How to Write Your eBay Item Description

After you hook potential eBay bidders with your title, reel ’em in with a fabulous description. Don't think Hemingway here; think infomercial (the classier and more fact-filled the better). The figure shows a concise description with a sales pitch. You can write a description that sells as well — all you have to do is click in the box and start typing.

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Here's a list of suggestions for writing an item description:

  • Accentuate the positive. Give the buyer a reason to buy your item and be enthusiastic when you list all the reasons everyone should bid on it. Unlike the title, here you can use as much space as you want. Even if you use a photo, be precise in your description — its size, color, kind of fabric, design, and so on.

  • Include the negative. Don't hide the truth of your item's condition. Trying to conceal flaws costs you in the long run; you get tagged with bad feedback. If the item has a scratch, a nick, a dent, a crack, a ding, a tear, a rip, missing pieces, replacement parts, faded color, dirty smudges, or a bad smell (especially if cleaning might damage the item), mention it in the description.

    If your item has been overhauled, rebuilt, repainted, or hot-rodded, say so. You don't want the buyer to send back your merchandise because you weren't truthful about imperfections or modifications and report you to eBay because it arrived “not as described.”

  • Be precise about all the logistical details of the post-sale transaction. If you are going to charge for shipping, figure out the cost and add that to your description. You may not charge extra for shipping insurance.

  • While you're at it, promote yourself too. As you accumulate positive feedback, tell potential bidders about your terrific track record. You can even take it a step further by inviting prospective bidders to your eBay user page.

  • Wish your potential bidders well. Communication is the key to a good transaction, and you can set the tone for your listing and post-sale exchanges by including some simple phrases that show your friendly side. Always end your description by wishing bidders good luck, inviting potential bidders to ask questions, and offering the option of providing additional photos of the item if you have them are always a nice touch.

When you type your description, you have the option of jazzing things up with a bit of HTML coding, or you can use eBay's HTML text editor.

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If you know how to use a word processor, you'll have no trouble touching up your text with this tool.

You can go back and forth from the HTML text editor to regular input and add additional codes here and there by clicking from the Standard form to the HTML entry form tabs.

To insert additional photos in your description, use the following code. (Just insert the URL of your hosted picture, along with the photo file name).

<img src="http://www.collierad.com/catbed.jpg">

Occasionally, sellers offer an item as a presale, or an item that the seller doesn't yet have in stock but expects to. If you're offering this kind of item, make sure that you spell out all the details in the description. eBay policy states that you must ship a presell item within 30 days of the auction's end, so be sure that you will have the item within that time span.

Don't forget to include the actual shipping date. Don't put an item up for sale without having it in hand; this practice is fraught with risk. The item you're expecting may not arrive in time or may arrive damaged.

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