eBay Shopping Strategies

jawboneI’ve been buying and selling on eBay for eleven years and I’ve had both good and bad experiences, but overall, I love eBay because it’s a great place to find bargains!  Recently I dropped my gold Jawbone bluetooth earpiece for the umpteenth (and apparently the last) time and I’m lost without it, but my quest for a new one to replace it led me back to eBay so I thought I’d share some strategies for shopping on the auction megasite.

The retail price for this Aliph Jawbone Bluetooth Headset is $149 and I’ve seen them at a kiosk in Sam’s Club for $129.  I felt like I got a bargain on my original one when I bought it over a year ago (on eBay) for $65 plus shipping so I did a quick search there first for a new one and found prices ranging from $1 (plus $11.99 shipping) all the way up to $129.99 with free shipping.  For background support I also checked prices at Best Buy ($99.99) and Amazon ($69.99) so I knew that I should go for a deal below $70.

I typically will ignore offerings from foreign sellers or sellers with low feedback (below 98%) right off the bat, however I do consider foreign sellers if I can’t get the item from within the U.S. and the seller has lots of good feedback.  I also tend to ignore listings that start at $1 or a penny because I understand that it’s a psychological ploy on the part of the seller to get more bidders.  These sellers know that people who bid early for low prices help to generate interest in the item while also increasing the bidders’ feelings of “ownership” of the item.  It becomes harder to let go of an item once you’ve begun to feel like its already yours so people bid emotionally rather than intelligently.  You’d be amazed how often people will actually bid more for an auction item than they could “buy it now” for from the seller’s eBay store!

This further narrowed the price range of the acceptable listings to between $45 and $55.  I ended up choosing one in the middle at $49.99 plus free shipping based on the seller’s stellar feedback.  This seller also had a “Make An Offer” option and I noted that there were more than 10 headsets available in the listing.  On the upper right side of each eBay listing you’ll see a “History” field with a number beside it if there have been other sales of that listing.  Click on the link to reveal how many sales there have been, how many have been at the list price, and how many times the seller has accepted an offer.  In the case of my new Jawbone I could see that out of eight sales two had been at full price and the seller had only accepted about half of the offers made by sellers.  This told me that the seller was willing to accept less than the asking price, but probably not a great deal less.

I ended up making an offer of $47 including shipping which was automatically accepted and I got the ship notice the next day.  That’s 68% less than retail and even 28% better than the bargain I got last year 🙂  I am very happy with the deal and I’m anxiously awaiting the delivery driver!  Oh, and I promise to be more careful with this one!

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