Best Match is the default sort order used by eBay, and the idea is to help buyers find the products they need efficiently, and from sellers they trust. What this means for you as a seller is getting your listings in front of those buyers most likely to be interested in your products, and this is one of the keys to success.
There are many factors considered by Best Match, and the variables change under different circumstances, so there is no guaranteed instant formula for success in achieving a good position in search. Good business practices for maximising sales goes hand in hand with the basic methods for optimising your position in search. It’s important to remember that while Best Match is always evolving, responding to buyer interests and behaviour, focusing on business basics is key. Understanding the principles behind optimising your listings can help, but getting and keeping a good position is more about offering great value and service to customers.
• Offer good prices, and ensure shipping is reasonable
• Provide a good service, fast dispatch and quality customer care
• List your products in the correct categories and in the right format
• Write product titles that are relevant and accurate
• Item descriptions should be clear and concise – there can never be enough information
• Good photos are a must
• State your terms and conditions clearly
The practises above may seem obvious, but following them better than your competitors is critical for continued success.
Use the Listings Analytics application to help optimise your listings.
Best Match – How it works
Best Match considers a number of factors when showing buyers the most popular and relevant items from their search. Some of these criteria are consistent for all categories and listing formats, while others are unique.
Although Auction and Fixed Price listings are sorted separately, the results are displayed together, providing the buyer with a good mix of both types of listing. A seller’s track record, competitive prices and shipping, and the actual relevance of the listings are key factors regardless of selling format or category.
When buyers are searching for a particular item on eBay they will more than likely opt for the Best Match sorting method. This may work well for the customer but where does this leave you as a seller?
Listings in most categories are judged on the listings performance score. Best Match assigns a score to Fixed Price listings based on the listings sales in relation to the number of impressions it received. An “impression” is counted whenever a buyer sees a page that includes the listing. A high listing performance score has a high sales to impressions ratio. From the point your listing is seen on a page, your listing is being scored for Best Match sorting. If you wish to succeed as a seller, you need to make sure that the majority of customers that see your listings do in fact buy your item.
Below are some tips to help you optimise your sales.
1. Choosing The Right Format
There are two formats to choose from you can Auction your item using the Auction-style format or you can list an item at a fixed price using the Fixed Price format.
When a customer is buying something from an auction they tend to sort the listings by “time ending soonest”. This means that most customers do not bid until the last few moments so you should only use the Auction-style format when you are sure of the value of your item and that you place a reserve at a price you are willing to accept as you cannot necessarily depend on buyers interest to get the price you want. That is not to say that this cannot or does not happen but it is always best to avoid disappointment. Generally speaking when selling a rare or unique item an auction is often one of the best ways to pique interest often bidding wars start and boost the value of your item tenfold. If something is too difficult to value it is sometimes worth putting the item to auction and allowing the eBay Marketplace determine its final value but as stated above it is often best to place a reserve at the lowest price you would be willing to accept.
If you have an item that you want to sell and you know exactly what price you want for it and you are unwilling to lower it or if you have multiple identical items you are probably best opting for the Fixed Price format. Fixed prices are also a good way to save on upfront insertion fees and can often be more efficient as you can use automatic renewals if your item does not sell quickly or you have a lot of stock that you want to be available to buyers for more than 7 days.
2. Competitive pricing
When creating a Fixed Priced listing, pricing is key. A price may seem fair one day but the price of an item can fluctuate for many reasons for example product availability or popularity. It is always a good idea to keep one eye on your prices and the other on your competitors. Watching your competitors online and off is a good way to determine what the public are willing to pay for items similar to your own. This way you can make adjustments to your prices and ensure that you get the best price for your items whilst staying on top of your competitors.
3. Using Your Titles To Their Best Effect
Using relevant keywords gets your listings to the right buyers and that in turn results in more sales. You should try to include all relevant information and exclude anything irrelevant.
Remember you can use up to 55 characters so use them to their best effect, use descriptive words that clearly convey what it is you’re selling. Include any brand names, artists or designers but it is best not to include too many brands or list possible uses for your item. It is often worth paying extra for a subtitle and including your brand names and uses there.
Try to list attributes that are specific to your item if you’re selling an item of clothing, the customer will need to know the size, colour and condition of the item.
The key here is to be specific. State what your item is even if you are repeating the category name, use correct spelling, do not attempt punctuation and leave out anything that is not relevant to the item for example words like “look”. The customer will not be searching for anything but specifics.
