View Full Version : Ideas on drumming up ebay sales?

06-01-2002, 01:10 AM
i can't even give my stuff away this and last week...no bids at all...well one...but it wasn't even the reserve price.

i've tried it all...but also i'm still a newbie...

i even sent my past buyers from my shows a flyer telling them i was discounting on ebay my paper sculptures for the summer only and they could look online...

mailed out over 100 over a week ago...have another 100 to mail but still nothing...this was a full color flyer on good paper..

i don't want to list my very expensive stuff till i can get a featured plus...right now two of my buyers never left feedback...one never has left feedback for anyone and the other just didn't, even though she wrote me how much she liked the piece...

i had already asked her in an email to leave feedback...so wouldn't feel right asking again...

so for now i'm stuck with only 7 feedbacks even though i've had quite a bit more sales...but to the same buyers...sigh

06-01-2002, 03:43 AM
Maybe you can offer incentives to buyers about leaving feedback?

At the moment, I have one buyer who hasn't left feedback yet even though I emailed her twice after leaving her feedback. Still nothing. So, I know what you mean. :(

For newbies like us, building up the first 10 feedback is quite important. Maybe you can also think of buying some stuff at eBay so you can raise your feedback rating?

Anyway, two of my buyers who bought two paintings each just left me positive feedback. One is asking about acquiring a print of a painting that's currently not for sale and the other one wants to be included in my mailing list. Yay! :clap:

About increasing sales... since I'm also a newbie, I don't have many ideas yet. I'm still experimenting with different business practices. There are several posts on this in the past, so I'm sure if you have the time to dig them (or someone can post links to them), you'd find lots of ideas. Things don't always work the same way for everyone, but we can always adapt the ideas that would suit our business style. :)

06-02-2002, 08:05 AM
Am I missing something here? I don't understand about the feedback thing and I am getting psyched up to give ebay a try. To me the money received from the sale of your art would be the most important form of feedback.

06-02-2002, 08:55 AM
People are more likely to buy from you if you have more feedback-- it's like a business reputation, both for business practices and for quality of the artwork.

I don't know, Arlene-- I have 5 auctions ending today, and no bids. I raised my starting prices a bit, and haven't been using reserves (because I, personally, don't like the psychology there), but maybe that's a bad strategy-- maybe other people like it. I'm also only listing my stuff in self-representing artists, but since my work tends to be much more traditional than most of the work there, maybe that's a bad strategy as well. So, when I re-list this stuff, I'm going to mix it up a bit-- lower my prices, either list in 2 categories or list some pieces in the other category, and maybe use reserve prices. I'm also going to list 5 more paintings today-- I think this batch is a little better, so I'll keep the higher prices on it.

I am VERY new to this, having previously sold on Ebay only 4 paintings to three buyers, so I am just trying to figure out what works. I've also never sold my work before, so I don't have any sense of confidence as to its worth. So, I'm really flailing around in the dark: is my work priced too high, or am I not reaching the right buyers, or is it something else? My works are all oil on panels, which must be framed-- maybe I should try gallery-wrapped stretched canvas for my studio work (can't do that for plein air) or maybe the framing cost isn't the issue, maybe it's concern about the quality of the materials, and I need to better explain what I'm using? Or, maybe I need to bite the bullet and offer my panels framed? I just don't know.

Or, maybe it's just the market right now. I do know that my work is steadily improving-- so I figure that eventually I'll get it all sorted out and find my market. Today is the first time I've re-listed paintings that didn't previously sell, and I'll figure out from this whether or not it is worth it to re-list.

06-02-2002, 12:53 PM
The market is very sloooooooooooooooow right now.
That's what it boils down to.

I have been selling on EBAY since 1999 and this is the worst it's ever been.

It's just a symptom of how people are spending in general.


