- Starting with a low opening bid is the root of creating "Auction Fever."
"It encourages lots of buyers to bid on the item initially and that makes other people think that it must be worth bidding on," explains Professor Gillian Ku, part of the team which undertook the research alongside colleagues at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Illinois.
"Once those people have also started bidding on the item, they put time and effort into following it and the more emotionally invested they become, the more likely they are to spend above the limit they originally set themselves," she said.
This is part of a syndrome the report describes as "auction fever."
- Choose longer auction periods.
The length of an auction is a powerful factor in influencing the final price, according to Ku. "Research in America has shown that the longer potential buyers have been following an item, the more committed they feel towards it and so the more they want it. That's perhaps a reason for considering a seven-day auction for your product, rather than three or five days."
- The above suggestions work well with hard to find/uncommon items.
"For common commodities like mobile phones, people won't have the patience to wait around for the end of a long auction because another one will come along quicker elsewhere. But if a woman is interested in a particular style of Jimmy Choo shoes and there is only pair available in her size on eBay, then obviously she will be prepared to invest much more time in waiting and bidding for them," he said.
- Know your target market.
"Women tend to surf the Internet between 6pm and 8pm, whereas there are more men online between 9pm and 11pm."
- Write a descriptive and detailed headline to the auction.
"Research shows that 97 percent of people search on eBay based on the headings, rather than the main item description itself."
- Poor spelling may provide a competitive advantage.
"Remember, also, that people often make spelling mistakes when they are entering the search terms so it might be worth putting common misspellings in your heading, too, for example Bakerlite as well as Bakelite."
- Always have good pictures with the auction.
"Research suggests that if people see a picture of something, they already start to feel ownership of it."
Hat Tip: Sports Collectors Daily: