Choose a Sales Format for Your eBay Merchandise - dummies

Choose a Sales Format for Your eBay Merchandise

By Marsha Collier

eBay offers several options to sell your merchandise on the site. You can sell via fixed- price listings, or you may run traditional auctions. Other types of listings — Best Offer (ends in a fixed- price buy), Buy It Now, variation listings, private auctions, and restricted access (Adult Only category) — have their places, too. After you’ve been selling on eBay for a while, you may find that some other types of listings better suit your needs.

Traditional auctions

Traditional auctions are what made eBay famous. You can run an auction for 1, 3, 5, 7, or 10 days, and when the auction closes, the highest bidder wins. You begin the auction with an opening bid, and bidders will bid up your opening price into a (hopefully) healthy profit for you.

Best offer

If you have a fixed-price listing, you can choose to insert a button under your sales price that will encourage buyers to make an offer on your item. This is probably one of the oldest sales methods around. (In some countries, it’s an insult to buy something at the posted price; haggling is part of their retail culture.)


So, if you love the thrill of haggling, you can insert the Make Offer button in your listings at no extra charge. When someone makes an offer on one of your items, eBay sends you an e-mail asking that you reply regarding whether the proposed price is acceptable to you.

Buy it immediately

This is a variation on a traditional auction — with a twist. When you list an auction, you also post a fixed price that will appear on your listing. So if someone wants to purchase the item for that price, he or she simply clicks Buy It Now, the auction ends, and you’ve made a sale. If someone chooses to place a bid on your item and you have no reserve price, the Buy it Now option disappears.

Variations listings

The variations listing is useful if you have multiple identical items that come in different sizes and colors, and can sell them in one neat listing.

In this fixed- price sale listing, a buyer can choose size, type, color, (and so forth) from drop-down lists. You set the price and your items can be purchased one (or in multiples) from the customer.

Restricted access listings

eBay won’t allow certain items to be sold in the open categories, so you must list them in the Adults Only area of eBay. eBay makes it easy for the user to find or avoid these types of sales by making this area accessible only after the user enters a password and agrees to the terms and conditions of the area.


Items in the Adult Only category are not openly accessible through the regular eBay title search, nor are they listed in Newly Listed Items. Anyone who participates in Adult Only auctions on eBay, whether as a bidder or a seller, must have a credit card on file on eBay for verification.

Private auctions

Private auctions work well for the buyers who avail themselves of the listings offered by psychics, card readers, and fortune tellers on eBay and don’t want their friends to think they are . . . well, you know. Sometimes it’s just best to keep things quiet.

eBay private auctions don’t place bidders’ names on the auction listing. No one needs to know just how much you choose to pay for something. As a seller, you have the option (at no extra charge) of listing your auction as a private auction.

The private auction is a useful tool for sellers who are selling bulk lots to other sellers. It maintains the privacy of the bidders; their potential customers can’t do a bidder search to find out what they’re paying for the loot they plan to resell on eBay.