Know Your Market Understanding product markets can help you determine what you should sell online and how you should sell it. The right product at the wrong time or sold the wrong way can be an eBay seller’s downfall. There are many resources for gauging what methods will work best for you. You can use eBay data and market research to improve your sell-through rate and your selling prices. Free Market Research There are free research tools that you can and should be using. EBay’s completed item search goes back 15 days and lets you see how many of an item were listed, the sell-through rate, the average price, and how other people advertised. EBay Pulse tells you what terms people are searching for. With free tools, you’ll have to manually analyze your results: What prices should you be charging? Is this a good product to be selling this time of year? You can figure out which types of advertising yielded the highest prices for other sellers and what keywords you should put in your title. Most research tools let you search by either category or keyword. As you scroll through the results, look closely to be sure the items match what you’re selling. If you are selling a brand new PlayStation, you don’t want to calculate the average selling price of new and used PlayStations. Ian Steiner, of AuctionBytes.com cautions, “With these tools, you have to go beyond just the general results and actually look at what does this data mean and what is it telling me.” Analyze This You’ll pay a subscription fee for products that not only bring you the results but break them down for you, but you’ll also save substantial time and energy. EBay puts all of its auction data into a data warehouse and licenses that information to companies who have the tools to go through it and interpret it for you. They can provide you with some really helpful reports on your competition, product demand, product availability, etc. Below are some of the more popular market research tools: • Andale.comTerapeak.comHammerTap.com DeepAnalysis tool • WorldwideBrands.com’s Market Research Program that is built into OneSource • EBay’s Market Data License, the pro version. These tools all clean up the data and make sense of it—they add value to it by showing you exactly what it means to you. What About Me? While looking at the big picture of the overall market is important, Steiner stresses you must also “look at your own data…See [what’s] performing the best.” Use your eBay sales reports to track how your sales are doing. Run tests—are your fixed price listings performing better than your auction listings? Which pull in the highest prices? Which sell the quickest? Do your bold listings go for higher prices than your non-bold listings? Use eBay traffic reports to view where your traffic is coming from, and which sources convert at the highest rate. Sellathon.com has a tool called ViewTracker that analyzes your traffic and tells you how your customers are getting to your listings. And SellerPower.com shows you how people are searching on eBay. The better you know your market, the better you’ll do in it.

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