Try these 9 tips to help you sell your custom figures faster and for more money on EBAY.
Over the years, I learned that it is only natural for all collectors and hobbyists alike to eventually sell some of their beloved custom figures. Often, it becomes a cycle. Myself included, we all get into this cycle of creating a custom, then displaying it in a case for a while. Eventually, it gets sold because we need to accommodate newer customs.
Although some may call it a wasteful habit, I personally believe it’s an excellent strategy to fund your hobby. At least the customs give you something in return, and not just sitting around collecting dust when they no longer have a purpose.
In my opinion, most customizers have nothing but good intentions in selling their ancient customs. However, it becomes discouraging when they don’t sell it fast enough or can’t sell it at their asking price.
In this article, I will share the strategies (9 of them) I use to help make my customs sell faster and sometimes for more money on eBay. If you’ve been struggling to sell your customs for a while and you can’t seem to get the price you want for them, try these 9 tips and see if they help. It’s not a sure and definite shot, but it can help you.
TIP # 1 – Photos
You’ve probably heard it before. If you’re planning to sell your customs on eBay, you must have high-quality enticing photos.
You don’t have to be a professional photographer or graphic designer, but you need to stand out. And one sure way to do that is to take great high-quality pictures.
I always like to “pose” my figures before photographing them. Often, I change the pose for each shot. Take a look at the photos in our eBay listing for our Custom 1:12 Tactical Breacher Auto Shotgun here.
Did you notice how we use different poses and different angles? Not only that, but we also showed the toy gun being held by various figures. We even included a picture of them next to a tape measure to avoid confusion regarding their actual size.
Those photos were not taken by accident. It was deliberate to show the toy guns from different angles. I want the person looking at the listing (potential buyer) to see the custom weapon from other points of view.
This creates an immediate “trust” between you, the seller, and the potential buyer. It shows you’re trustworthy and not trying to hide any possible flaws.
For selling your custom figure, take photos from different angles and views. Do a couple for the front, back, and sides. Then, also do one for the bottom and top. For the remaining, add photos of any specific features you want to show potential buyers. If your figures have flaws (scratches, broken pieces, etc.), this is the time to utilize the remaining photos you have left. EBAY allows you to have 12 pictures for each listing. Use them up to your advantage!
If you still have slots available, it would be good to include a picture of any unique markings on the figure. For example, if your custom includes parts from a “rare” toy, take that picture. Sometimes toys have the manufacturer’s “markings” on them. It is proof that your custom may be a part of a legend! And if it’s visible, you’ll want to show that off.
Lastly, if photo slots are still available at this stage, I always suggest showing measurements. Like what we do here in the MAD shop, you can also include a photo of your figure next to a tape measure to reference its actual size. You can also get the same effect by using something commonly known. Perhaps a $1 bill?
TIP # 2 – Detailed listing descriptions
Writing detailed descriptions is probably the most tedious part of selling on eBay. It is time-consuming, and if you have many figures to sell, you can be typing for a while.
Not many people like to do it. So, what do they end up doing?
They settle for something like this in their listing description:
For privacy reasons, I blacked out some areas of the original listing. But you can see how vague this listing description is. They simply stated what it was and then left a “Shoot me a message if you have any questions” line. Two sentences, done.
It might work if it’s a common item, but it is not. Would you be enticed to buy this item if you were looking at it? You may buy it if it’s something you’ve been specifically looking for. However, I can almost guarantee that you’ll have questions along the way before making the purchase.
Because there isn’t much information provided to help make a decision. Unless you have an item that everyone wants, you don’t have any room to not write a detailed description in your eBay listing. And trust me, simply writing “Send me a message if you have questions” isn’t going to cut it!
Take a look at this listing description for our Custom 1:12 WESTERN COWBOY Accessories Set.
In this description, you can see that everything is clearly laid out. It states which manufacturing process was used for each of the accessories (3D printed for the hat and holsters and injection molded for the weapons). It says that both the holsters and hat are FUNCTIONAL (hat can be removed and placed back on, and guns can go in and out of the holsters). Lastly, it includes some “PLEASE NOTE” sections, where we make it clear to potential buyers what they will be responsible for after making the purchase.
Isn’t that more enticing to a potential customer, in your opinion?
It avoids the guesswork. It avoids questions that can be quickly answered in your description. Again, this creates “trust” between you and the customer. There’s a much higher chance of a sale when buyers feel they can trust the seller.