06-02-2002, 01:18 PM
Well, that's comforting Ginette. If I don't have better results in this next round, I may just back off and spend the summer focused exclusively on building my skills and my inventory. :)

06-02-2002, 01:33 PM
Hi Arlene: I have been selling off and on on eBay for almost 2 years. I find that for me it is too unpredictable. My work is far higher quality than some of the work selling for hundreds yet I barely get bids at times. It really is beyond my understanding. I have sifted through the work and am shocked at soem of the crap selling. I have learned that I could not rely on it for a sole income myself but it is fine for exposure and filler income. I list a portrait commission every few months which has often lead to other commissions.
There are several artists on eBay who do extremely well. One I really like and have seen grow is ricatart. However, she does have collectors now as well from there.
There seems to be so many determining factors on what sells that it is way to long in figuring it out. I work smaller for there, so I felt it was the size that deterred. Then I wondered if it was the fact that I was in Canada. Also, I feel that sometimes Outsider or or more weird gimicky stuff seemed to do better. Also, buyers are looking for bargains most of the time on an auction site. Unless it is an antique piece or well known artist, you don't get the bidders bidding high for it. Mere quality does not seem to be the main factor in guaranteeing doing well selling artwork there.
I know that I could get out my airbrush and do large slick erotic artwork and I'd probably do extremely well, but I won't bend on what I enjoy doing to become rich. It just becomes so sour feeling then.
I find that I do better as a portrait artist with the site I have as well as my local clients. I have my work on display in a sort of art and craft retail type concept store here. I don't need to be there, there is a staff. Basically I have business cards out and get calls. This makes me my main income. I still have not totally given up on eBay as it does provide huge exposure. I believe consistently auctioning artwork is probably better than sporadically listing it. This may lead to building up collectors or having a gallery spot it. I personally will never solicit work from past buyers or commissions. It just is not me. But, I guess that it would be a good thing to do. The ohter thing that I have never done is solicit feedback. I guess I should shake that becasue everyone I deal with asks for feedback. I think of feedback like a tip. It should not be expected, it is a person's option if they want to leave feedback. I agree, they should, for the seller as well as for the betterment of the cummunity as a whole. I think mainly it comes down to laziness and non caring when a person does not.
Anyway, just my little experience opinions. Others do very well on eBay and it is their main income.
Good luck! Congrats on the Juried Show Acceptance too!!!!

06-02-2002, 03:01 PM
I know what you mean, jocelyn, and I although art labels are a sticky subject (almost impossible to use without offending someone), I have the feeling that my rather traditional style appeals to a market that doesn't represent a very large proportion of the Ebay market. They ARE there, but I don't think there are very many of them. I wish the self-representing category was broken down somehow-- maybe into traditional and avante-garde? Something like that? I've done a lot of looking around on Ebay, comparing the self-representing category to the contemporary paintings category, and I like the honesty of self-representing. In the other category there are a lot of listings by dealers, many making subtle, implied claims that the paintings are by someone famous, or have an antique value, or something like that. I don't like that sort of business practice, and don't want to be associated with it in the mind of the buyer. For that reason, I've been using self-representing even though I feel that the style of my work is overall a better fit in the other category. But, I'm not sure that really matters-- maybe I'm just over-sensitive to such things.

There does seem to be a decent market for extremely well-executed realistic still lifes, and I'm thinking about attempting some of those. I've already tried some, and although it bored me a bit, I did feel that it contributed a lot to my artistic development, which is the important thing for me right now. The truth is that I can't really do the art I want to right now anyway-- I really want to paint plein air in the mountains and high desert of the American west, in Europe, in other landscapes that fascinate me-- like Japan, for instance. I do practice my plein air work around my home, going out at least once a week, but I've never been very fond of my flat-as-a-pancake and hotter than Hades hometown (Houston, Tx.), and I'm getting bored with painting it. :) But, I look at it the same way-- it's practice, and I'm in training for my real work, which I'll be doing a few years from now when my kids are in college and I'm travelling much of the year. I might even start attempting figures and portraits for the same reason-- it's training, particularly in drawing and color-mixing. If I can do faces and figures that look like the real people, that would necessarily mean that I've taken my drawing skills to a new level.

Anyway, that's how I look at it. I will change my art for the market, but only to a point. Anything that I do that is 1) from life and 2) where I attempt to attain the greatest sense of realism possible within the constraint of 3) using an alla prima method meets those criteria, so I will do those things. (I might also try faces & figures from photographs simply because I find that working from photos greatly simplifies drawing, and this area is completely new to me and really difficult. Also, a secondary goal of mine is to be able to use my plein air paintings to produce larger studio works, so I work on that already.) But I won't change my art in ways inconsistent with my ultimate goals just to increase sales today-- I see that as self-defeating behavior.

