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Auction Seller Tips (eBay): THANKX to Cindy K. for compiling notes!!!

If you’re a first timer:

For new sellers to consider:

If the seller is new to eBay, try to get some feedback as a buyer before beginning to sell on eBay. Buy at least 10 items--supplies, small items for dolls, anything really--so that you can show positive 100% eBay rating on your listing. You don't want to put up a doll and have (0) for your feedback. Good feedback is golden.

EBay has rules for posting. Read through them. PayPal especially. Problems happen. International shipping can be difficult as there is no way to track your item. In the US you are able to get tracking information. PayPal likes a paper trail.

Auction Descriptions/Display

eBay has a free service for creating backgrounds for listings. Click on to http://www.auctive.com - many free templates, tutorials on using the templates to create more interesting listings.
I have been using http://www.sellersourcebook.com - this costs me about $23/every three months. It has a wide selection of backgrounds and fonts. On any of these templates be sure to choose one that has a text font that is readable for older eyes--not a pale color, red, or anything someone wearing bifocals can't read easily. Some of the graphic designers are young people with good eyesight. They don't realize how hard some of the text fonts are for older readers (who are most of the buyers).

I look at the auction offerings that have
-Scale of doll (1" 1'2" etc)
-Actual height of doll in inches
-Historical description of clothing
-Fabric used
-Mailing details
-A fair beginning bid

I keep (on eBay) a list of my favorite sellers and am notified when they have put something up for auction. I'm attracted to well laid out presentations without a lot of fancy extras.

Try to give as much written info on your items as possible. This is difficult for me and I often forget to mention addition laces and trims.

Props help and give your doll something to interact with. This adds to
realism.

Spend time on your doll. Try to do the best work you can at the point of doll making where you are. Details-details-details.

In your text don't just say "doll made by me"; tell us who "me" is. People want to know.

I've purchased much on eBay over the years. I agree that having the most accurate description and clearest possible photos is the best way to list an auction. Also don't rely on photos to show all flaws; sometimes they won't or the problems won't look as severe as they are in person so full disclosure is best.

Also some pet peeves about listings:

-Mixing font sizes and font colors- I've read some listings where paragraphs start out font size 20 blue with underlining down to font size 14 red in bold italics and then back up to size 24 black, etc.

-Not formatting the description into paragraphs; instead, it's one continuous unbroken block of information, which makes it hard to read. If you've had a bad transaction with someone- don't start off all your listing descriptions with what the buyer must do at the end of the auction, when they should contact you, when they should pay, etc, in CAPS and a huge font size; it's disconcerting to say the least, and I tend to move on regardless of the seller's feedback.

Pictures

If one picture is GOOD, then 3 or 4 is BETTER!

Pictures are everything. Even the cheaper digital cameras now have capacity to take very good, close photos. You need full-length, close-up, CLEAR pictures to display your doll. Try to have at least 5-6 pictures shot from various angles. Try to learn how to properly light your doll before taking the photos.

Props help and give your doll something to interact with. This adds to realism.

eBay has a free service for creating backgrounds for listings. Click on to http://www.auctive.com

Many free templates, tutorials on using the templates to create more interesting listings.

I have been using http://www.sellersourcebook.com this costs me about $23/every three months. It has a wide selection of backgrounds and fonts.

I think the most important thing is presentation of the doll. I believe that a professional looking page does a lot to attract serious bidders. Many pictures and lots of relevant information. A little story is nice, but don’t overdo.

I look at the auction offerings that have good clear pictures (at least 2).

ALWAYS use pictures. Most people will just leave if there is no picture in the gallery. Pictures are a big thing. It's worthless to put up a picture that is not crisp and clear.

Pictures of your items are very important. I take up to 30 pictures per item. I end up using only 8 to 10 really good ones. These minis are quite difficult for me to photograph. My customers often tell me that my items look so much better than the photos (thank goodness it's not the other way around). It's also a good idea to use a solid background in some of your photos so that your customer is not distracted and the details on your item stands out.

