Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Stress-free bidding on eBay


Rose Queen II  © 2015 Karen Mathison Schmidt
12 x 12 x 1½ inches • oil on 1.5" deep cradled GessobordTM
private collection • Shreveport, Louisiana

Stress-free bidding on eBay

It has come to my attention, mostly by observing my own collectors’ (and I love you all!) bidding behavior in my eBay art auctions, that not everyone may understand how eBay bidding works, and how easy and stress-free (and yes, even FUN) it can be if you actually take advantage of the way it works.

If you’re new to ebay auctions, and you start bidding on an item, it may look to you like someone is sitting at their computer outbidding you at every turn, and you may get discouraged. Most likely it’s just eBay automatically bidding for someone who has previously put in a bid that is higher than any of the bids you are entering.

Below I have attempted a short explanation, and have included a link to a very well-written and crystal clear explanation of how the whole process works, but here’s the bottom line and the best advice I can give: decide what is the absolute highest amount you would want to pay for the item on auction, enter that as your bid, and then WALK AWAY FROM THE AUCTION. 

Suppose the opening bid is $1. Instead of bidding $1 and then having to keep raising your bid every time someone outbids you, and then getting emotionally caught up in the competition so you may go over your limit, you say, “Hmmm. I would pay as much as $75 for that.” And you enter a bid of $75.00. 

Ebay then shows that you are the current high bidder with an opening bid of $1, and if nobody else bids on that item, you will pay only $1 as the final price (plus shipping). And nobody (not even I) will know that you would have been willing to go up to $75 for that item! But if a second bidder comes along and bids $25, then Ebay will bid for you, and the current price will go up to $26, with you still as highest bidder. And so on, up to your limit. If the auction ends with no other bids, then you get the item for $26. Get it?

Of course, if a third bidder comes along and enters their bid at, say, $100, then Ebay will put in a bid of a small increment over your highest bid of $75, and the current price would go up to $76, with that new bidder as highest bidder. 

Ebay will then send you an email notification that someone has just outbid your highest bid. Then you can decide whether you want to enter a higher amount. But since at the beginning you set yourself a limit of $75, it’s best to stick to that and let it go, so you don’t get caught up in the auction and end up overspending your budget. At least that’s my own personal rule when I’m trying to buy something on auction. 

And because that new bidder’s highest amount of $100 is kept secret, it may look like you lost the auction by only a dollar or two, and you may be tempted to kick yourself for not going up to just a few dollars more with your highest bid, in reality you most likely were outbid by way more than just a few dollars, as in this example, where you were really outbid by $25. 

Because even though that winning bidder will only pay $76 for the item, you would have had to go up to $102 to outbid their entered high bid of $100. 

Which was about 34% over your pre-decided budget for this item. So don’t be sad and don’t stress. There will always be something new that you want to bid on!

If you want to read more about the whole eBay bidding thing, here’s a link to a really good explanation:


And now: get out there, play nice, and have fun!

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