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Create Merchandise Listings that Sell on eBay

FoundValue Training Program

Table of Contents
Section 1: How to Write a Title ................................................................ 1 Section 2: How to Write a Description ..................................................... 4 Section 3: How to Take Photos That Sell ................................................ 5 Section 4: How to Optimize Your Listings ............................................. 11 Section 5: FoundValue Listing Template............................................... 14

The FoundValue Training Program found at www.foundvalue.com/content/ebay/tools/tools-ebooks.aspx and www.foundvalue.com/content/ebay/tools/tools-tutorials.aspx contains confidential and proprietary information of FoundValue Incorporated and is provided exclusively for use in the sale and representation of FoundValue services and products. FoundValue Incorporated reserves the right to alter, modify, or change any information set forth in this handbook. No part of this handbook may be used, reproduced or disclosed, in whole or in part, except with the express written permission of FoundValue Incorporated. All rights reserved.

Create Merchandise Listings That Sell


Section 1: How to Write a Title
The auction listing title is your headline. Newspapers and magazines use headlines to attract readers to the story. Advertisers use headlines to pull readers into the sales copy. The title is the most important element of your listing. Since eBay defaults to searching the title for buyer searches (buyers have to specify if they want to search by title and description), you want to make sure your title is accurate and easily searchable.

Every listing should incorporate these key tips:

● Make intelligent use of your space. Remember that buyers search for items based on

keywords. Use words in the title that a buyer would type into a search box to find an item.

● Browse closed auctions of similar items to see which titles drew high bids in the past. ● Be sure to spell correctly. ● Always utilize ALL 50 characters or as many
characters as possible.
Clever eBay bidders search for misspellings to get bargains. For example, try entering ―barbi‖ instead of ―barbie‖ You’ll see fewer listings and lower prices. So, check your spelling!

● Capitalize the first letter of each word in

your title AND all characters of important brand names or keywords (but don‘t capitalize all letters of all words—it‘s hard to read)

● Be truthful. If you question the condition or authenticity of an item, do not advertise it
as authentic.

● Include category-specific grading scales if known. Using the incorrect grade may cause
the buyer to return the item or leave you unfavorable feedback. Be careful about using ―Mint‖ or ―Excellent‖ as they imply perfection with no flaws of any kind.

Create Merchandise Listings That Sell


Follow these important guidelines – and avoid common mistakes:

● Do not use silly or goofy phrases and text characters such as ―L@@K,‖ ―MUST C‖ and

● Do not include Web site addresses, email addresses or phone numbers in your titles. ● Do not use the word ―Used‖ in your title—it‘s not a searched word. ● Do not use words that may bring into question the legality of the item you‘re selling.
Example: Words like ―prohibited‖ or ―banned‖ are considered to be misleading because they imply that the item is illegal.

● Profanity and obscene language are not allowed by eBay. ● Also read How to Write Titles to Attract Buyers at www.foundvalue.com/howto/ebay-write-titles.

Use Common eBay Abbreviations and Acronyms
Abbreviations and acronyms are helpful because they allow for more character space in the listing title. However, not all abbreviations and acronyms belong in the title. In some instances the actual word may be more recognizable and searchable. When in doubt, check the FoundValue ValueFinder at www.foundvalue.com/content/ebay/valuefinder.aspx to research completed eBay items for the more common usage.

General Use AUTO—Autographed BNWT—Brand New with Tags EC—Excellent Condition FS—Factory Sealed GU—Gently Used LTD—Limited Edition MIB—Mint in Box (Box not necessarily Mint) NIB—New in Box NIP—New in Package• NM—Near Mint NWOT—New Without Tags NWT—New With Tags OOP—Out of Package/ Out of Print/ Out of Production S/O—Sold Out SIG—Signature SZ—Size TM—Trademark VG—Very Good Condition VHTF—Very Hard to Find

Create Merchandise Listings That Sell


The following is a list of commonly used eBay abbreviations and acronyms. Some terms may be category-specific, and therefore should only be used when describing certain items.

