Good market research is key to success in any selling endeavor. For eBay sellers, the "market" to be researched is the eBay marketplace and its customers, and the gold standard for research in this marketplace is Terapeak, not least because it is web-based and mobile-device based (and thus available to PC, Mac, and other computer users alike) and tightly integrated with eBay.
If your goal is to become a serious eBay seller, using Terapeak (or a competitor like Hammertap or the research tools in ecommerce management suites) is an absolute requirement. Terapeak and many of its competitors give sellers tools that go well beyond anything offered by eBay directly, including the ability to answer all of these questions:
- Which items are performing well and which are hard sells? See how entire eBay categories are doing over the most
recent week or month period, along a number of different metrics: total
sales volume, total listing volume, total successful listing volume, bid
activity, average per-listing bid activity,
sell-through percentage, and
- What are the absolute hottest products on eBay right now? Terapeak offers
sortable "hot lists" of all current top-performing eBay categories, listing
the overall sales rank for the category and the sell-through percentage for
items listed there. The same is available for current top media
items, shopper searches, products of all kinds, and listing
providing important metrics for each of thesethings like total number
and listings for items with the same title and overall
- How are my kinds of items selling? What are the best- and worst-case
scenarios? Locate the item you're planning to sell and see how it has
been performing on eBay. How much does it sell for, on average? What are the
recent high and low prices? How much competition is there? What is the
sell-through rate? How do these change for refurbished or used as
opposed to new items?
- What titles, descriptions, keywords, and listing upgrades will drive
sales for me? What are the top keywords associated with this item? Which
titles have proven most effective in generating sales? What
listing upgrades are the top sellers using?
- What are my competitors doing? More than just data, you get the
ability to collect lists of listings from your direct competition, where you
can examine them, see their results, and figure out what the
description, title, and other listing property best practices are.
Search not just by item, but also by seller, conducting reconnaissance on
their metrics (sell-through performance, average selling price, and so
- When should I sell which kinds of items? Get charts and graphs
that show you which days, weeks, or months are sell-through, average selling
price, or eBay inventory high- and low-points for your item(s) or for entire
your listings with pinpoint accuracy.
- What kind of listing should I use? For how long? See sales
performance ranked and charted along various metrics by listing type and
listing duration so that you can see which kinds of listings will lead to
profitable sales and which are likely simply to
incur unnecessary fees.
- How are my (or others') sales evolving over time? Because data is
available for custom searching over the previous year (rather than just the
previous 90 days as is the case on eBay), you're able to monitor your
progress, the progress of your competitors, the progress of your favorite
categories, or the progress of your favorite inventory items with a much
more long-term, metrics-oriented view.
- What can I find out about this item right now? Because many serious sellers and several eBay business models may involve footwork in search of goods and products to sell, on-the-go eBay performance information about a product the first time you encounter it or hold it in your hand, right at the source, can be a real time and effort saver. The Terapeak mobile app makes it possible for you to evaluate item potential and performance when you're out and about, looking for things to sell and sources for them.
Despite these benefits, many beginning sellers seem to balk at the monthly fees that are involved in subscribing to an eBay research and analytics service. If this is you, consider this: as an eBay seller, the most serious of your competitors will have access to all of this information. Do you really want to try to compete against them without it, on a trial-and-error basis in which you have to "learn as you go" over the long term?
Even for casual sellers a one- or two-month subscription during "spring cleaning" or "yard sale" months or after taking a tour of the house to de-junk can be well worth the cost, perhaps meaning the difference between 80 or 90 percent sell-through rates and 20 or 30 percent sell through rates with money left on the table due to poor pricing decisions.
Let's examine some of the most common kinds of operations carried out in Terapeak.