Monday, March 1, 2010

NZ Auction Selling Tips

Make Money with Trademe Tips in New ZealandTrademe (at web address based in New Zealand (NZ), is an extremely popular auction site where personal users and commercial companies (e.g. Car Dealers, Real Estate Companies, Companies for Employment) buy, sell, and bid products and services online. Applying selling tips can help to optimize your item to attract targeted visitors, possibly increasing intense interest to increase a sale. Utilizing some sort of sell strategy would be important, as their are now a vast number of items in various categories. meaning competition for products. Often over a million items are on display, and broad queries (i.e. search terms) are searched over three million times a month in NZ, according to Google's Keyword tool:

Number of Searches in NZ on Google Search
(Click for Larger View)

Table of Trademe search volume in New Zealand

From the multitude of categories and their products, generates, at times intense bidding from memebers and interest from sellers. Popular categories include Motors, Property, and Jobs for example. The site has long overtaken in visitor numbers, of popular New Zealand internet sites such as Telecom, White Pages, Vodafone, Seek (for employment jobs), Weather (Met Service), and Turners Auction (for new and second hand cars), Dating Sites, and our popular news paper, The NZ Hearld.  Image of Winning Dollars from SXC.

Browse, Sell, Buy, Interact
Bidding arena to benefit all -

Often there are about 18,000 users (or specifically log ins) online anytime, reaching between 20,000 - 80, 000 users at peak times, with at least a million new and second hand items (including personal items), merchandise, accessories, and services on auction. Typical items and services include used cars, books, used mobile phones, furniture, houses for sale (real estate), rental flats,  business, music, jewelry, antiques, used computer parts, clothes, jobs, and personals (NZ dating).

Trademe NZ is embedded in many New Zealander's minds as it is now an authorative brand, but other factors - user friendly interaction, huge range of items and services, ease of payment, potential bargain prices, and perhaps the thrill of bidding (or in some cases overbidding, such as for this paper clip). You might want to auction a second hand mp3 player, used dvds, books, a used car, clothing, a trampoline, or almost anything to get a reasonable bid. But how to attract a premium bid? Below are some basic tips and thoughts that I use to offer items effectively. You can too.

Chart of Google Search Trend for New Zealand Queries and Related Terms

Descriptive Title and Relevant Content
Target to Sell

Describe your item with relevant facts and features, its age, condition, specific use, etc. Its also useful to include labels (e.g. for clothing), serial and model no.'s, dimensions, and comparisons if practical, to provide useful details to potential buyers. For example for selling books - particularly student academic, technical, car manuals, can be effectively described: Perhaps briefly describe the author, publisher (could be popular, e.g. Haynes for cars), year of print and edition number, number of chapters - including description for some chapters, any favorable online reviews and testimonials, if part of a popular series, value to the buyer, e.g. for education or student tertiary institutions (e.g. essential for tertiary studies, money saving tips, technical knowledge, if referenced at local companies/institutions, professional agencies, universities, trades people, students, training institutions, etc).

I also describe physical aspects, not only books, but vinyl records, cd's, particuarly if a branded consumer item, etc - e.g. loose pages, hardback or softback, creases, defects, and also a book's dimensions, and if palm size, A4 size, etc. It means more effort and time, but it does help to attract buyers, such as in some real examples below:

For A DVD or Vinyl record title, rather than "Elvis Greatest Hits " could be "Elvis 1950's Greatest Hits, 2006, RCA 123 - Stereo"

Or "Used Tyre for Sale" could be "Bridgestone Tyre - 15', 205 x 80 profile - 70% new" (or similar)

Car Selling Tips
Parts and Repair

Clean Chevy engine to increase bidding on Trademe NZ auction
Include more than it's past history, features (e.g if turbo, air conditioning, mp3 player, mag wheels, GPS tracking, etc), specifications (engine size, automatic, speedometer reading etc) but any future and current issues and repairs that need or may need attention. I know from my vehicle mechanical experience, cars around 11 - 17 years old are likely to have worn accessories, which may not necessarily manifest themselves, until used excessively or driven in more demanding or adverse conditions. Image of 327 Chevy Engine by Organicpx.

Likely worn parts include smaller constant rotating mechanical or flexible/pressure essentials, like the water pump, cv joint, starter motor, alternator, power steering unit, flexible couplings, and cam angle sensor (or in some markets/regions that sell similar parts online, that part is known as distributor or ignition pick up, hall effect pickup, or breaker-less electronic housing; - all examples of key-worded combination for the same part - which if mentioned in your car or parts category may help sell).

Hence mention what parts or repairs need to be done, and perhaps mention specifics. If possible include part number, it's cost, description, any alternative part number, aftermarket unit stock number. Perhaps include a reference (both company name and website url if possible) to relevant car repair forums, Youtube video tutorials, local importers, accessory suppliers, online pdf manuals, wreckers, etc, are all helpful online references. This involves internet searches and cross referencing relevant websites for car accessory information. Examples include Nissan SR20 Forums, STA Parts NZ, Pick a Part NZ price list, and Super Cheap Auto.