4. Free Shipping
Free shipping can give your Fixed Price listings a boost in search results in some of the categories and although they cannot do the same for Auction-style listings they do give allow you to improve your DSRs or Detailed Seller Ratings for shipping costs. Your DSRs are one of the key factors in determining your Top-rated seller status. If you cannot afford to give away free shipping you must ensure that your shipping prices are fair as excessive shipping can cause your listings to be lowered in searches.
5. Make Yourself Visible
If your item is unique in some way let your buyer know. For example if you are selling a phone, your buyer does not only need to know the brand but the model as well. Buyers know what they want and will often type a model number into search engines as well as the eBay search bar. If you make sure the model number, UPCs (Universal Product Codes), EANs (European Article Numbers), MPN (Manufacturer’s Part Number) or ISBNs (International Standard Book Numbers) can be seen in the title your listing may also be found via Google or Yahoo searches.
Listing in the correct category is also a factor in ensuring that your listing ends up in front of the right buyer so you should always make sure that your item is in the right category. Making sure your buyer knows the little things is also important, take the time to fill out the eBay Seller Form properly and it will help you to sell your item. Not providing details such as the items condition may cost you a sale as buyers who narrow their search to find only new items will not see your listing (condition is a top criteria so be sure to provide these details using the item specifics).
6. Using The eBay Catalogue
When you buy a product you like to have all the information, especially when you can’t simply pick up the item and read the packaging, your buyers feel the same way so it makes sense to create a comprehensive listing with the most detailed information you can provide. A detailed description can also make your listing look better and more appealing. When you use product details on your listing your item will also been shown on the eBay product details pages making it even easier for a buyer to access your listing.
When writing your description there are some questions you may want to ask yourself.
• What kind of item am I selling?
• What materials is it made from?
• When was it made?
• What company/artist/designer/author made this item?
• What condition is this item in?
• Is the item old, new, used, under any form of warranty? Repairs and flaws may need to be mentioned here.
• What are the dimensions of the item?
• Where was the item made?
• What features or markings does the item have?
• Is there a background or history that makes the item special?
• When the description is complete it is always good practice to check your spelling and the accuracy of your claims and to state the terms of your sale very clearly.
• Clear terms and conditions set out your expectations of the buyer and can improve your transactions, allowing it to run more smoothly. Ensure that these terms of sale are easy to find and understand so that the buyer knows what to expect before committing to the purchase.
• Information that must be made clear are things such as – shipping costs, what forms of payment you are willing to accept, how long you are willing to wait for payment, a returns policy, taxes and other applicable fees, whether or not the buyer is responsible for such taxes and fees or the shipping costs of returning any unwanted items. Lastly make sure that this information is consistent with your item description for example making sure you have not mentioned a different shipping price in the item description to the shipping cost on the form.
Not all of the above will apply to your item but if you keep the checklist and ensure that what can be answered has been answered it may help to steer you in the right direction to writing a good, clear item description.
Your listing should always contain a good photo of the item. This will increase sales and give the buyer an idea of what to expect and it also helps to show the differences between your item and similar items for sale. eBay recommend that all images should be clear and in focus and be at least 1000 pixels on the longest side. JPEG files should have a quality of 90 or greater on the 0-99 JPEG quality scale.
7. Group Listings
eBay now offers you the chance to group multiple identical items into a single multi-quantity fixed price or multi-variation listing. In layman’s terms if you have ten pairs of shoes all the same brand same design but you have five in one colour and five in another and possibly even some in different sizes, you can sell them all under one Fixed Price listing. If you do this however, it is often a good idea to choose a longer duration such as a 30-day listing or a listing that is Good ‘Til Cancelled as it takes longer to sell multiple items than single items. You must also note Auction listings cannot contain variations.
There are a number of advantages to creating varied listings. Not having to create separate listings for individual items saves time and money. Buyers have the convenience of selecting one or more variations without having to look elsewhere and so it encourages more sales for you. It makes life far easier when checking your stock as it is far easier to see how many of each variation has sold.
8. Do Not Fall Below eBay Standards
It is important to stay on or above eBay’s minimum seller standards. If your status falls below all of your listings will be lowered in search results. This can be avoided easily by using your Seller Dashboard to keep a watch on your status and read instructions on what to do to improve your status.
9. Outstanding customer service
To become an eBay Top-rated seller you must show evidence of consistently providing your customers with outstanding customer service. Top-rated status provides you with a number of advantages. You will have exclusive increase in exposure when customers use the Best Match search tool (Please note that this does not guarantee that your listing will appear above a more relevant or lower priced listing from a seller without this status. But as long as everything is equal your listing will take priority). The badge itself shows customers that you are a trustworthy seller, most will choose to buy an item from you as opposed to a seller without the badge this in itself will cause a massive sales increase.