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What's the consensus on low start no reserve auctions?

(28 Posts)
ninedragons Tue 06-Nov-07 09:22:54

I have read all the academic studies that say that the highest prices are achieved by auctions that start very low with no reserve and run for 10 days. Theoretically I know that people get attached to things and start thinking of them as "theirs" and bidding accordingly.

But it's quite nerve-wracking if it's your stuff. Has anyone been brave enough to do these and had good (or better still, great) experiences?

glaskham Tue 06-Nov-07 09:35:10

what is it your wanting to sell exactly....if we have something that we dont want to see sell for more than 99p we normally start it at around 9.99......i once sold a £400 pram (when new) and started it at £50 as if i hadn't got that for it minimum i would have rather of kept it!! but it sold for £160!! and i once sold a large bundle of my sons toys around this time of year and expected around £30 for them and they sold for over £100, and selling our kids bundles of clothing is good as they normally go for around £60-80 for a full wardrobe full!!

glaskham Tue 06-Nov-07 09:38:43

though saying that i have had my fair share of bad sells.....so dont take my good stories as gospel!! do be careful you dont start it at less than you'd be at least happy with or you'll be wishing you could keep it and not sell for peanuts!!

Orchide Tue 06-Nov-07 09:47:26

Don't know the theory but my rule is a starting price that is the lowest id be willing to let the item go for. Have had a few experiences where i started with a really low start price and it went for less than i would have wished to sell it for.

ninedragons Tue 06-Nov-07 09:48:00

Thanks for the quick response.

It's a few bits and pieces of antique jewellery. Nothing special, and it's been hanging around forever unworn and it's about time I got rid of it (so I can buy something I would wear grin). A few old rings (some of which don't even fit me) and a necklace or two.

I bit the bullet earlier today and started one off at US$5. It's an antique wedding ring with a pattern but in an unusually large size. I bought it AGES ago thinking I could have it sized down but it would ruin the pattern so I'll just flog it. I've been watching things for a while and rings in big sizes do seem to do well on the US site so I am hoping two, er, seriously plus-size brides who like vintage jewellery get into a bidding war over it.

sixlostmonkeys Tue 06-Nov-07 09:58:03

the only predictable thing about ebay is its unpredictability.

the general 'rule' has been as you state ninedragons, but too often items end up selling at 99p. You see a lot of sellers claiming item is broken therefor can't sell afterall as they would rather risk a neg or a strike than lose money.
I'm the same as glaskam and I start at a price I'm prepared to let it go for.

If you are auctioning a really good item there are a few things you could do to draw people in. Auction a few loss leaders at the same time (items similar to the biggy) stress that you will combine all P&P. Use the best keywords in your title.

I only start at 99p a. if I'll be happy with 99p or b. if it's an item that always sells well. I make sure that my P&P is less than others so that when buyers compare they like the look of mine. It is common for items to sell at almost double (a bidding war takes place) just because the P&P is low - buyers hate paying for P&P but will happily pay more for the item - odd I know.

All this said, I have in the past relisted an unsold 99p item for £1.99 and the bidding has gone to £6 - £7. Like i say, unpredictable.

Housemum Tue 06-Nov-07 10:45:07

I second the unpredictability - I have sold lovely items of clothing for 99p, yet sold a playhouse for more than I paid for it as 2 people were bidding up the price! My theory now is that if I want to just get rid of something, I start it low (of course making sure that the postage/final value fee don't meant that I make a loss) - I figure that if someone wants it and I end up giving it away for pennies it's the same as Freecycling. The Post Office is near DD1's school so it's no effort to take it there.

If I really don't want to just give away something, I start at the lowest price I would feel happy to sell for - eg at the moment I'm selling a coach built pram and there is no way I would risk getting less than £100 - particularly with something big where you are limited to the local market unless you want to get involved with packaging and courier costs. There's always the risk then that only 2 people bid late, and the price doesn't get very high as it only goes up in the specified increments.

