How to Do an Advanced eBay Search - dummies

By Marsha Collier

You can make your eBay search as complex as you want by using the gazillions of options on the Advanced Search page. You can also choose to keep it somewhat basic. The basic Find Items search is a bit more advanced than typing a few keywords into a box. You do have more options.

On this search form, you’ll see innumerable boxes. You can fill out some or all of them. The more information you type into this form, the more precise your search can be.

To find the pieces quickly, follow this process:

1Determine the manufacturer’s name.

If you don’t have all the information you need, check out the manufacturer’s website or a website that specializes in the item you’re looking for.

2Determine the name for the series, collection, pattern, or design.

Sometimes an item has more than one name.

3Narrow your search even further, if possible or necessary.

For example, you could choose salad plate instead of just plate.

4Enter the words for your search.

If someone has listed an item with all your specific words in the title, you’ll be lucky and pull up some winners. However, it’s more likely that the words in your initial search have been buried in the description.

5After you get your search results, you can narrow your search by searching in a category.

Use the drop-down list at the top of the results to limit your search to a particular main (or top-level) category, for example, instead of searching all eBay categories. This might be a good idea if you know for sure where the item is listed.

You can leave the category selection alone so that your search encompasses all categories. Sometimes sellers make mistakes and list in the wrong category. That’s when you can find a real deal.

But items often cross over categories. When they do, eBay lists (on the left side of the page) the actual categories where the search items were found.

6Tell eBay how you want the results arranged by using the Sort drop-down list.

For example, if you want to check out auctions in order of how soon they’re closing, choose Time: Ending Soonest. From the Sort drop-down list, choose one of the following options:

Best Match: This is eBay’s default when you search for an item. Searches are based on the eBay search engine’s algorithms, and this search is (loosely) tied to item availability, seller reputation, and adherence to eBay policies. The precise definition of Best Match isn’t public, but eBay described it this way:

Time: ending soonest: Listings closing first appear at the top of the results.

Time: newly listed: The most recently posted items are listed first.

Price + Shipping: lowest first: Search results are presented based on the combined cost of shipping to your ZIP code and the price of the item. They’re listed in order from lowest-priced to highest-priced.

Price + Shipping: highest first: This search, too, is based on the combined cost of shipping and the current cost (or high bid) on the item. Items are listed from highest- to lowest-priced.

Price: highest first: This sort of ignores the shipping costs and goes right to the heart of the search; the price of the item. This is useful when you’re searching for, say, a 1967 Corvette and you want to buy a car, not a Hot Wheels toy.

Distance: nearest first: If you’re looking for a bunny-style, wrought-iron boot scraper or something as huge as a stove, you might want to buy from a seller who is close by to save shipping costs (you may even be able to pick up the item).

7Use the View drop-down list to select how you want to view the results.

You’ve got three choices:

List View: This is the standard eBay format of the item picture on the left and the listing information to the right.

Gallery View: This view shows you the search results in boxes. By mousing (hovering) over a box, the item will pop out so you can view it in more detail.

Customize: Choosing the Customize view option opens a small window where you can preset your preferences for future searches.

8Select how many items you want to see on a page.

eBay searches default to 50 items per page. You may want to see more or less depending on the speed of your connection. In List view, the options are 25, 50, 100, and 200.

9After you’ve filled in all your search preferences, click the Search button.

A list of items matching your search appears, in the order and format you selected in the Sort and View areas.