What is the Price is Right for My eBay Item?
One of the most common questions I get from my eBay students is about pricing their items correctly on eBay.
“How do I know how much to ask for an item?” asked my eBay newbie student.
“How much do you think this item is worth?” was the next question.
The answers can be complicated, but fairly simple too.
You can ask ANYTHING you want for an item AND it is ONLY worth what someone will pay for it.
Let me repeat that whole line:
You can ask ANYTHING you want for an item
it is ONLY worth what someone will pay for it.
If you price an item a bit high, and also have the “Make an Offer” option available, then a buyer may offer something less than you asked for it. If you accept that offer, then you’ve just made a sale!
Interestingly enough, even though 98% of my listings on eBay include the “Make an Offer” option, not everybody makes me a lower offer. They see your listed price and may be happy with paying that amount. So why not think BIG. Don’t be afraid to ask for a dream price. You may just get it!
If you price your item low, you will not make MORE money that that amount. You need to be okay with the price you list at or perhaps you should just donate it to a charity, if it’s not worth your time and effort.
Price something high and you can always go lower. Just how low you go, is up to you.
You might take a lower offer if:
- You have had the item listed for a while
- You want to move it quickly
- You want more cash flow
- You want to make a sale and thus make the buyer happy
When we see a high price on an item, it may give the aura of more value. Apple has made a whole company around that premise. Price it high, and it must be very good. That’s sort of what perceived value is.
If we see something very inexpensive, we tend to think of it as a low value item. We may even think there is something wrong with it. That becomes our perception of the item.
In our crazy world of marketing psychology, If we see a high priced item on SALE, we often think we are getting a good deal. So we will often buy it. Think of seeing an item New With Tag in a thrift store setting. That item may even become something that we must buy, no matter what.
If we price our Widget at $55 and we see others just like it on eBay for $15, we tend to think we are pricing it too high. Another way to look at it is, the $15 seller makes their sale quickly since it’s a great deal, leaving our $55 the only other one left in stock on eBay. We may play a waiting game. Maybe we drop the price 10% or 15% and see if we get any offers. It might sell for our higher price if we wait a bit. Or it may never sell at our price. We just don’t know! No one does.
eBay can give us historic information on what other similar items have sold for recently. That information can be helpful, but it’s not a true indicator of what it will sell for next time. No one knows that. What we do know from shopping in retail stores is that prices can go up and down all the time. Finding the sweet spot for making a lot of sales, is tricky and complicated.
Supply and Demand
If your collectible Widget is rare then you can ask more for it. If it is an everyday item, then the competition may drive the prices down all around you. You will have to jump into that game in order to keep up. If there are many sellers on eBay selling the same thing you are, you may decide to bundle many items together to increase the value of that item.
List It and Forget About It
Another pricing strategy that I use is to list a bit high, add “Make an Offer” to the listing and keep on listing new items without spending much time watching that first item. In other words, list it and forget about it! It will most likely sell sometime. Plan B is when we bail and end the listing and donate it instead. More on that in a future post.
Use Mark Down Manager
Since I’ve been active on eBay since 1998, I have lots of inventory. I do like to try to keep it moving, so I use Mark Down Manager on my listings. That means, I run a lot of sales! 10%-15% on newer listings all the way up to 70% on some very old listings. It is easy to run a month long sale or something a lot shorter. The buyer will see how much they are saving and will often buy because they are getting a lower price.
Relist it Higher
Another strategy that makes some people scratch their head, it when I relist an item or modify it in some way, I will often raise the price. And many times, I see sales very quickly after that. What? That premise is going back to the perceived value of something. By raising a price, perhaps that adds value to it in the buyer’s eyes. Try it, it does really work!
As a bonus to your listing, if you offer free shipping that can help entice your buyer into a sale. See my post all about free shipping. The psychology of buying and selling is a complex study into what makes us tick! Making buyers happy is something that should drive increase your sales! And hopefully, make them repeat customers!
Time Will Tell
There is no easy way to know the best price for your item without experimentation. If it sells quickly, we often think we priced it too low, while in fact it was the exact right price for that sale. You can ask whatever you want for an item, that doesn’t mean it will sell or it won’t sell at that price until you try it.
I’ve had interested parties write me an eBay message telling me I was asking too much for something. I thanked them for taking the time to write me and share their thoughts, but the reality is that they don’t have to buy if they don’t want to pay that price for it. Plain and simple. I can set the price and they decide if they accept it or not.
It is also true that no matter what you think something is worth to you, it is ONLY worth what someone will pay for it. An example is the Beanie Baby craze from the 1990s. People paid big money for those little stuffed animals then. Today they are not worth much more than a stocking stuffer at Christmas. Take a look how many are listed on eBay and you will see what I mean!
There is No Right or Wrong Price
It is either an art when pricing items on eBay or perhaps a bit of luck on occasion. The idea is to sell your item, so you will have to make many adjustments along the way! Don’t give up, just keep on listing and pricing and you’ll see what works for you in the long run! Good luck!
- Goal: Find what price is right for your eBay item
- Task: Price on the high side and add “Make an Offer”
- Task: Price on the low side to move it quickly
- Task: Price on the high side to increased perceived value
- Task: Price high and then add mark downs to it
- Task: Relist or modify your item with a higher price
- Task: Add a bonus incentive like free shipping to your item