Category Specific Abbreviations & Acronyms 1st—First Edition (Books, Collectibles, Toys and Hobbies) Ed.—Edition (Books, Collectibles, Toys and Hobbies) F/E or FE—First Edition (Toys and Hobbies, Collectibles) FN—Fine Condition (Books, Comics) AKA—Also Known As; an alias (DVDS, Movies, Music) NRFB—Never Removed from Box (Collectibles) OOAK—One of a Kind (Collectibles) S/S—Still Sealed (Clothing, Shoes, and Accessories) VF—Very Fine Condition (Stamps, Coins, Collectibles) STER—Sterling (Jewelry)

Technical Abbreviations & Acronyms CIB—Cartridge in Box or Instructions in Box (as in computer equipment) CIBO—Cartridge, instruction, box, overlay (video games, computer equipment) CPU—Central Processing Unit GHz—Gigahertz (processor speed) G or Gig—Gigabyte LCD—Liquid Crystal Display MB—Megabyte MHz—Megahertz (processor speed) OS—Operating System RAM—Random Access Memory

Create Merchandise Listings That Sell


Section 2: How to Write a Description
A well-written description not only gives buyers valuable information, it also shows that you're a conscientious seller. Your description promotes your item while giving prospective buyers all the information they need. Use the following tips and instructions to make your descriptions clear, accurate, descriptive and appealing.

● Make each sentence short - web page readers like to scan text. If your description is easyto-read, potential bidders will keep reading until they have all the information they need. This will also minimize the number of email questions you will receive and save you time in the long run.

● Include relevant keywords and power words. ● Stress any product benefits and (unlike the listing title) use active and enthusiastic
language. Examples: Time-saving, ease-of-use, money-saving, etc.

● Make sure to spell check your description.
Depending on the category, there are certain specifics that will need to be addressed in the description.

● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●

What is the item? What condition is it in? What company/artist/designer/author made it? What material is it made of? When was it made? What are its dimensions? What country/location is it from? Does it have any notable features or markings? Does it have a special background or history?

You may also want to consider adding a creative touch when writing your item description by adding:

● ● ● ● ●

What you especially like about the item? Who you think it would appeal to and why? Is there an interesting story about the item? How do you think it might be used? You can also check out this information online at How to Write a Detailed Item Description at www.foundvalue.com/how-to/ebay-write-descriptions.

Create Merchandise Listings That Sell


Section 3: How to Take Photos That Sell
A good photograph of your item is your most powerful selling tool on eBay and can have a large impact on the final selling price. Photos are the only way the buyer can ―see‖ the item: they can‘t pick it up, touch and feel it or examine the item for flaws. A detailed photo can make or break the sale. For additional information online see How To Set Up a Photo Studio at www.foundvalue.com/how-to/ebay-photo-studio and review the tutorial at www.foundvalue.com/files/tutorials/photo_new/index.htm.

Build Your Photo Studio
By setting up a permanent photo studio in your workspace, you‘ll always be ready to add photos to your listing and optimize the opportunity for selling. Inexpensive photo studio materials are available on eBay or Craigslist. Here are the basics for your photo studio:

● At least 4 feet by 4 feet of uninterrupted floor
space, including a wall with a power outlet. similar tint to your images).

● If you can, set up in a corner of a white or off-white room (blue or red rooms may add a ● A table or a chair to place the items. ● Masking tape to secure the backdrops – use
black or white table cloths or fabric swatches. digital camera, of course)

● Camera tripod and photo studio lights (and a

For larger items, you can drape the backdrop over a door or just let it fall to the floor.

● Power strip to plug in the lights.

Create Merchandise Listings That Sell


Put a table (or chair or whatever works for you) against a wall. Tape your backdrop to the wall and to the table, so half of it goes up the wall and the other half of it is on the flat surface of the table. Let the material flow across the corner, making a rounded edge. Do not fold it. This ―seamless background‖ will make your item seem like it‘s floating on the background.

Place your lights at 45 degree angles, on both sides of your subject. Raise one light slightly higher than the other (it doesn‘t matter which side). This will eliminate reflections from the lights.

Shooting from a camera tripod allows you to keep your shots rock-steady and gives you more freedom in lighting your subjects. Place the tripod a few feet away from the table. Use a level surface if possible. Tighten all the locks of the tripod legs. If your surface is uneven, extend one of the legs more to compensate. Attach the camera to the tripod. There should be a threaded hole on the bottom of your camera where you can attach it to the threaded bolt on the tripod‘s head. Adjust the tripod height. Loosen the adjustment locks on the tripod‘s legs. Once your height is adjusted, tighten the locks. Move the legs up or down in small increments until you can only see the backdrop in your camera‘s viewfinder.

Depending on what you‘re selling, one photo is probably not enough. In most cases, several photos will show off your item much better. It is your job to show potential buyers what they want and need to see. Photos detail the condition of the item and help clear up any doubts the buyer may have as well as saving you the time of answering email inquiries about the item‘s condition. The following are some guidelines for your taking your item photos.