Video of Car Selling Tips

For example my article on How to Sell Hair Straighteners on Trademe (or other online sites) describes methods to help increase buyer interest for bidding or purchasing. One useful avenue is obtaining ideas from a user guide, or knowing how to search online for a PDF user manual (can also apply for a variety of branded consumer items) to help include specific information such as use, maintenance, safety, hazards, contact agencies, important specifications, and other relevant information.

Searching for a Car Using Filters

Serious, knowledgeable, and web savvy buyers will quickly get a better idea, of describtive selling titles (i.e. like a call to action), eg for the above Elvis DVD, because it's title specific and hopefully targeted to sell. The RCA number (i.e. serial/model), is a reference buyers might trace online or elsewhere to get reviews or more information (it's what I do sometimes). It also displays a reputable recording company (RCA). The year perceives a vinyl record as being reasonably new (i.e. good condition) or perhaps a valued rare record (for interested collectors).

Include Skills, Background, Experience
Promote yourself

Having specific information portrays that you have done a bit of work or research. This may indicate that you are perhaps knowledgeable to sell that particular item. If you are knowledgeable or have any experience for your items on sale, then say so. So if you are a established/qualified importer and with (or own) a business company or background then mention that.

Or if your trade/qualifications/skills are as a mechanic, builder, musician, clothing designer, artist, etc, and if selling relevant items then describe those attributes of yourself with a brief background summary. Perhaps include certifications, years of experience, club/group membership, work history, etc, to help increase buyer confidence. This strategy might be more useful for higher priced, competitive, commercial business items, and properties.

Buyers Searching
Keywords in your items title

Trademe Tips,Search Online and on Trademe NZ Auction for SellingAs noted above be specific in title and content; But consider implementing "keywords" in your item's title description. So when buyers use the onsite search form using specific keywords, such as brand names, labels, sizes, etc, there is a greater chance of finding your items. You can increase visibility by using gallery images, feature/home page inclusion, bold text, to enhance your selling titles. Image of global Search by topfer.

Google indexes items, which means buyers may find them from search engines. Though not sure of the time span between Google listings and listings, and hence if the product listings are still open. But I know I have found items, and the seller's profile from Google searches. Try it - Type items you have on display, or your profile name in Google. See if they appear with your profile name.

Keyword Phrase Selection Targeting

Including another term in your title description may display another item that you are selling - even though it was not specifically searched for. For example one might search "1GB USB computer memory drive" but if you have "1 GB USB memory drive and 2 x carry straps", then it's possible that your 2 GB drives will also display in the search results. It would be good to know how the search algorithm works to try optimize item titles to attract buyers. Similar to how people optimize their blogs or web sites to attract visitors from search engines by applying SEO (search engine optimization) tips (e.g. read my article on increasing visits or traffic to your blog).

Having a title and brief non description content may not be helpful to the buyer (if they don't know much about that item - but need or might want to). Many items are renamed/re-branded differently in overseas markets (Mobile phones and their batteries, and DVD players are examples), so including model numbers can be useful for the discerning buyer to research reviews, download manuals, comments, and images elsewhere online.


When describing your item try to "bait" or attract bidders to other items that you are selling. This is common with bulk sellers. "Check my other listings" "Visit my store" "I have multiple listings", and so on. For a bulk lot, you could list as one lot, and perhaps mention to create separate categories/listings for any of the individual items within that lot if you want. Also highlight, if you can, the brand name and include quotes or customer/company testimonials. But do focus (describe) your actual item. I have noticed some sellers describe (or rather stipulate) about their transaction methods and deadlines, more so than their items.

Expand on Possible Uses and/or situations for your item (e.g hair dryers, food mixers, car rims, could be used for other purposes). You may want to add payment methods, and perhaps a guarantee to the buyer. This might increase their confidence in you. But keep everything in a easy to read, relevant semi descriptive format, without excess information (I wish!).

I sold a 20 year old rope for 3 x the price I thought I would get with a description similar to this:

"60 m x 20 mm rope - Thick twining, but "durable." It was brought by a farmer's family in the South Island.

Promote yourself again

Make use of your profile to add information that may relate to future ongoing sales, reference to your own web sites, business, etc. Perhaps mention your profile when selling. Unfortunately the profile editor does not allow html for easy external web site links, but perhaps type in a url, as a potential reference for buyers.

Videos of Sam Morgan and Home Property Tips

Entrepreneurial IdeasHome Preparation Selling Tips

Increase Bids on Trademe in New Zealand, as a trademe tipBidding Techniques
Optimize Timing for Targeted Buyers

Remember to sell at a reasonable or relevant time to maximize potential bids, so that your auction finishes at an ideal time - and day. So perhaps mid evening and late afternoon to evening would be sufficient for uploading. However, you might have to decide on what day (Sunday night, Monday night or a later week day evening), depending on the number of items, and the item type, if you are trying to target a specific group of potential buyers. Image of Dollars at SXC.

