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Chapter 14. Before You Sell: Do Your Homework!

Chapter 14. Before You Sell: Do Your Homework!

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ResearchingtheMarket

BeforeyoudeterminewhatyouwanttoselloneBay,itpaysto

doyourhomework.I'mtalkingresearchhereresearchabout

what'sselling,what'snot,andforwhatprice.There'salotof

researchyoucandoforfreeoryoucanpayforaprofessionally

preparedanalysis.



SearcheBay'sCompletedAuctions

Oneofthebestwaystoresearchthemarketistosimplysearch

eBay'scompletedauctions.(Thisresearchhastheadded

benefitofbeingfree.)Youwanttosearchthecompleted

auctionsforitemssimilartowhatyou'rethinkingofselling.

Examiningthefinalresultscantellyounotonlyhowpopularan

itemis(howmanybidsitreceivedifany),butalsothetrue

worthoftheitem,asevidencedbythefinalhighbid.Justmake

sureyouclicktheCompletedListingsboxonthesearchpage,

ofcourse.

Asyoucomparethecompletedauctions,makesurethatyou're

comparingapplestoapples.You'llseewildlydifferingfinal

pricesfornewitemsversususedones,itemsindifferent

conditions,itemsbundledwithotheritemsoraccessories,items

ofdifferentsizeorcolor,anditemsofdifferentages.Youcan't

comparethevalueofanewitemwithausedone;trytofind

itemsofthesameapproximateageandconditionwhendoing

yourcomparison.

Onceyou'vewhittledyourcomparisonlistdowntothose

auctionsthataretrulysimilar,youwillimmediatelystartto

noticepatterns.Someauctionsendwithnobids;mostwillhave

manybids.Studythosesuccessfulauctionstodeterminewhat

madethemsuccessful.Wasittheheadline,theitem,the



description,theprice,andsoon?Onceyoulearnthistechnique

youcanstudyvariousproductsandgetagoodgraspofwhat's

goingon.EverythingsuccessfuloneBayishidinginplainsight,

foralltosee.



Caution

Don'twasteyourtimesearchingauctionsstillin

progress.Becausesomuchbiddingtakesplaceinthe

lasthouroftheauction(that'ssniping,remember?),

amid-auctionpriceislikelytobearnorelationtothe

finalpricewhichyoucanfindbysearchingcompleted

auctions.



UseeBay'sHotCategoriesReport

Whenyouwanttofindoutthebesttypesofmerchandiseto

sell,ithelpstoknowwhichproductcategoriesarehot.

Fortunately,eBaymakesthisrelativelyeasy,withitsmonthly

HotCategoriesReport.AsyoucanseeinFigure14.1,thislist

detailsthehottestproductcategoriesontheeBaysitewhichare

thebestcategoriesinwhichtosell.



Figure14.1.Findoutwhat'shotwitheBay'sHot

CategoriesReport.



[Viewfullsizeimage]



ToaccesstheHotCategoriesReport,clicktheSelllinkonthe

eBayNavigationBartoopentheSellhub,thenclicktheThe

HotListlink.Remember,thereportisupdatedevery30daysso

checkitmonthly!



SearcheBay'sMarketplaceResearchDatabase

TheHotCategoriesreportisn'teBay'sonlyresearchtool.eBay

pullstogetherotheressentialsalesstatisticsinitsMarketplace

Researchdatabase,whichyoucansearch(forafee).Whatsort

ofinformationarewetalkingabout?Here'sasample,forany

givenitem:

Averagesoldprice

Soldpricerange



Startpricerange

AverageBIN(BuyItNow)price

BINpricerange

Averageshippingcost

Lastsoldprice

Lastsolddate/time

Numbersuccessfullysold

Averagebidsperitem

Thentherearethecharts,includingtrendchartsforaverage

soldprice,numbersuccessfullysold,andaveragebidsperitem;

anddistributionchartsforaveragestartpriceandnumber

successfullysold.Youcansearchtheentiredatabase,orfilter

yourresultsbydate,specificsellers,specificstores,country,

andsoon.

eBay'sMarketplaceResearchcanbeaccessedat

pages.ebay.com/marketplace_research/.Threedifferent

packagesareavailabletheFastPassprovides$2.99fortwo

days'access;theBasicplancosts$9.99permonth;andthe

morerobustProplan(whichoffersmoresearchoptions)costs

$24.99permonth.



