How Do I Beat Out My Competitors?
You’ve learned how to identify products to sell and how to
quickly and easily optimize your listings. We’ve covered everything you
need to know, right? WRONG! There’s a lot more to an eBay business than
just picking a product and knowing how to list it. eBay is an ever
growing marketplace and you have to know how to compete!
I’m going to show you how HammerTap can help you scope out your
competition. In order to compete, you need to know what you’re up
against, and HammerTap has the tools to help you out!
Who Am I Up Against?
we want to get an idea of how much serious competition we’re facing
within a market. Open the Should I Sell My Product on
eBay? report and scroll to the bottom. Let’s look at the
graph on seller competition and market potential.
graph shows us that about a third of this market is being taken up by
one seller, another third by the next nine sellers, and the last third
by “casual sellers,” (which is the area it will be easiest for us to
move into if we’re just entering this market). Since there’s an over
$900 difference between the total sales of seller number one and seller
number two, we can conclude that the top seller is definitely doing
something right. If we can figure out what exactly that something is we
may be able to successfully compete in this market.
But first, how do we figure out who seller number one is?
The Sellers Window
is where the Sellers Window comes in
handy. The first thing most people notice about this report is that
there’re only nonsense strings of characters where the seller IDs
should be. The seller IDs aren’t given in this report for privacy
reasons, however, I’m going to show you how you can use the information
in this report to figure out who the top sellers are.
we want to order the columns in a way that will make it easy for us to
find what we’re looking for. Drag over the Auction
Success Rate, ASP/Item, and
Total Sales columns and drop them next to
the # of Auctions column. Then sort by the
Total Sales column in descending order.
Your columns should be ordered something like this:
Ordering the data in
this way gives us a lot more information on our top seller. We already
knew that he (or she) had total sales of $1,131.90, but now we also
know exactly how many listings he had and what his personal LSR and ASP
were for these items. We can use this info to find his seller
Now, we’re going to move to the
Listings Window. Most sellers use very
similar titles if they’re selling the same item more than once. So, if
you sort the data by the listing titles, you’ll often be able to spot
groups of listings that belong to one seller.
searched though the listings in my research and found this long section
with lots of titles that look very similar.
titles are almost identical to each other with just a few changes here
and there. These listings also all have the same start price, another
good indicator that they’re from the same seller. To find out which
seller posted these listings, simply click on the title (which is a
link that takes to the actual closed listing on eBay), and check out
the Meet the Seller section, where the
seller ID is listed.
Sure enough these listings
are from the same seller (I didn’t click on all of them, just one or
two to make sure the seller was consistently the same), and there are
39 listings with this listing format (the Seller
Window told us the top seller had 39 listings). I’ve
found my top seller!
Now that I have the seller ID, I can use the Seller Search to pinpoint my competitor’s strategies.
The Seller Search
We’ve run a Product Search and Category Search together in other lessons, now let’s try a Seller Search!
plug in the seller ID we just found into the search field and hit
search results look just like our Product and Category searches, and
will provide you with a quick look at the seller’s individual LSR and
ASP. The most valuable windows for this search are the
Listings Window and the
out the Listings Window first to see what
else this seller is selling. In my research, he’s also selling another
model of Skullcandy headphones, but the majority of his other listings
are for completely unrelated items.
You can also use this window to easily see what
else your competitors are selling successfully. If you have similar
suppliers, this can be a great way to find other products to move
Next, we can use the Summary
Window to figure out what strategy our competitor is
using to list his items. Let’s walk through the various tables and see
what we can find.
Type – This table shows the number of listings the
seller had within each of the various listing types. In my research,
the top seller only used Fixed Price listings. By listing with a
different listing type, we may be able to attract a different audience.
However, this seller might be at the top because the Fixed Price format
is simply the most effective within this market.
did a little research on the number two and three sellers as well (I
found there IDs the same way we found the top seller), and both of
these sellers used an Auction without BIN format. There was over $900
difference in the total sales numbers of these sellers and the top
seller, and it could very well be that Fixed Price listings just get
higher prices within this market. This very well may be the top
seller’s edge, and I may want to carry it over into my
Day – The seller I researched started the majority of
his listings on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, with very few listings
on the other days of the week. Listing on other days, might give me an
edge. For example, I looked at the Summary Window starting day table
for our Product Search on the Skullcandy earbuds, and starting on
Friday returned the highest price. So, optimizing my listings by using
the results of our general research combined with this competitor
research will get me the highest price and increase my ability to
Day – The majority of listings ended on Monday, Tuesday
and Saturday for the seller I researched. Again, comparing those
results to the Summary Window for our Product Search, it looks like
Friday will actually get us the best price for our products. So, again,
combining our research techniques will get us a better price and help
us stand out from the competition.
Time – Another pattern can be seen in the ending times.
The majority of this seller's listings ended between 12 – 1 p.m. and 8
– 10 p.m. This gives you an idea of what time the seller usually lists
or schedules his listings and may also indicate when many of this
seller’s buyers are active, great information for making decisions on
when to end our own listings.
Duration – We can use this last table to determine the
listing duration the seller typically uses. In my research, the top
seller exclusively used 7-day listings.
The Other section in the duration table
includes all listings that don’t fall into the 1, 3, 5, 7, or 10 day
categories. So, if a fixed price listing was purchased after 6 days it
would be considered an Other listing duration. The same is true of
auction-type listings with Buy It Now.
Summary Window gives us an excellent look
into our competitor’s strategies and can be a great tool as we
formulate and implement our own techniques. You can use these same
research methods to identify and examine any other competitors within
Assignment #9: Check out your competition!
you’ve been doing the assignments so far, you’ve learned a lot about
how you can optimize your own listings to maximize your profits. I want
you to now take it one step further and evaluate the competition you
face within your product market.
top competitor and see what you can find about his or her strategies by
running a Seller Search. What did you learn that you can apply to your
CONGRATULATIONS! You’ve completed
yet another session, and you only have one to go before you’re a
HammerTap Master! If you have any questions, be sure to send them to
Look for Lesson 10 in your
inbox in a day or two. Or, if you can't wait, move forward to Lesson
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