How Good is Your Research?

by Jen Cano, eBay Certified Consultant

It’s true that HammerTap, auction research software, lets you scrutinize every detail of the auctions you´re researching. But, what good is your research if it´s not based on meaningful data?

How can you know if your research results are meaningful? Look for two conditions: 1) the number of auctions included in the research and 2) how closely the auctions included in the research match your criteria.

Statistics Based on a Large Research Pool

Because auction research software is based on statistics, the more auctions included in the research, the more meaningful the search results. For example, if you were to toss a coin three times, and it came up tails every time, you might not think anything of it. Why? Because even though it came up tails 100% of the time, it was still just three times and it might be coincidence.

But, if you tossed the coin 300 times and it came up tails every time, you´d be flabbergasted, even though it´s the same percentage as when you only tossed it three times. It´s still 100%. Why would you be surprised? Because 300 in a row indicates significance and meaning, while three is probably just a fluke. 300 is statistically more reliable than three.

It´s important to expand your research until it includes enough auctions to reveal more consistent results. HammerTap lets you decide how many auctions to include in the research. It also lets you save your research so you can watch your product´s performance over time.

Narrowed Research

Basing your research on auctions that offer the same items you want to list is also vital. It doesn´t do you any good to look at the statistics if the offerings in each auction don´t match what you want to sell.

For example, I recently conducted some research on a particular model of a Magellan GPS system. Initially, it looked like the success rate was good—exciting even. But the average sales price seemed low.

When I looked at the individual auctions, I understood why. The research didn´t only include the GPS systems, it also included accessories for the systems. The sales prices for the accessories were skewing the results I was looking for. When I narrowed the research to include only the auctions that matched my criteria exactly, I found that the average sales price was much higher.

When it comes to making decisions based on auction research, you can´t lose if you base them on statistics from a large research pool and search criteria that match your product exactly.

Parting Advice

Here´s a little parting tip. If you´re looking for something new to sell:

* go eBay´s Seller Central and click on the What´s Hot link.
* Click on the What´s Hot by Category link. A PDF file will open with what´s hot by category.
* Search the category lists for something that´s super hot that you´re interested in selling.
* Go to HammerTap and research specific details about that product that are doing particularly well (e.g., brand, color, size, etc.).

This is a quick way to find new products.

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