Finding What Sells


By Steve Nye, eBay Certified Consultant

Hi there. I'm Steve Nye, an eBay Certified Consultant, and I work with Jen Cano. She has been educating you on using HammerTap, and I will be helping her develop educational support to help you power up you auctions and your profits.

This weekly Auctionography is meant to be more than a newsletter. It's meant to educate you and help you utilize the most comprehensive eBay market research tool. And today I'm going to help you find out what sells using HammerTap.

What Do I Sell on eBay?

Probably like me, most of us started off selling anything we could get our hands on. After we became more comfortable selling and learning the tricks of the "online" trade, we want to increase our inventory and sell more products. But how can we know what products are likely to sell? We don't want to invest in a product that is over-saturated and unlikely to sell.

One way to find out what sells is to spend countless hours on eBay (like we don't spend enough time on there already) monitoring products and determining their success rate. (Before I had HammerTap, this is exactly what I did. Unfortunately, the item I chose to sell still didn't sell.)

With HammerTap, there is an easier and faster way. For example, let's say that you want to build your inventory and start selling boys' clothing, but you don't know which brand is likely to sell or how much money, if any, you can make.

To find out, I'm going to open HammerTap and perform a Category Search. First, I am going to search in category number 3038, which is "boys' clothing size 8 and up." (Note: When performing category searchs, it's best to search through more auctions for more accurate results. For this search I used 5,000 auctions.) With HammerTap3, performing a Category Search brings you back 90 days of data. That should tell us what has been the hot brand for the last three months.

Utilizing Keywords to Find What Sells

To find out which brand sells, I went to the Keywords window and sorted the keywords by the number of auctions. (This is done by clicking on the top of the column titled # of Auctions.) I found that Old Navy had the most auctions (out of 5,000) with 416, followed by Abercrombie with 327, Ralph Lauren with 271 and Gap with 268. But, you don't want to stop there; you want to see which one has the highest success rate and highest selling price.

To do this, I put the data columns in the order I wanted to. I put the # of Auctions column next to the Listing Success Rate (LSR) and Average Selling Price (ASP)/Item columns.

This is how I do that:
1. Sort the auctions by clicking on the # of Auctions column. This will sort the auctions in descending order.

2. Click and hold the Listing Success Rate column (the 5th column in the Keywords window). Hold that column and drag it to your left and drop it next to the # of Auctions column. Green arrows will appear to guide you where to drop it.

3. Click on the ASP/Item (which stand for Average Selling Price per Item) column (the 7th column in the Keywords window) and drag and drop it next to the Listing Success Rate column.

I love how HammerTap allows you to arrange your search results the way you want to!) The picture below illustrates how I have arranged my results.

    Thumbnail Image
    Click on thumbnail for larger image.

Once you have arranged your results, you want to look for the highest LSR (Listing Success Rate) and highest ASP (Average Selling Price). Here is the breakdown for these four brands.

Old Navy 35% $6.90
Abercrombie 64% $11.47
Ralph Lauren 60% $12.65
Gap 48% $6.87

It looks like Old Navy is saturating the market, while Abercrombie has the highest success rate and Ralph Lauren has the highest average selling price. Now you can take this information and compare these figures to your cost of obtaining your inventory. (It's a good thing I did this research. I was thinking about selling Gap clothes.)

What Else Could You Do With This Information?

Now that you have come this far, do the same thing and find out what specifically sells. Is it pants, shirts or shorts? I would look for the Keywords PANTS, SHIRTS and SHORTS. Find out which item has the highest LSR and ASP and you are set. In this case, shorts had both the highest Listing Success Rate and Average Selling Price. Size also plays a factor, with XL selling for $56 each. The possibilities are endless! You can pinpoint exactly what sells and for how much.

Remember last week's Auctionography on utilizing Last Year's Auctions? Well, school starts up just around the corner. If I was going to start selling boys' clothing, I would perform the same research, but instead of looking at current auctions, I would look at Last Year's Auctions. (You do this by selecting the Last Year's Auctions checkbox in the Category Search window. This would look at auctions from today's date last year to 90 days ahead.)

Looking at Last Year's Auctions will tell me what to sell as school approaches and when to start selling. My results will also tell me what Ending Day is best, what Keywords to use and what my Starting Price should be to increase profits. It will also tell me when the back-to-school rush will die down.

Now go on and try this for yourselves. Search in a category you want to get a foot into and make sure you are investing in a product that not only sells, but that makes you some money too!

Good luck until next week!


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