Increase eBay Sales by Writing Better Item Descriptions

woman working on eBay product descriptions to increase sales
Specific criteria helps listing rise to the top of eBay search.

Nick David/Getty Images

Online auction sites like eBay are visual platforms. Many buyers look only at the photos and neglect to read the text. But writing good descriptions is one of the best ways to close a sale. While the images of what you're selling may draw in potential buyers, clear and convincing descriptions of your items are what will seal the deal. 

Reasons to Write Good Descriptions

As much as the text in an item description is for the buyer, it is for eBay's search engine and for Google. A poor description won't place well in searches, and potential buyers won't find the listing.

Many buyers actually do look at the description for more information, including measurements, fabric content, washing instructions, year made, and other details. If the information is not there, buyers may simply click away and move on to another listing rather than take the time to message the seller for more information. It is important to spoon-feed buyers all the relevant information about the item to keep them from buying from competitors.

In the event of an eBay claim or dispute, a complete written description can provide important information to eBay or PayPal to help the seller win the case. Always write a description as if there are no photos. If the buyer doesn't read it, that can come back to haunt them.

Write for People, Not a Search Engine

Words used in the description area impact the search engine optimization (SEO) process, but still, remember to write your description as if you are speaking to a person. It is a delicate balance to write for both humans and a search engine, but really not that difficult. Include relevant details and anticipate what a buyer might ask.

As you gain more experience on eBay and get more proficient with writing descriptions, this gets easier. A great way to figure out what to put in descriptions is to look at major retailers' websites and pay attention to what they put in their descriptions. They invest a lot of money into their online presence and know what details to include. Follow their example.

Complete the Item Specifics Section

Boxes with details like color, size, style, country of manufacture, brand, pattern, era, and genre are important. Fill them out. If you don't know, spend a few minutes doing research online. The more information you can provide, the higher your listing will place in searches. A large percentage of buyers don't change the sort order by price, location, or listing ending soonest, so you want to place as high as possible in searches.

Always Proofread Listings

A sloppy listing with typos, grammatical errors, and misspellings can cost you placement in searches and turn off buyers. Granted, most buyers aren't English professors, but a buyer who perceives a seller's listing to be sloppy and lacking attention to detail may wonder if this sloppiness carries over to product quality, shipping, and customer service. eBay is a competitive place, and buyers don't make decisions solely on price. Remember, you are asking a stranger to give you money without meeting you or seeing the item in person. Details matter in getting the sale.

Left-align text (best for mobile shoppers), and use a black font that is big enough to read on a mobile device. Short, sweet, and to the point works best, and if your buyer has questions, answer them promptly.

Keep Seller Policies Short and Concise

Few buyers read long, rambling seller policies about what days they ship, returns, payment terms, and other details, and most of it is not valid anyway. eBay offers a money-back guarantee that overrides any policies you create. A long section with your personal policies looks overwhelming on both the full site and eBay mobile and is a huge turnoff to buyers.