Sunday, August 9, 2009

How to write an ebay Auction Listing - Item Description

How to write an ebay Auction Listing - Item Description

An ebay auction listing description section will not just describe your item, it should give your viewer reasons to buy! The item description should contain all details relevant to the item, and also key phrases that will motivate them to want to bid on or buy your item. The description layout should be easy to read, not so cluttered that the reader has to search for the details they need.
So let's start with; "In my opinion"

because even though I have a lot of ebay experience and sales, you can find hundreds of opinions and recommendations about what makes a good description. You have to absorb the info and use what works for you.

An auction listing description section should contain a mix of 4 main parts:

  1. Item details - everything about the item, good and bad
  2. sales pitch - tell them the benefits of buying this item
  3. buyer motivators - give them reasons to bid or buy now
  4. terms of service - your conditions for the sale, shipping details, etc.

 Start your description with a little sales pitch, then give them the details (the good ones), add a buying motivator, (like "It's a No-reserve auction"), a little more sales pitch, then the details that are not so good, (like flaws or problems) a closing motivator, and then your terms of service.

When considering the structure of your item description, remember you have to be a salesman, you are listing your auction because you want someone to buy something from you. Unless your item is the only one of it's kind in the world, and everyone is required to have one, then you need to use your item description section as your salesman for your item.

Let's look at some examples of the 4 main parts:

1. Item details

  • General - this would be things like; brand, new/used, color, size, works, etc., the basic idea of the item
  • Specific - the technical stuff like; serial/model #'s, megahertz/ohms, specific measurements, detailed description of aspects, etc.
  • Conditions - new/used, works/broken, mint, poor, etc.
  • provenance - where/how you got it, also authentication details
  • Flaws/drawbacks - doesn't work, broken thingie, faded, chipped, etc.
I like to start with the basic details first.

2. Sales Pitch - tell them the benefits of owning this item, or buying from you

  • Satisfaction Guaranteed
  • free shipping
  • labor saving
  • fills a need
  • better than the rest
  • be the new owner
  • one-of-a-kind
  • and so forth, any reason you can think of to tell them why they should buy your item
I like to start with a confidence builder; "100% Satisfaction Guarantee - Returns Accepted", so they're in a positive frame of mind as they read the rest of the description.

3. Buyer motivators - reasons to bid or buy now, and from you

  • last one
  • mint condition
  • no-reserve auction, high bidder will win this item
  • fast shipping
  • 100% positive feedback
  • one-of-a-kind
  • gift wrap services
  • anything else you can think of that will convince the buyer to act now if they are interested.
You'll notice that frequently sales pitch statements are also buyer motivators.

4. Terms of service

  • Payment methods you accept
  • when payment is expected
  • how and when you ship
  • return policy
  • feedback policy
If you use an auction template that has sections for these items, it will follow your item description when someone is looking at your listing, but you still need to include brief recap statements in the item description because many buyers just skim through after they read the description details.

If you don't use a template with these sections, then you need to include complete descriptions of your terms of service in the item description section.


Here's an example of how I would list a "widget":

(Bold is text of the listing, Normal is my explanation)
Brand Name Red Widget Table Model 000000 New Case Inst
Always repeat the listing title as the first line of your description, this helps you get better
ranking with search engines. (yes, search engines scan ebay listings too)
* Also note I used all 55 characters in the title with keyword search terms, no L@@k's,
W@W's, Rare's or other non-search terms

100% Satisfaction Guarantee - Returns Accepted
* All online buyers always have a degree of concerns when they are buying online. I offer this guarantee statement first to make them feel safer about buying from me while they are
looking at the rest of the listing description

Be sure to see more photos after description
* I use multiple photos, and the template I use puts 2 photos before description and the
rest after.

This is "Brand Name's" Widget Model #000000 carrying Case and instructions are included, good/neutral basic detail, - detail-detail, good/neutral basic detail, - detail-detail, good/neutral basic detail, - detail-detail, etc. etc. etc... until you finish the basic item details
*These would be the basic item details to tell the buyer about the item they are looking at.
I don't list all the details at once, I keep the data in small chunks. It makes the listing easier
to read, and directs the buyer to keep reading for more info.

