Advanced Selling Guide

Introduction

We created Audiogon as a place for Audiophiles to come together and exchange both products and ideas. People have been buying and selling high-end audio equipment on Audiogon for over 20 years, and we’ve learned a lot during that time.

This is our in-depth guide for selling high-end audio equipment that outlines our suggested path to success, as well as insights our users have shared with us directly or across various forum posts over the years.

Advanced Selling Guide Topics

Next: Listing Content

Seller’s Checklist

As you get ready to list an item, or are going through the process, give yourself the best chance for success by following this checklist.

Alternatively, if you want to read about more in-depth strategies, features and tips. We also have our Advanced Selling Guide.

Topics

  1. Listing Content
  2. Photos
  3. Pricing and Offers
  4. Shipping
  5. Post-Listing & Re-Listing

Listing Content

Title

The title is what will drive users to click on your listing, and is created from supplying the brand and model of your item, but you are able to add distinguishing, relevant information at the end.

Relevant Details To Include In Listing Title

  • Free Shipping
  • Item Condition
    • Demo Unit
    • Factory Re-Certified
  • One-Owner
  • Limited Edition
  • Colorway/Wood Finish
  • Tweaks/Upgrades

Condition

Use the official Audiogon Grading Scale for consistent grading compared to other users.

  • New: Unopened Factory shipment
  • 10/10: Mint – Essentially never used, factory fresh appearance!
  • 9/10: Excellent – Perfect physical condition, light use.
  • 8/10: Very Good – Perfect front face, 1 minor flaw on top or side is acceptable.
  • 7/10: Good – 1 or 2 minor scratches, looks used but well maintained.
  • 6/10: Fair – 3 to 4 minor scratches, or 1 major scratch, appears used.
  • 5/10: Average – Multiple scratches, including some on the front face.
  • 4/10: Mediocre – Rough physical condition, but all funtions work perfectly.
  • 3/10: Poor – Rather beat up, but all funtions work, maybe a knob is missing.
  • 2/10: Very Poor – Beat up, bent knobs or switch levers, some functional problems
  • 1/10: Shot – For parts use only

Description

Shoppers want to know all about your item. Make it easy for them to get excited. Our users adore details so don’t sell your equipment short by not listing all of its features and benefits—no matter how minute or obscure.

Relevant Details To Include In Description

  • Brand Information
    • Copy details from company’s website
  • Item Information
    • Features
    • Benefits
    • Upgrades
  • Other Details
    • Year Manufactured
    • Owner History
    • Tweaks
    • Unique Characteristics
    • Visible Defects
  • What The Item Comes With
    • Does It Come In Pairs?
    • Includes Any Accessories?
    • Will it require any accessories?
  • Shipping Considerations
    • Restrictions
    • How Item Will Be Packed
      • Original Boxes
      • Require Crates
    • Shipping Costs and Insurance
    • Who Pays For What
  • Complexity of Sale
    • Basic Listings Restrict Contact Info
    • Use Premium Listings To Allow Buyer Contact Off-Site

Photos

Pictures are the most important aspect of your listing; people want to see what they are buying.

Best Practices for Taking Photos

  • Take multiple pictures from different angles
    • Four photos minimum (front, both sides and back)
    • More is better: Audiogon’s max is 16 photos
  • Take additional photos of accessories
    • Anything included with the item when it ships should be photographed
      • Original Box
      • Remote
      • Warranty Information
      • Any Product/Company Sales Brochures
  • Take additional photos of special features
  • Unique Features (speaker spikes/cones)
  • Close-Ups of Terminals/Inputs
  • Original Box
  • Remote

Buyers appreciate being able to see everything they are getting.

Photo Staging

We’ve touted the importance of quantity, but would be remiss if we didn’t touch on quality.

  • Take equipment to a well-lit staging area with a solid background for pictures
    • If moving equipment isn’t feasible, clear area around product to avoid clutter and mess
  • Use indirect lamps or overhead lights
    • Avoid using flash
  • Fill the frame with the product
  • Use a tripod to reduce chance of blur

Blemishes

  • Inspect your equipment carefully prior to selling
  • Be up-front about any blemishes
    • Document them with pictures no matter how minor they may be
    • Makes buyer fully informed
    • Reduces chance of a dispute

Pricing and Offers

You can have the most perfectly framed and lighted images and the most detailed listing, but ultimately your item still needs to be priced correctly to sell.

  • Asking price determines insertion fee
  • Be realistic
  • Use our Audio Bluebook to determine a recommended real market value
  • Determine whether you want to allow offers
    • Try to respond to all offers
    • You can automatically reject low-ball offers in account settings

Shipping

Shipping Best Practices

  • Enter Shipping Dimensions
    • Although this is optional, we suggest entering details
    • Allows buyers to obtain accurate shipping quotes
    • Easier for local buyers to determine if pickup is viable
  • Choose Your Carrier
    • We suggest selecting all three major carriers to give buyers more options

Post-Listing

No traction after two weeks of being live?

  • Listing Upgrades
    • Thumbnail
    • Bold
    • Featured Listing
  • Boost Your Listing
  • Lower Price
    • Research pricing and make sure it’s in-line with market value

If Your Item Sells

  • Get in touch with the buyer to communicate about logistics and delivery date
  • Print shipping labels directly from Audiogon
  • Pack up your equipment carefully
  • Leave, and solicit, feedback for your transaction

If Your Item Doesn’t Sell

  • Evaluate why
    • Change, or add more, pictures
    • Research pricing
    • Shipping Options
      • Buyers are wary of overcharging (flat rate)
      • If you haven’t, define shipping dimensions and carriers so users can get cost estimates
  • Re-List

 

Structured Product Data

A few weeks ago, we changed the way you begin a listing. Instead of typing in the brand and model directly, these fields are now populated drop-downs that return results as you type.

