Ebay Superseller's Newsletter #5: Market Research

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Hi there.

Brian Cassingena here with another  Superseller's Newsletter.

We've all wondered what is the best product to sell on eBay. What gets the most bids, what commands the highest prices, what makes us the most money.

Pulse is a page where you can view the most watched items, the most popular search terms, and the biggest eBay stores. There's also the US version, just cut out the au in the URL.

But these pages aren't all that useful to information sellers. The most watched items on ebay.com.au are cars and other expensive or heavy items. It seems that the US site at least has some information products being seriously watched. (And you should always list information products worldwide).

The most popular searches are for ipods and other cool stuff. And that market's overpopulated everywhere, including eBay.

So how do we find out what sells best on eBay? One way is to manually search through listings and categories to see what has bids and what doesn't. And remember to do an advanced search, and select the completed listings option to see listings that have finished. An easier and quicker is to get educated about eBay.

A new way of doing this could be eBay's new marketplace research tool. I am still looking into this myself, and I'll let you know how it goes, but we can start talking about it now.

There are three levels of membership to this service. (No, it's not free!)

The first is called fast pass. It's a one off charge of $3.99 for two days' access to the basic level of features. It could be a good cheap option as long as the features you want are covered in the service. For now you'll have to go to the above page and have a look for yourself.

The second level is basic. This costs $10.99 a month, and so gives you more time to research, and works out to around a dollar or less for two days. At this early stage, I'd advise at least this level of membership, unless you can do your research in two days and the features are available.

The third level is Pro. It's $29.99 a month, and presumably has everything you need. I just wonder if it shows you everything eBay could show you? I bet privacy acts and other red tape stop some things from being shown.

The Pro level allows you to search internationally, search by listing format/features, and research specific stores or sellers. It remains to be seen whether it's worth it to pay the extra.

As I said, I and other sellers are still looking into it at the moment, and our findings will be published in later editions.

For now, your best bet may be to allocate at least the $10.99 to buying 1 month of the basic, and try out the Pro if you want and can. See what it can do. Here's the reason:

Most people selling on eBay or anywhere say: "What will I sell?" They find a product, which is the easiest thing you can possibly do in business, and then they say: "Now, who can I sell it to?"

That is entirely the wrong approach. That's the mistake just about everyone makes, and that's the real reason almost all businesses fail within 2 years. The person gets ready to sell whatever product they reckon is going to fly off the shelves, something they know all about and think that everybody needs. Here's the right way:

Go and find out what is NOT being sold. What are people crying out for, what would they snap up if it was for sale. You MUST find the market first, make sure that there is a market there before you invest a cent or a second in the product. You must make sure that there is little or no competition in that category. You might start out selling ebooks about making money on eBay, but it's never going to get your feedback into the thousands like it did before.

Go to pixelfast.com/overture. This tool will tell you how many people searched for a term on Overture, which represents about 10% of the market. This is the absolute first stop when I want to develop a new product. I don't want to invest even a couple of hundred in a campaign that falls flat on it's face. You want at least 5000 searches, preferably more than 20,000.

Then search for that term to see whether there is any competition. On google they're the sponsored links on the right. Look on eBay for listings in that category.

Make a list of keywords that are being searched for, and have little or no competition. Then you can simply choose your niche, and start selling. You can get an ebook written on rentacoder.com or elance.com, write it yourself, or there might even be a poorly marketed one out there already.

Do some simple testing too. Selling on eBay can be as cheap as 30 cents per listing. If you have a list of customers, then you're already way ahead of most people. They are the first people who should be exposed to your brand new product. Give some away to people who can give you testimonials, but only if you can trust them to be honest, not kind.

Luckily, eBay is such a cheap place to get selling something, so that even if it's not a success, and not every product is, then you don't end up owing hundreds or thousands of dollars to media you've advertised in, and products you've invested in.

See you next week,

Brian Cassingena

Million Dollar Value
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