The manifest is the meat of an auction and contains the most descriptive information about the items in your auction listing. Because buyers are unable to physically touch and examine your products, providing a detailed manifest is a must as it allows your buyers to make informed decisions on the value of your lot. What you plug into your manifest will determine a chunk of your Auction Title so it’s important to be accurate!
Here is what you need to know:
Writing a good Item Description
Manifests are made up of several columns of information as shown below. Arguably the most important column in your manifest is the Item Description. Exhaustive, plain English descriptions are always best for your buyers. Consider two identical auctions where one describes the item as “Earbuds” while another describes it as “Red Beats X In-Ear Bluetooth Headphones.” You can assume, there will be a big difference in interest, and ultimately pricing between the two.
Hard-to-decipher or nonsensical item descriptions will alienate buyers. Poorly written descriptions—be it in your manifest or the auction listing itself—can devalue the inventory in your auction even if the merchandise is highly desirable.
Following is a manifest that has less-than-helpful item descriptions. In the first example, the descriptions are too vague to be useful. Ex: there are a variety of different models of Magellan GPS and Bose headphones; in this case, the buyers have no idea which ones they might be getting.
Using identifiers in Item Descriptions
Using item identifiers—UPC, manufacturer model numbers, company-specific item numbers, etc.—can nicely supplement your descriptions and function as another piece of information buyers can use to research your inventory when making bidding decisions.
Using key fields
Beyond the item description, there are key fields you will include in your manifests, including:
- Type of merchandise (apparel, consumer electronics, mobile, home furnishings, etc)
- Condition (new, used, refurbished, salvage, etc)
- Packaging (original, price tag still on, no packaging, etc)
- Retail price (this is what the inventory would cost new)
- Location (what city the items are located in)
Your manifest should always include an item description and identifier, quantity, and unit retail. The below figure shows additional fields, required fields are in bold and optional (though very beneficial) fields are italicized.
Understanding Condition Descriptions
Condition labels—be it a word or a letter grade—are necessary to describe the state of your inventory. Terms like Brand New, Like New, Slightly Damaged, or Salvaged, along with an expanded explanation of the condition will help buyers make informed decisions.
Here are some best practices when it comes to condition codes:
Write honest and objective condition descriptions
Honest and objective condition descriptions will not only help your buyers accurately bid, but it will help establish trust between your buyers and your business.
B-Stock Supply has established standardized condition codes and guidelines for mobile and everything else. Please review and apply these codes to your listings.
Below are the standardized mobile condition codes for our mobile sellers + buyers:
Tip: Always under-promise and over-deliver, when possible, when writing your descriptions. It’s important to use the same condition definitions for each of your auctions so that buyers gain a sense of familiarity with your stock.
Like condition descriptions, exhaustive and honest packaging descriptions can prevent buyers from claiming your merchandise is something other than exactly what you described. Resellers are interested in knowing if there are stickers, price tags, dented corners, etc. on the original retail packaging, or if the retail packaging is missing entirely and the items are instead packed in clear polybags, unmarked cardboard boxes, etc.
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