eBay market research for consignment sellers – Part 2

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This is Part 2 of 3 in the “eBay market research for consignment sellers” series.
In Part 1, I shared my eBay marketplace research process and a bit about how to use Terapeak using a few items that my friend Anne placed on consignment with me here in Ocala, Florida.
You all got a good in-depth look at how I research items to determine listing style and price. Anne’s items are so interesting, I’m using more of them in this tutorial!
***NOTE:*** Click to learn more about my eBay Consignment business and how I can help you turn your treasures into cash!

Successful eBay research means taking one step at a time

STEP 1 – How much do you know or can you find out about the product.
Today I’m on the hunt for information about a “Judith Jack” sterling silver belt buckle.
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I already love this accessory because it’s sparkly! Even better, it still has the original tag attached. Yay! I LOVE NWT (New With Tags) items!
But, there’s a word on the tag with which I was not familiar – “Marcasite.”
A quick Google search for this word and, voilà, from Wikipedia:
The mineral marcasite, sometimes called white iron pyrite, is iron sulfide (FeS2) with orthorhombic crystal structure. It is physically and crystallographically distinct from pyrite, which is iron sulfide with cubic crystal structure.
So, with all that said, I may want to include some of those “SEO Keywords” in my title and/or description when I am ready to list this buckle.
STEP 2 – Is the item “eBay worthy”?
The next step is to see how popular Judith Jack is (aka will it make money on eBay).
Using Terapeak, I type in a simple search of “Judith Jack Buckle“, just to explore the name with all buckles to see which sells best.
There were 99 listings with a 21% sell through rate and the highest price that sold was for $85.00. The top three sellers were Fixed Price Listings and the next three were auctions.
The interesting thing is that the three auctions each sold for the starting price of the auction which means they had only one person bidding. $50.00 was the highest and $44.99 was the lowest.  The same type of pattern continues on through the 99 completed listings.
Let’s take a look at current listings now to get a feel for how many are on eBay today using the same 3 words “Judith Jack buckle.”
Okay, we have 35 current listings. While this is not a huge number it this also means that marketplace is not too saturated! However, you have to be careful as this can also mean the “demand” for this type of product is not huge, either.
First, looking at the lowest priced item is listed as a sale and marked down 50% from $29.99 to $14.99. This is red flag. The for whatever reason, the seller slashed the price by half. Bummer.
Next I adjust the search to “Highest Price First”.
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Now I can quickly view the highest priced item – a Judith Jack buckle that included a suede belt.
The listing had a fixed price of $175.00. Scrolling down the list to find a buckle with no belt, the highest price was $149.00 and below that was $125.00 (which actually is the same one that my friend Anne had brought me in a print out from the eBay listing).
The only difference between the two is that one buckle is round and Anne’s is square.
From here, I have to determine if $125.00 is a realistic asking price or not?
Based on my Tereapeak research – no. It is not realistic.
SO, my call on this is to list it a bit higher than the average selling price. However, I won’t list it “too” high.
Additionally, I’ll add “Make an Offer” because the $125.00 listing does not include make-an-offer. By adding “Make An Offer”, I’ve given potential customers some haggle/wiggle room and they LOVE that! It’s a “psychological selling strategy”.
Keeping all of this research in mind, I will try not to accept any offers lower than $75.00 (unless several months go by and I need to move it out of my inventory).
Taking it out for a spin, eBay item #391341777521.
Offer accepted – SOLD $70.00

