If you’ve ever listed a sports card on eBay, you know there are several steps to optimize your listing. There’s even a specific list of words you should include in your auction’s title, as we’ve written about before.
Since there are several steps to listing a card well, there are many possible missteps sellers can make. And there are plenty of people on eBay who make every single one of them.
If you can find such listings, it will result in more profit for you.
A “bad listing,” as we’re considering it, is a listing that unnecessarily includes errors that make it likely a seller will receive offers below market value.
There are lots of reasons eBay sports card listings could fall in this category. A common offense is misspelling player names. Some listings forget to include an important keyword, making them harder to find but easier for buyers to get a good deal.
The last example is the focus of this post: listings with bad ending times.
Here’s a pop quiz: you’re excited to watch your favorite team play, so you pick up a pizza, change into comfy clothes, pop down on the couch, and turn on the TV for tipoff.
What time is it?
Depending on where you live, it is most likely between 5 and 9 PM on a weekday.
There’s a reason for that: networks want viewers on their games, so the games are played in the evening when people are free.
The same concept applies to sports card listing on eBay: auctions that end at convenient times sell cards for higher prices. There are more people around to bid, and that drives up the cost of the item. The flip side is that auctions that end at bad times can sell for significantly less.
So what’s the wrong time to end a listing?
Think about your schedule. When are you most likely to not be on eBay? If you’re like most people, this means late night and early morning (2 AM) ending times are much less likely to have high bidding traffic in the final minute. Other listings, even those ending midmorning, are still better than those ending during prime time.
Armed with an understanding of the impact of lousy ending times, you’re probably ready to start hunting for off-hour bargains.
But first, a word of caution. Always consider the audience of the auction card. If it is a player or sport with more international interest, there’s a good chance that the 2 AM ending time for you might still be ideal for the intended buying audience. That is something to keep in mind with soccer cards in particular. Keep that in mind, and check the item’s location before you buy.
And now, the how-to:
There are a couple of different approaches to finding these listings.
Are you ready to stay up all with a big pot of coffee and buy some cards?? You don’t have to. You can literally win these auctions in your sleep.
You’re probably well aware of this, but eBay has an automatic bid feature on auctions. You can set a maximum bid amount and let the system do the rest.
For example, if you’re watching a Zion rookie card that ends at 3 AM and you want to bid a maximum of $62.06, set that as your maximum bid, go to bed, and eBay will do the rest. You will now automatically out-bid anybody who bids less than your amount. The following morning you’ll be able to see which auctions you won and lost without losing sleep over it—literally or metaphorically.
If you’re ready to really get the best deal—both mathematically and psychologically—consider using an auction sniper. Auction snipers work by placing your top bid at the last second. While auction snipers charge a small percentage (1.5% usually) of the final price of auctions you win, it will save you money in the long run.
Let’s compare a few listings of the same card that ended at good times and bad times (CST) and calculate the difference.
Here are the numbers:
If you had bought all the bad time auctions, you would have saved almost 30%. That’s a big discount!
Unless you have money to burn, you should never buy perfectly listed cards of hot players ending at prime times. In most cases, you can find the same item for a lower price due to various listing flaws, including bad ending times.
Also, don’t forget what this means as a seller: if you want top dollar for your auctions, list them at prime times (or schedule the listing). Another option is to use the Buy It Now listing type instead.
If you follow our sage advice, you’ll buy low and sell high—and that is how you make bank.