I’m not going to say we’re experts in creating eBay listings, but we’ve done this many times. I can honestly say that I am proud of my team for developing these custom, clear, and detailed listings.
So, don’t get lazy. Make your listing descriptions work for you and make them as detailed as possible.
TIP # 3 – Competitive pricing
I know what you’re probably saying. “How can you recommend this if I’m trying to get the most money from each sale of my custom figures?” “Why should I offer the lowest price?”
Competitive pricing doesn’t mean “cheapest.” Although offering the lowest price has its place, I wouldn’t recommend you to do that unless it is something you need to sell ASAP.
I suggest searching what your competitors are charging for their custom figures that are similar to yours. Pay close attention to what they are including (if applicable).
Compare how your listing stacks up to theirs. What are they offering that you are not? Do theirs come with an extra weapon or two? Or maybe their custom figure comes with a rare piece?
Price your item based on your findings. For example, if your competitors include custom weapons with the figure, you may want to charge a little less. On the other hand, if you notice that you are one of the only few who include extra custom weapons with your figure, feel free to charge more.
TIP # 4 – Make it a complete set
What is your custom’s theme? Is it military, SCI-FI, Mythic, etc.?
Is it a custom figure from a specific toyline?
Perhaps it’s a custom He-Man figure from the MOTU line? Or maybe it’s a custom remake of Snake Eyes from the GI JOE Classified Series line?
Whatever it is, you can offer your custom figure as part of a complete set. For example, let’s say the custom you made was the custom remake of Snake Eyes from the Classified Series. If you have the original Snake Eyes figure from that line and don’t mind selling it, you can sell the two together as a “complete” set.
And here’s a BONUS. If you still have the set of accessories from the original Snake Eyes, you can sell the two as a complete “BEFORE” and “AFTER” type of set.
I’ve seen this strategy before, and I’ve done it myself. Back in the days when I used to buy collectibles to re-sell, I acquired an Iron Man figure from the Marvel Legends line in one of the lots I purchased. Not too long after, I got a “custom-made” Iron Man/War Machine figure from the same line in another lot. I knew it wasn’t an original Hasbro Marvel Legends figure because of its eccentric colors and the combination of Iron Man and War Machine pieces.
Long story short, I sold the two together as a “BEFORE” and “AFTER” type of set. Although neither had any weapons or accessories to go along with them, I still did pretty well. That listing sold for $65.00.
If your custom doesn’t come from a specific toyline, don’t be afraid to get creative. For example, if it’s a military-style custom figure, why not offer some custom weapons to accompany it? If you already have weapons for it, do you have other accessories you can throw along?
Perhaps some goggles, binoculars, holsters, belts, magazine clips, etc.? Anything that can be added coherently to the military theme of the figure will be helpful. It can add value to your listing and entice your customers more. Just make sure that the accessories are in the same scale and size as the figure.
TIP # 5 – Offer add-ons and extras
You want to make your listing sound like you’re offering customers an unbeatable deal! This is especially easy to do if you notice that you’re one of the few who offers “extras,” and those “extras” are already in your possession.
Check around eBay if you don’t have anything to bundle with your custom. You can also contact us or go to our eBay store to browse the products we offer. We sell various accessories, and most come in sets and bundles for incredibly low prices.
We’ve had customers in the past contact us because they were in a similar situation. They also wanted to sell their customs with a few extra weapons bundled with it but didn’t have any readily available.
Have a bunch of custom figures to sell, and you need to order a lot of custom weapons for them? No problem, we offer Custom Bulk Orders. This offer is unique to Mini Arms Depot. You can choose which accessories you want from our inventory and how many each. We send you a quote for the items on your list, and if you accept, we create a private listing on eBay just for you. Contact Us if you’re interested.
TIP # 6 – Put the figure in a blister package or special case
Providing a particular case for your custom figure shows your professionalism as a seller. Moreover, it shows you care for your customs and that they are well kept.
Suppose the budget allows, and you can spend a few extra dollars without sacrificing profit. In that case, I suggest investing in some blister packaging materials. You can buy the clamshell blisters on eBay pre-made. These are rigid plastic materials that can help protect your figures from moisture and other natural elements.
Although I didn’t do this for the figures that I’ve sold in the past, I wish I would have. It would have saved me time and money. I used to package each one in a cardboard box. Not only was I forced to buy custom-sized boxes, but I also needed to secure the figure when it came time to place it inside the box.
