Slow Burn Many people turn to hot lists to make product sourcing decisions. These lists are designed to tell sellers what buyers want at the moment. The problem is most of these lists are static, so they quickly become obsolete. When a hot list comes out, everyone jumps on board and quickly floods the market with those items, leaving little room for competition. Both product sourcing and market research are dynamic in nature. The difference between a hot list that’s going to burn you and a hot list that can put you ahead of the retailing curve is whether or not that list is being continually updated with new research data. When a list stays current, you know that the items on it aren’t items that were hot yesterday—they’re items that are hot NOW! EBay to the Rescue! That’s what makes eBay’s hot items list one of the best around—every month, they put out a new list based on their own data research. So essentially, they’re doing a large part of your market research for you, at no cost. You can find this information at—just download the hot list PDF file. Janelle Elms (, an eBay University instructor, recommends printing these lists out each month and keeping them in a binder so you can track trends happening on the site. Explains Elms, “I have seen items show up on the list for eight months at a time; [that] means buyers are demanding [products] that sellers aren’t providing. If things show up month after month, it means sellers aren’t paying attention to this list.” EBay’s hot lists tell you what people are looking for, and when they’re looking for them. It’s in Your Head EBay’s hot item lists are also a great way to get into a buyer, rather than a seller, mindset. Most sellers tend to follow what other sellers are doing, but successful sellers look at what buyers are doing. If you’re an online retailer of pet supplies, looking to update your product line, you might consider moving toward organic pet foods. It’s a popular seller trend right now, the rationale being that pet owners are often willing to spend a great deal of money on their pets. However, a current buyer trend in pet supplies is training tools and guides for cat behavior. But if you’re not looking at things from a buyer’s perspective, you’ll miss out entirely on these prime selling opportunities! Use What You’ve Got Sellers often work harder than they have to because they ignore the resources available to them. What you expect to be in demand may have very little to do with what shoppers are actually wanting. Says Elms, “Trends change, products change, what’s popular changes, but eBay provides you a dynamic database that really keeps you up to date.” And taking advantage of this resource automatically gives you a step up on the competition.

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