Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Listing Process

Kathy wants to know about my listing process. Quite honestly, my process changes quite frequently. I'll tell you what's working really well for me currently:

I currently have 3 bins of unlisted inventory in my storage building, aka The Alcove :)  What I've been doing this week is taking pictures of 20-30 items and leaving those items out there until the pictures are edited and ready to go. This seems to make it a little less overwhelming for me.

I edit the pictures, and then each morning, I go out and choose 5 of those items and bring them into the house and set them at the computer. As I get a chance through the day, I'll sit down and list one or two of them. When those 5 are done, I take them back outside and put them away and choose 5 more. Currently, I am only doing 5 a day, but I will never get my inventory levels up if I stick with that. Next week, I will aim for 7 a day.

Most of what I sell is stuff I know about - stuff I've sold before or have a good idea what I can expect to get out of it. Therefore, I don't need to spend a lot of time researching. Every now and then, though, I find something exciting that I know nothing about! I can get trapped in the research black hole pretty easily. I can spend WAY too much time researching an item I don't know anything about. First, I check eBay completed listings. This will give me a tiny view of the item's potential. Then, I check eBay current listings. This gives me an idea of my competition. Then I check Terapeak.  This gives me a year-long view of my item's potential. For example, if I am listing a Christmas item in October, 2 weeks of completed listings aren't going to give me a good idea of what the item COULD sell for 3 weeks before Christmas, so I will use Terapeak to see how much it sold for during the month or two before Christmas last year.

If I can't find my item on any of these venues, I'll do a quick Google search. This might bring up a Worthpoint result, or a Flickr photo, or any number of other things with information that I need. I try not to get sucked into it, but if it's just not bringing any results up, I can really spend way too much time on it.

Here's another example. I had a Christmas-themed Finland Arabia bowl that I wanted to list in July. I couldn't find anything on eBay, current or completed. I checked Terapeak and it showed one that sold last November for around $65. But because there weren't any currently listed, I suspected I might be able to get a little more for mine, so I Googled it. I found ONE lone photo of the bowl. One. That's it. So that told me it was a very hard to find bowl. I opened that one photo and saw that it was a Flickr photo. There were several comments under the photo from people saying, "Sure would love to get my hands on this one!" or "Wow! Gorgeous bowl! I've never seen this one before!" or .... you get the idea. So clearly, this was a sought after bowl. I listed it for $150 obo and sold it a week or so later for $120! In this case, a little extra research was worth the effort. There's a fine balance.

As far as my actual listing process - it depends on what I am listing. If it's books, they are quick and easy. I can knock out a bunch of book listings in just a few minutes. If it is shoes, I have a listing template I use for those. I just change a few details, pics, and measurements and I'm good. Same thing with clothing.

I used to list through SSB, but I have recently gone back to listing directly through eBay, which really seems to be going a lot faster than when I was using SSB. Whenever possible, I like to use Sell Similar. It really saves a lot of time - no searching for the right category or re-writing my terms. It's all right there to be tweaked a bit.  Also whenever possible, when you choose your 5 items for the day, make them similar items. I had a big stack of tops to list this week. I pulled the 5 men's shirts and did them all at one time. Then I pulled my 5 Ralph Lauren and Gap tops. Then I pulled my 5 white tops. Etc... That way, I'm not having to change my categories and item specifics with every item. A lot of it can stay the same, saving me clicking and typing.

Kathy, I hope I've addressed your questions and given you some helpful tips on how to streamline your listing process!


  1. Like you, I always use Sell Similar. Since Ebay is now giving us 12 free photos, I don't have to spend all the time I used to putting the extra pictures in the description area. And, as you reported from the convention, they don't want you to do that anyway. Most of my time is spent on taking photos and on research. It's worth it sometimes to put a little background info in the listing, especially if the item has some kind of history.
    My question for you Jessica is; How do you do it all? Being a mom (and all that goes with that), listing on Ebay (plus packing & shipping), sourcing for Ebay, homeschooling the kids, etc. Do you have a helper? (or a superhero costume in the closet?)

  2. I also use Amazon to research many of my items. I focus mainly on toys and find many of the details for newer toys on Amazon. It helps me not spend too much time crafting a listing when I can borrow the manufacturer's bullet points.

  3. Thank you so much for such a detailed post of your listing process. This certainly gives me a lot to think about and process.

    You're the best!!

  4. Thank you so much for such a detailed post of your listing process. This certainly gives me a lot to think about and process.

    You're the best!!

  5. Great posts...thanks for sharing. I try to list similar items as well, so that I only have to change a few things. I've been on a tie and mug listing binge this weekend.

    And I to am starting to use SSB less and less.

    Margaret @ Live Like No One Else