*Now I would add a sales pitch/motivator statement to add a sense of urgency or "I can get this now" thoughts in the buyer's mind as they read on
This is a No-Reserve Auction, the High Bidder will be the new owner of this Widget.

or if you use buy-it-now you could say;

Just Click the "Buy-It-Now" button to be the lucky new owner of this widget

Now use a short paragraph describing the item:
This is "Brand Name"s" Widget is the latest model by this company. It includes all the extra features to to this or do that. The normal retail price is $000.00. This model was rated by consumer reports as tops in it's category in 2009. The finish is baked on for durability abd appearance. The side handles are bolted and riveted for strenght and safety. The included templates are adjustable for various widths and thicknesses. Altogether this new Brand name Widget is a 9-piece kit that includes a very sturdy carrying case. etc. etc. until you have painted a good mental picture of the item you are selling.

* This short paragraph describing your item helps the buyer get a mental picture of what
they are looking at, and it is also a place you could throw in another short sales pitch
statement, like...This is the complete set, or includes everything. It should also
include a "benefit" statement like; with this set you can...

Now I would use a 'stronger' sales pitch:
This would be a great addition for that special widget collector you know, (even if it's you)

Now for the specific details:

Model #:000000
Serial #:123456789
110 volts
weight: xxx lbs.
...until you finish the specifics

Now I would add a shipping motivator/sales pitch
Shipping is calculated for xxx lbs. to your postal code.
You can choose Parcel Post, Priority, or UPS Ground
No outrageous shipping Charges!

(this is where you would describe any flaws or problems)
This is a brand new widget that works great, but there is a small paint nick on the outer casing from improper storage on the store shelf.


this is a brand new widget that works great, but it does not include the manufacturer warranty.

It is very important to always be honest about any flaw/damage or defect about the
item. You can't get away with being dishonest about it because the buyer will
eventually find out when they receive the item, and then you will have a bigger
problem when they file a complaint.

But you don't have to list the defects in a bright red banner first, tainting the
buyers perception before they can get through the parts of the description that
allow you the chance to convince them they should buy. Be honest, but be smart!

Now you want to toss in another sales pitch/motivator to reinforce their need to buy now, and from you.
This widget would also make a great gift! (is that a birthday coming up?...hint...hint)

Now some short terms of service statements.
PayPal accepted within 3 days of auction end
(*note the 3 day thing might seem a little terse, but it helps plant the thought of completeing the deal in the buyers mind)
Shipping Insurance is required
I will ship next business-day after payment is received
Returns accepted - contact us for authorization

You really should be using auction listing templates, and they will have individual sections for you to spell out your terms of service. If you don't, then you need to be more detailed in your terms of service in the item description.

*** Ok, you have created a good, complete item description that tells the buyer what they wanted to know about the item you're selling, now thank them and toss in some self-promotion!

Thanks for viewing my listing. If you have any questions, feel free to use the 'Ask Seller aquestion' Button at the top. I promise a fast response.

Be sure to check out my other listings, and remember my 'Lightning' fast shipping.

*** you can add links to your other listings or ebay store here.

There, those are the basics, now a few style tips.

  • Be careful with 'Cute"! When a buyer clicks on your listing they are looking for information about the item that got their interest. They are NOT clicking to see how creative and artistic you are, and they are NOT clicking to see how many gimmicks and gadgets you can stick in each listing. It's great, and smart, to present your description in an attractive and easy to read format, (it doesn't have to look like a table of contents), and if an audio or video insert will help sell your item then do it, but glitzy, flashing, rotating, and other displays of HTML prowess are more distracting than helpful. And in many cases, experienced buyers will be turned off and 'click-out' quickly.
  • Did I mention not to get too Cute? Well don't.
  • Audio inserts. There are divided opinions about these. Some say that it's a bad thing, for instance; what if the buyer is at work and when they click on your listing the theme from Rocky starts playing? Might not be a good thing. On the other hand, depending on the item, and/or buyer, it might be helpful. Something to think about.
  • Terms of Service; You need terms of service, your buyers need to know what your expectations are, and what you will deliver to them, and they do need to be noted in the description because many times buyers either miss them, or don't take the time to look for your complete TOS after the description.
So that's it. Just remember your item description should be more than just a list of details, but less than a graphics exhibition. Put yourself in the buyers shoes... what are you looking for, and what would you consider the most professional way to present it?

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Appletreedeals is an ebay seller and affiliate marketer and he
also uses Hubpages articles to send buyers to his listings.


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