A Great Place to Find Stuff to Sell on eBay - eBay Itself

By Sean Eyring - HammerTap Marketing Consultant

If you're going to sell on eBay, you have to have something to sell. In past newsletters, we have explored wholesalers and drop-shippers as possible product sources. Here's one source you might not have thought of, though it was in front of you the whole time.

You can find great products to sell on eBay auctions. It might sound counter-intuitive to think you'd buy an item at auction, just to sell it again. After all, isn't the winning auction bid what the item is worth? Hardly.

Research almost any item for sale on eBay. What you'll find is that the selling price of one item may be twice, three times, or as much as five times what it sold for with other listings on the exact same product. How can that be?

Several factors effect when one auction sells and another doesn't get a single bid. One listing may close for much more than another.

When you know some of the reasons an auction fails or sells for far below what it should sell for, you are in a perfect position to find bargain prices. Using an auction research tool like HammerTap, you can find what's going wrong with an auction. That knowledge helps you quickly find those auctions likely to sell for a lot less than you can turn around and resell those items for yourself.

So why will your auction be successful and profitable when a previous auction was not? Several factors influence how much you'll get for an item on eBay. All of these HammerTap will help with. Here's a few reasons eBay listings fail once, but can be successful the next time with a little knowledge:

  • Poor headlines lacking keywords buyers are searching for
  • A poorly selected starting or reserve price
  • Product descriptions that don't illustrate benefits buyers care about or are described in terms they don't understand
  • Ending an auction on the wrong day of the week
  • Not using listing fees (bold, pictures, etc.) that would get buyers' attention
  • Too many competing listings for the same or similar products (listing later may reduce the competition, resulting in a higher closing price)

Research tools like HammerTap show you how to put together a great eBay listing. Maybe just as importantly, they help you identify poor listings. You'll quickly identify listings you'll likely win for a fraction of the price they would have sold for had the buyer done their homework.

Let's look at a quick example, for Seiko watches. Using HammerTap, we'll look at some key success metrics. The first is the Listing Success Rate (LSR). If we want to buy a Seiko watch to resell on eBay, this tells us how likely it is to end in a successful auction (one that sells).

Listing Success Rate (LSR)

We see that for the average listing of Seiko watches, they sell 49.85% of the time. This means that almost half of the time, you could have bought the watch for the minimum bid.

Unless the minimum bid was higher than you could resell the watch for, you would have made money buying the watch and turning it over for a profit.

Find auctions with no reserve price/starting bid (or a low starting price). Almost half the time, a Seiko watch listing on eBay will end with no buyer. Placing a minimum bid in these instances likely would have made you good money. OK, let's see how much a Seiko watch will likely sell for so we know how much we can afford to bid.

Average Selling Price (ASP)

The second thing to look at is the Average Selling Price of the watches that sold.

We see that on average, Seiko watches sell for $90.58 with a Fixed Price listing. Also, at a glance, HammerTap illustrates that you'll get a fair amount more for buy it now auctions or fixed price auctions than regular auctions.

If you find an eBay listing for a Seiko watch for much below the average price of $90.58, you'll almost certainly make a profit on it. This gives you a baseline of auctions to look for to find bargains you can later resell at a healthy profit.

End Day


Another factor which for many products can make a big difference is which day of the week the listing ends on.

The graph above shows how for Seiko watches, it makes almost no difference what day of the week the auction closes on for the Auction Success Rate.

I also found that the day of the week made almost no difference in the Average Selling Price (graph not shown).

Auction Duration


Finally, the auction duration can effect the price you'll get for your eBay products.

Here we see a huge difference in how much you'll get for a Seiko watch based on the length of the duration.

In this case, a 10-day auction closes for $163.41, which is $89 more than the best average price we found earlier. 7-day auctions dropped down to between $60-$70.

So if we're looking for products to buy to turn around and sell, we'd be better off to find either 3-day or 7-day auctions. On the other hand, when we sell the item, we'd do much better using a 10-day auction.

The Wrap-up

This is just one example of a product you can buy and then resell at a great profit if you know which listing attributes will cause an auction to fail (those you want to bid on) and those that produce the highest closing price (how you want to sell them).

Auction research makes it possible. Without it, you're more or less shooting in the dark. Yes, you can make money selling on eBay without doing the research. I'm just not comfortable rolling the dice. Maybe I'm not a gambler at heart. I just want the predictable success auction research makes possible. Maybe you do too.

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