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EBay Auction vs. Buy It Now: Choosing the Right Listing Option for Your Items

eBay Pricing Options for ResellersOne of the most common problems a new eBay seller encounters when placing an item for sale is how to list it – should you choose an “eBay auction” where prospective buyers bid on your item or “Buy it Now” and have someone pay a set price?

Each listing style serves its own purpose, but if the wrong style is used, you risk losing potential profit. Some items will see better results as a “Buy it Now” as opposed to an auction, and vice versa. Here we will explore what types of items will do better with each style.


The standard eBay auction format allows bidders to compete against each other to win your item. The best time to list as an auction is when you have an item that is hard to find and is in very high demand. These types of items always do well in an auction format. Not only are people looking to purchase these in demand items, but they also enjoy the thrill of bidding and competing for your item.

Collector’s items such as coins, art, vintage toys, etc., are great items to list in an auction format provided there is some demand for your item. Some collector’s items do well at auction, while others do not. Do some research on eBay and see how much similar and sold collector’s items are going for before you send them to an auction.

If the item you are listing has no actual set value then listing as an auction is a fantastic idea – such as a lot of books that are sitting on the shelf, an old video game system, or just some “junk” from around the house. Remember: One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, so you never know if your auction will get bid up beyond what you thought your item was worth.

20160517 - eBay Buy It Now Option Buy It Now

I recommend using the “Buy it Now” option when you have a high-priced item that is not in high demand. While the item is worth a lot, you will not see enough bidders to warrant using an auction style listing. If you have multiples of the same item then the “Buy it Now” is the best option for you, as you are able to list all of your items in one listing and set a single price.

We’re all pressed for time. This applies to purchasing online. Sometimes we simply don’t have the time to watch an auction. We have other things to do. Other times, we don’t just need a product, we need it right now. People often shop on impulse – they want it now.

If you are nervous about not getting full value for your item on eBay then you may want to stick to a “Buy it Now” format so that you set the price of your item and do not have to worry about any loss that you may incur.

Whichever style you choose, it is recommended that you research your item, see who else is selling it on eBay and take notes. See what similar items have sold for in the past; you do not want to short change yourself.

20160517- eBay Best Offer OptionBuy It Now with Best Offer Feature

Adding the best offer feature to a “Buy It Now” price simply means you are willing to negotiate your price. Buyers can offer you what they feel is fair and you can either accept, decline or counter offer. When you receive an offer, it will expire in 48 hours. Keep in mind that other potential buyers can still submit offers in this time frame. Remember to leave wiggle room in your price when choosing this method.

April Lyon is a successful entrepreneur and regular Thrifty Shopper patron with an eye for valuable items. She resides in Cato with her husband and three children. Check out her eBay page. Here are her most recent posts: Five Steps to Get Started Reselling and Valuable Tips to Become a Reseller.

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