eBay is the world’s biggest yard sale. Millions of bargains wait for you on a daily basis, but sifting through the chaff to find the wheat can be exhausting, time-consuming and extremely dull.
But don’t worry — we have seven tips and tricks that will raise your eBay search game to ninja level.
Read on for our handy hints, and you’ll be the proud owner of that elusive ’90s David Hasselhoff action figure in no time.
1. Search item descriptions.
eBay’s default search looks at items’ titles, but you can also search within items’ descriptions. For example, if you’re looking for a pair of skinny jeans with a zip fly, it’s unlikely the seller would have added that detail in the title of the listing. However, she may have added it in the more detailed description.
To enable this, check the box that says “Include description” under the blue “Search” button at the top-right of your screen.
2. Follow searches to see items in your eBay feed.
You can save a search you perform often so you can easily check for new items, and browse relevant items in your “eBay feed.” Enter the search phrase you’re interested in, hit “Enter” and then click the green “Follow this search” text that appears at the top of your results.
Your eBay homepage will now show fresh items relevant to this search in your feed. You can also revisit this search by clicking the “Interests” link next to “You’re following” at the top of your feed.
3. Set up alerts for frequent searches.
If you don’t have the time to browse and would rather be notified via email when new items are listed for your saved search, it’s easy to set up notifications.
Go through the process described above, and then check the box that says, “Email me new items that match this interest.”
4. Take advantage of typos.
eBay’s search compensates for some common spelling errors and typos, but you’ll be surprised (and possibly a little depressed) by how many item descriptions have severely misspelled words, leaving them out of your search results.
Use this to your advantage by searching for the misspelled terms, and bid on the items no one else can find. You can also use sites such as FatFingers that automate this kind of search for you.
5. Change the sort order of your search results.
Once you’ve carried out a search, you can change the order of the results to suit you. eBay defaults to what it calls “Best Match,” which looks at relevance, seller track record, item popularity and auction end time, but these might not be the best parameters for you.
If you click the “Sort” box at the top-right of your search results, you’ll see other list options such as which auctions end soonest, the lowest cost including postage and packaging, and even sellers who live closest to you.
6. Show more info in search results.
If you want to ace at-a-glance browsing, rather than needing to click on every item to find out pertinent facts, it’s possible to show more information in your search results, change to a gallery view and show more items per page.
Once you’ve searched, click the dropdown “View” box at the top-right of your search results and select “Customize.” This gives you the ability to see more fields from the list view, change thumbnail size and even add a “Watch” option to every result.
7. Own the search commands.
Like many other sites, eBay offers advanced search options to narrow down your results. You can check out the full options on eBay’s help pages here, but here’s a quick primer:
Adding quotation marks to a word or phrase, such as “blue sweater,” will turn up results that only have that specific phrase.
If you search for blue (sweater,jumper) then the parentheses will mean your results will include items that have either the word sweater or jumper in the title.
Adding a minus sign immediately before a word (with no space) acts as a “not operator,” so searching for blue jumper -wool will ignore any listings that specify wool in the title.
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