UseÁndale'sResearchTools

YoucansupplementeBay'ssearchtoolswiththosefromÁndale

(www.andale.com),apopularthird-partysite.Ándale'skey



reportsinclude

What'sHot($3.95/month)providesdetailedreportsabout

thehottest-sellingeBayitems;it'sanexcellenttoolfor

identifyingwhattypesofproductstosell.

ÁndaleResearch($7.95/month)providesdetailedpricing

reportsforanyspecificproductorcategoryoneBay;it's

goodfortrackingpricingtrendsovertimeanddetermining

whatdayoftheweektolistandwhatinitialpricetoset.

SalesAnalyzer($5.95/month)isdesignedtohelpyou

betterunderstandyourowneBaysales.Itprovidesa

detailedanalysisofyourtotalsales,sell-throughrate,

returnoninvestment,andotherkeymetrics.

Figure14.2showstheWhat'sHotreport,whichissimilartobut

moredetailedthaneBay'sHotCategoriesreport.Ifindthisand

theÁndaleResearchreportsworththemoney,especiallyif

you'reahigh-volumeseller.



Figure14.2.Minethethird-partydatapresented

inÁndale'sWhat'sHotreport.



[Viewfullsizeimage]



FindingItemstoSell

MosteBayusersgetstartedbysellingitemstheyfindintheir

attics,garages,andbasements.(MakesyouthinkofeBayasa

giantgaragesale,doesn'tit?)Butwhatdoyoudowhenyou've

completelycleanedouttheattic?

Therearemanyplacestofindquantitiesofitemstosellon

eBay.We'lldiscussafewofthemorepopularones

herealthoughit'slikelyyouhaveafewideasofyourown.Just

rememberthatyouneedtobuylowandsellhighsobeonthe

lookoutforplaceswhereyoucanbuystuffcheap.

Youshouldalsobeonthelookoutfortrends.Justbecause

something'shottodaydoesn'tmeanit'sgoingtobehot

tomorrow.Youwouldn'thavewantedtobetheproudownerof

agarage-fullofPokemoncardsjustasthePoke-bubbleburst,

wouldyou?Sowhenyou'rehuntingformerchandiseyoucan

auctiononeBay,trytostayontopofthecomingtrendsand

don'tbuyinatthetailendofanoldtrend.

Ofcourse,it'sdifficulttostayontopofthetrendsinthousands

ofdifferentcategories,evenusingthevariousresearchtoolswe

previouslydiscussed.Forthatreason,manyeBaypowersellers

specializeinahalf-dozenorfewertypesofmerchandise.You

cantrackthetrendsinahandfulofcategories(bywatchingthe

currentauctionsandthecurrentsellingprices);youcan'tbeas

awareofthetrendsinalargernumberofcategories.

Sospecialize,stayontopoftrends,andkeepyoureyesopen!



GarageSalesandYardSales

IfeBayislikeagiantgaragesale,youmightaswellstartwith



thebonafideoriginalsource.ManyeBaysellersscrounge

aroundtheirlocalgarageandyardsales,lookingforany

merchandisethattheycansellformoremoneyoneBay.Itisn't

difficult;youcanpickupalotofstuffforaquarteroradollar,

andsellitfor5or10timesthatamountonline.Justbesureto

gettothesaleearly,orallthegoodbargainswillbepickedover

already!



FleaMarkets

Fleamarketsoffermerchandisesimilartowhatyoufindin

garagesales.Thebargainsmightbealittlelesseasytocome

by,however,butifyoukeepasharpeyeyoucanfindsome

itemsparticularlysuitedforeBayauction.



