eBay – Buy It Now vs. auction

Work out which selling option you should use when putting items for sale on eBay

Weigh up your options

The question comes down to whether you feel comfortable with the risk and reward of an auction, or prefer the stability of a Buy It Now (BIN).

Use Buy It Now when you’re selling:

  • high-value items with low demand
  • items that may need to be up for 30+ days to find a buyer
  • goods that always sell for about the same price
  • unique pieces that the general public won’t know the value of

You should also take advantage of the BIN option if you’re feeling nervous that your item will sell cheaply for whatever reason.

Selling your item with a BIN price means doing your research beforehand – the burden is on the seller to make the price both accurate and profitable. Otherwise you run the risk of items staying online for months, or selling an item for well below its value.

Use Auctions when you’re selling:

  • low-price goods with lots of demand
  • rare, collectable items that are in high demand
  • items with very little value to yourself, such as old books or “junk” around the house

Auctions are by their nature quite risky – but the rewards are potentially greater than BIN. If you find two bidders who really want your item, you could find the price of it spiralling upwards.

What do buyers prefer?

It really depends on what they’re after. The benefit of BIN is that they get their item quickly and don’t have to worry about losing out.

But buyers also recognise that a BIN price is already building in profit for the seller, so there’s no value for the buyer. In an auction, there’s a chance that the buyer will come away with a deal they’d not find anywhere else.

Many buyers and sellers consider auctions much more exciting – the buzz of bidding can get people to pay much more than they expected.

Remember that if a buyer gets in touch asking for a BIN on an auction item, they’re probably doing it because they think the item is going to sell for much more.

Adapting BIN to suit you

There is a way to gain the benefits of auction listings, while selling with BIN. With the Best Offer option, buyers can get in touch with you and make a bid below the BIN price.

Once you have the offer, you can either accept, decline or negotiate, which means that there’s an element of auctioneering during the sale.

Best Offers usually come through on items that have been online for a long time, so you may be tempted by a lower offer.

But remember that these offers are always in favour of the buyer, so are lower than the actual value of the item. It pays to negotiate first and get closer to your BIN price.