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Strategy for selling a bike on ebay with a reserve.(14 posts)

Strategy for selling a bike on ebay with a reserve.XLR8R
Nov 11, 2003 3:38 PM
I am selling a bike on ebay and there is a reserve.
People email and ask for the reserve price.
Why are they doing this and what are the benifits of telling/not telling them?

Thanks!
re: Strategy for selling a bike on ebay with a reserve.laffeaux
Nov 11, 2003 3:57 PM
Advantage of telling them:
- if it's a reasonable price, buyers are more willing to bid once they know that the reserve is below their personal maximum bid

Disadvantage:
- if it's a high reserve buyers are less likely to bid and your final price is likely to suffer

I believe (it's true in my case), that buyers are willing to bid more frequently and higher, if there is no reserve or a low reserve. Once I know that I could potentially win an auction, my "maximum bid" seems to creep up a bit. However, if I've bid my "maximum" and the reserve is still not met, I generally lose interest very fast.
Tell them. They will know whether to bid or not.Spunout
Nov 11, 2003 4:05 PM
Maybe being able to place a bid will be able to coax bidders into meeting the reserve.

IMHO, if you want to create action, don't use a reserve. It is just a way for Ebay to cost you money. I have just sold a few thousand dollars of camera equipment on Ebay and used auctions without reserve starting at $1 for every one.

Don't worry, your bike won't sell for $1. There are too many educated buyers out there to let one guy get the best deal. There is not collusuion among buyers so that you'll freeze at a low amount.
you can't jump in the pool AND stay dry...shawndoggy
Nov 11, 2003 4:07 PM
The prior response hit the nail on the head regarding the disadvantages of the reserve. As a bidder I always ask to see if it's even worth my time to bid.

I have had the best luck selling stuff by putting it on for $1 with no reserve. It's also the cheapest way to list. Unless you are selling really inexpensive items (i.e. it might actually sell for $1), there's not much risk unless you think that the value of your item is way over the market price. Search completed items to determine what you can expect to get. By putting stuff on cheap with no reserve, you get 1000 people putting the item on their watch lists rather than 10, thereby increasing the likelihood of a bidding war.

The reserve thing always seemed to me to be for someone who wants to see what people are willing to bid but might not sell to them. Not as engaging for the bidder! If you are truly worried about not getting what you want out of it, list the bike at the minimum you'd take, without a reserve. You'll get more interested bidders that way.
you can't jump in the pool AND stay dry...filtersweep
Nov 11, 2003 4:27 PM
"If you are truly worried about not getting what you want out of it, list the bike at the minimum you'd take, without a reserve. You'll get more interested bidders that way."

The trouble with this is that it slows bidding action.

I think reserve really has its place. I'll grant you that it is "abused" by people who think everything they own is worth twice as much as it really is, or who have no concept of depreciation- but when done right, most items should sell well ABOVE reserve.

I think the most fool-proof "risk free" way to go about this IMHO is to start bidding at $1, set a moderate reserve (on the low side), and set a buy-it-now price about 15-30% above what you would sell it for if you set a fixed price in the classifieds. The point is to have a gap, but a reasonable buy-it-now price.

The reasonable buy-it-now price tells a bidder that it is obtainable, and thus they will start chipping away at bidding- usually with a bunch of ad-watchers that will bid $10-50 for the bike just so it shows up in their auction listings, because they are already "watching" their full 30 auctions and can't "watch" any more. As these bidders chip away at the bottom end, the bid count begins to rise- even if it is just four or five bidders at this point, the auction will show there are maybe 20 bids. This gives other bidders confidence to begin bidding real money.

Eventually they will chip away the reserve price- probably within the last hour to few hours- which renders the buy-it-now price void. Some of these bidders have been waiting a week on this and don't want to wait any more... others just want to "win."

Regardless, I've always managed to sell at MORE than the buy-it-now price (and obviously well above reserve)... usually for more than I would consider the bike is actually worth- AND you have the reassurance of a reserve. Sure you pay extra fees, but why not hedge your bets just a bit? I also think a reserve can tell a bidder that you have something of value- that you aren't just selling junk.
hmmm....shawndoggy
Nov 11, 2003 4:52 PM
Let's say we've got a hypothetical $500 bike. Seller would get thrown out of the house if he sells it for less than $300. You'd say list it for $1 with a $300 reserve, I'd say list it for $300 (well really, I'd say list it for $1 and no reserve for the best possible outcome, but I'm balls out).

Which would get more traffic? Dunno. Under your scenario, though, if you've only got one guy willing to pay $300, the bike won't sell because bidding will stop at whatever the next highest guy bid, plus the lowest increment (i.e. somebody else bid $250, our guy bids $325, bid goes to $255, but nobody else bids so reserve not met). Under my scenario, if there was a guy willing to pay $300, he could bid it.