06-02-2002, 05:13 PM
I took a break last summer after June because I was going to be traveling and couldn't keep up with my auctions...so I don't have a comparison for this year. My watercolor paintings are still selling well..in fact, some are getting higher bids, but recently I've posted some of my oil plein air work and they are getting viewers but no bids. It's difficult when an artist changes mediums or styles because a new group of buyers have to find that art!

But I'm going to keep listing consistently thru the summer this year....however, I won't be doing any featured auctions...or other higher priced options. Just the plain and simple to keep my fee costs down to a reasonable level.

Since I'm in this for the long haul...I figure it will all balance out at the end of the year!

06-02-2002, 11:12 PM
I've heard we are entering that Summer slump. You're doing just about all you can do.

06-02-2002, 11:47 PM
When does the summer slump end?

06-03-2002, 12:29 AM
Wish I knew! LOL!

06-03-2002, 07:19 AM
Summer slump "usually" begins in mid June until the end of August...or so I'm told.

A note about feedback!
If you're new on ebay and want to build your feedback quickly....make some purchases! They don't have to be big things....feedback about your communication and prompt payments are just as valuable in building your credibility. It's true...sellers realize the importance of posting feedback more than buyers do.

I don't remind my buyers to leave feedback...at least not bluntly. In my email to them giving the shipping info (when I ship, the delivery confirmation #, etc.), I say "I will be posting very positive feedback for you!" I feel a subtle hint is better, but overall looking at my actual transactions and the # of my feedback, about 15% of buyers haven't left any feedback at all.

Who knows...perhaps, they didn't have anything to say...lol! Feedback is supposed to be about the business of the transaction....and not about whether they liked my art or not. I always wonder when someone doesn't leave feedback how they really felt about the painting they received. Maybe we should start a new thread of "what to say when you don't know what to say in feedback"!!

"I'm positive it looks just as bad in person as it did on my screen"

carly :D

06-03-2002, 07:44 AM
Originally posted by CHClements
Who knows...perhaps, they didn't have anything to say...lol! Feedback is supposed to be about the business of the transaction....and not about whether they liked my art or not. I always wonder when someone doesn't leave feedback how they really felt about the painting they received. Maybe we should start a new thread of "what to say when you don't know what to say in feedback"!!

"I'm positive it looks just as bad in person as it did on my screen"

LOL! I wonder about this too... :D

06-03-2002, 08:21 AM
Just posted my first painting on Ebay. After reading your threads and others, I decided to give it a try. I know we are in a slump, but at this point, I just wanted to go through the process. Not too bad. but i did not know there was a category for self representing artists.

Also, how does everyone list in thier descriptions? I have put Wayne Brekke original acrylic paintings (then NYC) as it is kind of a tribute piece.). is it like a search engine? so that what is in the description will determine if it pulls up in a search? heres my link, check it out and see. Suggestions are more than welcome:

My first ebay acution (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=880253812)

I have sent out my emailer noting that i am selling here. and i plan on putting it on my website, and snail mailer. i dont want to get to expensive in putting pieces on here at first, so anything that will work well to get the exposure the better. I will read on!!

06-03-2002, 08:51 AM
Wayne you are not allowed to put a link to your website on the auction page. if you wish to do that, it has to be done on your about me page.

i would also suggest that your mentioning that your price would change outside the US doesn't read well if you meant only the shipping charges.

you said you didn't want to put a high price on, but you started with a $100 opening and have a reserve on it. what is the reserve? On ebay even though it's a large painting, $100 is alot of money to start.

one other thought is to use a web host to post a larger picture and some close ups to see the impasto on the picture...u do this in your description.

also, if you can it would be good to establish yourself with a way for folks to recognize you (logo) and also have an about me page.

here's my about me page (at the bottom of it you can find my auctions and how i set up the auction page): http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/artbyarlene/

I also suggest you check out Carly's at:

and a few of those folks who sell consistantly

06-03-2002, 09:41 AM
OK, ive changed some wording and made an "about me" page. though i couldnt get the picture to work. ill have that fixed.

now where did it say i cant have a link to my site on the page? i missed it. but even so, it is a referance and not a link. is that still wrong?

i also lowered the initial bid price to $50 and the reserve is $200. its a large painting and i know it may not go, but again, i wanted to go through the process so i can get used to selling on ebay. i will make changes accordingly.

any more suggestions? your about me page looks great. i will have to find a way to revise mine.

i have most of my work posted on my site, but i think it is not in a way i can link to individual pix. hmmm....

thanks again:D

06-03-2002, 10:58 AM
Wayne I made all my templates using composer. Any web editing program will work. You can add the picture by editing the copy with html.