I do though price a little under what I hope to get as I do believe that people stick things in their watchlist and feel attached to them and start bidding - so whereas I hope to get £150+ for the pram, £100 wouldn't p* me off, so I started at £99 in the hope that psychologically being under the £100 will encourage people.

Hope that helps! (Also, looking at similar items and being just a tiny bit less than theirs can also be a good tactic to highlight your item)

Orchide Tue 06-Nov-07 11:35:41

nine dragons, does it have to go on ebay? do you have any little jwellers near you who sell as well as buy - think its mostly little single shops as opposed to chains?
i have a little bundle of jewellery, mostly inherited, which i will never wear, so im going to trade it all in - the jewellers gave me a price they would buy it for - and buy something i will wear daily.

just a thought?!

nimnom Tue 06-Nov-07 11:46:03

It really depends what you are selling and how much you want for it. I sold my Open University course books at the weekend. There was another identical set on at the same time that started at 99p and sold for £117, another started at £14.99 and sold for £124. I put mine on buy it now or best offer for £100 and got that within half an hour. The chances are that I would have got what I wanted by starting it at 99p, but my last lot of course books didn't sell first time round and I may have ended up selling them for 99p which would not have gone a long way towards my next course!

ninedragons Tue 06-Nov-07 13:09:09

Thanks everyone for the excellent tips.

I think it does have to go on eBay - I am in China and there is no market for second-hand jewellery (or second-hand anything), so any jeweller would just give me the scrap value for the gold, which would be very little.

ladygrinningsparklers Tue 06-Nov-07 18:13:32

I almost always start my auctions at 99p. The only exceptions would be "specialist" things that are highly desirable but only to a small number of people. If you start an item like that at 99p, you need at least 2 of that small number of people around at the time to bid it up, which may not happen. The OU course books are a great example of that.

ninedragons Wed 07-Nov-07 06:04:38

Thanks for all the advice. So far I've listed four things with two of those at very low start prices (I'll think of them as loss leaders) and two at the minimum price with which I'd be satsified.

I also took your advice on the postage and decided to silently suck up some of the cost and raise the start prices accordingly.

Cheers, ladies!

laura032004 Thu 08-Nov-07 11:23:15

ninedragons - Do you pay a lot to send individual items from China? I don't know if you'd be interested, but I wouldn't mind if you sent me a whole batch of stuff at once, and I could do the internal UK posting for you? I'm at the PO 3 or 4 times a week anyway for my Ebay bits.

I'm a nice honest person My Ebay page.

No worries if you're not interested - just thought I'd make the offer.

ninedragons Fri 09-Nov-07 00:03:22

Aren't you sweet! smile

Thank you so much for the offer, but it's probably not worth shipping a load of books halfway across the world when they're easily available from UK sellers anyway. There is a local expat classified site and I must get organised to use that.

For anyone following no reserve vs reserve, so far two of the four items with very low start prices have bids (a single bid each). Even though I've still got eight or nine days to run I'm nervous...

The things I started at higher prices all have watchers, but so far no bids. I took the advice about things that had broad appeal and things that appealed to a limited market, so jewellery I started low but a model of the Maglev train I started higher.

ninedragons Fri 09-Nov-07 00:07:11

ps - I love your name! I wish I'd thought of something more original when I signed up, but I did it idly one rainy afternoon and now I have too many feedbacks to lose by changing my ID. (it's hksophie if you want to have a stickybeak).

Flibbertyjibbet Fri 09-Nov-07 00:14:09

I always start everything at 99p with no reserve, and with actual postage. Everytime, I make more money than someone selling similar with higher start price and/or higher postage as people will watch an item thats low, cos ebay is all about getting bargains. Then they get the email saying 'your watched item is about to end' and they go and have a bid along with all the other people who notice it when its near the end of its listing.
Yes its a gamble, BUT -
if some things go for less than I would like, I accept that. Because other things that I think 'oh I'll just bung it on see if I can get 99p for this' quite often get lots of bids.
So I don't look at the 'takings' of individual items, but the balance of my 'ebay takings account' which as I'm saving up for our holiday, is the important figure.

laura032004 Fri 09-Nov-07 07:33:04

ninedragons - you can change your user id without losing your feedback. Mine used to be something much more boring! You just get a little symbol next to your name for 30 days saying that you've changed it recently.

