The eBay marketplace is always evolving. EBay has grown from a small niche marketplace to a legitimate sales channel for all manner of goods. As the eBay landscape changes, and as your business evolves, looking for ways to maximize your return can be a full-time job. Luckily, there are some tools you can use to make your life easier and your eBay activities more profitable.
The monthly Hot Categories Report details what categories are experiencing high demand and sales, while eBay’s Merchandising Calendar can also give you insight into what categories experience cyclical demand. In addition to traditional seasonal trends, the Merchandising Calendar will tip you off to what areas eBay will promote on its home page. By timing your auctions to coincide with these promotions, you can increase the visibility of your auctions.
Sales Reports can help you track your performance so you can measure exactly how your business is performing. The reports are free, and they include a summary of your sales, ended listing, successful listing, average sale price, and eBay and PayPal fees.
A more in-depth version, called Sales Reports Plus, is free for eBay Store Sellers and $4.99 a month for regular sellers. Sales Reports Plus provides in-depth views of your most recent activity, metrics by category and format, metrics by ending day or time, buyer counts, detailed fee information, and unpaid item credits requested.
Spending some time with these reports can give you invaluable insight into how your eBay activities are really doing. Reviewing your reports regularly can uncover patterns and define your business strategy. To sign up for Sales Reports or Sales Reports Plus, click here (sign-in required).
There are also plenty of third-party applications to help you perform eBay market research. Auction Insights scans past and present eBay auctions and uses a proprietary process to mold the data into relevant statistics for you. Auction Sherlock can help you find hot products and avoid ones that aren’t selling well. By analyzing auction results over time, it can help you determine the actual market value of a product so you can set the price to match. Auction Sherlock will also advise you on which auction format is likely to give you the best return: reserve auction, Dutch auction, or standard.
HammerTap is another title that promises to improve your auction ROI. It mines information from completed eBay auctions and returns reams of data: most popular items, starting prices, total sales, average number of bids, reserve auction sell-through rate, popular categories, and much more. It then crunches all these numbers to produce information you can use to sell smarter: how, where, and when to sell your item to get the best price.
Whether you use it or not, there is a wealth of valuable data you can use to make more money on eBay. Other eBay sellers — your competition — are using this information to their advantage, and you ignore it at your peril. And with so many innovative ways to access this data, there is no good excuse for ignoring it.