We all have those times when eBay is the best buying option. Perhaps someone is finally selling a pair of shoes you've been craving. The price of a TV is cheaper than anywhere else. There are other auction sites out there trying to compete — the problem is, eBay basically runs the industry. If you want to learn how to bid on eBay, read this short guide.
Before you consider any eBay bidding, check the shipping details. Make sure you're clear on them and that there's nothing fishy or insanely overpriced. Especially avoid anyone who wants to discuss different shipping options after the auction closes – you'll know if they mention it in the product description.
Buyers go on eBay for different reasons, but everyone is looking for a good price. If you're the type to avoid auctions all together, go over to the left side and hit “Buy It Now.” Then, go to the top and sort by “Price & Shipping – Lowest First.” No more searching for the lowest price – it'll be right in front of you.
The thing is though, half the fun of eBay is the auctions. There are two ways to go about winning the product you want, and for each way you should have a “highest bid” in mind, otherwise you'll end up overpaying.
Number one is last-second bidding, aka “sniping”. This is riskier than the option in the next paragraph, but it can lead to amazing deals. Simply place your bid in the box, and wait until there are about 6-8 seconds left. Be prepared to change your bid in the box a couple times; auctions tend to keep going up in price in the final minute. Waiting until 6-8 seconds before the auction ends will give your computer just enough time to submit the bid, and almost guarantee you're the last bidder. Note: never be tempted to put a bid in before the one minute mark! Sometimes it feels great to hit that “Place Bid” button, but in reality, you're just raising the price on yourself.
If you're content with spending a little bit more, you can place a fairly high bid at any time. Let's pretend you want a new jacket, and it's at $0.99 with 5 days left. You don't really want to monitor the listing, but you still want a chance at a good deal. You can put in your max bid, $50.00. The listing won't jump up to that price. It will just save your bid, and bring the listing up a few cents, to about $1.04. If nobody ends up bidding close to or over $50.00, you'll win the jacket at just a few cents over what the second highest bid was.
When you win the item for a great price, give yourself a pat on the back. The only thing you have to look out for is the seller backing out – which unfortunately happens sometimes if they aren't happy with the selling price. There's not much you can do if that happens, even though it's technically against eBay's rules.
I hope that these tips have given you a better idea about how to bid on eBay. Good luck & happy bidding!
Ben is an avid eBay buyer and seller. He also works with Web Payment Software, an online payment solution that works well for small online businesses.