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How to Find What You Want to Buy

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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

  • Using eBay's Search Feature

  • Fine-Tuning Your Search

  • Searching for Bargains

With millions of items for sale every day, the eBay marketplace is a shopper's paradise—and a shopper's nightmare. That's because with so many items for sale, it's increasingly difficult to find that exact item you're looking for. It's like searching for a needle in a haystack; you know it's there, but you have no idea where to look.

One of the first tricks to becoming a successful bidder, then, is learning where to look. That's what this chapter is all about—helping you master eBay's various search functions.

By the way, this chapter is unique in that most of the tricks don't come from other users, they come from me. That's because I am, in all modesty, somewhat of a search guru, so you might as well get your tricks from the horse's mouth, so to speak. I guarantee that if you use the tricks in this chapter, you'll stand a much better chance of finding the merchandise you want to buy!

Using eBay's Search Feature

eBay offers two ways of finding merchandise for sale. You can browse through the product categories, or you can search for specific items. Guess which method provides the best results?

Trick #50: Search, Don't Browse

trapperjohn2000

Member since 1998

Feedback: Purple star

Here's something all eBay Masters realize, sooner or later. Searching for an item is quicker than browsing for it. Searching is pretty much a one-click operation; browsing requires you to click through subcategory after subcategory after subcategory, and even then you still end up with dozens of pages of merchandise to sift through. So if you know what you're looking for, don't go through the time-consuming hassle of clicking and loading and clicking and loading to access a particular item category—use the search function instead.

Trick #51: Use the Search Page, Not the Search Box

trapperjohn2000

Member since 1998

Feedback: Purple star

Most users do their searching directly from eBay's home page, using the search box at the top of the page. That's okay for many searches (especially if you use some of the search operators I discuss later in this chapter), but I prefer to use the more powerful Search page.

You access the Search page, shown in Figure 3.1, by clicking the Advanced Search link under the search box. This page, unlike the simple search box, lets you search by several criteria: You can search by listing title, by specific words in the listing, by item number, by location, by seller, or by bidder. You can even choose to search completed auctions—which is a great way to get a handle on final selling prices for various types of items. And check out the options on the Advanced page (accessed by clicking the More Search Options link), which let you create much more powerful searches.

Figure 3.1Figure 3.1 Perform more precise searches from eBay's Search page.

Trick #52: Search the Full Description

trapperjohn2000

Member since 1998

Feedback: Purple star

When you use the Search page, you have lots of options available that you don't have from the home-page search box. One of my favorite options lets you search the complete auction description. eBay's default search only looks in the listing titles; when you expand your search to include the full item description, you can find a lot more items that match your query.

All you have to do is go to the Search page, enter your query, and select the Search Title and Description option. Click the Search button and you'll see many more results than you would otherwise.

Trick #53: Search by Price Range

trapperjohn2000

Member since 1998

Feedback: Purple star

If you're on a budget, you might want to limit your search to items within a certain price range. To perform a price-limited search, you need to use the Advanced Search page, shown in Figure 3.2. Open this page by clicking the More Search Options link on the main search page.

Figure 3.2Figure 3.2 Use the Advanced Search to search by price range.

From the Advanced Search page, enter your query then enter the minimum and/or maximum prices you're willing to pay into the Items Priced boxes. This will return a list of auctions that not only match your query but also fall within your specified price range.

Trick #54: Search for Items Near Your Home

trapperjohn2000

Member since 1998

Feedback: Purple star

One of my favorite features of the Advanced Search page is the ability to search for items within a certain distance of your home Zip code, which is great if you're shopping for large, hard-to-ship items. Open the Advanced Search page, scroll down to the Items Near Me section (shown in Figure 3.3), enter your Zip code, and select a distance (in miles) from the Within list. Conduct your search, and only those items offered within your specified geographic range will be listed.

Figure 3.3Figure 3.3 Use the Advanced Search page to find items in or near a specific Zip code.

Trick #55: Use the eBay Toolbar to Search

trapperjohn2000

Member since 1998

Feedback: Purple star

If you have the eBay Toolbar installed in your browser (see Trick #25), you don't have to go to the eBay site to do your searching. Instead, you can search directly from the toolbar.

To perform a basic search, just enter your query into the toolbar's empty search box, then click the Search eBay button. To perform a more advanced search, click the down arrow to the right of the Search eBay button to display the list of search and browse options shown in Figure 3.4. You can search by title, by description, by item number, and so on, or you can click a category heading to browse all the listings in that product category. It's a great way to access eBay without always going through the home page!

Figure 3.4Figure 3.4 Perform a variety of searches from the eBay Toolbar.

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