Keys to Relisting Auction Items

Simple adjustments can increase the chance of a sale the next time around.

by Dennis L. Prince
- Jul 01, 2010

Even the most successful online auction sellers admit that some items put up for bid don't sell the first time around. Undaunted, these seasoned sellers have learned that relisting such goods is not only easier than ever, it typically yields a successful sale when aided by some simple re-marketing strategies, too.

If you've been discouraged by an item of yours that didn't sell (either due to lack of bids or a reserve price that wasn't met), don't lose hope. While there are no guarantees that a relisted item will sell on the second try, understanding eBay's relisting process—plus some deftly applied listing adjustments—could help result in a successful and cost-effective sale that awaits you on a next go-around.

Why relisting occurs

First off, understand the reasons for relisting auction items. Here are the most common reasons you might be ready to relist:

  • Your item sold the first time around, but the buyer never paid. While this is one of the worst-case reasons for having to relist an item, you should pursue proper fee reimbursement from eBay if you encounter a deadbeat buyer. Then, provided the listing saw good activity, you can use eBay's Second Chance Offer system to court the under-bidders. Otherwise, simply relist the item for another go-around.
  • You cancelled your transaction. If you found any sort of discrepancy in the item as you had described it in your listing after the auction ended and a buyer is waiting to transact for it, you can visit eBay's Resolution Center to contact the buyer, explain the matter and collaborate for a mutual agreement of cancelling the transaction. If the buyer agrees, you can get a credit for the insertion fee you were charged when you relist an amended auction (if appropriate).
  • eBay will credit your insertion fee on the first relisting

  • You ended your auction early. If you discovered an error in the way you listed your auction or perhaps you overlooked a key selling point but received at least one bid before you could revise your active listing (and before the listing has ended), you could elect to end your auction early, make the needed adjustments and relist.

For the above relisting scenarios, eBay will credit your insertion fee on the first relisting. Of course, if you have multiple items to sell and the first listing was successful, you can relist another auction for another of the same item, but it won't be considered a true "relisting" that would gain you relisting credits.

How much rework is involved?

Next, familiarize yourself with the mechanics of relisting items. The good news here is, at eBay, relisting is a breeze. When you're ready to relist an item, either for insertion fee credit as previously described, or simply to offer another of the same item, all you need to do is go back to the original auction item listing page where you'll see the conspicuous "Relist" link. Just a click of the mouse, and you're ready to relist.

Alternately, you'll discover that you can relist an item from within My eBay. Simply navigate to the page of your recently Sold or Unsold items, click the pull-down arrow on the item area noted "Action" and select the "Relist" option. Simple, huh? Just be aware that eBay only preserves this data in My eBay for 60 days, but with Auctiva, it's accessible for the life of your account.

Now, when you relist in either of these ways, eBay will guide you through the original listing pages as when you first submitted your item. Here you can make changes to adjust or otherwise improve your listing details or, if all was good the first time around, simply click the "Submit" button without making changes, and your auction is running again.

Review, revise and re-market

As noted in the previous paragraph, when you relist an item, this becomes your opportunity to make some smart adjustments to improve your sales potential, the second time around. This is also the time when you can learn from an unsuccessful auction regarding why an item didn't get bids and sell, then determine what alterations you might make to improve your sales (and profit) potential upon relisting. Perhaps you need a change in approach and strategy as you prepare to relist.

When relisting an item, carefully consider these key relisting checkpoints:

  • Review your auction title for clarity, completeness and a maximum amount of critical keywords. Check for misspellings, too.
  • Relistings allow you to 'tinker' with your sales tactics and methods

  • Review your auction category and determine if it was the best choice, the only choice or if there's a better choice available. While few buyers actually utilize category-based browsing for items, some do take note of an item's category and, if it seems inconsistent to the item being offered, this could be enough to discourage a bidder or buyer. Play it safe; review and adjust the category, as needed.
  • Review your auction description to be sure it's informative, accurate and enticing. Be sure the description is consistent to what you promised within the item title.
  • Did you offer images of the item? If not, add some now because a photo can still be the magic ingredient that converts a browser into a buyer.
  • Was your minimum bid price or reserve price set too high? Can you adjust it down or forgo the reserve, trusting the current market to bring you a reasonable price?
  • Was this the best time to list? Review the time, day and season of your auction and determine if an adjustment is in order.
  • How many times have you relisted (if this isn't just your second go-around)? Is it possible there's simply no interest in your item at this time? Yes, this is a rare but plausible conclusion at times.

At the end of the day, recognize there's value in unsuccessful auctions: They help you understand and adjust your sales and marketing approach. Relistings allow you to "tinker" with your sales tactics and methods, helping you develop listings that are most appealing to your target customer base and most efficient in helping you sell the first time around, going forward.

About the Author

Dennis L. Prince has been analyzing and advocating the e-commerce sector since 1996. He has published more than 12 books on the subject, including How to Sell Anything on eBay…and Make a Fortune, second edition (McGraw-Hill, 2006) and How to Make Money with MySpace (McGraw-Hill, 2008). His insight is actively sought within online, magazine, television and radio venues.

Opinions expressed here may not be shared by Auctiva Corp. and/or its principals.

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