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Tips for Winning Auctions on eBay

Meghna Wani
An eBay-auction beginner? This Techspirited write-up has packed in some workable tips for winning auctions on eBay, that would help you bag your item of interest from your first bid.

Tip to Remember!

Exercise control over the last-minute bidding frenzy, so that you don't end up paying more than your stipulated budget.
eBay...heard about it? Yes, I'm sure everybody has, but only a few people know; how it actually works? They think that eBay is 'just another online shopping website'. It is a shopping website but not "just another", this one is a 'bidding and winning', auction-style selling website. 
It has a consumer-to-consumer approach for people to buy and sell. It also has the standard 'Buy It Now' option, in which the person can just order the product without the need to crack an auction. 
Trust me, eBay-ing is FUN! Auctions are really a great way to buy products at cheaper rates. But you may find bidding correctly a little intimidating in the beginning. You may even lose the bid. But don't give up! It may just be the first (or may be the second) attempt. 
I'm sure all the masters and pro-bidders of eBay have found out their secret of winning, after several rounds of failure.

Don't fret! We are listening and are here to help you with some tips for winning auctions on eBay. Some smart tricks, some cheat tricks, some technical tricks out for you, to help you bid your way to success.

Research, Research and Research

You have to invest a little time and effort to know eBay better. You should know about the 'Proxy Bidding System' that eBay uses. If you spend some time and go through the eBay's help pages, you'll get to know all the rules of the game. 
You would then become familiar with the eBay jargon, such as Dutch auctions, reverse auctions, buy it now auctions, and auctioning system for high-priced items.

You should be clear in your mind about the ways in which the bid increases in currency, and what you can do to avoid getting outbid. 
Will it pay to be a last-minute bidder or being an early bird is what fetches the result? You can go to the 'Advanced Search' option (located on the top right corner, next to the eBay search bar), enter some keywords, refine your searches with the options given below and hit 'Search'.
eBaying is similar to any game or sport, where you need to know the rules first. Then comes the tips and tricks to outsmart your opponent. That being said, it can be concluded that you have to be clear with at least the basics before you enter, and it is only then, that you will be able to apply the rest of the tips for winning auctions on eBay.

Judge the Value

Before you enter into the bidding market, you should know the correct value of your item of interest. Judge the value that you are ready to spend for the product and stick to it. Go through the product's description and take a proper look at the images. 
See if you can spot any visible damages. Search for closed auctions of similar products and check the price that the product was sold for. Following this piece of advice will help you avoid disappointments later.

Search for Synonyms

When you are searching for your item of interest to bid on, think of synonyms for it. If it's a purse that you are looking out for, then you should also search it with different keywords such as bag, handbag or tote. You have to think differently and look for alternate words that would describe an item. 
If you are lucky, you might find your item by searching it with a synonym, which other bidders would not have yet come across. Thus, it would reduce the number of potential bidders significantly.

Misspellings Spell Great Deals

Want to bag your favorite product, think about misspellings. Try searching for 'jean instead of jeans' or 'shoe instead of shoes' or 'tabels instead of tables'. Many times sellers make spelling mistakes while typing, which eventually doesn't show up in the search results and loses the bidders. 

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Also there are many software available to point out misspelled words in eBay.

Think Smart

Another trick is to choose auctions that close at odd timings like 2.00 a.m. to 4 a.m., on working days and some common timings like 12.00 p.m. To 3 p.m., on weekends. Why common timings? Because the experienced bidders would be busy fighting it out for popular items, and you can slide through other auctions easily.

Check the Seller's History

Always do a thorough background check of the seller that you have finalized. Check if the seller has a disclaimer posted with the description.Check the feedback. Check if it is just a few people who are commenting or are the comments coming from a diverse group of people. You also have to make sure if he is a regular seller on eBay or a new one? 
Shipping charges for the products will always have to be borne by the buyer, so you need to be aware of these extra charges levied by the seller.
Also, be sure if he ships to your location. Do this before you start bidding. If, by any chance, you feel that the content or the words of the description sound suspicious, just trust your feelings and move on to the next one.

Keep an Eye on the Bid History

Now that you have finalized an item (start with something small), check for the bid history of that item. You will see the 'history' link below the item location, just next to the gallery picture. If a particular bidder is constantly bidding for that product, then chances are that he/she is closely monitoring the bid.
Your best bet should be saved for the last few seconds. But don't add in just a few cents, raise the bid by a significant dollar amount. This is essential because if that alert bidder's maximum is more than your highest bid, then you may not have the time to bid again. You may be outbid.

Being an Early Bi(r)d

It is seen that many bidders always keep their cards hidden for the last-minute. But it sometimes may pay to bid early because other bidders may think that the product has competition and may opt out. 
Another advantage of being an early bird is that, if you spot an inexperienced seller who has not written the description properly, and you bid on it, you will prevent the seller from editing the description. He can now only 'add' information, that will start looking messy and will deter other bidders.


I would neither deter nor recommend you to use the sniping services. You have to take the call, whether to use it or not. Why am I saying this? It is because some people think that it is unfair for those eBayers, who are unaware of sniping and are bidding in human against a software. So, what is sniping?
It is a service that will bid on your behalf in the last few seconds of the auction. You just have to type in your highest maximum bid and forget about it. There are many sniping software available, and you can become a free member of one of them.
Although sniping is not a guarantee for winning auctions, but expert eBayers have got more successes than failures with it.

Bid at High-Speed

It is essential to get a high-speed internet connection, so that you can constantly keep reloading the page fast, without losing out on precious seconds. If you have a slow connection, then you may have to close the rest of the pages and also turn off the images option temporarily, to speed up things. 
If your Internet is dead slow, then you may have to change the sniping margin from 'last 5 seconds' to '20-30 seconds' or even more, and then hope for the best.

Bid Like an Expert

Set yourself up for the last 2 minutes. Open two windows of the same auction page and adjust it in a way that they will appear side-by-side on your screen. In one window, type in your highest maximum, and click on 'Place Bid', but do not confirm your bid. In the other window, keep refreshing the page by pressing Ctrl+R. 
Keep on reloading until the last 10-15 seconds to see any change in the price. When you think the time is right (last 8-7 seconds), click on 'Confirm Bid' and refresh the other window to check if your bid was accepted. To prevent time delay, on the first window, keep the 'confirm' button visible so that you don't have to waste time scrolling for it.

Don't Lose Heart

You followed all the steps and were sure that you would win. But an extra smart bidder outbid you, or may be you were outbid by a 'sniper'. Don't worry, all is not lost yet. 
You have the option of 'ask seller a question', in which you can draft a mail to the seller stating that you are a genuine buyer and are interested in buying the product, in case the winning bidder doesn't turn up with the cash. 
Quote the price that you are ready to pay and wait for the reply. If you are lucky enough you may end up getting the product, regardless of losing the auction.

Desktop eBay App

The best eBay experience comes with the latest eBay Desktop App, that does not require refreshing the page every time. It has a real-time automatic auction counter that keeps on updating the user with the time left for the auction to close and also the increase in bid prices. It has built-in outbid alerts, reminders for the auction closing time, and the software automatically updates itself.
In summation, I would like to say that you need to be attentive with what's going on. You need to know the auction ending date and time of your favorite item. You have to keep an eye on what's happening around your desired product and I'm sure, with these tips for winning eBay auctions, you won't miss out on the items that you really needed.