What Are eBay's Hot Sellers?
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eBay Market Research
What's Hot On eBay Today, Not Yesterday?
What Are People Looking For?
An important tool that is vastly underused by sellers is eBay's Want It Now ads. This is where buyers can post items that they want to buy. As a seller, you can reply to those listings with your auction or eBay Store listings.
As you browse the Want It Now listings you'll find that very few sellers are replying, making it an excellent place for you to not only find out what it is that buyers are looking for, but to advertise your eBay listings to people that are ready to buy.
Another place you can find out what buyers are looking for presently (as opposed to what people were buying in the past, which is what a completed items search and most eBay research tools on eBay give you) is at shopping comparison sites.
Some shopping comparison sites allow you to see what people have been searching for on their site. This information can give you an excellent idea of what will sell well now as opposed to last week or last month.
BizRate makes doing this quite easy. Right on their homepage is a list of "What's Hot", and many of the most popular item searches are displayed there as well.
PriceGrabber.com also has a "Most Popular" link that displays the 200 top products, and updates twice daily.
Most shopping comparison sites will have some kind of listing somewhere on their site that will at least give you an idea of what people have been searching for. If you find similar items being searched for across many different shopping comparison sites, then you've likely found something that will be a hot seller on eBay as well.
Doing effective research involves much more than just product research. It also includes competitive intelligence.
This is the kind of research that never ends. If you want to stay ahead of the game, then you need to stay on your toes and always have an understanding of how the market is moving.
A big part of this is observing your competition.
When you do product research on eBay, you'll begin to find sellers who regularly sell the same or similar items that you sell.
Earlier we discussed how testing costs money, and is simply a cost of doing business. But by studying your competition, you can cut back on the monetary cost of testing. How?
Let your competition do the testing so you don't have to.
By observing your competition, you can see what is and isn't working for them. Study their successful auctions to see how and when they listed. How was their item description; highly detailed or more like a sales pitch?
Study their less successful auctions. How do they differ from their more successful ones?
When you find competing sellers, add them to your favorites list so you can easily keep an eye on them. Subscribe to their newsletter if they have one. As they say, "Know thy enemy."
In the end, the only way you're going to truly know what the hottest sellers are is through experience.
Time spent doing research is a necessary evil (personally, I always hated that part of the business the most). However, don't spend so much time doing it that it cuts into the time you could be listing and selling items, and therefore making money.
What's the Next Big Thing?
Another way to keep your finger on what's hot is by watching product trends from the wholesale end. If you spend time watching retail trends, by the time you figure out something's hot it will be too late to get in on the game.
Trade shows are a great way to meet wholesalers and distributors. Since understanding market trends is vital to a wholesaler's business, they often have a good feel for what's hot.
I talk a little more about trade shows in the next chapter: Product Sources.
When attending trade shows, be sure to listen to the buzz being passed around between exhibitors. And look for patterns in the type of products being displayed.
When something becomes hot, new distributors for that product will start appearing. In the extreme, you'll start seeing distributors carrying whatever the hot product is even if it's not part of their core business.
I had the interesting opportunity to witness this myself when I attended the ASD/AMD Tradeshow in Las Vegas a while back. I started seeing distributors of lingerie, leather jackets, luggage, and just about everything else add poker accessories to their line. I have to admit it was kind of weird to see row after row of lingerie hanging from a distributor's display, then on the end see a case of poker chips.
At the peak of the poker craze, I even saw a playing card manufacturer (that was ALL they manufactured was poker and bridge cards) at a general (as opposed to a specialized or market specific) trade show.
All these things told me that poker accessories were hot. And by the time I started seeing poker chips and accessories being sold in gas stations and grocery stores everywhere, it was already too late as the market had become heavily saturated.
But even when you start seeing the trends with wholesalers, you have very little time to get in on the craze. This is why you want to talk with the wholesalers at the trade show and see if you can't find out what the hot thing is going to be at the next year's trade show. Knowing that will give you a step up on your competition by getting you to the "next big thing" first!
Jump to another chapter:
Chapter 1: Driving Traffic to Your Auction Listing
Chapter 2: Listing for Higher Profits
Chapter 3: Does Any of this Stuff Work?
Chapter 4: eBay Stores
Chapter 5: Auction Management
Chapter 6: What to Sell on eBay
Chapter 7: Finding Products to Sell on eBay
Chapter 8: Mining eBay's Traffic
Chapter 9: HTML Tutorial
Chapter 10: Acting Like a PowerSeller
Chapter 11: Final Words
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