Knowing how to sell on eBay is one thing. Learning how to make money on eBay is an entirely different story.
Wait. What? You mean, I can sell on eBay but not make money?
Yes. Absolutely. As an eBay Selling Coach & Certified eBay Business Consultant, I see this happen every day.
Listing items on eBay does not guarantee they will sell nor does it promise the making of a profit.
If you want to learn how to make money on eBay, you must first understand how to conduct eBay marketplace research. The good news is, eBay research is fun and easy – especially when using the eBay seller’s BFF, Terapeak.
Below is an example of how some simple marketplace research saved me from making a rookie listing mistake – a mistake which could lower my profits.
eBay Research helps you choose the best listing ‘style’
Recently I bought out an ‘estate’. Included, was a few big boxes of diecast model cars. Many of them are “souped up” types of vintage cars based on model years 1940 through 1969.
I would LOVE for some of these to be real so I could drive them!
By taking a deeper look at the sell-through of these diecast Muscle Machine toy cars, I’ll be able to determine the best ‘way’ to list these hot rods.
Based on my Terapeak research I’ve chosen to list the cars as “Fixed Price Listings”. Additionally, I’ve chosen the “Make an Offer” option as well.
These ‘listing style’ choices allow me to offer the cars that are not the best sellers at a lower price.
Always start out with the strongest listing choices first.
Any toy cars which do not sell at a “Fixed Price” can always be turned into an “Auction”. Also, I do not like to keep inventory laying around. So if I do put any of the Muscle Machine cars up for auction, I’ll reduce the starting price to help jump start the bidding.
And, every July, I have a ‘liquidation’ in my eBay store.
Using the “best keywords” for eBay research
When researching the eBay marketplace on Tereapeak, it’s important to search using the “best” keywords. This will always mean using “qualifiers” in the search phrase.
A “qualifier” is a word that gives more exact meaning to a phrase. This keeps your search more specific, which gives you far more targeted data to work with.
For example: When searching Terapeak for sales information on the toy cars I could have searched the broad term “Muscle Machines”. Using this keyword phrase would have returned the results for all Muscle Machines and would have skewed my perception of potential sales and profits.
But I searched the term “Muscle Machines Sedan”. Using the “qualifier word” (Sedan), I can now determine exactly how to list all the toy sedans (which have a very different sell-through than the sports cars).
In the search, I noticed the highest priced listing had 5 cars bundled into a “lot”. The asking price was $265.00 but they accepted an offer of $170.00. $170.00 divided by 5 equals an average price of approximately $34.00 each (plus shipping).
While $170.00 might seem like a great sale, the profit is less than selling them one-by-one.
Notice the ‘Gray Ford Sedan’ easily sold for $60.00 and the ‘Orange Delivery’ sold for $52.99. I have several “Sedan Delivery” trucks (including the same one in Blue). Already the opportunity to make more money on eBay with the Muscle Machines I bought far exceed the “lot sale”.
Take away: Do the math and think through the listing before clicking “List”.
Time is eBay money, spend it wisely
After I got the first Muscle Machine diecast toy car listed, the rest were smooth sailing because all I had to do was finish the first listing and then use the “Sell Similar” feature. Or, as seen in the NEW HUB format “Create Similar”.
This process continued until all of the cars were listed. I mention the “Sell Similar” feature because so many students either don’t know about this time saver or they forget to use it – hence, wasting time.
In eCommerce, time is big money! We have to shave off minutes everywhere we can!
Another thing to keep in mind that I can return to any of the current listings and simply click on SELL A SIMILAR ITEM directly from the listing page . This nifty button allows me to easily and quickly continue listing item after item.
Takeaway: The goal is to simplify our listing systems and to get the items listed not only fast but to provide quality listings that will be desirable to shoppers.
Research shipping options
The Muscle Machine diecasts are all called “1:18 Scale”. This means they are bigger than your little “Hot Wheels” toy car you may be comparing them too.
To give you an example, just the boxes measure 12” by 6” by 5.5” square. And the weight of each is a bit over 3 pounds so the shipping weight will be about 4 pounds.
Keeping this in mind while creating the listings, I’ve chosen to use “calculated” shipping and not “free shipping”. On “heavier” items, shipping costs can really add up and put a serious dent in the profits – especially if items are shipped to the West Coast.
However, those living close to my zip code will receive a lower shipping price. This makes calculated shipping the perfect choice for those items that are a bit “heavier” than most.
That wraps up this eBay marketplace research tutorial. I hope you learned more about how to make money on eBay!