I think you get the most out of bidders when you harness the same mental process that keeps people at slot machines for hours on end... the thought that they can win if they spend just a little more. And if the item is above the reserve I could win it for just one more bid!
doesn't work that way..Qubeley
Nov 11, 2003 5:20 PM
when a bidder place a bid over reserve price, the reserve will be the current price.
So if the reserve is $300, a guy place $325. $300 will be current price, has nothing to do with next highest bid.
Reserve price-Dave Hickey
Nov 11, 2003 5:27 PM
As the other people have said, a reserve can scare off bidders. I'll usually post my reserve price in the description. That way bidders will know if they can afford it but I'm still protected on my minimum price.

Frames and wheels are the only items I'll put a reserve on. I'll start components at $10 or $20 with no reserve
Reserve = waste of my timeterry b
Nov 11, 2003 6:02 PM
I don't even bother bidding on items with reserves. I think they are annoying. The auctions that attract me have a reasonable starting price (which covers you in case you have your heart set on a minimum) and "buy it now" which I go directly to if I think the price is what I am willing to pay.

Reserves serve one purpose - to generate more bids (or so says my friend Raju at the eBay help desk in Bangalore.) The theory is that people will bid if they see others bidding. Problem is, what you generate is lots of people wasting your time and (perhaps) not coming close to your magical, hidden reserve. Do you really want that kind of action?

Set a starting price close to your minimum and the only bidders you'll get are the ones that are genuninely interested. The other answers above suggest starting very low, something that can certainly be a crap shoot. Saw a used Calfee Tetra Pro go the other day for $700, far less than I would be willing to let the one I plan on auctioning go.
I understand your thinking...but don't agreewspokes
Nov 12, 2003 4:51 AM
On lesser price items, I agree with your thinking but...

I recently sold a vintage bike, 1949 Vicini with campy cambio corsa. Many collector's already have their watch items sections filled in their My Ebay section. So by setting a low starting bid, putting the reserve and a reasonable buy-it-now. I was able to have many bidders who bid early to get it on their watch list and many of which bid higher as well. It allows more potential winners to mark the auction in their My Ebay section...either as a watch or if the Watch list is filled...then it will appear on items I bid on but am was outbid or whatever that section may be...

As expected...the bike went for reserve and sold to Japan. What a surprise!!
Buy it now is just another way of setting a reserve only worsejcpreuss
Nov 12, 2003 5:37 AM
You are right that a reserve is there to generate more bids. Auctions are as much about feeding ego and competition as anything else. A reasonable reserve price -- big emphasis on reasonable -- is a good way to get the action going. I've sold everything from a gas furnace to computer parts on Ebay -- and everything in between -- and a reserve price has never been a problem. That's not my experience with Buy It Now. If you look,Buy it Now auctions almost always have less action because people know what you're looking to get.
Buy it now is just another way of setting a reserve only worsewspokes
Nov 12, 2003 6:00 AM
The first buy it now auction that I never sold...was the bike I describe above...the 1949 Vicini. I have sold all my buy-it-now auctions because I am usually way under what they go for on ebay. ex. I sold a saecco jersey, practically new...starting bid of $5 and buy it now...$15. Sold. almost all my auctions were like this. With the Vicini. I posted a reasonable reserve which was met and a higher buy it now price...which was possible and still under what other Cambio corsa bikes have sold at on ebay. I have no doubt that there are some people that ignore buy-it-now priced auctions like yourself...they are just missing out sometimes. I have gotten some awesome deals by using the buy it now on the first days they are posted as well...like a new in box pair of vittoria rubinos for $38 shipped...I am sure someone else would have bought them up quick if I didn't get there first...or before ebay removed the vittoria auction. I also should say that the Vicini was about the only auction I ever used reserve pricing...I wanted to protect my investment while giving others a chance to bookmark it to come back to at the end. So I agree there are plenty of people out there as you guys describe using these features in strange ways but there are certain circumstances where the reserve and buy it now is appropriate.
What could be simpler?terry b
Nov 12, 2003 6:49 AM
If I really am unwilling to let my bike go, for less than (let's say $1000) what could be simpler than setting the starting bid at $1000 or setting a "buy it now" at $1000?

Personally, I'm not the least bit interested in generating ANY action among people that are not willing to pay what I'm asking. Why would I want a bunch of people with my product on their watch list if they're never going to be willing to pay my minimum? Frankly, I'd be really happy if I got only one bidder - the one who did "buy it now."

I know people that go off into the luxury car auctions and bid on $250,000 Ferraris just so they can say they placed a bid on an expensive car. No interest in buying - they don't have the money. Same applies to bicycles. Who wants that kind of action? Reserves drive that mentality. "Buy it Now" turns eBay into the classifieds. I'd rather go that way.
Frankly...Yep...you're all right!wspokes
Nov 12, 2003 10:56 AM
I don't really care to discuss the merits of selling...Like I said, it was the first time I ever used reserve and basically I sold it so. End story...you're all right, all the time...

No other opinions other than your own allowed here I guess...