How to Write a Good eBay Description
Welcome to my guide on how to write a good eBay description.
There are several reasons why it is important to write a good description for your items when you are selling on eBay:
- Increase the chance of getting bids / sales
- Reduce the chances of disputes occurring
- Improves your odds of success when disputes do happen
In this guide I am going to show you everything I do when write a description for an item on eBay.
What Goes Into a Good eBay Description?
A good eBay description should tell a prospective buyer everything they need to know about your item, so as a minimum it should include:
- The exact name of the thing
- A specification / dimensions
- An explicit list of exactly what the buyer will get
- A detailed description of the condition and any faults
- How you are going to post it domestically
- If / How you will post it internationally
- Whether or not you accept returns
You should also make an effort with the formatting; try to space things out a bit and use BOLD, italic and different sized fonts and colours:
The Name of the Item
I usually copy and paste the title for the listing back into the description and put it at the very top, making it bold, underlined and a bigger font (18 or 24).
There are several benefits to doing this:
- Reduces the chance you made a mistake or copy/paste error in the title
- Reminds the buyer exactly what it is without them having to scroll up
- Looks better
- Ensures that the title and description are consistent about what you are selling.
The last point is important because it is quite easy to make errors, especially when you are listing several items one after the other or from a template.
In the past I have found myself making a great listing for one item, only to realise I hadn’t changed the title from the last listing.
If your title and description don’t match, your item immediately becomes ‘Not as Described’ which means that a buyer can demand a return, even if you put ‘No Returns’.
In the event that a buyer opens a case against you for something being ‘Not as Described’ you will almost certainly lose (as a seller) if the case has to be resolved by eBay.
Specification / Dimensions
Putting some technical information about your item will help you in lots of ways because it will:
- Reduce the number of questions people ask
- Make your item more likely to get bids / sales
- Limit the chances of disputes
- Increase your chances of having a case settled in your favour
If you have a popular item with lots of views, but not enough technical information, you will get a lot of questions which can be very time consuming.
Tell people how big it is, how much RAM it has etc.
If it is a bulky item that someone is coming to collect from your house, tell them they will need a van, or a big car and maybe a friend to help them unload it.
There is also a good chance that if the prospective buyer reads your description and doesn’t find what they are looking for, they will click away and buy it from someone else who wrote the information down.
A List of What is On Sale
It is often prudent to make a list of exactly what is and isn’t on sale, especially if you are selling an item which comes with accessories.
I tend to make a bullet point list in my descriptions, as it also helps to break up the blocks of text which makes it easier to read. Here is an example from some garden furniture I am currently selling:
My short 3-point list breaks up the text nicely and lets people know exactly what I am selling.
I was careful to only include the furniture for sale in the photos, but I could easily have included some that isn’t by mistake, which could have led to confusion or disappointment for the winner of the auction.
Prospective buyers won’t always look at all of your pictures, so by making a list of everything you are creating an extra selling point.
Describe Your Item in Detail
OK, I might not go to town on a piece of junk which I am selling for 99p, but generally I try to give an honest and detailed description of whatever I sell, especially with used items.
If you lie about the condition of your item or fail to mention any problems it has, you increase the chance of a return / refund and negative feedback on your item.
Being honest about the condition of an item builds trust with a potential buyer and there are ways of doing it to lessen the impact of the negative aspects.
Here is an example: I am selling some old trainers (sneakers); on the outside they look great but on the inside they are quite bad.
If these were in good condition I might get £25, but they are probably only worth about £5 as they are, if that.
In my description I put this:
“This is a great pair of shoes on the outside, but the inside has worn a lot at the heel in both trainers and they need some repairing / new inner soles.
They are still wearable and look quite smart; I work in an office and they go well with trousers and a shirt. The main body of the trainer is black, but there is charcoal grey detailing on top which is a bit lighter – the colours can be a bit hard to work out on the photos.
A great bargain for anyone who has skills, as the leather upper on these trainers still looks great and only needs a bit of polish to look really good again.“
I have told them all about the bad things but emphasised the good bits over and over again.
Someone who is looking for a good pair of shoes would be disappointed with these, but someone with skills who likes making things and doing them up would be very happy with them.
How Are You Going to Post It?
There are several reasons for writing about the post in your description:
- Justifies the cost of delivery (if there is one)
- Gives the idea of how fast the buyer will receive the item
- Makes you (the seller) think about postage before you do it
The last point is important because I have been caught out by postage costs on numerous occasions, usually because I didn’t weigh the item before hand or check what size of box to send it in.
I will usually do domestic and international postage one after the other.
If I don’t want to send an item abroad then I will state that too.
Do You Accept Returns?
I always state my return policy in the description because it is fairly hard to spot on the eBay interface unless you are looking for it.
Telling people ‘no returns’ can put them off, but I would much rather they not bid / buy at all than have to deal with someone who wants to return an item.
Putting more time and effort into your eBay description will ultimately save you money and trouble at a later date.
No matter how good you are, there will always be difficult buyers, returns and lost items, but you can drastically reduce the amount of them by making a better description.
My pet hate is dealing with messages.
The message system in eBay is slow and cumbersome, as are some of the people who use it!
Going back and forth with messages can be very frustrating and it might take 3 or 4 messages just to answer a simple question, one which could have been nipped in the bud with a single line in the description.