I was ticked off. A number of months ago, I had a particular washing machine for sale almost a week and it had not sold. Out of spite, I decided to raise the price $50 and relist it. To my astonishment it sold almost immediately. Then it happened with a refrigerator that wouldn’t sell until I raised the price an additional $20. Why was this happening?
1. Timing. Appliances, like many other items, tend to sell better on the weekends. If the item was buried under hundreds of other appliances, the odds are that people weren’t seeing the ad. When I reposted it, it was seen by a much larger audience and quickly garnered a buyer.
Posting items in the evening about 8pm or so is a great time, as most people do a lot of Craigslist searching at the end of the day. Even if they don’t call you that night, they will print out your ad or bookmark it and call you first thing in the morning. It happens to me all the time.
Another great time to post is about 8:30-9 am in the morning, especially on the weekends. People that are looking to purchase a specific item that day will go on first thing in the morning so they can complete the purchase that day.
Outside of those two times, I feel it comes down to a lot of randomness. You just never know when someone is going to pop on right after you list something and snap it up.
2. Perceived quality. People associate higher quality with higher price, even if it’s not true. A certain HDMI cable manufacturer wanted three grades of an HDMI cables, so they gave them three refresh rates, which is impossible, and they got caught. Or look at bottled water. $4 for a bottle of water? The same water costs a few cents, even if you run it through a filter. There are always people that will pay more for a product that is perceived to be a premium product. Alex Mayyasi wrote a great post on this recently over at Priceonomics.com.
Basically, find the three price levels for the product you are selling. Then, if the condition of your item allows, price it where there is the greatest need. So if there are a lot of low priced refrigerators, price it a good bit higher and see what happens. Or if there are a lot of high priced ones, and you still have some margin to work with, price it low and just move it quickly and buy another item.
Lastly, never stop learning. Buying and selling things is as complex as the people you are dealing with. There is always more to learn and room to better your skills. Study the people you are buying and selling from. Figure out what they want, and find a way to give it to them. If at first you don’t succeed, raise your prices. Just don’t sell three grades of HDMI cables.