The first stage in any business is doing some research because you have some very important decisions to make and the information you uncover will have a big impact on those decisions.
- What are you going to sell?
- For what price will you sell it?
- Is there a market for your idea?
- How high is the competition likely to be?
- Where are you going to buy your stock from?
Deciding on what you are going to sell
One of the first decisions you are going to have to make is to decide on what you are going to sell.
There are different approaches you can take here. Most sellers tend to have a particular niche or area that they focus on – but this isn’t always the case. Some eBay sellers deal in pretty much anything and change products/markets depending on what stock they have at the minute or what trends are around at the moment. Other sellers specialize in wide areas such as ‘second hand items’, for example – but another might specialize in ‘second hand computers’. Another seller might just specialize in computers.
You might already have an idea. Many people turn their hobbies or passions into successful eBay business – but it’s not possible in every case. You need to do some research and find out how well things related to your hobby sell on eBay and at what price.
On the other hand you might be sitting here now without the slightest clue on what to sell on eBay. That’s ok too – have a browse around eBay, draw up some potential ideas and then do some research.
Sources of information
Completed eBay auctions
One of the great things about eBay is that you can search through completed auctions, see what sold (and what didn’t!) and at what price. This is extremely useful to us in a whole manner of ways – you can find out if there is a market for your products on eBay (if there are a high number of bids on auctions then it could indicate that this is the case) and by looking at the price items are selling for you can identify at what price you would need to buy your stock for in order to make a profit.
To search completed listings simply click on ‘Advanced Search’ on the eBay website and then tick the box that says ‘completed listings.’
As you can see from the screenshot above, items that have sold show up in green and ones that haven’t show up in red.
The eBay Pulse
To quote eBay itself, it shows you popular searches, stores, and items. The lists are constantly updated, so you can get the most recent information. They’re a great way for you see what’s hot on eBay.”
By checking eBay Pulse regularly you can stay up to date on what’s selling, current trends, and how the most successful eBay sellers do things.
Other places to conduct research or look for ideas
Your research shouldn’t just be within eBay of course.
A simple search on Google for “eBay research tools” reveals a whole host of sites and services that can provide you with information and data to help you sell on eBay. Some are free and some are paid – but either way you should be able to uncover some golden nuggets.
Also do some wider market research and think about what might make a good business. It could be as simple as just ‘keeping your eyes open’ and looking around you. What is hot at the moment? What is being talked about in the media?
Websites such as Amazon are another goldmine of information. You can see the top selling items in each category and learn a lot from how they sell their items.