Strategies to Consider When Your Fixed-Price Item Isn't Selling

Sometimes subtle tweaks can turn an odd flop into a successful listing

Sometimes small or subtle changes can turn an underperforming listing into an instant winner. asife / Fotolia

Every seller experiences it from time to time—you have a valuable product that you know ought to be selling, but your listing just isn't performing for some reason. You have:

Yet the item just isn't moving. Maybe you even use listing analytics and know that it's getting lots of traffic.

You have lots of interest, and no sales.

What gives?

At times like this, what's going on is usually a case of just-slightly-off, rather than a case of wrong product, wrong price, or bad listing. With a couple of minor tweaks, the listing will start clicking for you.

When you've got an underperforming listing like this, here are some strategies to adopt.

  • Play slightly with price. If you have an eBay store, consider marking your item down to a "sale" price. Even a slight markdown can encourage purchases when you do it this way. If you don't have an eBay store, just use the "revise your listing" link and reduce the price by 1-2% each day. With luck, watchers will notice your reductions and will be moved to buy. If you've listed with round numbers ($250), switch away to non-round numbers ($247.66) as research suggests that buyers are more likely to make purchases when figures aren't round.

  • Shorten your duration. Long-duration fixed-price listings may seem like a cost saver from the perspective of listing fees, but they can actually work against you, removing urgency when buyers are looking at your listing. If you've got tons of watchers but no takers, and your item isn't already in very heavy supply on eBay, consider shortening your duration to 7 or even 3 days.

  • Rework your content. Sometimes your listing is just slightly off, for a variety of small, unrelated listings. If you're failing to capture buyers' imaginations with a listing that you'll reuse several times, consider just starting over—take a new batch of photos and re-write your item description cold (without looking at the current version), then revise your listing and update it with the new photos and new content. Sometimes taking this step can make a huge difference.

  • Double-check your competitors. Do a little competitor research using a service like Terapeak to see if others are selling what you sell and doing a better job at it. If they are, try to figure out why. If they're slightly underselling you, consider slightly underselling them. If prices are similar or your prices are better, take a look at their listings and try to identify the key difference(s), often small or apparently insignificant, that are driving buyers to buy from them instead of from you.

  • Find a way to Fast'n'Free. Buyers are more and more interested in free and rapid shipping. If you're having trouble closing the deal, consider adjusting your pricing and handling times to be able to offer free shipping with a service that has 2-3 day delivery, to get the coveted "Fast'n'Free" eBay logo on your listing. This, too, can be enough to say a buyer.

As this list shows, sometimes it's the little things—a price adjustment of just a dollar or two, a slight change in listing duration, or nuanced details in your images or description that you struggle to even identify—that can mean the difference between sale and no sale on eBay.

If your fixed-price listing is disappointing you but you're seeing lots of watchers and measurable traffic, it may be time to play with the details to move shoppers from the interested-enough-to-bookmark-it column to the clicked-the-button-and-bought-it column.