A Buyer's Guide to Sales Listings
Purple TripleCrown
Canada
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After purchasing games from EBay and other sources for a number of years, it is surprising to me to see that certain problems with sales listings continue to be commonplace.

As a service to sellers (who may wonder why their inventory is not selling, or not attracting the prices they hoped), and as a venue for frustrated buyers, I have created this GeekList as a means for providing sellers with advice on how to make their listings more effective, and how to improve everyone's overall satisfaction with sales transactions.

I will start off the list, but I hope that others will add their own input, with a view to helping everyone concerned.
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1. Board Game: Picture Picture [Average Rating:5.71 Overall Rank:11084]
Purple TripleCrown
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Some online sellers still refuse to publish pictures of the games they are selling, or only publish pictures of the game box. In a world where digital photography is virtually free, this is a "red flag" for any buyer. All online listings should include pictures of all of the game components.
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2. Board Game: Liar's Dice [Average Rating:6.92 Overall Rank:564]
Purple TripleCrown
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It is unfortunate that as simple a word as "complete" has been made ambiguous by some sellers. Many sellers consider games that are missing the original dice, or any dice, to be complete. While it's true that the absence of 6 sided dice may not be seen as a serious matter to a gamer, the absence of custom dice, or even a standard 20 sided die certainly would be. Sellers should always state whether the original dice are present, and if not, whether substitute dice are, and if not, what sort of dice the game requires.
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3. Board Game: Look Look [Average Rating:4.90 Unranked]
Purple TripleCrown
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There is probably no listing that is more frustrating that one that is described as "looks to be complete" or "appears complete". Sometimes the seller will make this statement when there may be as few as 10 chits to count, and a BGG scan of the counters is readily available! If the seller does not wish to verify completeness, he should state just that. Any other statement is meant to induce the buyer into thinking he should have some confidence in completeness above the level being offered, which in truth is zero.
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4. Board Game: Global Resolution [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Purple TripleCrown
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Some sellers, particularly on EBay, ask you not to provide feedback immediately if there are any problems, and to provide an opportunity to address your concerns prior to providing feedback.

This may sound reasonable at first blush, but less so when you consider the following. Having to resolve a problem with a vendor is a problem in itself, even if it is eventually satisfactorily resolved. Addressing the problem takes time, and can often be frustrating. Online purchasers have to invest a lot of trust in sellers. Sellers get paid in full before the item is ever shipped. If sellers believe that any failure of attention on their part, or liberties taken with the item description, can just be "sorted out later", such sellers will not likely try as hard to get things right the first time. Such sellers may also be trying to take advantage of the fact that a collector is much less likely to insist on a return of a slightly misdescribed item (with all its attendant hassle) than to negotiate some other resolution.

Asking for leniency and forgiveness in advance gives the clear message that the seller makes frequent mistakes.

Sellers should accept the negative feedback that comes with mistakes and/or "stretching of the truth", even as they should also work to resolve those problems. Take the criticism in stride, and work to make your business practices better.
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5. Board Game: Hide 'n' Thief [Average Rating:6.42 Unranked]
Purple TripleCrown
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Some sellers hide the true sales price of their items in their shipping costs. This becomes immediately apparent when you compare the shipping costs of identical items from similar geographic locations. Although discoverable, it is nevertheless annoying, and, seemingly, is an attempt to take advantage of buyers who might assume (not unreasonably) that all shipping charges are just "pass throughs" of the actual shipping costs.

Sell your items for what you think they're worth, and pass on the actual costs of shipping.
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6. Board Game: Make An Offer [Average Rating:6.60 Unranked]
Purple TripleCrown
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This is an issue specific to Kijiji, Craiglist, ConSimWorld or other similar online marketplaces.

A number of sellers advertise games for sale, but do not advertise any prices, and simply invite offers.

Some buyers will not be deterred by this, but many will. It is difficult to negotiate with someone who apparently has no idea what his goods are worth (to him, or in the marketplace). Often, responding to these listings has proved to be a waste of time. Often, the seller is simply hoping for an offer above what he knows the item should be listed for.

Again, some buyers will not be deterred by this practice, and in some cases may even arrive at an agreed price.

But many buyers will not take such listings seriously. As a result, listing in this fashion will reduce your potential market.
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7. Board Game: Apples to Apples [Average Rating:5.89 Overall Rank:3209] [Average Rating:5.89 Unranked]
Purple TripleCrown
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This entry is directed to sellers on Craigslist, Kijiji, and similar online sales sites selling games that are still in print.

If you are going to compare your price to a retail price (inclusive of tax), don't end your comparison there. Purchasing from you will differ from purchasing from a retail store in a number of additional ways:

a) The purchaser will have to make arrangements to meet you at a mutually agreeable time and place. Often that the agreed location is not as convenient to the purchaser as going to a retail store, and neither is having to arrange a fixed meeting time (of course, amplify the inconvenience if the seller is late, or the meeting directions are not well communicated).

b) The purchaser will have to pay with exact cash. That is not as convenient as using a debit/credit card at the FLGS.

c) The purchaser must trust that the game is complete (if claimed to be complete), and his recourse if it is not (returning the game to you) is, at best, inconvenient, or at worst, doubtful.

d) People prefer products that involve personal handling to be new, if possible, for both hygienic reasons as well as to ensure completeness. If the game has been opened, even if just to examine it, the purchaser does not get the same comfort as buying a game that is still sealed.

When you start to consider these differences, advertising that your game is priced 10% below retail is not really all that tempting. Consider how much of the above applies, then price your game with that in mind. I would suggest that a minimum discount of 25% below retail will be required to get a buyer interested enough to deal with inconveniences and risks of a Craigslist/Kijiji purchase.
 
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