In eBay market research, words matter – a *LOT*

Remember I told you that Anne always brings me intriguing items?
Well, this time it’s an African drum!
I was like, “Really? What do we know about African drums?”
But that’s the beauty of eBay research! You don’t have to know anything. You just have to be willing to take the time to ferret out the information!
STEP 1 – Look for the right words (aka SEO keywords)
When Anne brought over the African drum, she also included a print-out direct from eBay showing a listing that is similar to her drum.
Let the eBay marketplace and Terapeak research begin!
Using the words from the title of the listing (“African Djembel”), a search on Tereapeak produced nothing.
Zip, zero, and nada results.
So, I copied the same words and put them in the eBay search bar. Only ONE result showed up and it was the print-out that Anne brought me! LOL
eBay saved the day because the “system” made a suggestion with this search that read: “Did you mean African Djembe?”
Uh…I guess I did? Well, I clicked on it and WOW! We now have 411 listings! The lowest priced is a key-chain for $4.11 and the highest at $625.00! Now we are talkin’!
Returning back to Tereapeak with this new search “African Djembe” I discover a 12.48% sell through rate with the highest selling for $269.99.
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Terapeak’s numbers are nothing close to those high asking prices we saw on eBay. In my opinion, based on this research, we might be wasting a bit of of time considering this drum as a listing.
With further research I am not seeing any drums that match the description of mine with the exception of the one that has the misspelled name.
That said, research is never wasted time because I’ve learned a ton about African Djembes. it seems that goat skin covers are the most common. I’ve also been noticing the different types of keywords in titles such as Ghana, hand carved, aboriginal, doumbek, tribal and bongo.
Sometimes when we have crazy words that seem all over the board, it’s time to get back to basics and try a simple search like “African Drum”.
Now I look for how other sellers have listed basic African drums.
The sell through rate is even lower at about 8% so now our goal is to get this listed and to beat the odds by combining all of the strategies we’ve learned this far during this eBay research session.
I’ve decided to list the Djembe in two categories vs one. This is based on the findings from the most successful listings.
First I noticed the highest selling African drum was in the category under the categories of:
Collectibles> Cultures> Ethnicities> African> 1900-Now> Figures >Sculptures.
And the 2nd highest price was under:
Musical Instruments> Gear> Percussion> Drums> Other Drums.
Although this strategic style will increase the odds a bit more for a successful sale but GUESS WHAT?
While taking a deeper look innto this drum category I soon discovered there is an area called WORLD DRUMS with a break down of different types of drums from all over the world – including our drum with that word DJEMBE.
Now it’s back to Google for a quick search asking “What does Djembe mean?” The results are in:
djem·be – ˈjembə,-bā/ noun MUSIC – a kind of goblet-shaped hand drum originating in West Africa.
Good grief!
So, the problem I have now is that our drum is not shaped like a goblet!
My guess is, this style is more like a conga drum.
Back to Terapeak with a search for “Conga Drum” the results are showing a higher sell-through rate at 26% with over a thousand listings.
Woot! This is a game changer!
As you can see there is more to selling an item on eBay than just listing an item and hoping for the best.
It’s all about “Quality Listings” not “Quantity Listed” and I’ve been saying this for years!
Speaking of quality…
Our drum also has “issues”. LOL
#1 it has a broken peg near the top and #2 It does not stand up on it’s own very nicely. These two things are going to effect the value. I did keep the first category I had selected and adjusted the second category to World Drums > Congas.
I created the title ” Tall African TRIBAL Conga Drum Hyde Skin WOOD Carved Authentic Djembe TIKI bongo ” which took advantage of ALL of the 80 characters eBay allows.
Additionally, I decided to run mine as an auction with the average selling price of $69.95 for a “Tall Tribal Drum” (according to Terapeak). In my opinion, this is a fair price for this item.
Worst case, we will only receive one bid and sell it for that. It may sell for more OR, knocking on the tribal drum, it will not sell at all and we will have to go with plan B – a high fixed price with make an offer and let it sit in the eBay store.
So, drum roll please … let the eBay auction begin!
Follow along with eBay item #391341859328 and check back for the follow-up posts!
update 1/6/2016 – It did not sell using the auction format. Now time for plan B, listing with a fixed price at $84.99 with make an offer and good till cancelled. eBay item # 401051423171 SOLD $84.99
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