GET CLOSE UPS ● Buyers want to see detail, so really make your item take up the whole frame.

Create Merchandise Listings That Sell


● Take a close-up of a section of the item in addition to the entire item. This will give

buyers a better idea of the item‘s condition. You may also want to show it from two angles.

● Take a close-up photo of any signatures or markings. ● Take a close-up photo of any imperfections, like chips or stains (be sure to disclose these
in the descriptions as well). Note: Many digital cameras have ―detail‖ settings that can help you take well-defined close-up shots.

Understand the Size of Digital Photos
The size of your digital image file (defined in terms of kilo-bytes –―K‖ or ―Kb‖) is very important because it determines how fast your image will load on your buyers‘ computers when they are trying to view it on eBay. The smaller the image size, the shorter the download time, and the faster the buyers will see your items. We encourage you to keep your individual image file size to less than 40K – FoundValue does not accept images greater than 512K. To make sure your images load quickly, save your image files in JPEG (with .jpg extension) format because that format uses very few kilobytes for each picture. Once your images have been uploaded to the FoundValue listing tools, we will automatically resize your images and optimize them for your auctions. If you‘re having problems with your digital camera, don‘t get frustrated. When you‘re in doubt, read your camera’s manual or for a quick online resource ‗google‘ the camera‘s model number.

Set up the Photo Shoot
If you have to take photos of several different things, you will be much more efficient if you plan a little before you begin and organize your photo shoot.

● First, make sure the camera has enough battery charge and memory for all the pictures
you want to take.

● If you are going to take pictures of more than one subject, plan the best order to reduce
individual setup time.

● Plan the settings to be used for all of your subjects. Try to take the ―front shots‖ of all of

the items first -- before moving the camera or lighting for the ―detail‖ shots. This will save you a lot of time compared to changing the setup over and over again for each item.

Create Merchandise Listings That Sell


Photo Lighting
Lighting is the key to good photography. It is worth taking a little extra time to adjust the lights to get a clear picture. Experiment with moving the lights a bit toward the front of your subject. You don‘t have to have the lights exactly on either side of your subject. Shadows are best reduced by raising the lights so they are higher than the subject. Turn off most of the ―room‖ lighting because it may have an undesirable effect on the image color accuracy. But leave enough light on to view the subject in the camera viewer, until you are ready to actually shoot.
Did You Know?
Don’t use the camera flash -- it heats up the areas closest to the camera, washes out the color and creates high-lights that distract your viewer. Make the investment in a photo lighting kit with full spectrum lights that illuminate detail and color with better accuracy than a flash. Photo lights simulate the crisp, full color and ultraviolet spectrum of natural outdoor light.

Don‘t use your camera flash. Direct flash from a camera is almost the worst way to light anything. It heats up the areas closest to the camera, washes out the color and creates highlights that distract your viewer. You can try different angels, setup, etc with your lighting placement. The point is to make your item look its best.

Before you start shooting, think about how you‘re going to set up your shot so that your item looks its best.

● Clean up your item before you take its picture. ● Arrange your item in a manner that shows it off to its best advantage. ● Eliminate any distractions from the
Use your tripod to set up your shots. A tripod enables you to position the item and the camera just right and adjust the lighting as well. Once you point your camera at your table, you can leave it on the tripod from photo to photo.

Create Merchandise Listings That Sell


Example: These two pictures were taken of the same items using the same camera. Notice how the picture on the right shows off the detail better to potential buyers. Which one would you bid on?

Checklist: Take Your Photos
Now you‘re ready to take your photos! 1. Place your item on the table in the center of the backdrop. Place it as close to the front of your seamless background as possible. 2. View your item through the LCD viewfinder of your digital camera to see if any obvious shadows are present. Adjust your lighting to compensate. If you need less light, you can move the lights farther away from your subject.

Practice taking a picture of the same item at different distances, and you’ll get an idea of how to frame the object in your camera’s view finder. Watch out for distracting backgrounds – If the item is something that won’t fit on a table, try to make the background of the photo as simple as possible.

3. Focus in on your item. Get close up. Buyers want to see detail, so make your item take up the whole frame. Do not use the zoom. Instead, move the camera closer to the item. 4. Take your picture (without the flash). 5. Once you have taken all the shots, transfer the images to your computer and take a look. You don‘t have to check every image but you want to make sure the images look good before you move on. Take a few practice shots to make sure your setup is correct, and then take all the shots for each camera position and lighting. Don‘t be surprised if you are disappointed in the photos during your first few tries. It often takes several attempts with different lighting before you have even one picture that is good. For more information, you can also read How to Take Photographs at www.foundvalue.com/how-to/ebay-photos.

