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eBay: Focus Your Sales By Sharpening Your Image

Aug 17, 2007
Have you ever wondered why that item you had for sale on eBay didn't sell? Just remember that one picture can be worth a thousand words!

This article applies to all sellers on eBay, no matter you sell, no matter how frequently. I'm talking about perhaps the one most important thing on any eBay auction lot: the picture. Just think about it for a minute and you'll see what I mean. Better still, log on to eBay and choose any category and just look - really look - at what you see.

I've had the benefit of some considerable amount of marketing experience in the past, especially when presenting products for sale on the internet. Styles change but one thing remains constant - if a prospective customer can't see what you have to offer, they won't buy. Period.

I have lost count long ago of the number of items I've seen on eBay with no gallery image and even with no image at all. Let me ask you what you yourself do when scanning the lots in your chosen category and I bet you do exactly the same as I (and who knows how many others) do: you skip the items with no picture.

Why? Well, it's just a basic human response. We are geared to notice form and colour only second to noticing movement. It's something that runs very deeply in everyone and goes way, way back to the time when noticing these things was a very handy way of avoiding being eaten. Whilst we don't have that problem to face nowadays, old habits do die hard!

So what are the thing to remember when inserting an image into your eBay lot? That's the next thing to think about: presentation. Your customer isn't interested in a panoramic view of your living room or your dirty laundry (I kid you not, I've seen it). What they want to see is what you have to sell - and only that. They also want to see it plainly, clearly and in decent light. If you only load one image into your sale, you only have one chance - so make it good!

If you haven't got a digital camera, try to borrow one. The cameras built into cellphones have improved vastly recently but they still have a big problem when it comes to taking good photos - camera shake. It's difficult to hold them steady enough to get a good shot. So get hold of a proper camera, or ask your friend to take that photo for you.

Try to take it a step further, especially if you are going to make eBay a regular thing. Get that digital camera and some photo-editing software (very often bundled with a new camera). Learn how to use it - for basic cropping, brightness and contrast it's pretty easy to pick up and it's fun! Maybe invest in a cheap tabletop tripod - these can be had for very little money and they can make a big difference to the sharpness of the picture due to the fact that the camera is held more rigidly then you could ever do by hand, especially for close-up shots.

When taking your shot, try to put the item against a plain or fairly neutral background - white paper if you can't find anything else but a pastel shade is better. Try to use natural light when shooting - flash photography can be tricky, especially for those close shots or if your item is shiny or has a reflective or gloss finish. If you can't shoot in natural light, turn the flash off and use house lighting - your camera will have almost certainly have an 'artificial light' mode on it to compensate and the result will be less garish than with flash.

If you're going to make a habit of eBay, it's also a good idea to use the same background each time and to try to keep your shot 'composition' standard. It's surprising how quickly regular eBay buyers will come to recognise your lots and put a watch on them - presuming you sell good items!

It also helps to use more than one image but this of course depends on the value of the item - it's not economic to use twenty photos to sell a low-value product. Images can of course be hosted elsewhere - even on you own website. It's all part of using eBay to your best advantage.

In conclusion, always remember that on eBay, as in life, image can be everything. Just try these simple suggestions and see your conversion rates soar!
About the Author
Steve Dempster writes informative articles for the web and is also a confirmed eBayer. To learn more about levering your eBay sales, take a look at A New Life 4U or pay his shop a visit
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