ebay auction or buy it nowAre you confused on when you should choose an eBay auction or buy it now listing when selling? You are not alone! In this article you will learn when to choose an eBay auction or buy it now listing type so you can make the most money.

Buy It Now Listings

Buy it now listings are a listing where you set the price you want and the buyer can purchase it immediately.

There is no having to sit around and wait for an auction to end.

Buy it now listings are becoming more and more popular as buyers want the item immediately and don’t want to wait.

In most cases buy it now listings will sell for more than auction style listings.

eBay’s Push Towards Buy It Now

eBay actually wants sellers to have more buy it now listings than auctions.

They do this by giving more free buy it now listings than auction style listings.

“But wait!” you are saying. “I get the same number of each.”

Yes, maybe you have a basic store and you get 250 buy it now and 250 auction style listings free. Or maybe you don’t have a store and you get 50 free total listings.

But what you need to remember is the duration of each.

  • Buy it now listings last an entire month.
  • Auction-style listings last at most 10 days.

So, if you choose to go with auction listings, you will find your self burning through them pretty quickly if you are relisting every 7 or 10 days.

A Further Look At eBay Stores

And if you look at the larger Premium, Anchor, and Enterprise stores, they get only a small fraction of auction-style listings each month. This is the current split:

  • Premium: 1,000 buy it now/500 auction
  • Anchor: 10,000 buy it now/1,000 auction
  • Enterprise: 100,000 buy it now/2,500 auction

It is clear that eBay favors buy it now listings.

This should tell you that in most cases, buy it now will make you more money.

When you make more, eBay makes more. When you win, eBay wins.

New To Reselling?


Auction Style Listings

So the question comes down to this: “Should I only do buy it now listings then?”

“When (if ever) would I want to use an auction-style listing?”

Yes, most of the time buy it now will make you more money.

However, there are three cases when you will want to consider using an auction style listing:

  1. When demand is greater than supply
  2. When you want buyers to make a decision
  3. When you want to clear out inventory

Here’s some further explanation.

1) When Demand Is Greater Than Supply

For items with a demand that is greater than the supply, you may want to consider using an auction-style listing.

If the demand is high, you will end up getting more money going with an auction than with a buy it now listing.

So how do you know if an item is in high demand?

You will simply need to compare the number of items listed (the supply), with the number of items sold (the demand).

If you need help figuring out how many items are listed and how many are sold, I’ve put together step-by-step directions on how to calculate the demand for your items.

If there are a more items sold compared with how many are listed, you will likely get more money if you go with an auction.

2) When You Want Buyers To Make A Decision

If you have plenty of free auction listings left, you may want to consider using auctions to help your buyers make a decision.

Because there is no sense of urgency with buy it now listings, they can sometimes sit for a long time without watchers ever making a purchasing decision.

With auction style listings, there is a strong sense of urgency.

Buyers will see the time ticking down as the auction ending time approaches. And a lot of times this is enough for them to make a decision and try to beat out anyone that may bid last minute.

You can use this trick with just about any type of item including collectibles and unique, one-of-a-kind items. Simply start the auction at the price you want for your item.

You may have to relist a few times to make a sale. But that is better than starting at a low price and only getting one bid. Ouch!

3) When You Want To Clear Out Inventory

The third reason to choose an auction listing is when you want to clear out inventory.

Once you have some items that you’ve had for a while, you may come to a point when you are okay with letting them go so you can make room for new and better items.

If this is where you find yourself, just start bids low.

Keep in mind that most items will only get one bid.

But some items may surprise you with going for more than you thought they would.

But that is not often the case so you will want to know what price you are comfortable starting bids at. You don’t want to loose money.

You will want to start bids at or above your break even point.

I will explain below how to calculate your break even point.


Tips For eBay Auctions

Here are some tips for using eBay auctions.

1) Know Your Break Even Point

Here’s how to calculate your break even point. You just need to know your Cost of Goods (COG).

For ease of calculations this assumes a nice round eBay fee of 10% and a 30 cent + 2.9% PayPal Fee:

Break Even Point = (0.129shipping + 0.3 + COG)/0.871

So for an item that you paid $2 for and that you will charge the buyer $5 for shipping, the break even point is:

(0.129*5 + 0.3 + 2)/0.871 = $3.38

For our example, $3.38 or higher should be your starting bid to break even.

2) End Your Auctions During Waking Hours

When it comes to auctions, the ending time is very important.

You will also want to keep in mind your time zone compared with that of the majority of your buyers.

For me, being on the west coast of the U.S., most of my buyers are on the east coast. I don’t want to end auctions after they have gone to bed for the night.

Do not end your auctions in the middle of the night when everyone is sleeping.

3) Get The Most Exposure With A 10-Day Auction Ending on Sunday

I’ve had good luck with ending auctions on pretty much every day of the week.

But historically, Sunday has the most shoppers.

And if you use a 10-day duration and count back, you will see that your listing will get exposure through 2 weekends.

So to end your item on Sunday, just be sure to start a 10-day listing on Thursday at the time you want it to end on Sunday.

Thanks For Joining Me!

Thanks for joining me for eBay Auction Or Buy It Now: Which To Choose.

I hope this article will help you make an informed decision when it comes to choosing an eBay auction or a buy it now listing.


P.S. If you are new to selling, be sure to join Reseller Bootcamp now!