Monday, 5 November 2012

The strangest things sold on eBay and lessons to be learnt

As eBay is one of the biggest shopping marketplaces on the web with literally millions of transactions being carried out on a regular basis, there are bound to be a few of those exchanges that are stranger others. We at eSellution have looked at some of the strangest transactions ever to grace eBay's online platform and what lessons ecommerce stores learn from them.

Michael Jackson's Underwear - A pair of Michael Jackson's Calvin Klein underwear that were seized in 2003 during his child molestation case were placed on eBay with a reserve of $1 million. Unsurprisingly, with the number of followers "M"J has around the world, the boxers were soon sold.

Rhino Dung - In an attempt to try and raise some much needs the International Rhino Foundation decided that they would try their hand at selling rhino dung online. As you would have guessed, the initiative didn't raise the funds they expected.

Hi-Tech Toilet - Originally bought by the city of Seattle for $5 million, the toilets were placed on eBay after becoming a popular hang out for drug users. Sadly, they came no where near getting their money back as the toilets sold for a mere $12,549, resulting in a $4,987,451 loss. 

A Texas Town - The small Texas town of Albert was listed for sale on eBay, boasting "German heritage and a laid-back attitude." The listing also came with the Mayor of Albert title for the recipient. 

An Australian Man's Life - Yup, exactly what it says on the tin. After becoming f A man in Australia sold his life on eBay for a total of   £192,000. This included his home, all the possessions it contained, all of his vehicles and everything else he had to his name. It also included his job meaning his boss probably got a big surprise Monday morning with someone else showed up.

Brussel Sprouts - Getting into the Christmas spirit, a man in England placed brussel sprouts cooked on Christmas day onto the online marketplace. They managed to fetch £99.50 and the proceeds went to charity. 

Ghost In A Jar - A seller decided to place what he claimed was a ghost in a jar after stating that it was terrorising the owner. The item was eventually sold for $50,922 but it seemed the buyer came to their senses and decided not to pay. 

Grandma - A 10 year old girl fed up with her Grandma decided that she would place the 61 year old up for sale on eBay. Despite having a few bids on the listing, described as "annoying but cuddly" eBay stepped in and shut down the listing as it violated their policy on human trafficking. 

As this is an article looking at sales made on eBay, we will end with the first ever sale made on the marketplace, previously titled "AuctionWeb" creator Pierre Omidyar decided to test the listing service by placing a broken laser pointer. To Pierre's surprise, the listing received a bid of $14.83 and was subsequently sold. 

Lessons to be learnt

While pretty much all of these listings are strange in the extreme, they do show any business that no matter what it is they sell, there are people out there who will be interested in their products. For an ecommerce store, success comes in being able to identify which specific type of people will be interested in what you have to sell and marketing your products to this demographic accordingly to achieve the best best level of sales you can.

If all else fails you can follow in the footsteps of some of the more eccentric sellers listed above and literally try and sell the strangest thing you can possibly think of. 

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