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I Can Predict the Future (with Auction Research)

By Jen Cano, Certified eBay Consultant and Senior Editor for HammerTap

I know how to predict the future. I’ve been able to do it ever since the first time I sold on eBay. A couple of years ago, my job was to write a series of articles on the journey of an eBay beginner—me.

Part of my assignment was to use HammerTap’s HammerTap, auction research software, to help me decide what to sell and when. I researched candles and lotions of all kinds. The research results proclaimed that the auctions with For Every Body scented candles had performed very well, while those with For Every Body lotions hadn’t done so hot.

So, rebel that I am, I decided to ignore the research and list both. In short, my candles sold with a 100% profit margin, while my lotions didn’t sell at all. Even when they’d been listed three times.

Now that I’ve told my story, I’ll have to revise my initial statement. I know how to read the past to predict likely outcomes. I know how to use auction research software to predict the future.

What Can Research Reveal about the Future?


Auction research software tools, such as HammerTap, search eBay to find a group of closed auctions that match the criteria you enter. Then, they give you statistics about how the auctions performed and which listing elements were the most successful.

A research tool that lets you narrow your research to include only auctions that match your exact criteria also allows you to:

• Find out what sells.
• Reveal what you need to do to increase your chances of selling.
• Help you increase the profit you make on every auction.
Find Out What Sells
Research will do more than tell you whether a particular product is likely to sell and for how much. Quality research tools will also let you save and compare research files, so you can decide which brands, styles, products, sizes, and etc. sell best.

Once, I compared large lots of boys Gap clothing to smaller lots to see which lot size performed the best. The difference was staggering. Only 70% of smaller lots sold, while 93% of larger lots sold.

Incidentally, at the same time, I discovered that Gap clothing outperformed Old Navy by a wide margin, as well. And, I was able to narrow my research even further to discover which size and type was the most successful.

Boost Your Chances of Selling


It’s great to know what’s likely to sell and which products are performing the best. But that’s only a starting point. Research will also tell you what to do to boost your chances of selling.

For example, you might have the most fabulous auction with the most incredible offer, but if buyers don’t find your auction, no one’s going to buy it. Use auction research to find out which category had the highest success rate for your product. Also, use the research to find out which keywords resulted in sales the most often.

And when you’re confident bidders will find your auction, find out details such as which auction type to use, which day and time to close your auction, and which features to invest in (such as bold or gallery).

Increase Your Profits on Each Sale


You can also use the data to find out how to make the most money on each auction.

For example, in HammerTap, if I compare the starting prices to the sales prices, I can determine how much the starting price affected the closing price. After using research tools for the past couple of years, I’ve discovered that it’s not necessarily true that starting at a low price will initiate a bidding frenzy. On the contrary, most of the time I’ve found that as the starting price rises, so does the selling price.

Notice that I said most of the time this is true. Sometimes it’s not. And the only way to know is either through trial and error or with research software.
Is Research Software Right for You?
No matter whether you sell many different types of products on eBay or if you only sell one, you can benefit from eBay research.

The research will save you both time and money. You’ll no longer have to use trial and error to figure out the best category to list your product in or the best price to start it. You’ll consult the data and make an educated decision.

When I attended eBay LIVE! with the HammerTap team in June, I can’t tell you the number of PowerSellers that were shocked to find out that, according to the statistics, the day they thought was the best day to close wasn’t. They were even more surprised to find that auctions sold on another day of the week had a higher sales price.

Like I said, I can predict the future. And so can you.

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