You probably realize that you need to do research before deciding what to sell on eBay—knowing your market lets you pick a profitable product line-up and avoid expensive mistakes. But you may not realize that if you stop there, you’re missing out on a lot of potential sales! Market research tools from Andale, Hammertap, and even eBay, supply you with data that shows you not only what to sell, but also when and how to sell it for the greatest possible profits! But having all that information at your fingertips does you no good if you don’t apply it. Explains David Frey, of market research experts, “Different products require different listing strategies.” Reading the Signs You can sell the right products, but if you’re not presenting them the way buyers want to see them, you’re not going to get top price every time. Research tools break down selling strategies and show you which ones work for your particular item, and which ones don’t. • Timing. The day and even hour in which you end an auction can result in increased bids and higher closing prices. You want to time your auctions to end when the greatest number of your buyer base are online. • Categories. Though many items can reasonably go in multiple categories, most have a category in which they sell best. If you list an item under Electronics that the majority of buyers are searching for in Toys, those buyers will never see your listing and you’ll have fewer bidders driving your price up. Research shows you in which category your item will likely prove most profitable. • Listing features. There are no hard-and-fast rules for listing promotions (a.k.a. bold, gallery, etc.) because different features affect different items differently. You need to look at the data and see how each feature improves your item’s chances of closing a sale, and whether the higher price justifies the investment. • Keywords. Using the right keywords can bring more customers to your listings. For instance, “The Little Mermaid 2” may sell better than “The Little Mermaid II” because more people are typing in the numeral 2 than the actual title. Market research shows you which keywords buyers are using to search for your items. • Starting Price. Another aspect of research is finding which starting price will garner the highest final price. As you research, you can set filters for your items that let you see how buyers react to various starting prices, or to using a reserve price, so you can determine the best pricing strategy. There’s no question as to whether market research is an asset to your product sourcing efforts. But once you’ve decided what to sell, market research lets you greatly increase your profit margins by proving which selling methods are going to be effective. Says Frey, “Oftentimes, research shows the reality is not what you guessed... So rather than guessing, you can actually see where you’re going to get the most money.”

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