Navigating eBay in the Watch Business
When selling a timepiece, one of the biggest struggles is choosing a platform to list on. In many cases, I recommend posting on all available forms whether it’s eBay, Chrono24, watch forums, Facebook, or other niche location; however, people seem to have the most struggle with eBay. Please monitor the guide below to optimize usage of the platform.
Building eBay Feedback
eBay sellers are each rated by a percent of positive feedback in the past 12 months. Not only does it keep track of the percent of positive feedback in the past 12 months, but it also keeps track of the amount of overall feedback in the history of the eBay account. New eBay sellers will have no feedback, and most prospective buyers will immediately dismiss these accounts with little to no feedback as fraudulent. In an effort to legitimize yourself, it is important to build eBay feedback. Below I will provide a list of items I recommend purchasing to raise feedback:
- Bezel Screw Drivers
- Cape Cod Cloths
- Extra Straps
- Strap Changing Tool
- Watch Boxes
- Watch Cloths
- Watch Rolls
- Watch Winders
All products related to watches, cars, and business in general (like business books) are recommended. It is important to notice that the only feedback visible by other eBay users will be the rating, name of the seller who left you the feedback, and a quick two-line note relating to the transaction. I would be careful and not buy from the same seller more than once to avoid creating a visibly artificial positive feedback rating. Also, be aware that the names of sellers related to the watch industry help put prospective buyers at ease when viewing your account.
Purchasing these items for feedback should not be all in one sitting as feedback is date stamped. A super high frequency of feedback around certain dates makes the feedback look artificial, I recommend buying something every 3-4 days if you are in a rush to build feedback.
In my opinion, I have found that 20 feedback ratings is the threshold to reach before starting to list watches. People become increasingly comfortable after hitting the following ratings: 20, 50, 100, 500, 1000+.
Constructing a Listing
Listings should always contain the following information:
- Brand & Model
- Watch Size
- Boxes & Papers (if applicable)
- Reference Number
After these four main points, anything else is fluff. Make sure to be very transparent about condition and offer information on the service history when possible. Never copy and paste others’ listings and edit them with your own information, being unique is what gets attention; create your own style of listing. Once you develop your style of listing, you can use it as a general template for future listings by putting it in Google Docs, reducing the time and effort in the selling process. This is especially helpful when you get watches back on trade.
Do not come off as oversalesy or sounding like you are posing as a professional watch dealer when you have less than 50 feedback, no documented watch sales, and are truly new to the industry. Traders often make this mistake which is a red flag to prospects as the supposed “experience” is not matched by the apparent feedback.
The pictures are the most important part of any listing whether for watches, cars, or nearly any product. Pictures are always the first aspect the prospect will notice when scrolling through their feed looking for watches to click on. When having great pictures, you have a higher probability of prospects being overcome with emotion and offering quickly. Below are some tips for the pictures:
- Pick a unique setting. The goal of pictures is to make the watch pop, and unique locations intrigue prospects. Man caves, home libraries, great landscaping, nature preserves, exotic cars, etc.
- Find the proper time of day to shoot pictures in your setting based on the sun’s position. Personally, my best time is in the evening just before sunset; however, this is due to my location and present shadows. Everybody’s time of day will be different.
- Make sure the watch is always at the center of the picture.
- Eliminate glare as much as possible from photos unless you are seeking to display the AR (anti-reflective coating) condition.
Providing too much “fluff” on listings can cause the buyer to become uneasy. Do not repeat issues too much, just be blunt and upfront about them. No need to carry them on, talk about the great parts of the watch.
Remember, while the boutique watch market is a very large market, each individual watch model has its own submarket. It is important not to undercut others far enough to where it becomes a pattern of people undercutting others, this tanks the market. I see traders do it time and time again freaking out that they have too much in a watch, then I come around and raise the market once more after buying up all of the comparables. Respect the markets, and they will work in your favor.