With these clamshell-style blisters, I could’ve easily placed the figure inside the blister and then put the blister inside the box. Since there won’t be much room for the figure to move around inside the blister, I wouldn’t have to worry about getting it damaged or scratched.
Again, if your budget will allow it, please do yourself a favor and invest in some.
TIP # 7 – Offer FREE Shipping
When searching for the products they want to buy, did you know buyers can filter for sellers that offer FREE shipping?
And guess what? Most of them do!
There’s a reason why eBay strongly encourages all sellers to offer FREE shipping. And I think it’s because they know it works.
For whatever reason, buyers seem to like to filter for FREE shipping. So, you should offer FREE shipping on your listings.
Simply include the highest amount of shipping possible to your original asking price to cover the cost. For example, say that your initial asking price for your custom is $25. You live in California, and the item weighs about 12 ounces altogether when wholly packaged. Since it weighs under 1 LB, USPS First-Class postage is probably the most economical option (feel free to look around, though).
You will need to figure out how much the shipping cost will be if it was to go to the other side of the country. In other words, what is the highest amount you can be charged for First-Class shipping for something that weighs 12 ounces?
As of this writing, shipping something that weighs 12 ounces with Standard First-Class Shipping from California to Florida will cost $4.95.
So, you should offer FREE shipping in your listing, but change your asking price to about $30. This way, you will cover the cost, and you’ll still show up in the search results if the buyer filters for FREE shipping.
TIP # 8 – Be flexible and deliver excellent customer service
Take great care of your customers.
I’m not suggesting to give in to everything they demand, but you need to attend to their inquiries and take care of their concerns.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Back in the days when I used to buy and re-sell action figures, I listed a bundle of RAMBO Force of Freedom figures by Coleco from the 1990s. The bundle came with 6 different figures, and a couple of them were complete sets (complete with accessories and everything).
A buyer contacted me through eBay asking if I could send a separate photo of one of the figure’s right leg (It was the NOMAD figure, for those of you wondering). More specifically, he wanted a close-up of the figure’s inner thigh. I replied back and said, “Sure, no problem.”
Apparently, this buyer wanted to ensure that the markings, or manufacturer’s stamp, on the figure’s leg were still visible. For some reason, this meant a lot to him.
After sending him 3 different close-up photos (even though he only asked for one), he replied and asked if I would be willing to sell him just that one figure. Unfortunately, I didn’t want to break up the set and insisted I would only sell it as a bundle.
A few minutes later, I saw an eBay notification on my computer screen alerting me that my item had sold for $165!
TIP # 9 – Focus on the benefits
I purposely saved this tip for last so that you can remember it better. So, what exactly do I mean by focusing on the benefits?
When writing up your listing description, AVOID mentioning how long it took you to build the custom figure!
The truth is, NO ONE CARES!
People aren’t willing to pay you more money simply because you poured in “X” hours into building your figure.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen way too many listings on eBay that concentrated on how much time it took the seller to build the custom. To make matters worse, I’ve also seen instances where more than half of the description was dedicated to the story of what “inspired” them to make the custom.
Folks, please DO NOT do this!
It will waste your customer’s precious time, and they may even block you from showing up in their search results when looking for items.
If you feel that you need to share your passion for the craft and want to express how long it took you to build your custom, there’s a place that. Either save it for your own personal blog, social media, or your own journal.
Instead, you should focus on the “benefits” it will provide for your customer. For example, you can mention the paint and sealer you used to paint the custom. Perhaps it’s made by a well-known brand that is really high quality and doesn’t chip off easily.
Now, mentioning that will really intrigue your potential buyer!
Here’s another example.
Say that one of the pieces you used to build the figure is from a rare and out-of-production toy line. Mentioning this is far more attractive to a buyer than reading how long it took you to make it.
Buyers want details that help them decide to buy or pass on the item. If you focus on garbage instead of the benefits, they will most likely pass on your item.
Again, I strongly urge you to avoid this. Focus on the benefits, and you’ll see that more interested buyers are looking at your listing soon. And one of them may just send an offer your way.
I hope you found these 9 tips helpful. I hope that you will implement them and see great results.
Although it will not be 100% sure and accurate, it can help you sell your custom figures faster and, hopefully, for more money on eBay.
What else do you think I should add to this list? Was there something you tried before that was not mentioned on here?
If so, send me a message here. I want to hear from you!
That’s all for now and until next time.