Learning to Write Better eBay Asian Antique Auction Listings Is Easy, It Takes A Little Time And IS TOTALLY Worth It
On eBay, not all listings are created equal nor treated equally, not even close.
So what's Cassini? If you've never heard of it or have an don't understand what it does, keep reading. This is NEED TO KNOW STUFF if you want to create a great eBay Asian antique auction listing that gets attention.
To see a post we did a few years ago on this topic CLICK HERE bear in mind some things have changed so we've opted to update a bit.
eBay's Cassini, work with it.
In a nutshell, it's eBay's search Algorithm and item listing analysis tool. Cassini decides many things about your listings for you by looking at them and then tracks how users respond to it. Cassini is smart.
Cassini decides where your listing goes, how and when it appears, who will see it in Search and it will decide for you if it's relevant or not immediately and might change it's mind as the days progress.
You want to be VERY relevant. It can and will demote your listing or boost your listing, depending on how well you do your job and follow the rules.
The same basic Cassini rules also apply to Buy-It-Now listings.
You Want To Make Cassini Happy, Or It Might Make You Sad, It's a Beast
Today Cassini is an extremely powerful and highly advanced search Algorithm. Anyone selling on eBay should create every listing keeping in mind what this beast wants.
Happily, eBay's Cassini tells you what it wants, so just follow the basic rules of the road.
6 Steps To Pleasing eBay's Cassini, and boost your listing rankings
To know how to rank highly with Cassini you need to know what it's looking for and how it reacts and ranks YOUR listings and you as a seller.
Part 1. eBay Listing TITLES, Do's and Dont's (never)
First, never write your Title descriptions for Computers, Cassini hates that. Write grammatically for people. Cassini is specifically looking for TITLES that make sense from a grammatical standpoint and provides the most information to the buyers-humans. It's also looking for common search words it has indexed in each particular category.
Do not use adjectives, they are not SEARCH terms i.e. "Great", "Fabulous", "Rare", Museum Quality" or any other non-search term. It's a waste of your 80 letters and nobody searches with words like those above.
Do pay attention to Structured Data, be sure to use all of it. Every eBay listing gives the seller a few menus to check off boxes in, these are known as Item Specifics. These are also known as Structured Data. i.e. Age, Country of Origin, Primary Material, Color(s).
Just the facts should appear in the TITLE, paying the most attention to the first four words particularly.
As much as possible, make sure your TITLE reflects the content of the rest of the listing. Including your "Item Specifics" aka "Structured Data" and "Item Description".
TIP for eBay Asian Antique Auction Listings: It's always a good idea to REPEAT the Title in the description box.
Good Titles look like these to Cassini
Chinese Famille Rose Mandarin Porcelain Baluster Vase Mid 19th C.
Kangxi Period Blue and White 18th C. Porcelain Bowl With Chenghua Mark
19th C. Chinese Bamboo Scholar's Object Brush Pot With Figures
Bad titles look like these to Cassini
Fine and Rare Chinese Famille Rose Vase With People and Flowers 19th C.
Incredibly Pretty Kangxi B&W Bowl from the 18th C. Chinese Chenghua Mark
Amazing estate found antique carved Chinese Bamboo Brush Pot 19th C.
Lastly: Very Important!
NEVER, ever put dashes, exclamation points, commas, semicolons, or anything else other than LETTERS in your titles. They make a big chunk of your title unsearchable, Cassini ignores all of it.
Part 2. Pictures, simple, clear and all angles. Cassini hates bad images
Cassini ranks your images by quality, you don't like bad images, neither does Cassini. If they are too dark, overlit or blurry, it will be detected and you will suffer. If they are sharp, crisp and well lighted Cassini will see that too and give you a bump up!
Taking good eBay listing pictures requires only a few things to be successful and highly effective. The goal is to NEVER need to use any sharpening, size adjustment or light adjustment tools with your taken images. Do it right and you'll save hours of work.
Before shooting, set the image size to around 1216 x 912 pixels. (pretty much a standard size option on most cameras)
If done right, once the images are taken, they only need to be uploaded to eBay.
First and foremost Indoor LIGHTING. Do not ever shoot your items under normal room lights or fluorescent lights. The Auto White balance on your camera will do the best that it can, but the results won't optimal nor even close to GOOD, much less great. You want great. So if you can, get some Studio lights, they are inexpensive and offer the right light spectrum for Digital cameras.