EstateSales

Nottobeinsensitive,butdeadpeopleprovidesomeofthebest

dealsyoucanfind.It'stheequivalentofraidingsomebody

else'sgarageoratticforoldstufftosell.Checkouttheweekly

estatesalesandauctionsinyourarea,bepreparedtobuyin

quantity,andseewhatturnsup.



LiveAuctions

Anyliveauctioninyourareaisworthcheckingout,atleast

once.Justdon'tletyourselfgetcaughtupinthebidding

processyouwanttobeabletomakeaprofitwhenyouresellthe

merchandiseoneBay!



VintageandUsedRetailers



Headdowntothefunkysideoftownandtakeaganderatwhat

thevarious"vintage"andused-merchandiseretailershaveto

offer.Theseareparticularlygoodsourcesofcollectibles,

althoughyoumighthavetohagglealittletogetdowntoa

decentprice.



ThriftStores

ThinkGoodwillandsimilarstoreshere.Youcantypicallyfind

somedecentmerchandiseatlowcostandhelpoutanonprofit

organization,toboot.



DiscountandDollarStores

These"biglot"retailersaresurprisinglygoodsourcesofeBayreadymerchandise.Mostoftheseretailerscarryoverrunsand

closeoutsatattractiveprices.Youcanpickupmerchandisehere

cheap,andthenmakeitsoundveryattractiveinyoureBay

listing("brandnew,""lastyear'smodel,""sealedinbox,"andso

on).



CloseoutSales

Youdon'thavetoshopatacheapretailertofindagooddeal.

Manymainlinemerchantsofferterrificdealsattheendofa

seasonorwhenit'stimetogetinnextyear'smerchandise.If

youcangetenoughgoodstuffatacloseoutprice,youhavea

goodstartinginventoryforyoureBaysales.



GoingOutofBusinessSales



Evenbetter,lookforamerchantflyingthewhiteflagof

surrender.Whenaretailerisgoingoutofbusinessandsays

"everythingmustgo,"thatmeansthatbargainsareyourstobe

hadanddon'tbeafraidtotrytomakealower-priceddeal.



ClassifiedAds

Thisisn'tasgoodasourceassomeoftheothers,butifyou

watchtheclassifiedsonaregularbasis,youmightstumbleover

somecollectiblesbeingsoldforlessthanthegoingpriceonline.

Justbuyadailynewspaperandkeepyoureyespeeled.



FriendsandFamily

Youcansellstuffyoufindinyourgaragewhataboutyour

neighbor'sgarages?Thinkaboutcuttingadealasa

"middleman"tosellyourfriends'andfamily'sstuffoneBay,

especiallyifthey'reignorantoftheprocessthemselves.(And

remembertokeepafairshareoftheprofitsforyourself;you're

doingallthework,right?)



LiquidatorsandWholesalers

ThereareseveralWebsitesthatspecializeinsellingliquidated

merchandise,typicallyinbulklots.Theseitemsmightbe

closeouts,factoryseconds,customersreturns,oroverstocked

itemsproductsthemanufacturermadetoomanyofandwants

togetridof.Ifyou'reinterestedininvestinginsomeliquidated

merchandisetosell,somegoodsitestocheckoutinclude

Liquidation.com(www.liquidation.com),Overstock.com

(www.overstock.com),andTDWCloseouts

(www.tdwcloseouts.com).Allofthesesitesoffervariousgoods



frommanymanufacturers.(TheOverstock.comsiteisshownin

Figure14.3.)



Figure14.3.Findcloseoutmerchandisetoresell

oneBayatOverstock.com



[Viewfullsizeimage]



Tip

Ifyou'relookingforparticulartypesofitemstosell,

checkoutÁndaleSuppliers(www.andale.com).Thisisa

freeservicethattriestomatchmerchandisesuppliers

withpotentialbuyerslikeyou!



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Chapter 14. Before You Sell: Do Your Homework!

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