) - Auctions with short or bad descriptions.
Often a seller just wants to get rid of an item and doesn't take the time (or know how) to write a good description. Bad descriptions are always a turn-off to shoppers. Who wants to buy a 'used designer dress'? No size, no brand name, no condition information. Maybe the photo helps, maybe it doesn't. Most eBayers just look elsewhere, but not the bargain hunter if they are interested in the item. First they check out the seller's feedback and return policy. If both are good, they simply email the seller a quick note requesting the missing information. It's possible no one else will bid on this item.

6) - Wrong information in the title or description.
Consider and ad described as a 'used Compaq computer' that has a photograph that clearly shows a Compaq 'printer'. What are you bidding on - a computer or a printer? - or a computer with a printer? Errors like this sends bidders away. Not the bargain sleuth, who simply checks out the sellers credentials, then sends off an email requesting clarification.

7) - Negative, turn off, or "go away" type wording.
It never ceases to amaze me how some people write their ads. You often see ads full of negatives, warnings, 'don't bid if...', 'go away if...', and other such turn offs. Listings like these drive potential bidders away, but the bargain hunter knows that there may be absolutely nothing wrong with the item for sale.

8) - Unfriendly or restrictive terms and conditions.
This is where listings look like a business contract, with lots of conditions, legalese and small print. When an ad has one line of description and twenty lines of "terms", potential buyers turn away. The smart bargain hunter will wade through these, check out the sellers feedback to make sure that the terms are not creating a lot of dissatisfied eBayers. When the sellers has the credentials, they bid and win many bargain items.

9) - Auctions with high shipping costs.
Unfortunately it is occasionally the practice of new or uninformed sellers to inflate the shipping charges on their item, to increase profit or as a hedge against an unusually low starting price. Super bargain hunters know that very often no one at all will bid on these auctions. This opens the possibility that even 'WITH' the inflated shipping costs it's still well below bargain pricing. Their other weapon against auctions like these is to look for ones that are in shipping zones close to them, or even locale. This will reduce their freight costs versus buyers farther away, or eliminate it all together when it can be picked up.

10)- Auction for "used" merchandise.
Many shoppers will pass right over a listing if it says 'used' in the title. They wrongly assume that 'used' means 'used up', or 'worn out'. While it is true that occasionally sellers will list defective merchandise, this is by far rarely the case. "Used" items are the "Holy Grail" of bargain hunting. Almost everything sells for less when it has been used. Condition is the determining factor when buying 'used'. Smart bargain hunters will look for ads with detailed and forthright condition information, and bid accordingly. When necessary they will email the seller questions.

11)- Merchandise with minor condition problems
From time to time you will run across ads that are described as 'dented', 'scratched', 'small tear', 'missing part', or some other minor condition problem. Auctions with wording like this will always generate less bidding traffic. An informed bargain hunter knows to evaluate the condition problem in terms of functionality. Does the dent or scratch keep it from working? Were is the tear, and can I mend it? Can I readily buy the missing part, and fix it myself. If you can live with or repair the minor problem, this can often be the source of many super-bargains.

12)- Auctions for restored or refurbished items.
These are terms that are sore spots for many buyers, as they are negatively viewed as being 'formerly defective'. However, many are manufacturer repairs of returned merchandise. They have been inspected and tested, and often carry the original warranty. When you see one of these ads, read the description carefully, and check the sellers feedback and return policies. If they check out, you may have found a bargain.

13)- Sellers with little or no feedback.
There are a lot of cautions inherent in dealing with newcomers to eBay. Without feedback you are dealing solely on blind trust. For this reason auctions by newbies have considerably less traffic. I know that this may seem contradictory to my previous advise, but sometimes sellers just getting started on eBay exhibit the Hertz effect - they try harder. As a super shopper you should know to never automatically dismiss low feedback sellers. How quickly they reply to an email or two and the tone of their reply can often give you a 'feel' for the type of person you are dealing with. Newbie auctions often generate only one or two bids - an opportunity for a bargain. ( * A word of advice - NEVER, NEVER bid on any item priced over $100 from a low feedback seller. The reward just isn't worth the risk.)

14)- Auctions that end on particularly poor shopping days.
When there are very few shoppers on eBay the competition for bargain items is less. Less competition equals better prices. Shop for auctions ending on holidays, or major televised sporting events. Shop on Christmas day, and the days between Christmas and New Years. These are the times that bargain buyers find their best 'steals'.

15)- Auctions for items "out of season".
Auctions for snow skis in the summer and bathing suits in the winter, just don't get much traffic. There are tons of categories on eBay that are seasonal. Fashions, school supplies, sports equipment, holiday merchandise, the list goes on. Knowing this, sharp bargain sleuths will seek out merchandise during it's off season.

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