There has been mixed feedback on the switch. For some, it saved them a few keystrokes. While others, whose product was not yet in our database, it added a few keystrokes, as they needed to click the links below the fields to create the brand or model first.

Listing Page - Add Model

Further adding to the confusion was the fact that we didn’t do an adequate job educating our users on the new process. We want to correct that now.

We’ve heard a lot of “It wasn’t broken. Why change it?”

The answer is: Structured Data!

We know. That sounds boring—and since no one will probably make it this far in the blog post after reading the words “Structured Data” I can be honest and admit I fell asleep twice while writing and proofreading—but it actually provides for an exciting future.

Simply put, Structured Data are things like brand names, UPCs, Manufacture Product Numbers. Titillated yet? No? Well, check this out: Structured Data allows Audiogon to connect more buyers to your product. Do we have your attention now?

We want to outline what this change means both for Audiogon and for our users. We’ve separated it into two parts: The Boring Stuff and The Exciting Stuff. Strap on that seat belt, baby. You’re in for a wild ride.


The Boring Stuff

Validation

Validating the brand and model allows us to avoid misspellings and mis-formattings. We now know that all listings of a particular item are for that exact item, avoiding confusions with special editions (SE) or other model variants.

Consistency

Validating provides for consistency. We can now ensure that every Marantz CD-63 mkII is actually a Marantz CD-63 mkII, and not a CD63MKII or a CD-63MK2. We know our users would never commit such a folly, but every now and then there’s fallibility. Structured Data cuts down on those rare events.

We can begin to apply product IDs in our database to treat every product as its own unique entity, and group all of the same ones together for other purposes.

Increased Visibility

Have you heard about this thing called “The Internet”? It’s insane. Could be huge. Well, for us to get your item in front of more people, we have to bow to the whims of companies with strange names like Google and Bing.

To do that we need accurate product information, and the best way to get that is standardizing products so that we can attach data to them. We’ll be able to reach a much larger audience through organic and paid channels, connecting shoppers to your item quicker and increasing the opportunity for a sale.

McIntosh MCD500 - Organic

Structured Data allows your listings to be included in places like Google’s Knowledge Graph.


The Exciting Stuff

Builds Foundation

With structured data in place, we can begin to seamlessly reference and integrate brands and products across all of Audiogon’s properties: Virtual Systems, Bluebook and Forums.

The beginnings of this are present on our brand pages. We have big redesign plans that expand these pages beyond just existing listings as soon as the database supports it. Below is a rough sketch.

Brand Page Sketch - McIntosh - No Markups

The Future

This pivot to unified data sets us up to roll out improved functions and features, both big and small, in the future that will directly benefit you. Below are some examples of things we have on our roadmap.

Improved Watchlist
Our watchlist can now be more accurate.

More Precise Bluebook
Bluebook will be able to parse listings better and calculate an even more precise market value.

Category/Subcategory Matching
We store category and subcategory information in Bluebook. Eventually, you’ll select your brand and model to start a listing and then the category and subcategory will pre-populate on the Item Details page, saving you precious seconds (but also keeping things consistent across the site).

Product Data Vault
We already use Bluebook as a repository for basic product information, but we can begin fetching data from different services and attaching more robust data like features and specs to products. Those could be used for research and comparison purposes.

A practical application for this would be that product specs get automatically included in your listing, freeing you from having to supply that information by scouring the internet or transcribing the manual.

Oh, yeah, we can begin housing product manuals, as well.

Expanded Brand and Product Pages
Like the above mock-up, we will be able to link and pull information from all across the site and compile it. So, not just brand pages, but product pages for popular items. Compare pages for items shoppers regularly evaluate against each other. And more.

Universal Shopping Experience
Imagine a shopper is looking at Virtual Systems, and they fall in love with a turntable in someone’s set-up. The components are now clickable. As they scroll through, they click on the turntable link, which takes them to a page displaying all current listings of that product. You happen to have that item listed, and they buy it. You are now thousands of dollars richer. Wow! Thank you, Audiogon!

Better Search Engine/Advertising Performance
We touched on this previously, but this shift results in improved rankings on search engines and better performance on comparison shopping engines (Hifi Shark) and paid channels (Google Shopping).

Last month, we drove over 34,000 clicks to items on our site through Google Shopping. There is demand for the products you list on Audiogon, and we want to make sure that shoppers can easily find what they are looking for.

Improved Photo Viewer

PhotoViewer_desktop.gif

We’ve been hard at work making improvements to deliver a better user experience. Some of those changes are felt, not seen—like tweaks on the backend to increase site speed. Others, like our new photo viewer, are very noticeable.

We’ve completely redesigned how you interact with photos on listings and Virtual Systems, regardless if you are on desktop or mobile. We’re extremely excited about this.

In addition to the new layout just looking nicer, we’ve added the following features:

Gestures

We’ve mirrored the gestures you already inherently know from using touchscreen devices. Swipe between images. Spread/Pinch to zoom in and out. Drag to pan. Double tap to zoom.
Gestures are also supported on desktop, as well.
PhotoViewer_mobile_swipe

Increased Image Quality

We’ve reduced compression and upped image outputs to render higher-quality photos.
We’ll be increasing our file size upload limit in the near future, which will allow for even more stunning photos of your gear.

Improved Details

The combination of enhanced zoom and increased image quality means you can now focus in on the smallest detail, knob or badging. Verify a serial number. Review the extent of a blemish. Take inventory of all the terminals.

 

PhotoViewer_mobile_zoom

 

Head on over to listings, and swipe to your fingers’ content.