Lesson 2

Feel the Power! -- Searching with HammerTap

We’ve got a lot of ground to cover today, so let’s jump right in. Today, you’ll learn how to run the HammerTap searches. These three search tools help you power up your eBay listings in just a few simple steps.

First, let’s take a look at the search taskbar. This taskbar contains three search buttons: Product Search, Category Search, and Seller Search. We’re going to walk through the Product Search today because it’s the most complicated, you’ll probably use it most often, and the others will be a breeze afterwards!

Product Search--Researching a Specific Item

The Product Search is the best way to research a specific item you’re planning to sell on eBay or that you are already selling. When you enter your search criteria, and hit , HammerTap searches through thousands of closed eBay listings from the last 30 days and returns information on how the product is currently doing within the market. These results answer questions like “How many are selling on eBay?”, “How much are they selling for?”, and “What can I do to increase my profits, if I sell the same thing?”

But before we answer questions, we need a product to find the answers for! For the rest of our course, we’re going to be researching Skullcandy Ink’d earbuds.

I’m really picky about my headphones, but last spring I discovered these little gems, and my music experiences haven’t been the same since. So I figured I should look at sharing my love with the rest of the world!

But in order to start sharing my passion, I need to figure out if and how I can profitably list my earbuds on eBay, and that starts with a Product Search.

So click , and we'll get started.

We’ll walk through each of the search fields, and I’ll show you what we need to do for our search on Skullcandy Ink’d earbuds. Feel free to open up your HammerTap software and do the search along with me, but remember that since HammerTap data is continually updated, your results will be different than mine. We may not talk about each of the fields and buttons in order, but hang with me and by the end you’ll be searching like a pro!

Search Methods

First, I want to introduce you to the different search methods. These options are right under the Include Keywords field, and you can search All of These Words, Any of These Words, Exact Phrase, and Advanced.

These different search methods allow you to determine how you want your included and excluded keywords to be handled.

  • All of These Words: Your research results will include listings with all of the specified keywords in any order in their titles.
  • Any of These Words: Your research results will include listings with any of your specified keywords in any order in their titles.
  • Exact Phrase: Your research results will return listings with the same, exact phrase entered in this field, in the same exact order.
  • Advanced: This option allows you to manually enter in keyword criteria (for example, +skullcandy +ink’d +earbuds –used –lot, etc.).

When you’re considering which keywords to include and exclude in your search, it’s important to be mindful of which search option you’ve selected. I typically use All of These Words.

Include Keywords

Now that we’ve chosen our search method, we need to choose which keywords to include. We want to enter words we think will most likely be part of listing titles for our product. Our goal is to get our research as narrow as possible but still include as many listings as we can. I know it sounds like a goal with conflicting interests, but it will give us the best results.

So, let’s get started looking for the keywords we want to include for our earbuds search. I’m going to start with the brand name, Skullcandy. The Skullcandy brand is pretty specific to headphones, and I’m not sure what other keywords to include, so I’m going to type skullcandy into my include keywords field and then hit . The Search Preview feature will give me a preview (go figure) of the results my search will return, BEFORE I actually run my entire search. Here’s what my search preview window looks like.

First, notice that there’s a listing for headphones that are completely different from my earbuds. You’ve heard the saying “One bad apple spoils the bunch,” and this is also true for your research. Including listings in your research that don’t match the product you’re selling contaminates your data, giving you bad information; and because you’re making business decisions based on this information, bad info equals decreased profits.

So, how are we going to make sure our search doesn’t include these other kinds of headphones? (Play the Jeopardy music in your head while you’re working out your answer…) Figured it out yet? I’ll give you a hint… Notice that the listings that depict my product include the keyword ink’d. This is the model name for my specific earbuds, and since most, if not all, of the listings for my earbuds include this keyword, I can use it to ensure that I’m only getting my product in my results.

Finally, do we want to include the keyword earbuds? Well, if we look at the listings that do depict our product (and scroll through the rest of the search preview listings), you’ll notice that some of them use earbuds, some use headset, some use earphone, and some use earphones (with the ‘s’, HammerTap searches for the exact word—so you’ll get different results if you searched for earphone versus earphones.). There isn’t one word that is included in all of the listings for my product. Since we’re using the All of These Words search method, we can’t include all of these different headphone descriptors because our search will then only look for the listings that have all of those keywords included in the titles. So, since we’ve gotten pretty specific already with our skullcandy and ink’d keywords, I think we’ll be ok without including earbuds… or earphones, or headset.

Exclude Keywords

Phew! Choosing the keywords to include certainly took a while! But I think we covered some pretty important stuff, and all of those recently attained keyword-choosing skills are going to make choosing the keywords to exclude a snap.

Exclude Keywords is an invaluable tool for narrowing your research. Quite honestly, I often exclude a lot more keywords than those I include. The Search Preview window is again going to be your best friend as you pick and choose the keywords you want to make sure you exclude. Use the same process we outlined above (look through the Search Preview, find what you want to exclude and add it to the Exclude Keywords field, hit again… and lather, rinse, repeat). For my search I’m going to exclude the keywords used and lot.

