On Target Every Time -- Accurate Research
I hope you enjoyed feeling the power of using different search
options in Lesson 2. I know you’re ready to dive into the results and
learn how to power up your eBay listings, but there are a few words of
warning I need to give you first—accurate research results mean money
in your pocket, while inaccurate results mean you’re losing out on
profits and sales.
What does that mean, you ask? Well, let’s jump right in and I’ll tell you.
Research Results Mean Money in Your Pocket—Inaccurate Results Mean Lost
We spent a lot of time
in Lesson 2 talking about the importance of narrowing in our search and
making sure we were using the right keywords and search options. In
this lesson, we’re going to take that a step further and examine how we
can ensure that we have accurate research results. After all, what’s
the use of “finding out” what’s likely to sell on eBay, how to close
more sales, and how to make more money, if the results you’re relying
on to make those critical decisions are skewed by irrelevant,
inappropriate, or misleading eBay listings?
me give you an example. Imagine that I’m betting on the Superbowl; I’ve
studied all the stats for the starting quarterbacks of both teams, and
I’m convinced that who will win is a no-brainer. But if I don’t realize
that one of the quarterbacks was injured in a car accident three days
before the game and won’t be playing, what seemed quite obvious the day
before will hardly be relevant on game day. I didn’t ask the right
question at the right time: “Who’s playing?” Similarly, if we’re not
asking the right questions at the right time with our eBay market
research, our results are going to be just as meaningless as the stats
I studied on the quarterback who’s not playing.
if we put so much time and effort during the last lesson into learning
the best way to run our search to make sure we had accurate results,
what else can there be left to do, right?
Let’s get back to selling Skullcandy earbuds. Go ahead and open up that saved report from Lesson 2.
To open a saved report:
- Open HammerTap.
the left-hand column, click on the plus sign next to My
Reports (remember, this is where you saved the report in
- The saved reports will then appear—we want the report titled Earbuds.
click on the report, or right-click on it and select
Open; the report will open in the main
I’m sure you’re wondering
why I’m making such a big deal about accurate research (after all it’s
been a theme running throughout the last two lessons!). But trust me on
this one. You do not want to run a research report, make decisions
based on the information, and then realize that the information you
were depending on wasn’t relevant for your product. That’s how you lose
So, let’s check our report for accuracy.
first stop on our quest for accuracy is the Search
Terms bar in the Search
Criteria chart in the Findings
keywords we included have a plus sign and those we excluded have a
minus sign. You want to check your search terms and make sure there
aren’t any misspellings or typos. If you’ve accidentally misspelled a
word, it’s going to greatly affect your search results.
Using misspelled words in your searches can
sometimes return some pretty interesting results. For example, I was
recently doing a search on the Webkinz plush toys. I ran two
searches—one with Webkinz and one with Webkins (with an ‘s’). There
were quite a few listings with the misspelled product name, and it was
interesting to compare those listings to the correctly spelled search.
If your product includes a keyword that is often misspelled by buyers
and sellers, you would be wise to run a search for both the correct
spelling and the misspelled word.
we’ve checked our search terms, we next turn our attention to the
Total Listings number.
my search, I have 268 listings. (Remember, you probably have a
different number because the date range you’re searching is different
than mine.)We want to check the number of listings to ensure that we’re
looking at as many listings as possible. With 268, I know that
HammerTap has pulled all of the listings that match my search criteria
for the past 30 days. However, if my Total Listings was 500, (or
whatever number I had selected in the Product Search window), I would
want to go up to , go back
to my search window, and increase the Number of
HammerTap only pulls
listings until it reaches that limit you’ve set. So, if you see the
default number, there are probably more listings than are included in
your results. And, remember, we want narrow results, but we also want
to include as many listings as possible.
The Listings Window
final and most important step is the Listings
Window. Using this window to check for accuracy is
probably the #1 most important thing you can do to make sure you have
good results. Here’s the Listings Window
for my search. There is a green button at the bottom of your screen
that says "Listings". Click on this to see a screen like the
This window displays
all 268 listings that my search includes. I can see their listing
titles, their starting and ending price information, how many bids they
received, and a ton of other information on each of them. This report
is invaluable as I make sure I’m only looking listings that match my
Scanning the listing titles will usually
give you a pretty good idea on whether or not a product matches your
query. However, one of the most effective ways to clean up your
research is to check for outliers. “Outliers” is a statistical term
that means an extreme high or an extreme low, and since most of the
conclusions HammerTap presents for us are based on averages, outliers
can skew our data and quickly make our results meaningless.
To check for outliers, we sort the data by the High Bid column.
Here are the first three listings from my report…
going to look at the three red boxes I have indicated in the image
above, from right to left.
first notice that this listing had a high bid amount of $81.
That’s a LOT more than what I would expect to pay for Skullcandy
earbuds. (F.Y.I. Skullcandy Ink’d earbuds are retailing on Target.com
and BestBuy.com right now for about $18.) There’s also a pretty large
jump between the highest bid and the next listing (a price difference
of $60.48 to be exact). These two factors indicate that we may want to
take a closer look at this listing because there’s a pretty good chance
that it’s an outlier.
If we check out the title,
the high price is quickly explained. The reason this listing sold for
so much was because it was a lot of 18 sets of earbuds. So the mystery
is explained, but now we want it removed from our research results.
There are two ways we can do this. We can either click , add
18 to our excluded keywords, and run our
entire search again, or we can manually remove the listing.
manually remove the listing, simply click the checkmark on the
left-hand side. We’re going to filter this listing out of our results,
but before we hit , let’s
check and make sure we’ve excluded all the listings we need
When you’re checking for outliers it’s always
a good practice to check out the listings titles around the high and
low ends. For example in my report, when I was looking for high
outliers, I found a couple of listings that were for two sets of
earbuds. I need to exclude these listings as well.
let’s check the other side of our outlier spectrum. Simply click the
High Bid column to sort in ascending order
and you can check for an extreme low the same way we did for the high
outlier (find the first listing that sold by checking the
Total Sales column, determine if a price
looks too low, check the title for listing in question, uncheck the box
if you don’t want it included).
Once you removed
the checkmarks for all of the listings you want to exclude, click
above the dark gray row). This will recalculate the statistics in your
windows and reports, without having to re-run your entire
And it’s that simple! I bet you never
knew you could have so much power with your market research! Not only
can you pick and choose your keywords to make sure you’re narrowing
your search (with the aid of the Search
Preview window of course!), but you can also quickly
remove listings that slip past your keywords. No other research tool
gives you the power to have such clean and accurate data!
you’re ready to check a search for accuracy on your own. And don’t
forget to save your filtered report before you head off to the
assignment (if you need help saving, check out Lesson
2). You can call this one Filtered
Earbuds, and we’ll use our filtered results to power up
our listings in upcoming lessons!
#3: Run a search for your own product and check the results for
Now that you know how to
do check for accuracy, you are no doubt dying to use your new-found
skills on your own products. So, what are you waiting for?
a new search or use a saved report for one of your products, and check
the results for any eBay listings that are contaminating your
information. Use the Listings Window to
discover any listings that need to be removed, and manually filter them
out of your results. Notice the difference it makes!
ready for the rest of our course by mastering these filtering
techniques. In no time, it will take you less than a minute to get the
results you’re looking for.
You’ve finished this session! Have questions? Our support
team is standing by to assist you.
Look for Lesson 4 in your
inbox in a day or two. Or, if you can't wait, move forward to Lesson
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