Skip to Content

How to Use and Win with eBay’s Watch List

How to Use and Win with eBay’s Watch List

There are two types of people who shop on eBay: those who are will to pay a higher price make their purchase right then and there and those who want to work the auctions to get the best possible price. The eBay “watchlist” is for the latter group.

The eBay watchlist is designed to help you keep track of items that have caught your eye. The watch list allows you to get updates on the listing if the seller should lower the price and also help you keep track of how much time is left before the listing expires or the auction ends.

When used correctly, these are very useful features as this will allow you to stay current on the status of the item and be able to place a bid on an auction at the last moment.

You will receive a notification from eBay informing you there is a certain amount of time left before the auction ends. This is a ploy eBay uses to encourage people to bid early and drive the price up for the seller. However, you can typically get a much better price by waiting until the absolute last moment to place your bid.

If another bidder who has already bid on an item see someone else has beaten their bid, they will usually go right in and place a higher bid. However, waiting until just a few seconds before an auction ends to place a bid is a strategy referred to as sniping. This technique can greatly improves your odds of having the winning bid as it does not leave enough time for someone else to respond to your bid and come back with a higher one.

Some people are afraid to use the watchlist feature for fear that other bidders will know who is watching an item. However, your watchlist is part of your personal eBay account and you are the only person who can see your watchlist. While the seller will know how many people are watching an item, this does not effect the bidding process or the outcome of the auction.

Using the eBay Watchlist Feature

1) Log into your eBay account. If you do not already have an account you can set one up in just a few minutes. There is no charge to buyers for setting up an account or placing a bid. However, if you win the auction you are expected to promptly pay for the item. Note that failure to pay for an item that you have won at auction will result in a “strike” against your account. This information is available to sellers and they often will not accept bids from a buyer who has strikes on their account.

2) Click on the “Watch This Item” tag at the top left of the listing whenever you find an item you like.

3) Keep track of when your item’s listing is scheduled to end. While eBay will send you a notification when there is only a few hours left, it is best to use this just as a reminder and keep track of the ending date and time yourself. Go to your eBay account and confirm the end time when you receive this notification.

4) Keep a calendar or day planner so you can schedule yourself to be available on the date and time the auction is ending.

5) Log into your eBay account at least 10 minutes before the end of the auction.

6) Type the amount you want to bid into the box. Obviously your bid must be higher than the current highest bid. Here it is a good idea to place your bid at least a $1 higher than the current bid, as there may be another bidder trying to score the item for 25¢ or 50¢ more than the current bid. By bidding $1 you will be placing a higher bid then your competition trying to score the item for just a few cents more than the current bid.
A second strategy when determining how much to bid is to place your bid for the maximum amount you are willing to pay for the item as this will prevent you from being outbid by a few cents or dollars.

7) Wait until the time has counted down to 15 seconds before submitting your bid. The system will then take you to a screen to confirm your bid. Confirm your bid and you should, hopefully, have won the auction. If you win, remember to pay promptly to keep your account in good standing.

One of the great things about the eBay watchlist is it is set up in your eBay account so you can access it from any device, including your smartphone. This will allow you to browse the listings from a desk or laptop computer, but make your final bid from your tablet or smartphone wherever you are when the auction ends.