Create Merchandise Listings That Sell


Upload Photos to Your Computer
Once you‘ve taken your photos, you need to transfer them to you computer.

● First option: If your camera uses a direct cable connection, try this method first. If you
can‘t locate where the cable plugs into your camera, check your owner’s manual (it‘s amazing where they can hid these tiny plugs). Turn the camera on first, switching it to ‗Playback‖ mode (the same switch that lets you view photos on your camera‘s LCD screen). Insert the cable into the USB or Firewire port on your computer. Most Mac and Windows PCs will automatically recognize the camera as a device, and launch a photo-capturing software program.

● Second option: If your camera uses a Compact Flash Card, SK or SD memory card, your
PC may have a built-in slot to read them. If not, just purchase an inexpensive USB photo card reader for the memory card format your camera uses. First plug the memory card into the reader, and then into a USB slot to your computer. Again, most computers will recognize the device and launch the photo software program.

When you are saving your images to your computer, you should always put them in a separate directory. For instance, you can call the directory ―FoundValue Images‖ or something more specific. When your camera saves a picture it will give it some arbitrary name, like NIK43566.JPG. This won‘t mean much to you but the numbers go up, so you can tell in what order you shot the pictures. You can name your pictures anything you want, so you should change the file name right away to something useful like ―ChanelPurseFront.jpg‖. If you name your files well, you‘ll be able to quickly find images on your computer. For more information, you can also read How to Transfer & Upload Photos at www.foundvalue.com/how-to/ebay-upload-photos .

Create Merchandise Listings That Sell


Section 4: How to Optimize Your Listings
There are millions of auctions on eBay, all competing for the buyers‘ attention. Effective optimization is essential to making your listings stand out and be successful. Remember that if no one knows about your items, no one will buy them. The trick is to get your items out to where buyers can find them – and then close the sale.

Understand eBay Buyer Behavior
The single most significant promotional tool at your disposal is the eBay search engine. Over 80% of buyers locate items they wish to purchase by using the eBay search engine. In other words, they type keywords into the search box located on the top of every eBay page and get back listings based on that search. The other 20% of eBay buyers browse through categories to find the items they want. In this case, buyers select a category from the eBay home page and then they drill down by clicking through sub-categories until they find something that interests them. Since the majority of eBay buyers will find your listing based on the keywords in your listing title, it‘s essential to spend the time to create a stand-out title. See ―How to Write a Title‖ found earlier in this section for important hints and examples.

Start and end your auctions at peak traffic periods when traffic is the heaviest. Generally you should start and end your auctions on Saturday or Sunday evening between 6 and 10 PM (Pacific Time).

Placing the item in the correct category when you list is also important so that buyers can browse and find your item. One way to determine the best category is to run a ValueFinder search for that item (as discussed in the ―How To Start Selling‖ section) and note in which eBay category similar items were listed.

Determine the Best Timing
Besides creating a great title, the second most important thing you can do to effectively market your item is to accurately time the auction closing. Although there is no magic formula for determining what times and days are best to launch and close your auctions, some days can be better than others. When determining the best time to start and end a listing, there are many factors to consider:

● Don‘t go by when you have the most free time or when the family is in bed and you will
not be disturbed.

● Ask yourself how many possible buyers will be at their computers at closing time.
Remember that eBay uses Pacific Time.

Create Merchandise Listings That Sell


Hint: You will also need to consider what time it is in the Central region and on the East Coast.

● The amount of bidders available at closing time is of utmost importance to your

auction. Most of the bidding on any auction will occur in the first 24 hours (when it is listed as new) and on the last day (when is listed as ending today), with most people only looking at one of these two times. And the bulk of the serious bidding will be in the last 5 minutes! up to 1 week in advance. In the FoundValue listing tools, you can choose to schedule your auctions for the best times even when you are not around to launch them. eBay charges an additional $0.10 per listing for this convenience.

● You can give yourself the flexibility to list items at a starting day and time you choose —

eBay Promotional Features
eBay offers a variety of listing upgrades that are geared towards increasing attention to your items when eBay buyers are searching. These listing upgrades can cut into your margins if you‘re not careful how you use them. As a result, we‘ve chosen only the most effective and least costly features that help achieve optimal results.

