Seller Research method for dummies :)

Sometimes you just have to go back to ebay 101! Today there are so many research tools available that I might go 2 days at a time without ever logging into to use do any research. Even with the best tools out there such as hammer tap, terapeak and marketplace research (soon to be retired) I often forget how importanat a “manual” research is for each product.

I’m also surprised how often new comers to ebay will waste fees by listing to high because of their perceived value or make a buyer’s day by under offering their item at an ebay clearance price.  It only takes a few moments and can really give you a feel of what to expect when selling your item.

Step 1) Type in what you have to sell. Remember to specify the make and model if possible. Try to eliminate “outlyers” that will mess up your results and extend the time it takes to get the info you need. For example: I am selling a motorola v3 phone so I type in Motorola V3. The search results bring up 22,000 results and the first 3 listings I see are cases or accessories, not a phone.  Make sure to enter in keywords that will narrow down exactly what you are trying to sell.

This time ill type “Motorola V3 Cell Phone”. The search results still show a variety of cases, but the the cell phones have made it to stage and I can find similar items im trying to sell.

You can also type in the broad “Motorola V3” and then click on the category section on the left navigations which will return all results in the actual CELL PHONE category that have Motorola V3 in them.

Remember outliers like color and if you are selling a new item, type in NEW as this can vary the price of your item by alot. So now ive typed in “Motorola V3 New Cell Phone” click on the category button CELL PHONES AND PDA SMARTPHONES and I only get 800 results and all the photos show cell phones with different makes and variants such as colors, accessories included and model specific features.

Make sure not to get too specific or you might cause your research to not even show up because you’ve typed too many irrelevant search terms in.

Step 2) Scan up and down the search results for your product. If around 90% of the items on the page are similar to what you’ve got to sell, you have properly completed the first step. These are current auctions. To access previous data you will need to click “Completed Auctions” on the left navigation menu. You will have to be signed in to access closed auctions or it will send you to the sign in screen. After you click completed it should automatically take you to previous auctions. If it doesnt make sure its highlghted and click search. Step 2 is complete! You are now have all the information in front or you. We now have scan this information to find an average selling price.

Step 3) When you are in the “completed auction” menu, the search results will seem very large. This is taking the past 30 days worth of data. The next step I take is to sort the results from highest to lowest. I do this so you can start with the most expensive items that sold (or didn’t) and see these listings statistics. I typed in blue motorola v3 cell phone new and the highest price I see is $119.99.

Step 4) Next you are basically sorting and recognizing if an auction sold at a current price. Since you are sorted by highest to lowest, you can simply scroll down and then skip to the next page. Remember: Green Numbers and letters mean the auction was successful (ebay might change to black) and red means it was unsuccessful (wasted fees and no product sold). On the first page I see several almost all green items. Next I will click into several of the auctions and make sure the specifics of my item are the same. (make, model, carrier, accessories etc).  The ones at $119.99 all sold but include car chargers and mine does not. I continue to scan down till I find a consistant sequence of green (sold) auctions that do not include the extra accessories. I finally come to 8 green and 2 red at $99.99. In my opinion I would say YES I can get $100 for this item and I have an 80% chance of selling it.

This one was pretty easy and seems to be a hot item with a great success ration. On other items, if there are too many unsuccessful listings at that price your chances of selling the item are low. You can try to sell towards the top but might incur excessive listing and unsuccessful fees.

Summary :

  • Go to and type in what you are trying to sell (be specific, but not too specific)
  • Eliminate out-lyers that can mess up your data.  Ex: Motorola V3 Phone – We get cases, batteries etc. If we type “New Blue Motorola V3 Cingular Cell Phone” we eliminate all the unnecessary auctions
  • Go to completed auctions to see past search results from 60 days.
  • Organize by Highest to Lowest with the sort filter.
  • Look for a consistent amount of auctions that were successful and MATCH what you are selling.

Other Notes: A decent success ration on ebay truly is 50%. If you want to get more money try to price your item above where you see a wave of sold, sold and successful auctions (In completed auctions mode. Highlight all the positives (subtitles is great for higher marking items) and PAY ATTENTION to keywords, categories, pictures and item specifics that those who sold for the most money used. You can call it cheating, but seeing the keywords and strategy of another lister THAT WAS SUCCESSFUL can eliminate alot of guess work. Take this with a grain of salt as visibility is also determined with luck or lack of with ebays search algorithm. Very few are aces at the listing game so try to spot additional changes you can make along with the information you gathered with a  basic search.

The idea is to locate past sales and find the price buyers are paying consistantly. Mimmick previous sellers successful auctions and then try to stand out or make adjustments that could benefit or give your item more attention.


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