Lesson 4: Trending for Success—Utilizing Last Year´s Listings

Hey Research Pro,

By now you know your research tool inside and out, right? (You´re nodding your head, right?) You know how to successfully research a product or category, and then optimize your listing according to your research results. However, we have only been looking at one side of the equation. Everything we have done up to this point in time has been for the current market. But, an executive like you knows that the market has trends: general trends and trends for a specific product.

Let´s say that after the last lesson, I decided to enter the iPod 30GB market and invest in a large shipment of iPods. Although we know exactly what features to use, how long to list the item, what keywords to use, and the most effective starting price, what we don´t know is the time of the year that is best to sell. Maybe in June for graduation, or around the holidays, or even the start of school. When do I start selling and stop selling to make the most profit?

Answering these questions will help you monitor and understand market trends for your product and category. And the best part about it is you have already learned how to do it in the previous lessons!

Using Last Year´s Listings

A wise man once said, "You don´t know where you are going unless you know where you came from." That saying applies to your listings. How can we know the upcoming market trends unless we examine the past trends? That´s where your research tool´s Last Year´s Listings trending analysis comes in. (Don´t you love how your research tool is constantly saving the day? Kind of like Batman used to do!)

Let´s start a new search for iPod 30GBs, but instead of selecting Recent Listings, let´s select Last Year´s Listings. To do this:

  1. Click Keyword Search.
  2. In the Keywords field, enter the words "iPod 30GB".
  3. Select All of These Words from the Include drop-down menu.
  4. Enter any words you want to exclude from your search in the Exclude Keywords field (this step is optional).
  5. Click Advanced Options.
  6. Click the Last Year´s Listings Listings radio button to search for listings ending in the next 30 days one year ago.
  7.  

    Notice the dates when you select Last Year´s Listings. Now, instead of searching closed auctions for the last month, we are searching closed auctions for the upcoming month that took place one year ago. This will tell us what happened in the market for the upcoming month last year. (Keep in mind that with Category Search you can search info for up to a three-month period.)

  8. Enter 15057 into the Category Number field.
  9. Select 500 listings from the Number of Listings drop-down menu.
  10. Enter the Minimum and Maximum $ amounts if desired.
  11.  

    Our purpose in researching this product is to find out the maximum amount we can make on a sale, so it may be helpful to leave this field blank.

  12. Select the Listing Types you wish to research (Regular, Fixed Price, and/or Dutch listings).
  13. Click Submit.

Trending for Success

Now that you are looking at Last Year´s Listings, what do you look for? How do you find the trends that will help you be successful? The same way you looked at your research for Recent Listings—but with a twist. This time, you should look at the research with an eye toward the future—if this is how the market looked for the coming month to three months one year ago, how will this affect the way you should list your product now?

When you know how a product will do one to three months from now, you can tailor your listings to match upcoming trends. Let´s say it´s November, and I plan on selling iPod 30GBs over the holidays. I can look at Recent Listings to see how to best sell my iPods right now—AND I can look at Last Year´s Listings to see how best to sell my iPods in December, January, and even February (if I´m using Category Search). Knowing how the market will fluctuate in the coming months gives me an edge over the competition—I can craft my listings to match what the most buyers will look for, thus reaping the most attention and making the most profits.

Say, for instance, that right now buyers are looking for iPods with a low starting price. It´s November, after all—the start of the holiday season. I can lower my starting price to attract more buyers, and even though my revenue per item will be lower, I have a higher chance of selling more items (thus increasing my profits overall). Let´s say though that in January, the demand for iPod 30GBs will slow down a bit (based on the LSR I found in my Last Year´s Listings research). Assuming that fewer people will be looking iPods, I can raise my starting price to bring in more cash, thus making up for the lower volume in total sales. Even though the iPod market will fluctuate with the season, I can anticipate the trend and craft my listings to take advantage of the market.

Optimizing Your Auctions According to the Trends

Remember—researching with Last Year´s Listings uses the same techniques you´ve learned researching with Recent Listings. You can go through Last Year´s Listings and find:

  • What auction type should I use?
  • Which ending day will bring me the greatest success and profit?
  • How long should my listing duration be?
  • What starting price will create a bidding frenzy?
  • What keywords should I use in my titles to hook buyers?
  • What listing features will work, and which ones can I live without?
  • Which category will give my listing the greatest amount of exposure?

This trending will not only make you a more powerful seller, but will help you more effectively build and grow your business on eBay.


Assignment #4: Utilize Last Year´s Listings

Now it´s your turn to research your own product and check for trends. Over the next month, when is the best time to sell your product? Do the same research for your category (keep in mind that with Category Search, you can look up information for up to a three-month period). What are the category trends over the next three months? For example, does the best End Day change over time? What about the End Hour? You will be surprised at some of the trends you discover.

CONGRATULATIONS! You´ve completed Lesson 4.


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