What does watching mean on eBay? When it comes to buying and selling cards on eBay, there is certainly an associated skill and almost artform to being successful. Not just with cards, but with any item—the better you know the platform and can play the game, the better chances you have at winning the items you’re seeking and selling items at prices you’re happy with.
Really, it’s about picking up clues—how much has an item sold for in the past, why was it selling them compared to now, was it a “buy it now” or traditional auction. All of these data points, and more, help you form a more complete market picture, which means you might be in a better position to buy and sell at optimal prices.
All of this brings us to the eBay watcher, which is an important metric to pay attention to no matter what side of the transaction you might find yourself.
What does watching mean on eBay?
A watcher on eBay is a user who has selected to track a particular item by clicking the heart icon from the search results. By watching an item on eBay, a user can curate their own personal list of items, allowing them to more easily keep tabs on item activity.
Specifically, when a user clicks the heart icon on any item they find in the search results, that item is automatically added to their watchlist, which is found in the “watching” section under the “My eBay” tab. Now, instead of having to search for that same item or set of items over and over again through the traditional search bar, a user can more easily pull up that info through their watchlist.
Why Watchers Don’t Always Equal Sales
Even a crowded watch list for a product on eBay isn’t always going to mean a sale, because the watch list isn’t anything like a shopping cart—it’s a tool that eBay users use to manage their interests.
Shoppers on eBay can bookmark listings they are interested in by adding them to their watch list. This gives them an easy way to follow any changes to the listing, monitor auctions, and consolidate all the products they are interested in for easy viewing.
Users also have the option of receiving real-time, daily, or weekly email or instant message updates about the listings they are watching, so they can monitor deals, price changes, and sales that are ending soon.
Because of these features, there is a wide range of reasons why an eBay user might consider adding a product to their watch list:
- They are interested in the item and considering buying it.
- They are interested, but it’s too expensive, or they want to see how an auction plays out before committing.
- They are somewhat interested but haven’t made up their mind if they want to buy yet, or they are comparing similar items.
- They don’t want to buy the item right now but want to purchase something similar at a later date, so they are saving the listing to remind themselves.
- They don’t want to buy the item at all, but they think it’s cool or interesting.
- They don’t want to buy the item at all, and they are casing your listing. Many watchers are sellers of rival products and are simply checking out the competition to see how their listings perform.
Only a few of those possibilities are likely to convert into sales, and it’s impossible to know which category your watchers fall into. As a seller, you can see how many people are watching your listing under the Watcher column on your active listings page. You can track how many watchers you have on each individual listing, but the identity of the watchers is kept anonymous. There is no way to ID who is watching your sale, or why.
Furthermore, watch counts don’t provide any social proof or sense of urgency to shoppers. eBay recently began removing watch counts on most listings, so only sellers can see the number of watchers on their own listings. Buyers have no idea how many other people are interested in the product, so high watch counts don’t generate any sort of external social proof or sense of urgency for shoppers.
Although you may not know much about who your watchers are or what their motivations are, a rising watcher count is still a useful flag that tells you someone out there is interested in your product. For that reason, it’s worth focusing on and optimizing listings that have generated interest, with the goal of making a sale.
eBay Selling Tips to Convert Watchers
While not all watchers can be converted into buyers, there are things you can do to encourage those watchers who have an actual interest in buying to take the plunge.
The eBay selling tips below will help you create special offers and deals for watchers, optimize your listing to be more enticing, and employ a few psychological marketing tactics that encourage shoppers to act with urgency.
Influence of Watchers on Bids
Finding out that your listing has attracted watchers is a bit of a buzz; however, there is no guarantee that watched listings will sell. You can have a lot of watchers on an auction only to see it close with no bids at all. Buyers may forget to bid in time, may lose interest in the item or may buy it somewhere else. Watchers also have no influence on other potential bidders, as only sellers can see the number of watchers on a listing.
Turning Watchers Into Bidders
If you have a lot of watchers and no bids, you can try to stimulate interest by dropping your price. However, if this works and the item does sell, you can’t tell if the winning bidder was one of your watchers or not. If your item expires unsold and you want to relist, check out similar items on eBay first — both active and sold listings — to see if there is anything you can do to make it more attractive to bidders. Any watchers from the original listing receive a notification of the relist.
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