The gallery image is a miniature image, or thumbnail, of your item that appears next to your listing when an eBay user searches or browses in a list of items. According to eBay statistics, gallery listings increase the final price by an average of 12% and are 10% more likely to sell. At a cost of only $0.35 per listing, the Gallery feature is the best choice and worth the investment.

The boldface title is exactly what it sounds like; the auction title is listed in boldface type to help it stand out among the other listing. At a cost of $1.00 per listing, we only use this

Create Merchandise Listings That Sell


option in the Premium Service because it makes sense for higher value items that may need more promotion to sell. According to eBay statistics, bold listings increase average final prices by an average of 21%, boost bids by 20% and are 4% more likely to sell.

Track Your Listings’ Popularity
You can view the ―counter‖ at the bottom of your auction listing page to keep track of how many people view your listing. Counting the number of visits can help you determine the marketability of your item, as well as how popular or unpopular your item is with eBay buyers. This can also be a great tool for understanding whether your title and picture are attracting potential buyers.

Potential bidders are able to add an item you are offering for sale to their ‗Watching‘ list—a list of goods they are considering purchasing but are not yet ready to bid on. You are able to see how many buyers are watching your item (and that might choose to bid on Tip the item as the auction comes to a close) You can attract more bidders to all your from eBay. In addition to Watchers, you are auctions by listing just one special item also able to monitor how many buyers have that attracts a lot of attention. actually bid on your item and how much Even if your other items are not as unique time remains until the auction closes.


or expensive as your special item, more bidders are likely to view your auctions.

During an auction, a buyer might email additional questions about an item via eBay. It is very important that you respond promptly to buyer email questions to keep momentum building around your listings, and to build trust between you and the buyer. You want buyers to return to your site and look at other items you‘re selling. If someone asks a question that‘s really useful to showing the value of an item -- or if you find several buyers all asking the same question about your item, you can have both the original question and your response posted within your eBay listing. Simply go to eBay‘s Respond to Question screen, and check the box that reads: ‗Display this question and response on my listing so all buyers can see it.‘ But be careful with this eBay feature. Once your response is posted, it can‘t be edited and remains with the listing until completion.

Create Merchandise Listings That Sell


Section 5: FoundValue Listing Template
The ―look and feel‖ of the recommended FoundValue template helps to make your listing clear and easy to understand. It helps make a great impression and instills confidence with your potential buyers. With your photo and contact details inserted at the top of the listing, buyers know who they‘re doing business with, and therefore are more at ease.

Create Merchandise Listings That Sell


The policies about Payment, Shipping, and Returns are clearly illustrated in every listing and generated for you automatically. These policies reflect best practices that FoundValue recommends for sellers, and by using the FoundValue listing tool you must abide by them with your buyers. Having these policies prominently displayed within the listing answers the questions most buyers have. Here are the current policies:
Payment I accept payment through PayPal or via money order.

Payment must be completed within 3 days of auction close. If payment is not received, your purchase may be revoked and a Non-Paying Bidder alert filed. You are required to have a PayPal account to use the FoundValue listing tool. Sales Tax Sales Tax Disclaimer In state residents may be charged state sales tax during the Checkout process. eBay will collect applicable sales taxes from the buyer, but you are required to report and pay any sales taxes on items as you are the seller of record. Shipping All items are shipped within 2 business days after receipt of payment. I only ship to the US. Buyer pays all shipping expenses, which are based on zip code. I take great care to package every item to ensure safe shipment. I charge a small handling charge to cover my cost of materials and time.‖ Your buyers pay for actual shipping & handling costs based on their zip code. For reference, your listing will display an approximate shipping cost unless you specific a local pick-up. The actual cost is calculated after the auction ends and the destination of the buyer is known. Your listing even provides bidders with a shipping calculator for an exact shipping amount based on their zip code. Returns I accept returns only if the item was not as described in the auction. Buyer must notify me of a return within 3 days of receiving the item and return the item within 10 days; buyer is responsible for return shipping charges. I do my best to accurately describe each item I sell. If you have any questions, please email me before placing your bid. A clear return policy is essential for managing sales. Remind buyers who have questions on delivery of your return policy and be firm. Legal Notice I have used my best efforts to inspect the items(s) for sale and create descriptions and furnish photographs that fairly and accurately depict the type, condition and image of the item(s) at the time of sale. I make no express or implied warranties or representations regarding the condition or suitability of the item(s), and to the extent allowed by the law, specifically disclaim any express or implied warranties, including but not limited to ANY WARRANTY OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR PURPOSE.

Now it‘s up to you to take the next step and create a listing for your item that you‘re proud of and gives you a better chance of successful sales.

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