What is the best eBay listing strategy?

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Since eBay implemented it new search engine “Cassini”  back in 2013 we have been testing all different types of listing formats and strategies to find which strategy gives us the most sales conversion  and the following is what we have found works for us. Hope it might help you too.


GTC (Good till cancelled) This works best for us with fast selling new items which have multiple quantities however, it is important to accept best offers if an item slows down and, also keep inventory levels low to give the impression of “scarcity”.  Let me explain.

We find if items which do not sell fast with GTC will drop down the search results and thus not get much traffic.  The only way to possibly resurrect a slow selling listing is to accept a best offer. Accepting a best offer (getting a sale) improves the “impression to sales” ratio  and thus can push the item back up the search results.

Another strategy we use on all our listings with GTC is to only display low quantities on each listing so it gives the “impression” all of our items are about to run out of stock.  Airlines have been doing this strategy with the amount of seats they show available for years .

We use a tool called Scarcity Manager to do this for us however you can do it yourself manually. The downside you have to be very careful of doing this manually is if you get a run of sale on a product and do not update your inventory fast enough, you risk losing your sales history. Scarcity Manager updates the inventory every 1 min.  The URL for Scarcity is http://www.scarcitymanager.com

Several things happen when you show low quantities including eBay displaying “95% sold out” and “limited  Quantity Available” etc.  These triggers can be enough to push a prospective buyer who is sitting on the fence to push the buy button and… because every extra sale further improves the “impression to sale” ratio it can give exponential rises in the search results.

One thing to bear in mind with GTC is overtime search engines like Google will find your listings and index them which will give you even more traffic to your eBay listings. This is why it is important to make your Ebay listing SEO compatible but that is another subject!

If an item does not work with GTC i.e. its “impression to sale” ratio is too low, then the next best strategy is the “Churn and Burn” strategy.

Churn and Burn

The “Churn and Burn” Strategy also works very well for 1 off used items.

This strategy involves listing items for 3,5,or 7 days only and then repeating the same again, often with a break between relists.

Why this works is new items on eBay get placed high up in the search results for approx 12 hours then the gradually slide down the search results then… at the end of the listing period, they start rising back up till the end of the listing period.


We only auction items which have been returned which are no longer re-saleable as new items.  The crazy thing is we will sometimes sell these for a higher price than our Buy it now price??  We often joke around saying we should damage all our items then sell them at auction! Yes it is joke however like most  jokes like this, there is an element of truth in it!

We start all auctions at 99 cents on Thursday night at 8:45 for 10 days  then let them finish at 8:45 10 days later on Sunday night.

This auction strategy works only for items which are popular and get lots of searches daily.  It does not work for items which have low traffic. If you list grandma’s 1925 xyz which has been valued at $10,000 on a 99 cent auction and the few hundred people who really want that item do not check eBay that week, you could be selling it for 99 cents!


Unfortunately there is no “one fits all”  eBay listing strategy and several factors have be taken into account including;

How popular an item is and how many searches it gets per day?

New or used?

Single item or multiple of the same item?

Hope that helps.

What works best for you?

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7 Responses to What is the best eBay listing strategy?

  1. Dave Guzman says:

    What might be the best way to sell my 2004 E500 4 Matic car,ill need around $12000 to make a small profit

    Kind regards
    Dave Guzman

  2. Martin says:

    Thanks for those pointers Neil. Really like the idea of Auctioning Returned Items. Will apply this and the other tips. All very much appreciated.

  3. David Swann says:

    Thanks again for another great tip, I’m about to launch my first few products and really appreciate your insights and desire to constantly improve the way you run your ebay businesses.

  4. Andrew S says:

    Great tips again. Thanks Neil! Excellent timing as I am about to start listing in the next few weeks.

  5. Frank says:

    Thanks for your insight..

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