Yesterday, I blogged about ways to use PayPerClick as a method to research product lines. Did you know that eBay can also be a useful tool in performing product research?
- Go to eBay and Log in.
- Select “Advanced Search”
- Type in the name of the item you’re researching (e.g. ‘motorola 2 way radio’)
- If you believe that your item falls neatly into just one category, you can select that category from the category list. Otherwise, leave the default “All Categories”.
- If you want eBay to search for your term in both the listing title and description, check the box “Search title and description”. It will search only the title by default.
- You will want to select “Completed Listings Only”. Why? For purposes of product research, you aren’t interested in active listings. Much of what happens on eBay happens in the last 30 minutes of a listing, so you are only interested in looking at completed listings.
- From the “Sort By”, select “Price: highest first”. This will show you the top prices paid for this product line.
- Leave the remaining choices with their default values and press SEARCH.
From there, you can scan the results. Then pick and choose from ones whose prices show up in Green (the ones in Red did not sell).
You will want to add the selling price to the shipping charge of each listing and record the total. The reason for this is, is that a lot of eBay sellers deliberately underprice their items but compensate by padding the shipping charge (this is a bad idea by the way, but you’ll need to take it into consideration).
Also check to make sure the item was not used. Unless you’re dealing specifically in used and collectable markets, used merchandise will not reflect the potential market selling value.
Collect a half-dozen (or so) sample listings and average their total price (price + shipping). Assuming you know your cost on the item, you will then have a good idea whether this product line is a potentially profitable market or not.