eBay Made Easier - Save Searches and Use Watch Lists

eBay saved searches
eBay shopping can be faster with saved searches and watch lists. Getty Images

 eBay shopping just keeps getting easier and easier. In the old days, buyers could only manually bid on items and you never really knew how much an item would cost until the auction ended. eBay now has time-saving features with saved searches and watch lists. Discover how to comparison shop and find hard-to-find items using these free eBay features. 

How Buyers Can Use Saved Searches and Alerts

Saved searched and alerts are useful for both buyers who are shopping for particular items.

Let's say a buyer is interested in purchasing a gently used Yeti cooler for the summer. If you aren't aware, YETI coolers are high quality coolers made for the outdoor enthusiast. They are designed by hunters and fishermen who use them in rugged condition and built with upgraded features like more durable latches, rust-proof aluminum hinges, permafrost insulation to keep items cold much longer than standard coolers, non-slide feet, and double haul handles. YETI coolers retail for over $500, so when a used one pops up on eBay, buyers must act fast to purchase it.

Now, let's say our YETI buyer is determined to find a cooler on eBay. He can perform his search with the exact keywords of the item he wishes to purchase:

YETI Tundra 110 Cooler White

Once the search results have populated, the buyer can choose other item details such as condition, item location, color, and other options. Once those results populate, scroll back to the top of the page and choose "follow this search" in green text.

Whenever an item is listed meeting the criteria you selected, you will receive email alerts. For sellers reading this article, this is why items sometimes sell so quickly. Sellers often think their item was priced too low when it sells in a few seconds after posting, but actually, a buyer may have an alert set up and he acted very quickly to snag the item he wanted at an acceptable price before another buyer hit the trigger.

 

Buyers can also re-run saved searches, as they are posted on the left side of the homepage, under interests. Even though new items matching search criteria haven't been posted, buyers can run the search again to re-evaluate their options.

How Buyers Can Use Watch Lists

Watch lists are great for comparison shopping. To watch an item, just run a search with the criteria regarding the item you wish to buy. When researching options, click add to watch list in the upper right corner next to the social media buttons. Sellers cannot see which buyers have items on their watch list, so the seller isn't able to see your username or identity. Sellers can see how many people are watching an item, and often when the number of watchers is high, the seller will raise the price to nudge interested buyers into action. So be careful with this feature as too many watchers can cause the price to rise instead of fall. 

Buyers can access their watch list by navigating to the summary tab on the top right and choosing Watch List. To compare two or more items on a watch list, click the compare button at the top of the watch list. Another screen will appear showing time left, price, seller, bids (if an auction), condition, and return policy.

The comparison feature is a handy way to review all watched items and make an informed buying decision. Items can be deleted from a watch list at any time.

How Sellers Can Use Watch Lists

eBay is competitive. Hungry sellers want the sale and often research what their competitors are doing. Watching a competing seller's item is a good way to see what their item sells for. But be careful with this feature if you are the seller watching an item. Some reports about the eBay search engine, Cassini, state that the more watchers an item has, the higher it places in searches. So if you are watching your competitors, you may be helping their item sell because you are increasing the number of watchers on the item and bumping it up in search. A better technique is to bookmark competitors' items on your computer browser rather than using the eBay watch feature.

 

Updated on August 13, 2016 by Suzanne A. Wells.