Ebay Pricing

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How to Price Your Items for Success on eBay

Many new sellers donít really realize how important pricing can be when it comes to being successful with eBay auctions. Many donít even realize that something as formal as pricing needs to be done. Heck, eBay is an auction site after all! However, eBay auctions are not quite the same as the auctions you attend in the offline world. In fact, quite a bit of work goes into determining and setting prices...especially by those who want to have a successful eBay business.

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We will start with the basics. There are only three prices that you can set for your eBay auction: the buy it now price, the reserve price, and the starting bid price. Of these three, the starting bid price is the only one that is actually a requirement for an eBay auction. The reserve price and the "buy it now" price are strictly optional.

Starting Bid

The starting bid price is fairly simple Ė never set it higher than $50 or so Ė no matter what your item is really worth. This low opening price is a tactic that will get bidders to your auction.

Reserve Price

Setting low starting bid prices, however, creates the need for a reserve price to protect your investment. A reserve price is the absolute lowest price that you want to get for your item. You may be willing to sell the item below the reserve price, but you will not be required to. In other words, if you set your reserve price at $100, and your highest bid is only $50, you will not have to sell the item to the highest bidder. You can close the auction without any negative feedback or repercussions. You should set your reserve price at the absolute lowest price that you are willing to sell your item for. Keep in mind what the item is worth, as well as what it cost you.

Buy It Now

The "buy it now" option allows you to set a price, and buyers can buy the item immediately, without even bidding, for that set price. This option can be used for any type of item, and it should be set to match your reserve, give or take a few dollars. This option is great if you have multiple identical items to sell.


Shipping has a price, and potential buyers also take this into consideration when they are looking at an auction. At least the savvy ones do. If you can possibly see your way clear to offer free shipping, you will find that people are going to be placing more bids. Make sure that your potential buyers realize that you are offering free shipping!

Before setting any prices, however, you need to determine what the item is really worth. The value of the item in different markets might be quite high. However, you are selling on eBay, and it is a different world altogether! Find out the price that similar items have sold, or are selling for on eBay before setting any prices of your own. If it is a collectable, or a high ticket item, have the item evaluated to ensure that you arenít going to lose money!

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Page Updated 11:39 AM Wednesday 8/1/2012