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We have awarded eBay our prestigious Gold Award in this category, having reviewed 20 US Online Auction Sites. Read our review below to find out why...
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Ebay is now a household name, offering the opportunity to buy and sell almost anything online. It’s simple to use, well designed and takes into account the majority of your needs as a trader. Whether you just want to sell a couple of things around the home or you’re hoping to set up an online store specializing in one area, you ought to find all the necessary features to do so.
Whilst the site does take a bigger cut of your profits than many of its competitors, this is by far the most visited online auction website, meaning that you’ll have more potential buyers bidding for your items and raising your profits.
Ebay’s members are around the globe, not just in the US, meaning that you can buy foreign goods, or sell good old American produce to people in far off lands. There are literally millions of sales going on and the website offers enough automation for beginners, with enough options for more advanced users. Registering is simple and you can get your hands on almost anything, including cars and other vehicles.
To buy an item all you need to do is perform a basic search. A list of results will include basic details, prices and an image. Clicking on an item will show you a separate page with more details, information about the seller, shipping options, and (usually) more photos. If you still can’t find all the information you need, then it’s really easy to contact the seller to ask a question.
As a rule, sellers tend to be pretty efficient at getting back to potential customers, because they have a number of goods on sale and so spend some time checking their emails and correspondence.
If you have something to sell, then you can get your item to auction very quickly. All you’ll need is a photo and a brief description. You can set the minimum value you’re willing to accept for an item or choose to allow customers to “buy now”, meaning they can skip the auction and pay the asking price.
It also offers several buying and selling features which you won’t get elsewhere, and the system works extremely well.
You can customize sales with banners and adverts, bold titles, subtitles and more, although this does sometimes cost an extra fee so it’s best saved for expensive goods. The benefit of auctioning is that you might have several members competing to win it, raising the profit.
However, there’s also the risk that it won’t reach the price you requested, in which case, you’ll need to try again. However, ebay does not charge you to list an item, you only pay fees once it’s sold, so there’s nothing to lose other than time.
This brings us to the issue of fees. You pay a percentage of your profits to ebay and fees are significantly higher than many other auctioning websites. At 10% (rather than the more common 3-5%) you’ll be losing a bigger slice of the pie, but ebay does have far more people using it, meaning that you might get a better price for your item.
We like to think of it in real terms: imagine you have a watch you wish to sell. You’d like $100 for it. You decide to sell it on a website which charges just 3%, but during the auction it only gets 10 bids and raises $50. So when you take off your 3% you get $48.50.
Now if you’d sold the watch on ebay you’d probable get more people bidding on it, raising the value. Imagine you get 30 bids and it sells for $100. You pay your 10% and are left with $90. Now, nobody can argue that $90 is better than $48.50, even though you paid the site more. Of course, this is only an example, but you see our point.
If you’re happy with this, then what has the site got to offer you besides more people browsing your store? There are some superb community features including discussion forums which allow you to talk with other traders, ask questions and make connections in the marketplace.
They also offer strong customer service options, including an in-depth FAQ and the ability to communicate with a member of the staff if you need to.
Whilst ebay might charge you more per sale, its popularity is undeniable. It also offers several buying and selling features which you won’t get elsewhere, and the system works extremely well.
The site is always changing with the seasons, keeping things fresh and invigorating, luring in new customers each day. If you have something to sell or are looking for a deal, we think you could do far worse than giving ebay.com a try.
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