Testing out different product markets on eBay

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Previously we have discussed expanding your business and deciding when to add more products. We have also touched on different ways to make your eBay business better.

Today I wanted to discuss testing out different product markets on eBay and how you can decide what products you want to carry in your eBay store. Over the last 2 years I have tried out a lot of different products and categories to sell on eBay. It is always a process to figure out what will work, what doesn’t, and how you can make your listings better. In the past I have sold: glassware, coins and supplies, stamps and supplies, jewelry, rock climbing gear, camping equipment, new toys, used toys, first aid equipment, books, and a lot in between.

More recently, I have been focusing solely on the outdoor sports equipment/gear. My current product lines include rock climbing ropes, camping equipment (cook sets, fire starters, and other equipment. With these areas, I have had a lot of success and they continue to boost great sales for me. However, as you can imagine, I am always on the lookout to expand my product line. Just last week, I established a dealer account with probably the largest manufacturer of adventure first aid and medical equipment – Adventure Medical Kits. This has opened up a whole new product line to me and once I make my first order, I should be able to make pretty good profits for the kits.

As I had mentioned previously in other posts, when establishing a dealer account with different vendors, most of them will require references to provide you with a line of credit. So to overcome this, I have been using a credit card to pay for my inventory orders. This has worked pretty good so far, but I’d prefer to start having some lines of credit with the companies as opposed to carrying a credit card with the potential of getting slapped with interest if I can’t make the full payments for some reason. To be able to swing my first round purchase of first aid kits, I am going to have to hold off on reordering another product that I carry – rock climbing ropes. Both companies have high minimum purchase amounts ($350-$500), so right now while testing out the market; I can’t afford to carry both. The profits of the climbing ropes can be anywhere from $15-$40 each and the profits from the first aid kits will be smaller, $5-$20 depending on the item. However, I’ll have a lot of different items to be able to make up the profits in the long run.

If I can create good profits from carrying these products, at least $150 from the whole order, I will definitely reorder. If not, I’ll have to think twice about it and probably hold off. I definitely want to continue to carry the ropes because of the higher profits on fewer items, which is always a bonus on eBay.

Here are some of the different things to consider when testing out a product area or niche on eBay.

  • Always search for the item you are going to be selling. Look at how many other listings there are of the same or similar items. Also, try to determine how many other sellers there are (maybe 7 sellers/stores make up 95% of the listings for the same items or similar items or there could be a lot of individual sellers selling the same item).
  • Research the completed listings for your item. After you search for the item in active listings, check the box on the left to narrow your results to just completed listings. This will give you a listing of all the completed listings (sold and unsold) over the last 30 days. This will help you see what prices the item is selling for and what is too high of a price for the item.
  • After you look at the completed listings, determine if you can compete in the market. eBay is extremely competitive! If you need to lower your price too much to compete, look for another item to sell. However, if you can make a comfortable profit from the item and still be a bit cheaper than the competition, you will have some success.
  • When people buy on eBay through auctions, they are usually not in a hurry to purchase a product and will wait to find the best deal. This means if your starting price is a bit lower than the competition, the likeliness of your sells is higher. If you get more people to watch your item, then you can create a bidding war for the item when it comes towards the last hours or minutes of the auction. This is great to have happen because sometimes your item will sell for a higher price than the competitions did.
  • Add listings for the item you want to sell to your Watch list. Watch the action on the auctions for a few days until they end. If you see a lot of bidding going on, you can assume that there are a lot of people interested in the item. This is even better if there are a limited number of sellers.
  • Look at what time auctions are ending. Most items are better to have ending on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday evening. These are the most likely evenings that people are browsing eBay because the week is winding down and they have more free time. Also, you don’t want your listing to end too late at night or too early when people would not be around the computer. Any time between 6-9 PM is usually a good time. Also, Sunday evenings are a good time, but you can also do Sunday afternoons as many people take Sunday’s easy and are around the house.
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