Read these 12 Auctions Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Writer tips and hundreds of other topics.
Your auction has ended and you've sold your item. How do you write a letter to your winner? Give sample letters and include all pertinent information that your auction winner needs to know. What important information do you need to send and to receive? How soon do you need to send your letter? How can you encourage your winner to hurry up and send the money?
Tips to make your packing easier and cheaper - where to get free boxes for wrapping (post office for free priority, for instance) or (stores for free brown boxes of all size and shapes). Most stores will cheerfully give you all the boxes you can carry. Find out what days are stocking days and trash pick-up days and time your pick-ups. Find out which stores in your area throw away bubble wrap and styro-foam peanuts for packing. This is very expensive stuff, but many stores throw it away after unpacking. Find URLs for your readers to order packing materials cheaply (don't forget to check auctioneers who sell on a regular basis). Free tape? The post office will supply you with free priority tape. After Christmas is a good time for clear tape clearance sales. Offer your readers tips on packing and labeling - how to make your own labels, put clear tape over the address so it won't smear during a rain storm, create your own logo for your labels and business cards, kinds of boxes you cannot use (ask for post office brochure), and using wadded up paper or shredded paper for packing. How many tips can you create?
Once an auction is over -- you've received your money and he has received his item, how can you encourage your winner to leave positive feedback? When do you leave feedback (after the auction is totally over or immediately when you receive your money)? If you leave positive feedback, does that mean that he will? What if he doesn't? What can you do if you leave positive feedback and he leaves a negative one? If you leave a negative one, will he automatically leave a negative one even though you did nothing wrong? Interview auction buyers and sellers for expert opinions. Are many people upset over the way feedback is left? Do they have any alternative answers? How important is feedback to a buyer or a seller? Is there anything you can do to encourage positive feedback?
Make good use of a business card in your auctioning - and make your own business card if you're not using one already. Your business card should be included in every package you send out. Include your name, address, screen name or auction name - and a nice note either printed on the card or handwritten, suggesting positive feedback from your buyer. Print something on the back of your card - an auction tip or an ad for your auction business and ask them to check back with you for future auctions. Somewhere on the card, write "thank you for your business". You could also print a line to write the auction item number to make it easier for the buyer to find you and leave feedback. Create samples for your readers.
This is not only one of the most important subjects of an auction, but also the hardest for a new person to understand. Explain where to get pictures you can use for your ad - scan the picture on the box the item came in, use a digital camera, use a regular camera and scan the finished photo, take a picture from a web site (if permitted), scan the item itself if it's small enough or flat enough, plus any other ways you can conceive. Once you have your picture, the hard part is using the html to place it in your ad and having your picture show up precisely where you want it to - left, right, middle - and the size you want it to be. You could give urls to sites that have picture crunchers or compare photo editors for enhancing the finished photo.
The day will come when you will want to join a company that handles your picture storage for you and supplies you with template ads so you need only to fill in the descriptions of your items. Which one should you choose? Do a comparison of the various companies and what they offer and prices. Is it pay by the month or a long term contract? Are the templates easy to use? How many pictures will they store for you? Do they offer invoices for you? How many companies are out there clamoring for your business -- and is it better than doing it yourself?
Explain how to create a bonus to offer with your item for sale. When there are fifteen items of the same kind, how do you make yours stand out? Creative writing of the ad is essential, but another way you can make people bid on your item first, is to offer a bonus. Offer something that costs you little, but adds impact to the item. This can be something related to the item or even an article or e-book you have written about the subject. For instance, if you were selling an unusual Scrabble game that several other people are selling, too, you might offer a free Scrabble dictionary or an e-book you wrote about tricks and strategies of playing the game. If there were four identical items for sale for the same price, wouldn't you choose the one with the extra item for your money? You could think of some creative bonuses for various items or a generic bonus to suggest to your readers. When I was selling CVS stuffed animals, many people bought from me that did not have access to a CVS store (they are mainly in the south). As a bonus, I included a CVS logo bag along with the collectible animal and a Furby-decorated McDonald's bag along with the collectible Furbys. Those free bags added to the value of the collectible.
You've sold your item, you've got it packed, now you need to mail it. You've waited in line at the post office for half an hour and now it's your turn at the window. The postmaster says you need this form and that form and do you want it air or express or priority or delivery confirmation or registered? Just how many choices do you have? Choose some standard size packages and list the forms available and what each is used for. Show your reader how to create his own post office at home, what kind of postal scale is best, buying postage on-line and printing it on your own printer, getting your own postmaster certificate, how to order your own forms, boxes, stickers and tapes - absolutely free, including free delivery to your door. How complicated is it to ship overseas and why many sellers won't sell outside the U.S. Is special package wrapping required on overseas shipping or registered shipping? How do you know what to charge the buyer for postage before he purchases from you?
Teach your reader to describe an item. Note all the benefits and the descriptions -- and the difference in the two. Describe how one must measure, put an object beside your item so the bidder can see just how tall the item is, and that even though there may a picture, a description is still essential. Make a list of descriptive words -- soft, delicate, sturdy, sparkling -- to name a few. How accuracy is important. Be sure to point out flaws, dents, dings, cuts or abrasions and explain why you would want to let the customer know about these flaws.
Where can the average person find items to auction? List wholesale URLS and discount houses where buyers can get great deals. Also, mention mark-downs, garage sales, flea markets, warehouses, auctions, clearances, estate sales, thrift stores such as Goodwill and Salvation Army stores. The best place of all is your own home and garage and attic. Offer to clean out garages in exchange for the items inside no longer wanted by the owners. Offer to haul off leftover garage sale items. Use your creative talents and create items to sell - crafts and e-books. Sell collections as a whole or individually. Check the classifieds in the daily paper as well as the little free classified weekly papers. Check with power-sellers and regular auction sellers and ask them where they find their items. Many of them will be glad to offer their expertise for a free mention in your article. Check the auctions to see what other people are selling - see what's "hot" and trendy right now.
Writing your own auction ads can require learning a little HTML - if you don't go with one of the paid programs that will automatically create great-looking ads. Where can you find tutorials that will help you become HTML savvy? List and review tutorials, especially for the beginning ad maker. Perhaps you could take a few HTML instructions and create a "most-used" basic chart or mini-tutorial. Teach your readers to make a descriptive line in red, or a headline in a larger size, or make a bulleted list. All these are common in on-line auction ads. What other important features can you think of to add?
I've found an item, I've taken the picture, I've written my ad. Do I just post the ad now? Is there a particular time of day that is better than another time of day? What time of day would encourage the best sales? What day of the week is the best day for sales? Which is the worst? How does the time change for various parts of the country affect the bidding on my ad? Can I set the time for my ad to start or end or will it start and end as soon as I enter the ad in the auction? How long should I run my ad - three days, 5 days, a week? Can I auction during and on holidays? Are week-ends better than week-days?