Though just about everyone on earth knows that you can sell your stuff on eBay, whether you're an individual or a business, it's not always obvious just how to go about using eBay's multiple eBay listing formats to your best advantage. This quick guide gives you a list of the basic eBay auction listing formats, how to use them, and what to expect from them.
Classic eBay auction format
This is the listing format that launched eBay. As the seller, you decide on the minimum starting bid and on the duration of the auction. eBay shoppers then bid
on your item and raise the price with each bid. When time runs out, the high bidder wins your item and pays for it (along with any shipping and handling costs), after which you ship it. For this format, sellers should use the standard auction listing
Auction format with reserve
The classic eBay auction format, but with a twist—a secret price below which you're not willing to sell the item. Bidding proceeds as it normally does, but when time runs out, if your price hasn't been met, you're not obligated to sell the item to the highest bidder and are free to either keep it yourself or relist it using any eBay format, often after a short delay to wait for market conditions to change in the case of rare or unusual items. For this format, sellers should use the standard auction listing
form and be sure to use the reserve price
option from the list of seller features
Auction + Buy It Now
This is also the classic eBay auction format with a twist—a clear, published price at which you're willing to immediately sell the item. Prospective bidders may bid on your item but they may also opt to pay your price immediately, pay you immediately, and have you ship the item to them immediately. This is often the format of choice for sellers in a hurry to sell and for buyers in a hurry to buy. For this format, sellers should use the standard auction listing
form and be sure to use the Buy It Now
option from the list of seller features
Fixed Price Listing
This format dispenses with the auction-style bidding altogether. As a seller, you merely set a price and a duration for your listing. In order to purchase the item, the bidder must be willing to pay the price that you've specified; the price is not open to negotiation or bidding. For this format, sellers should use the standard auction listing
form and be sure to click the “Fixed Price” tab on the “Create Your Listing” page when posting your auction listing.
eBay Stores Listing
This format lists your item for sale at a fixed price, just as was the case with the Fixed Price Listing format, but the item is only listed in your eBay store
, rather than in regular eBay listing categories through which users are able to browse. Your item may appear in eBay search results, but usually won't be as prominently featured and/or may require an extra click or two to be found. The format has advantaged, however—radically reduced listing fees and much longer listing durations available to you. This is often the format of choice for sellers with large inventories and/or large volume selling practices. To offer items in stores, sellers must open an eBay Store
to use this format.
eBay Motors Listing
This subject-specific format can be an auction, an auction with a Buy It Now price, or a fixed price listing, but it is specifically formatted for and included in eBay Motors searches and categories, and is thus ideal for selling vehicles or vehicle components. For this format, sellers should use the eBay Motors auction listing
Real Estate Listing
Another subject-specific format, Real Estate auctions are reserved for real estate or land sales, and are subject not only to their own listing format restrictions but also to their own rules, which in many cases differ significantly from regular eBay rules—most notably in the fact that real estate listings are non-binding on all parties. For this format, sellers should use the standard auction listing
form and select the “Real Estate” category.
eBay Classifieds Listing
Classifieds listings are listings that are posted like classified ads on eBay Classifieds
and are generally intended for local sale and pickup. Rather than enabling bidding or buying, shoppers are expected to personally contact the classified ad poster by email in order to complete the sale on mutually acceptable terms. Classified ads listings are generally seen only by searching eBay Classifieds directly, though eBay has experimented with showing classified ads search results or links to classified ads search results in some shopping categories. For this format, sellers should visit the eBay Classifieds home page
and use the selling tools found there.
Want It Now Listing
This listing format differs from all of the others on eBay in that it is posted by prospective buyers, rather than sellers, and describes not an item that is for sale, but instead an item that a buyer would very much like to buy if they can find a seller to sell one to them. Specify your price, your condition, and the description of the item you'd like to buy and wait for an eBay seller to contact you with an item that fits the fill and that fits your price requirements. For this format, would-be buyers should use the want it now listing