Total Articles : 80 - TimeStamp : 19 2018f June 2018   


eBay Selling Strategy #2 - The Scarcity Perception

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Using Perceived Scarcity As A Selling Strategy

You've just heard of a great deal that you can get on ladies Ralph Lauren Polo shirts. You know that they sell every day on the Ralph Lauren website for $85.00. You can get 100 of them for $25.00 each, that's more than 65% off of the retail price. You are so excited!

You think that with this purchase your eBay business will really be off and running. So you purchase the shirts and put them up on eBay with a starting price of $24.99. You're sure that will entice bidders to get actively involved and bid the shirts up to at least half of the retail price.

And them you wait… and wait…. And wait. At the end of the seven days you find that out of the 100 polo shirts you listed, exactly eleven sold. And they all sold for the starting bid of $24.99

What happened??

In the thought processes that surrounded your wholesale purchase of the shirts you did not take into account how best to introduce them into the eBay marketplace.

The perception of scarcity is a driving force behind the auction sales on eBay. The idea that there is not enough of what you are selling to go around. More so than in traditional retail venues and even more than the other selling formats eBay offers.

The whole 7 day auction process is set up in a way that allows sellers to benefit from competition among bidders. How often have you heard of someone buying an item at a garage sale or closeout store and later selling it on eBay for many times more than they originally paid?

It's likely that more than one bidder wanted the item, recognizing some value in it, and then got into a bidding war with one or more of the other bidders. Nothing drives up the final cost of an auction more than the idea in a bidders minds that they are going to lose out.

A former employee of mine told me that I was successful at getting my employees to do what I wanted because I played the "Take it away" game with my staff constantly. I assured her that if I did it was quite unwittingly because I wasn't even aware of what I was doing.

Apparently the "Take it away" game goes like this: I would ask an employee to do some task and if the employee balked or in any way showed any resistance or unwillingness to do what I asked, I would follow up by voicing a concern that maybe we had given the employee too much responsibility and maybe we should cut back on the duties they were assigned and assign them to someone else.

The employee would then usually do what I asked and more. Apparently, the threat of having less responsibility was enough of an incentive to get the staff member motivated again. I was honestly shocked that this "game" had a name as I was earnestly trying to make it easier on the overworked employee and keep this situation from reoccurring.

Anyway that story was a long way round the barn but the point is, if you present someone with an opportunity to acquire or hold on to something, and then they see the opportunity begin to slip away they are usually much more motivated to hold on than they were before the threat.

And so it is with online auctions. The reality is, loss is a better motivator than gain. So although there are tons of people who love Ralph Lauren polo shirts if there are 100 of them on sale at any one venue then the perception is that there is no rush and in fact they are perceived as a lot less valuable than if there were only one or two on sale.

And when you think about it one of the reasons that they can sell at full price on the Ralph Lauren website is because you only see one model in it. You are not shown know how many he has in inventory. Unlike eBay, where each occurrence of any item comes up in the search results. I bet those same Ralph Lauren polo shirts wouldn't sell as well on the website either if we knew there were 19,765 of them in stock.

So how do you sell 100 pieces of a single item on eBay? Here are some tips that may help you.

1. List the items on auction a few at a time. In the case of the polo shirts you could list one of each of the colors varying the sizes. This way it doesn't look like so many of the same item is up for auction at one time.

2. Research eBay's Completed Items to determine the highest successful Buy It Now price that has been paid for the items and sell them as Buy It Now Fixed Price items. Scarcity does not come into play as much with Buy It Now items but you have to be prepared to either receive less than you would in an auction with healthy bidding or include a compelling reason for someone to purchase at the price you are looking for. There are ways to do that, which we will be examining in the future.

3. Build customer loyalty through providing exceptional customer service. This almost goes without saying but people will pay more from a seller they know and like doing business with than someone that they do not know and trust. You should ask customers to add you to their Favorite Sellers list in every auction that you list. The Favorite Sellers list is maintained in their My eBay pages. Give a little extra with every sale, add a freebie in their shipment, a coupon for 10% off of their next purchase from you. Even if you can't offer anything concrete, dazzle them with super-fast shipping or even a shipping upgrade in some instances.

4. Open an eBay store and promote it like mad. Listing that stock of shirts in an eBay store will also make them available to Google's Froogle search results thereby expanding the potential market for your product exponentially.

5. Which leads naturally to the next option which is offer them on other auction sites. eBay is the biggest but by no means the only auction site that you can offer your items on. And now by implementing data feeds you can easily get your eBay items into other venues

See more strategies for eBay success at Stephanie's website ebay Selling Basics

Stephanie McIntyre has been a Platinum eBay Powerseller, an eBay Trading Assistant as well as an Educational Assistant trained by eBay. Her company, eSales Unlimited Inc. maintains several sites on successful eBay selling.

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