If you did your own web site there must be on your site a file manager, that stores the pictures individually? click on that and it will take u to the individual picture? I actually store my images now on andale, which charges $28.50 for the year if you pay in advance...this gives you 3mb of space. Then i go there and just copy the url into my template.

I'm not sure about the reference to your site being ok...but as you have it, i'd be more annoyed that i had to type the url into the top and not just click a button...i'm lazy that way.

I read it when I signed up and before I posted my first auction, so I couldn't tell you exactly where I read it.

and actually if i had the answers to everything, i'd be selling alot more! :)

06-03-2002, 11:04 AM
thanks alot for the info. i took off the referance, (im lazy too!) and i have my web guy coming over to fix the other things. thanks again for the help and info.

we will see how it goes.

i only look like im web savvy. :cool:

06-03-2002, 01:43 PM
PAINTINGS and ART work is not selling. I have a shop near here I put some in periodically and as fast as they went in they sold, that was 10 years ago.Up until about two years ago. I have some there now and have been for a year and not sold. Usd to sell a lot decortaive. Inexpensive also.but that not selling either. Too many repos/prints,craft stores, out there and so much art, good and bad. Not selling. I see good paintings who have lost there way to junk shops and that is sad and they are cheap. dust them a bit and you have a great painting.People are getting these, and at yard ales. In conn tag sales i have sen ots of old world art and othere local srt so cheap.SAD, but guess it is where most ends up.When I get a lot, people get presents!.Still love to paint. BRIDGES

06-03-2002, 01:58 PM
Slump or not though, one should always keep something showing out there so that your work remains in peoples minds if you are serious about eBay.
Others are good really good (not that your's isn't ) but they don't always keep their name out there cuz they may not be serious about eBay especially if they are out for mega bucks, and they already have a name and don't have to :) unlike the rest of us. LOL

06-05-2002, 02:49 PM

I'm new to this group and find it a wonderful resource of ideas and practices.

The prices on I've seen on Ebay are generally under $100. Most of the stuff I've sold has been under $50, no mat, no frame. My plan for Ebay is to sell smaller paintings, scetches and drive traffic to my website where I will sell larger paintings, perhaps matted and framed. I've gotton 2 commisions from Ebay, so I know there are a few people willing to pay more for art.

I am designing that site now. I'll postthe address when I get something workable and maybe I can get suggestions from the group.


06-14-2002, 07:05 PM
Well oK!! I just sold two of my paintings on ebay. Got last second bidders. They got a screamin deal, and i may put starting bids much higher next time but...

- My personal website got a bunch more hits.
- Each of the auctions got almost 70 views apiece.
- One winner bought both paintings, this means a new person out of state collecting my work.

I look at this as a great marketing tool. And a great learning experience. Thought the pieces went for a low price, I am pleased with the marketing aspects.

thanks to all for the advice and guidance. I will raise the initial bid amount and keep on truckin!!!

Visit my website if you haven't already!! (http://www.wayneartgallery.com)

06-14-2002, 07:41 PM
Wayne...that sounds great to me! If both sold at your reserve prices...then you made what you wanted from the deal. That's one reason sellers put their reserve price into the description...so buyers will know what amount they are trying to reach. Of course, if you don't put it in the description, when that amount is bid, the reserve disappears...so the next viewer doesn't know there was a reserve...they only see the high bid.

Arlene is right about no links to your personal site...and no mention of it in simple text...in your auction descriptions. I see artist who do this sometimes....but if they're reported, their auctions will be pulled. Not worth the time and effort it takes to relist.

Again congrats on your sales!

06-14-2002, 09:21 PM
Yeah, i took out the web address from the description. it is in my about me page. still, got more hits than i thought!

06-14-2002, 11:17 PM
Wayne, way to go if you sold both pieces, although when I look at the auction to which you have a link, it shows one bid and 'reserve not met'. If the reserve price was not bid, they are not actually sold, although you can offer them to your buyers at their bid price and they may buy it if they wish but they don't really have to.

Anyway, good showing for your first try.

06-14-2002, 11:18 PM
i had two more on there besides the on e you saw. that one it ended with the reserve not met. the other two had no reserve.