I’m pleased to see that Brighton and Hove City Council are flogging some old street signs on eBay. It’s not a first (several other councils are already accomplished eBayers) but it is a good way to raise some cash for the coffers and also recycle and reuse things that they don’t need any more.
But they’ve made a hash of it. The poor listings mean that (so far) the signs are raising rather miserable sums. The signs do have significant value and they aren’t getting the prices I think they should.
Here’s hoping that this is the first foray into ecommerce for my local authority. So, free of charge, here is some advice on how to get more out of eBay. And remember, dear burghers of Brighton and Hove, I’m always available to help further for a modest fee.
What exactly is for sale?
The description used for each of the 11 signs is generic and the single picture doesn’t do the signs justice. 11 signs are for sale and each individual sign needs a specific description of what exactly is up for grabs. The individual descriptions should note the different destinations of each sign and describe the individual flaws and foibles of each one. They aren’t identical, after all.
A Bad Picture
The pictures don’t tell buyers all that much. For items such as this a few images per item are easily justifiable. Images offering close ups and extra info for buyers would have been brilliant and fascinating. Snaps tapered to each and every sign would have been ideal.
By stating that collection is compulsory and buyers will need heavy listing gear if they buy a sign, the seller is limiting the potential pool of eager buyers. Presumably the council has vehicles and kit and could manage delivery? A nominal fee of (say) £20 carriage within the city limits would cover costs and attract buyers.
Not Enough Trust
The council has also committed one of the most frequent eBay beginners’ errors: they’ve listed a ‘big ticket’ item without having first established a track record. We simply don’t know if the council is a good eBay citizen. Selling a few small items first and getting some feedback would have been a good idea. An About Me/My World page complete with bona fides would have helped too.
They Flooded the Market
By listing all 11 signs in one go, the council has failed to maximise the perception of scarcity. These are rather neat things and by listing a few at a time would have got the competitive bidding going. As it stands, listing them all in one go means that some have only a single bid.