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Why are my sales so slow?


Question: Why are my sales so slow?
Not everyone is expecting to turn eBay selling into a source of regular income, but if that’s your plan, it can be beyond frustrating to experience periods of slow sales or to struggle to get sales moving at all. When this happens, inexperienced sellers often wonder what they’re doing wrong.

Despite the aura of entrepreneurialism that surrounds eBay, sales and profits aren't automatic. Here are a series of common reasons for lower-than-desired performance on eBay. Do any of them sound like your auctions?

  • Your items aren't unusual enough. If lots of other sellers are selling exactly the same thing at similar or slightly lower prices, or if your buyers can generally buy the same thing at the same price from their local drug or discount store, you'll struggle to make a profit.

  • Your items are too unusual. On the other hand, if the items you're selling are such niche products that only a handful of people in the world desire, know to look for, or can afford them, you'll find it difficult to build a lasting business.

  • Your items aren't eBay-appropriate. eBay is overwhelmingly oriented toward durable household, office, and personal goods, as well as certain types of nonperishable consumables. If your goods are either rarely individually purchased (sourced by institutions instead) or they are perishable or consumable, you may have difficulty selling them on eBay.

  • Your prices aren't competitive. This doesn't just mean "you're not the cheapest," though at times it can. When prices are within a few pennies of each other, or when others are underselling you, buyers may have no reason to choose you over other sellers.

  • Your feedback profile reflects poorly on you. Small variations in feedback percentage or detailed seller ratings can mean big differences in search placement and in buyer trust.

  • You have no repeat buyers. It is extremely difficult to build a sustainable business unless you can sell to the same customers over and over again. Are your items so one-of-a-kind or singular that repeat sales are unlikely?

  • You're listed in the wrong search results, category, or eBay marketplace. Check your listing titles, the categories you're choosing, and the eBay site (national, international, which language, etc.) you're on. Are your listings going to find their way to the people searching the hardest for your kind of item?

  • Your listings are of poor quality. Check your listings for great information (never list with just one or two sentences of information), presented nicely, with beautiful, non-stock photos. Fail to provide these and your sales will invariably suffer.

  • Your listings are generic. Given a choice between a generic high-quality listing that shows a product box and perfectly copied box copy and a customized listing that shows purpose-taken photos and reflects the personality of the seller or business, buyers will almost always choose the latter.

  • Your timing is bad. Are you selling items that most people will only use in the summertime? In the wintertime? Around particular holidays? Are your items out of style? Your stock should be time-appropriate if you want to sell.

  • Your attitude drives customers away. It's important to be specific in item listings and to set terms that don't put you at risk. On the other hand, buyers can spot sellers that are hostile to their customers from miles away. Do your listings give off the "Buyer beware!" vibe or the "We value our customers!" vibe? The sales difference can be startling.
If you're having trouble moving your eBay goods, look over this list and see if any of the items here apply to you. Any one of them can be enough to sink an otherwise worthwhile eBay business. Don't settle for half-measures and merely "good enough" business practices if you're serious about doing well as an eBay seller.

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