Search Time Frames

The next portion of our search window has two options—Recent Auctions and Last Year’s Auctions. Recent Auctions is your default setting and allows you to search the past 30 days. It gives you a great look at what’s happening right now. If you want to look at smaller chunks of data, use the little arrows to the right of the dates to adjust the time period. For example, if I wanted to look at the performance of my earbuds week-by-week, I could run a search for each week within the last month.

The second choice is Last Year’s Auctions. This is an awesome feature that’s unique to HammerTap. It allows you to get an idea of seasonal and holiday trending as you plan your sales and inventory. It gives you an idea of what’s going to happen. We’re going to talk about this search option later in the course, so for this search we’ll stick with recent auctions.

eBay Category

We’re pushing right along, and next up we have a field for an eBay category number. You can use this field to run your search within a specific category. For example, if I sold my earbuds all the time, and I knew they sold best in a certain category, I may want to just research my earbuds in that category. But how do I know what number to put in the box? I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t have enough room in my head to remember all the eBay category numbers!

Simply click this nifty little button, , and… ta da! You get this screen with all of the eBay categories!

Use the + and – to expand and close the categories and find the one you’re looking for. Once you’ve found the category you want, click on it and hit OK and the number will be automatically entered in the search field.

However, since this is the first time we’re selling these earbuds, I’m not sure which category will be best to list in. So, let’s leave this field blank. This way HammerTap will return listings that match our search query regardless of category, and we’ll be able to decide which category will be the most profitable to list in.

Number of Auctions

This field allows us to control the number of listings our search returns. A good rule of thumb is to start with 500 or 1,000 listings. In Lesson 3 we’ll talk about when you would increase this number.

The higher the number of auctions you’re searching, the longer your search may take.

Min $ and Max $

These fields allow you to narrow your research even further. You can exclude results based solely on their selling price. Since we’re trying to find out how much I can expect to make on my earbuds, we want to leave these fields blank.

This is a great tool for excluding accessories that sell for less than your product and bundles that sell for more. However, be very careful because these fields can also make your product appear more attractive than it actually is. When you add a Min $, HammerTap will exclude listings that did not result in a sale and had a starting price lower than the minimum, which can result in LSRs and ASPs that are higher than accurate.

If you’ve done a good job selecting your included and excluded keywords, you usually won’t need to use these fields.

Listing Types

We’re almost done! This last section of the search window simply lets you choose the data you want to look at. Regular and Fixed Price listings are the default choices, but depending on what you’re interested in, you may want to select other listing types.

A Dutch listing is an auction-style listing for multiple items. If you’d like a more detailed explanation and example, check out this eBay page.

Our Product Search

Ok… so we’ve finally gotten through our entire search window! If you’re following along with me, you’re search window should now look like this:

Really we’ve only included and excluded keywords—everything else is the same. You’ll find that most of your searches are like that, but it’s important to understand all of the other search fields too.

Finally, go ahead and click . HammerTap will run your search query and bring up the five result windows that will give you all the info you need to power up your listings. Now, I know you’re chomping at the bit to dive into these results, but please, please, PLEASE stick with me for the next lesson when we’ll talk about how to make sure we have accurate research. There’s no sense in doing research if your results are going to give you the wrong answers.

Now that we’ve completed our Product Search, we can quickly and easily apply all this new-found know-how to our other searches. But before you try out those other searches, please go ahead and save this report so we can come back to it later.

To save your report:

  1. Click on File (on the top menu bar) or click .
  2. Select Save Report.
  3. Select the My Reports folder
  4. Enter the name of the report. Name this one Earbuds.
  5. Click OK.

You’ll now see this report on your left window screen in HammerTap under My Reports.

And ta da! In just a few minutes you’ve mastered the Product Search! The Category and Seller searches are very similar, and you should have no problem figuring them out (and we’ll run them together in some later lessons).

Make sure you stay tuned for our next lesson too because I’m going to show you how to make sure your research results are accurate. Accuracy is the most important part of our research since it in fact determines whether or not you increase your profits!

Assignment #2: Practice using the three different searches

You didn’t think you were getting away without homework, did you?

For this assignment, please select a product you’re currently selling or thinking about selling on eBay and complete both a Product and Category search. Also run a Seller Search on either yourself or one of your competitors and get an idea of how you’re doing or what you’re up against. There’s more to come on all these results soon!

Excellent! You’re now well on your way to finding the right answers, by asking the right questions, to give you the right information on which to base your selling decisions every time.

CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve finished this session! Sorry it was a little long, but I wanted to make sure you could search like a pro. If you have any questions, be sure to send them off to our support team.

Look for Lesson 3 in your inbox in a day or two. Or, if you can't wait, move forward to Lesson 3 right now.

Or, return to Power to Profit Tutorial Home Page

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