Having too many pictures - I'm on dial up so a listing that downloads pictures from another site takes forever for me to open particularly if it's going to be 20 pictures or more and if they are sized really big. I'll usually back out of that auction and move on.
Pricing

Pricing is always debatable; I set my listing price at a price I am OK with if the bidding doesn't go up. If it does, it's great; if it doesn't, I'm happy that it sold. I can always make more dolls. Buyers like the Buy It Now pricing, but sometimes a doll can go for more than the BIN price. My Buy It Now prices are generally $15-20 higher. I only use it when I have a lot of bills piled up on my desk coming due.

Study eBay auctions; if you select the "highest price for viewing" it is easier to check out the dolls--you don't have to scan through all the low-priced listings and can still see some of the better items by good artists. You can always just search for "dolls". Check over a period of
time to get a feel for the market.

Look at the dolls that get bids. What do they have in common? You can't go wrong if there is something unique about your work. Aim for some originality in the clothing, painting, hair, accessories that sets your doll apart. Give detailed description.

Start with a low price to get more bidders and make sure in advance what minimum price is acceptable for selling. A reserve price only works with big name sellers, so I don’t use that very much. I use a fixed shipping cost price, so there are no surprises. It might be a good idea to ask buyers what they like in a listing, we can all learn from them too.

I had never used the reserve feature before (as I tend not to bid on items that have a reserve) but on one of the items my husband wanted to use a reserve. I think but setting a realistic value it works as he instantly got a bid that met it!

I prefer Buy It Now or even Best Offer. I've used both of those features and got good results. I do on occasion use the auction feature.

I think it all depends on what I'm selling, what the demand is for it. Know your market.

Shipping

Please don't tell a buyer that you only ship on Saturdays and the auction ended on Sunday. We ship same or next business day after payment is received. Buyers really appreciate that. Folks don't want to wait for their items.

We don't charge for handling. There are free boxes that the post office will deliver straight to your door for free and come in several sizes. You can order them online. You'll usually receive them in less than 2 weeks. We also use a postal scale and put the weight on the auction with our zip so folks can calculate what shipping will be. We only charge exactly what it costs us to ship. I don't use the PayPal shipping calculator because it's not always accurate. Sometimes off by a "LOT". I just go straight to the USPS site and while I'm there I pay for shipping online which saves some money. I use free carrier pickup. We also don't make up in shipping what we lose in the auction. That's a real taboo for buyers. Just start the auction out high enough that it will make what you need.

I use a fixed shipping cost price, so there are no surprises. It might be a good idea to ask buyers what they like in a listing, we can all learn from them too.

Shipping costs- if the shipping listed in the auction seems excessive, I move on.
Communication

Answer any questions to the buyers/sellers ASAP.

When the auction ends contact the buyer ASAP. Communication is really important.

With all the new rules on eBay read carefully to make sure they are acceptable to you. They're especially hard on new buyers or those that aren’t power sellers.

Buying: Contact the seller as soon as the auction ends. If we know the price with shipping I pay for the item the instant an auction ends. I then contact the seller. Waiting a week until payday to pay is not acceptable. If the money is not in my account to pay immediately I don't bid.

Leave feedback. With the new rules, if you don't, it lowers the seller’s star ratings. That can really hurt a seller.

One of the things I look for when buying on eBay is good communication. I recently wrote a seller about an item I was interested in but had some questions. They NEVER wrote me back. Red flag went up on that one, so obviously I didn't purchase it from them.

Don’t Forget

EBay has rules for posting. Read through them. PayPal especially. Problems happen. International shipping can be difficult, as there is no way to track your item. In the US your are able to get tracking information. PayPal likes a paper trail.

I will buy again, and again from doll makers who deliver quickly, are easy to deal with and
can put up with me being quirky.

There are some doll makers that are REALLY GLAD that I'm interested in their work as I will
write and comment almost always good, but sometimes (not often) constructive.

Most of all don't be afraid to let your things go. Many of you have mentioned that you can't part with your dolls. Your work is only as good as the last piece that you made. You grow and become better with every item. Send it out to the world. That is where it belongs.

Take care in packaging, particularly with fragile items.