eBay Tips 2008: End Times

One of the most basic factors that a seller has to make decisions about is the time they choose to end their listings. Equally, as we go ‘Back to Basics’, there is no topic open to greater discussion and speculation. If the question is “When is the best time to end my listings?” the not-very-helpful, but entirely truthful, answer is: “It depends.”

Casual sellers are probably wise to stick with the old orthodoxy, especially with auctions, of ten day listings, comprising two weekends and ending on a Sunday evening. Professional/serious sellers have to be more clever.

Different Goods, different times
Your most profitable ending times will depend on what you’re selling. Young mums, office workers, emo kids or militaria collectors will have different shopping habits, so you need to tailor your ending times to your key audience and experiment. Of course, that’s easier said than done (especially if you have a broad base of customers). Your Shop Traffic Report is an invaluable tool in gauging whether particular times are better for you and your listings. Set up a spread of listings and see if any preferential times emerge. Don’t just look at days and hours. Are certain weeks of the month better than others? For instance, do you get a ‘third/fourth week bounce’ after payday?

It’s about a mix
As a serious seller you doubtless want to be making sales throughout the week. So make sure you spread out ending times, especially if you’re selling numerous items in a single line. Needless to say, both BINs and auctions are most visible as they’re drawing to a close because most of eBay’s Search and Browse pages default to ‘Ending Soonest’. Try to avoid ‘clumping’ whereby you have lots of items ending very closely together. For instance, if your three beige widgets all currently end on a Wednesday evening, change them so they end on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. This should improve your visibility overall. Don’t forget that with Selling Manager Pro that listing scheduling is free.

Think about your whole catalogue
If you do identify a ‘hotspot’ it’s time to exploit it. Do some of your items ending at a particular time do especially well? If so you can use them to channel traffic to your other listings and your Shop. Use your ‘hero listings’ as signposts to other lines and your Shop by using the full gamut of merchandising tools available.

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Tomorrow: Know your Numbers.

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