Must-Remember Keys to Thanksgiving Week Success for eBay Sellers

By Aron Hsiao  on October 24, 2016

October is just about over and sellers are about to run headlong into another holiday selling season.

Before you stop reading holiday-related sales posts in favor of doing actual holiday prep, however, take a moment to go over three more fundamental tips that could mean the difference between being at the top of your niche and being a holiday season also-ran when it comes to sales. They're short, but they're critical.

Get ahold of an inexpensive "Black Friday" or "Cyber Monday" sale image and add it as the last image on each of your holiday sale listings. Just remember to do so long before Black Friday or Cyber Monday actually arrive. (Image: © Henry Park / Fotolia)

Here they are:

1. Hit the Ground Running Before Thanksgiving Day

This is not about acknowledging that there will be times on Thursday the 24th when you'd rather just enjoy the holiday than work at selling. It's actually about new market realities over the last couple of years.

If you're thinking you'll have time after Thanksgiving dinner to get the last few things in place for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, think again. Shoppers now hit brick-and-mortar stores on the actual Thanksgiving Day holiday, which means many of them will have already checked online prices before Thanksgiving dinner.

If you don't have everything in place by Tuesday, or Wednesday at the latest, shoppers may not even see you. These days, families are doing their mobile shopping price comparisons during Thanksgiving dinner prep time and even earlier in the week, in anticipation of hitting the local stores after Thanksgiving dinner with online prices already in hand. If you want your goods to be considered by the largest possible number of buyers, you'll need to have your holiday listings and prices in place well before Thursday morning.

2. Show (and Tell) Shoppers That You're in the Game

Thanksgiving week shopping is unique in that shoppers tend to look specifically for Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday sales. In other words, they are paying attention to sellers that are targeting Thanksgiving holiday shoppers in particular.

To get their attention, you'll need to:

Don't create new, discounted listings for your holiday sales. Instead, mark your existing listings down. Note the ticking clock, the crossed out "regular" price, the "20% off" language, and the fact that if you mark down your existing listings, you also get to keep your high "watching" count. All of these drive sales far better than a simple low price. Just remember to start your sale before Thursday the 24th!
  • Prominently use language that includes phrases like "holiday sale," "Thanksgiving sale," "Black Friday," and "Cyber Monday," "door busters," "deals," and so on. If you're at a loss, try to remember some of the print circulars and television commercials that you saw last year, and emulate that language.

  • Include images that indicate the same. This doesn't mean that you have to get a template that is four times fancier than the one you usually use (although that can certainly help as well), but at the very least the final image in your listings should be a holiday sale graphic, to support the text in your description that says this is your holiday sales push.

If you're at a loss on the second point, hit a low-cost stock image service like Dreamstime or Fotolia and pick from hundreds or even thousands of "Black Friday Sale" images for just a few dollars each.

3. Use the Promotional and Mark-Down Tools in eBay Stores

Of course a sale's not a sale without a limited-time offer, markdown, or special promotion, and lots of sellers blow it here by simply editing their usual listings to change prices or offer free shipping, etc.

The problem with editing your listings directly is that nowhere in your listing are you demonstrating to shoppers that you're giving them a better deal than usual. When you simply edit a listing's price, shipping cost, or other similar listing property, a shopper can assume that they're seeing everyday prices or offers, and this is unappealing.

Even if you're not a fan of the eBay Stores promotion tools, this is the time of year to use them.

  • Rather than simply mark down your prices, set a percentage discount with the markdown manager.

  • Rather than simply offer free shipping, set up a free shipping promotion with the promotions tool.

...and so on. The reason? Simple—because eBay will prominently show, in the header part of the listing that sellers can't directly edit, that shoppers who buy from you are getting a special, limited time offer or discount. In other words, seeing $49.95 crossed out, $29.95 in its place, and a ticking clock that marks the end of the sale is infinitely more powerful persuasion for holiday shoppers than simply seeing a low price from the start.

Strong Fundamentals Mean Strong Sales

These three tips are really fundamental stuff—no complexity, logistics, or insider information here. And yet many sellers whiff on them, year after year.

Don't let that be you. Keep the fundamentals in mind and keep your holiday sales humming along through Thanksgiving week and the week after that.

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