I've been a seller on eBay since 1998, as well as a sometimes Power Seller. Despite so many dolls on eBay not attracting bidders or meeting reserves, most of my auctions on eBay DO get bids and my dolls DO sell at good prices. The following tips will help you get top dollar when you are selling dolls on eBay.
1. Photos Are All-Important
This one should be obvious, but you'd be surprised at all the dark, too-tiny photos of dolls that end up in eBay listings. When taking doll photos for eBay, light the doll well! If you are taking photos indoors, you should have photo lights, or at least a good non-glaring flash. You can also use outdoor lighting, if you are careful to use a background that is non-cluttered. A simple photo backdrop, indoors or outdoors, helps quite a bit. And, get close to your dolls--photos shouldn't have lots of white space around them. Finally, don't put tiny photos in your listing. Photos can be of a good size--just remember to compress them for the Internet so they don't take forever to load (I recommend Ulead's PhotoImpact for this).
2. Carefully Research Your Opening Bid Price
You need to know the market for the doll you are selling, and you should place your opening bid realistically vis-a-vis that price. Whenever possible, I like to open an auction at just a bit above my cost for a doll, with no reserve--generally, the free market will take care of the rest. However, you DO need to research the selling prices even if you use this strategy--if a doll is selling with weak prices, I don't then open it so close to my cost--I'm not trying to sell dolls on eBay for a small profit because there's too much effort involved in selling on eBay for that. I would then open the item closer to what I'm hoping to realize OR use a reserve (which I generally don't recommend--see below). Never, ever open a doll at full "retail" unless the doll is "hot" and you know for sure the doll will sell at that price--its a turn-off for bidders. If bidders wanted to buy a doll at retail, they would be shopping for fixed-prices at a store and NOT on eBay.
3. Don't Use A Reserve If Possible
Reserves can depress the final price you realize on an item. Why? Because so many sellers set their reserves way too high, and bidders resent that. There is nothing worse than a bidder wasting time getting involved in an auction, and then the doll doesn't meet reserve and doesn't sell. This is compounded by the fact that the doll's reserve is never disclosed on eBay. SO...unless you have a rare item, an expensive antique item, or something else special or unique, don't use a reserve. You are better off starting with a fair opening price and letting a real auction run. Yes, there is a danger that your item will not bring the price you want, but generally its worth the risk.
4. Make Sure Your Listing Is Attractive
This is another obvious one, but it bears discussion here. You can type in plain-vanilla text on eBay's colorless background, but most other sellers on eBay are using different software programs that help format their auctions to be attractive, with nice titles, colored backgrounds and other enhancements to make auctions easier on the eye. I use eBay's Seller's Assistant (which also helps you manage your auctions) but there are many other choices out there. One thing you should never, ever do when typing in auction descriptions is to type it in all-caps. That is considered shouting!
5. Offer a Money-Back Guarantee
This one's easy, and it pays off with increased customer confidence--customers will feel more comfortable bidding if you stand by your product. Don't Miss Part Two of this Article--Tips 6 through 10!