If you own a fairly good camera, take the time to read the manual and learn how to do the following. Use the MACRO setting, White Balance properly and to use the Manual F-Stop, Adjust Shutter Speed and change ISO settings. The experiment with it, you'll be stunned at how well images come when shot indoors or outdoors.
Shooting Outdoors, simple is good. If you don't have your own indoor photo lighting set up with PHOTO bulbs, take your pictures outdoors. Nothing fancy is needed, find a level spot with the sun BEHIND you (but don't let your shadow block it) Set on Manual settings with Auto White Balance you should have good results. Remember people want to see the object, they don't care about anything else. You can also get excellent results on slightly overcast days, diffused sunlight can result is some superbly good and accurate photos.
3. eBay Asian Antique Auction Particulars: Optimal Duration, Starting Day and Time
If you sell via Auction on eBay there are just a few absolute rules, based on our experience about Auction timing. Bear in mind it's a BIG planet and Asian and Chinese is a global market. The idea behind timing and duration is getting the MAXIMUM exposure for your object and have it close on the BEST day(s) and at the best time on average for a Global market.
Auction Duration? 10 days ONLY without exception.
Starting Day(s)? Thursday or Friday only without exception.
Time of Day To Start and End? 7 PM to 9PM Central Standard Time USA.
Why 10 days, Thursday-Friday and 8PM-9Pm CST- USA?
When you list a 10-day auction starting on a Thursday or Friday your listing gets TWO weekends of exposure on eBay. Weekends are the busiest days of the week for searches on the site. So get as close as you can to two weekends of exposure as possible. By listing on these two days, your auctions will close 10 days hence on either Sunday or Monday after being seen and found for two weekends.
Why 8 to 9 PM CST-USA? This pertains only to Asian and Chinese art. 80% of the listings in this category sell to buyers in the USA, Canada, Australia, China and Korea. Which places the closings time-wise in a sweet spot of early to mid-evening in North America and around 7 to 9 AM in Asia generally speaking. While it does put buyers in the EU left with the option of placing the last bid at 2 or 3 AM, it's the best time on average for the ENTIRE world given who buys what.
4. Starting Bids and Reserves
Cassini will give you a bump up if your listing is likely to sell.
This all depends on you and what you paid for things and how risk-averse you are. Before you decide you also need to understand a few things on how Cassini looks at listings. When it comes to eBay Asian antique auction listings, you need to know some things.
WHY??? Cassini LOVES low opening bid - no reserve auction listings to death. They get all the action Cassini likes to see and track. With low opening bids and no reserves, the listing gets onto more "Watch Lists", they get more immediate bids, it then gets more page views, more "REPEAT " views and so on. Often resulting in many bids and high prices early on.
An item with bids and on many watch lists get more promotion from Cassini than no bids and reserves by a mile. Items with bids also get more attention in searches, which gets them more views, and more bids and on and on.
We generally start all listings with an opening bid of $10 or less with no reserve. Even on items we know are worth 5,000 to $100,000 and we've done it dozens of times, as have many sellers following this practice.
5. Item Description
This includes not only the description but size and condition.
IMPORTANT: eBay provides a "Condition" section that MUST be completed as well. DO not put in the provided Condition box "See Condition below." Cassini will punish you for it. Further, if there is a problem with the buyer, eBay will tell you .." you failed to provide a condition statement", even if it is in the body of the Description section. So do it correctly, put it in both places, just cut and paste.
The description should rarely be more than two-three sentences in two paragraphs. Start the description by cutting and pasting in your exact title. This serves as a confirmation for Cassini. Then say what you need to say about the object ONLY. DO not make wild claims about rarity or any of your own opinions unless you are actually an expert. You can say where it came from and things like that.
So, put in your Listing Title Line, double space down, add a paragraph, double space again add another paragraph (if you need it), double space again, add Dimensions, the single space down and cut and paste the condition as it was done in the provided eBay Condition box.
Your Description. Don't lecture or try to oversell the item to the reader, they'll run away, never type any of your listing in all CAPS.
Below that, you can add any boiler plate you feel you need.
6. Return Policies & Shipping Times
Cassini punishes sellers who state they do not accept returns and have guaranteed shipping dates more than a couple days.
In reality, all sellers have to accept returns in the category of the antiques. This is true even if the seller says "All sales are final, no returns". eBay typically sides with the buyers on the return issue over 95% of the time regardless of seller's stated policies. So you might as well "accept returns." make Cassini Happy...!!
Yes and keep your shipping times short.
Excellent topic, thank you!