FJ - that's my sentiments exactly. You win some you lose some, hopefully win more than lose

I try and start auctions on a Thursday for 10 days for maximum exposure (to finish on a Sunday night). Now I'm using Auctiva, you can schedule for free, so you can list away all week for them to start on a Thursday. Alternatively if you prefer to stick with Ebay, list every night, but start at 10 days, then drop down so that everything is finishing on the Saturday and Sunday of the same week - I get a lot of bidders trying to get two items for reduced P&P, which bumps up prices overall. I always offer courier as an option, as that appeals if people want to bid on a few things - max postage is then £6.99ish no matter how many things I'm sending.

Also, if you're happy for people to collect in person, state that in the auction. You will get higher prices as local people bid more as they won't have to pay P&P. I often see 'local' things at the last minute, but don't have time to email the seller and ask if they'll allow collection, so don't bid as I don't want to pay the price including P&P. Some peole don't allow it, so it's always worth asking first!

PurpleFrog Wed 14-Nov-07 17:16:26

I often start bidding at a level below what I would be happy for it to go for, but also put on a "Buy it Now" at a mid-level price that I would be happy to sell it for. This forces interested parties to put in a bid early or use the BIN, to stop someone else snapping it up before them with the Buy it Now. Auctions with bids always attract more interest than ones without. (Of course, this doesn't aways work!)

sophy Wed 14-Nov-07 20:48:36

Just to add to this -- if I am selling a popular item with a good brand name then I start it low, but if it is something more obscure then I list it with the mimimum I'd like to get as the starting price. Never put reserves on, don't see the point.

darkside123 Fri 11-Jan-19 16:49:12

I recently took ebays advice of starting low with no reserve and ending up practically giving it away. ebay and PayPal take their fees no matter what so what do they care. Always start with the very least amount you would take for it. Can be a very expensive learning curve ebay.

isseywithcats Fri 11-Jan-19 20:02:12

what i do is type in the item in search bar then click on the left for completed auctions the green ones are sold items and this gives you an idea of what the items will actually fetch, then i start the auction at probably 3/4 of that price , to get people interested, i do ten day auctions starting on thursday night around 7pm (uk time) so they end on sunday night the next week

lljkk Sun 13-Jan-19 11:06:40

academic studies that say that the highest prices are achieved by auctions that start very low with no reserve and run for 10 days.

what studies?! Please provide link(s)

I always start at the minimum price I can tolerate selling for. It's foolish to do otherwise. Don't care about consensus, happy with my choice.

Used to have to pay to set a reserve price. I can't see any benefits to that. Lots of posters on here mention they sold something for stupidly cheap prices. I never have that experience.

AlanThePig Mon 14-Jan-19 15:58:07

Simple formula for me

Lowest price I'd accept for the item + postage costs.

I always offer free postage (one less thing to be hit for in feedback)

badlydrawnperson Mon 14-Jan-19 16:45:16

Since I am only selling stuff I don't want I've always used the 99p start. Only ever sold a couple of items at 99p and that's probably all they were worth. Quite a bit of stuff has sold for good prices and more than I expected.

Why is everyone seemingly obsessed with maximising their prices? We're selling stuff on eBay, not competing in the apprentice?

I've seen "I know what this is worth" eBay sellers who keep having to relist all their stuff - fine if that's your bag - keep listing until the elusive buyer appears or prices in general rise to level you wanted.

JaceLancs Sun 27-Jan-19 01:06:28

I start items at the minimum I will accept
When I sell jewellery I list as scrap value start as a minimum (currently £11 a gram for 9carat in UK)

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