Targeting Buyer Types

Items targeted for students (text books, uniforms, etc) might be better listed on a Sunday afternoon, and unique new hardware tools listed during a mid day afternoon to evening (Including for Buy Now, as I have had buyers arrive mid week after and during work hours for hardware tools).

Target to Sell

You need to be sure your item is in the most suitable category. Some items such as specialist car book manuals, wheels and tyres, artwork, may require you to sell in two categories to attract more buyers. Again, describe your item effectively in the title, to maximize search results to display your item. You probably need to mention any additional categories that the item is listed in.

Photos - Quality Images
Attract bidders

Good quality photo's are important, as many bidders will get a better idea and quality or value of the item. Try to isolate the item in a good clean setting, sufficient lighting, without any other objects (i.e. reduce clutter), reflections, etc, to portray a sense of quality, and cleanliness. Sometimes I merge photo's, and may add a relevant background to the item using photo editing software. Perhaps visit the Kodak website for photo tips, basic to advanced photography techniques, and optimization tips for camera photography.

Upload or Download Images to Sell

You could also upload photo's to your ISP server or a free photo host and link site, if you have multiple photo's (and perhaps relevant documents) or experiencing technical problems uploading. Then describe the web address, which may be http://www.your email user name.your photo name.jpg. Then tell viewers to copy and paste in their browser, then press enter or go, to display the photo. You will need to contact your internet provider to set this up, and use a FTP (File transfer program) to upload, e.g. core ftp.

Sometimes a stock photo site or Google image search (but consider searching license reuse images) might be useful for obtaining photo's. There are free stock sites, or the more comprehensive stock sites...

Bidding, Low Reserve, Buy Now Strategy

Low reserves attract buyers for popular or certain unique items (relative to New Zealand), which will quickly increase the bidding price and hence the potential for a higher sale price. Use of the auto extend feature will aid here by allowing more bids - at the last minute(s). For less popular or too common items you need a reserve that can be quickly met. Sometimes this may take time if no sale occurs, then you may need a lower reserve.

Winning Auction on Trademe New ZealandUse "Buy Now" if you want to get rid of your item and you think will sell quickly, and that possible bids will not be significantly higher. Maybe get a idea by looking at similar items and observe if bidding will yield a significantly higher sale price. I have seen this with some popular entrance level Nokia Telecom NZ mobiles. One week I bid, but two weeks later I used buy now, simply because they were cheaper than the earlier bid to final sale price. Image by Bizior.
For an initial listing, maybe try 20% to 30% above market value (depending on the inherent value, current market forces, uniqueness) and 50% higher (value dependent) for the buy now feature, which might lead to a sale. If not, then re-list at a slightly lower price, or offer at a fixed price. But some times I have sold at little profit (if that) just to not only quickly dispose items, but have satisfaction that such items useful to someone.

Mobile App from iTunes Store
Maybe use Trademe's App on a iPhone or iPod touch to check your listings, watch list, account settings, items sold, bid, and to search their site...

mobile iphone App for Trademe
Apple Mobile App to Check Listings...

Buyer's Questions
Positive reply is confidence

Always respond in a positive, polite and timely manner, and if you can't answer then say so, but state that you will get back with a more positive or definitive answer. But of course you have described the items as best to your ability, with tips mentioned above. This means you need to get more information. Google search (perhaps by adding review to you item search, and include informational searches at Google Images, Youtube, Amazon, Forums, etc) may help here, if viewers require specifics like dimensions, model/serial numbers, features, etc.

Postage Costs
Include or exclude?

Video of Tracking Improvement by Linking Your Account to NZ Post

Do include postage costs and options (parcel/package/courier) if you can; I have excluded postage costs for some items (in an attempt to increase sales) but some times factor it in, less than the actual postage cost. Maybe quickly contact the buyer (better to set up automatically) to send them the expected delivery date and cost, with your city (e.g. Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, etc) and suburb location. I often do this as a sense of gratitude for buying. It also increase your chances of getting a more positive feedback. Perhaps pick up a postage costing brochure when at the NZ Post office. The rate finder for costings of sending items around New Zealand may be useful as well.

Video of Packing and Shipping Tips from 11 Year eBay Power Seller

Maybe keep your receipts, until at least after the buyers feedback. You can attempt to sell more of the same items by saying "save on postage costs". I have done this often with vinyl records, DVD and CD items - Post 3 for the price of 1. Of course, pack items well, and also include your address (as the sender in smaller print on the opposite side). Visit New Zealand Post to evaluate postage costs for different delivery packages within New Zealand.


We all prefer good feedback, so that buyers are confident in what you sell, and that you have done it right, to establish a good reputation. It's about trust and personal service, if you present, package, and quickly post your item as described. Remember Trademe NZ, a relatively easy avenue to list an item, but perhaps requires additional effort to sell effectively, and to establish yourself as a reputable seller.


East Tamaki, Auckland