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Auction Vs. Buy It Now on Ebay

Updated on July 4, 2015
Bellatricks profile image

Bellatricks has been an avid eBayer for awhile now. She likes sharing tips on how to be successful on eBay.

eBay logo
eBay logo | Source

What listing items via auction or "Buy It Now" really means.

When listing and selling items on eBay there are many ways to go about it. The two major and most common options are via auction or "Buy It Now". Through the auction sellers can choose a starting price (or bid) that they desire. It's recommended to start low as most sellers choose to start at just 99 cents.

"Buy It Now" is a set price that the seller will set. There is no auction so whatever price is listed is what the item will sell at. Of course there are exceptions because you may also choose to allow "Best Offers" to come in, we'll go more into that later. For now this is just a quick explanation of the two major differences between these two.

Auction gavel
Auction gavel | Source

The Pros and Cons of Auction.

Listing and selling an item through auction has numerous pros and cons and now we shall take a look at each. First let's start with the pros of listing and selling via auction on eBay.

Probably the biggest and best pro of an auction is having the chance to sell an item at a much higher price than expected. If an item is popular and wanted it might get caught up in a bidding war with bidders bidding against each other and driving up the price.

Another pro of the auction listing on eBay is more exposure. This is certainly true for listings that start out at a low bid. People searching for items by price will see the lower priced items first. This means while the price is low for an auction more people should be seeing the said listing within their search results.

One of the cons at selling via auction is not getting the price you wanted. You may end up literally giving away an item if it sells at an extremely low price. If you were intending on making a certain amount of money this can be a bad thing. If you were just looking to get rid of an item just try to think about accomplishing that.

Another con at selling via auction on eBay is dealing with people who just won't pay. There might come a time where you will receive bids and an auction will end but the buyer won't actually pay! This can be an awful experience and unfortunately happens through auction listings from time to time.

Shopping cart
Shopping cart | Source

The Pros and Cons of "Buy It Now".

"Buy It Now" can bring many pros and cons so now let's take a look at each one that this option may bring to a listing. First let's jump right into the pros.

The biggest and best pro of the "Buy It Now" option is the fact that you know exactly how much an item will sell for. You are after all setting the price! You don't have to worry about if the auction will reach a certain price listing this way.

Another pro that this option might bring is buyers who know what they want and won't hassle you. Unfortunately there are buyers and many accounts on eBay that will bid and never pay. You have the option to only let buyers actually buy through the "Buy It Now" option and make them pay right then and there. That is a great pro because once someone actually selects to buy the item it has to be immediately paid which means you receive the money right then and there.

A con of listing on eBay this way can be that the item won't actually sell. You may be trying to sell the item at an unreasonable price. You may have to test different price points or add a "Make Best Offer" option to the listing in order to actually sell the item. If you are trying to make money and this is your business you might have to wait awhile for the item to sell. If you are just trying to get rid of something it might be wiser to just lower the price so that you can finally get rid of the item.

Would you rather list items via auction or "Buy It Now"?

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Personal views of what is "better".

For me personally it really depends on the item and how much I'm willing to "let it go" for. If I really want to sell items though I put it through auction because I've noticed first hand items seem to sell better through auction rather than the "Buy It Now" price. Sometimes I'll list an item that has various options so technically I'm offering the item via auction AND "Buy It Now". When it's all said and done though, I have yet to get the "Buy It Now" price when there's an auction attached to it.

So for me personally, I get a better overall experience out of auctions than I do listing items in a different format. Sure I might not get the best price that I wanted but the items usually sell and that's what I really want.

The differences of auction and "Buy It Now" quiz.


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Do you sell on eBay? Are you interested in selling on eBay? Please comment below on your thoughts of selling on eBay and if you have a preference over listing v

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    • Adrian jones profile image

      Ade 22 months ago from South Wales

      Hi Michelle. I use BIN 99% of the time. The only time I use an auction style listing is when I have something whacky and wonderfull and I've no idea what its worth. I started an eBay shop and always use the "good till cancelled" style of listing. I think this appeals to my lazy side of not having to keep relisting the item every thirty days or so.

      Nice hub keep it up.