Grow My Profits Study

by Jen Cano, Certified eBay Consultant and eBay Radio Contributing Editor

How’re They Doing?

Bryan Mills
One of Bryan’s first goals when he began the study was to become a PowerSeller. He became a PowerSeller last week! (Way to go, Bryan.) And even though he used to list more than 200 listings per week, he now generates even more profit from just 50 listings per week. He attributes this success to HammerTap market research and Worldwide Brands. He also reports that the great advantage of spending less time listing means that he now has time to expand his business. (That’s a hint about what we’ll see from Bryan in the next couple of months.)

Leslie Holloway
Leslie was already a Silver PowerSeller when he began the study, but he wanted to become a Gold PowerSeller. This past month, Leslie met the $10,000/month sales requirement for the Gold-level PowerSeller status. He states that “I literally went from making nothing to a business that is pulling in $10,000 a month thanks to Hammertap” market research. By the end of this study, we look forward to celebrating his Gold PowerSeller status and a new direction for his product line (top-secret, of course).


A little more than two months ago, I sent out a call for participants in HammerTap and Worldwide Brands’ “Grow My Profits” study. We didn’t want a big, impersonal study that would give us lots of general information about masses of businesses. We wanted a focused, personal study that would allow us to concentrate on all the intricacies of just a few businesses.

After days of deliberation, my team and I zeroed in on our study participants: Bryan Mills, Leslie Holloway, and Tim Reynolds. Today, as we celebrate the mid-point of our four-month study, I am ecstatic to report on their tremendous progress, and what we’ve learned through their experiences.

Jen Cano
HammerTap Study Leader

Tim Reynolds
Tim was already a Gold PowerSeller when we began the study. But, that hasn’t stopped him from experiencing hefty improvements in his business during the study. No one can express Tim’s achievements better than himself: “I can directly correlate the progress in my business to HammerTap. My gross revenue is up over 40% since joining this study, the number if listings that I have [listed] has decreased by about 50%.” Yep, Tim is listing only around 80 listings per week now (as opposed to the 150 or so he used to list per week) and getting a 40% increase in revenue.

What They’ve Learned

Each week, Bryan, Tim, and Leslie have had one-on-one sessions with Tisha Rogers (of Worldwide Brands) and I. Here are some of the concepts we covered, and how what they learned has affected their businesses.

Click a topic to discover what they learned about:

Starting Prices
Shortcuts for Figuring Out What Sells
Product Life-Cycle
Seasonal Trends
Business Strategies
Choosing Categories to List In " src="/CuteEditor_Files/Images/anchor.gif">

Starting Price

Bryan followed what the research told him about starting price. According to the research, if he lowered his price, he’d sell more listings and make more profit in volume in the longrun. He followed the research and it panned out. He did make more profit in the longrun. In contrast, the research showed Tim that he could make more on his listings if he raised his price. It was accurate. This change has made a significant improvement in his overall revenue.

Title Words: The Shortcut for Figuring Out What to Sell

All three participants dabbled in title-word research in the beginning. However, they each learned early in the study that title-word research wasn’t just a way to decide how to build titles that attract the type of bidder they’re looking for.

Over time, Bryan, Tim, and Leslie considered title-word analysis a short-cut for figuring out what to sell. And it’s a regular part of their research. For example, Bryan found out that some of the features he thought were important to buyers really weren’t, and replaced those with features and products the research showed they did care about. Leslie is using title-word analysis to expand his product offering—getting inside the minds of his buyers.

Product Life-Cycle

Product What? There are typically three basic phases for any product on the market: hot and new, competition, and decay.

Here, again, there is more than meets the eye with some simple figures. Our participants learned that if they watched simple indicators over time, such as the number of other sellers (supply) and the success rate (demand), they could anticipate how many products they could list without diluting the market. They also used these indicators to decide when to

  • put a product up for sale because it was about to become hot, and
  • when to pull a product off the market because demand for it was about to decrease.

Seasonal Trends

We’re lucky enough to have the holiday months in our study. This means that our participants are able to look at last year’s holiday season to anticipate how to attract buyers for the upcoming season. Tim researched last year’s listings to find a promising product for the winter months. He has found a source and the research shows that he can make good money on it, particularly if he sells it in a particular way. We’ll see what happens. Then, Leslie got his hands on three PlayStation 3s. He is keeping his eye on what happened last year with the Xbox 360s to determine timing and methods for listing that will get him top dollars.

Business Strategies

HammerTap research shows results for three different business strategies: one for higher volume, one for maximum selling price per listing, and one that is a combination of both. Bryan determined that since he could source a product for much less than the average selling price on the eBay market, he would undercut his competition with price. This meant that turning a higher volume was more important than getting the best price, so he decided to follow the research indications for selling a higher volume. He followed the research and did make more profit in the longrun. Leslie, on the other hand, will need to follow the strategy for getting the best price for his PS3, since he’s not dealing in volume with that product.

Choosing Categories to List In

Both Bryan and Tim learned a lot from which category the research showed they should list in. But, Tim in particular was very surprised to find categories that had less competition in them. I’m still waiting to hear how this has affected his business.

Study on Your Own

There are so many more things we’ve studied together. You’ll just have to wait for the next installment!

In the meantime, here are links to some of the educational materials we have developed so that you can learn how to do what Bryan, Leslie, and Tim have done for their businesses.

Hogging the Spotlight
Picking the Perfect Starting Price
Finding What's Hot for Me
Finding What Sells
Learning the Product Life-Cycle
Utilizing Last Years Auctions
Trending Made Simple

Send us your questions at

This study is being conducted by HammerTapTM and Worldwide BrandsTM. Not all qualified applicants will be accepted for participation.

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