Helping Sellers Reach New Heights

Terapeak provides data eBay sellers can put to practical use.

by Brad and Debra Schepp
- Dec 08, 2009

With the late summer announcement from eBay that third-party applications are now available directly through Selling Manager and Selling Manager Pro, the long-standing partnership between Terapeak and eBay has reached a new level.

From the beginning, Terapeak has had an insider's view of eBay, since the company was founded and created by a couple of successful eBay sellers, Andrew Sukow and Anthony Sukow. The two recognized that, while eBay housed an incredible database of statistics and information sellers could use to hone their businesses, this information was difficult to extract. Five years ago, they set out to correct that problem and Terapeak was born. By bringing the company's data under the eBay umbrella, the symbiotic relationship is now complete.

Anyone subscribing to eBay's Selling Manager software can simply click through to the new applications area and select a seven-day Terapeak trial for free. Now, we make no apologies for our respect and devotion to Terapeak. The company offers easy-to-use, reliable information we've long thought useful to serious sellers. In using the application directly through eBay's site, we were once again rewarded with a quick glimpse of just how easy it is to find valuable information you can put into practical application—today.

If we were considering entering the pet supply corner of Home & Garden, we'd spend a good deal of time studying the work of this successful seller

First we browsed Hot Products. Not surprisingly, we found that the Home & Garden category dominated the hot list. Again, no surprise, the top-selling item in that category was a portable space heater. With the autumn rapidly advancing and everyone thinking of ways to save money, this made sense.

But we discovered that a single seller dominates the whole category. Almost all the successful listings came from this seller, and all of them included the Buy It Now feature. It would definitely make sense to track this seller to note just what he's doing that's making him so successful. We'd also need to keep a realistic eye on our own ability to compete against such a powerhouse.

Mining a niche

That led us to consider a different type of search. We decided to check the history of one of our favorite sellers who also occupies the Home & Garden category, but specializes in pet supplies. Here we discovered that our friend is enjoying a very successful fall, achieving sales for 100 of the 101 listings posted. Now we can scroll down and examine some of the details of this seller's activities to see what we might learn from such a successful sell-through rate. Not only did we see that 100 percent of this seller's listings were fixed-price, but we also saw that our friend didn't use any special features in the listings, which keeps listing fees low.

The most successful selling days were Friday, followed by Tuesday and Monday. Sunday was moderately successful, but Saturday was no more successful than the two remaining days when sales were slowest. The most successful keywords this seller used were "pet," "dog," "new" and "cat." Finally, most items sold between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Now we don't completely know why that's true, but we're willing to bet money that our friend understands this dynamic and is poised to use it to its best advantage.

If we were considering entering the pet supply corner of Home & Garden, we'd spend a good deal of time studying the work of this successful seller and figuring out what we might do to replicate that success. To make that even easier, at the bottom of every Terapeak search results you'll find a number of listings so that you actually click through and view the complete listing to learn even more.

Next we did a product search and looked for the Flip Mino, a pocket-sized camcorder. For the week the statistics covered, we learned that there were three listings for the camcorder and two of them sold. Interestingly, the one listing that ended without a completed sale did not include BIN. The average selling price for the two cameras that did sell was $139.

With the click of your mouse, you can see all of eBay's categories, color-coded to give you an immediate look at what is selling on the site

ROI at a glance

Now we can see that if we're planning to source Flip Minos, we can't expect to get more than that for our products, so we can clearly calculate our sourcing costs to ensure a profit. We would also create our listings with a BIN price, because clearly people shopping for this camcorder want to hop onto the site, find it, buy it and be done with the process.

The last type of research available through Terapeak's eBay offering is "Categories." With the click of your mouse, you can quickly see all of eBay's categories, color-coded to give you an immediate look at what is selling on the site. Perhaps the most astounding piece of information we gleaned from this quick search occurred in the Baby category.

While baby gear was right in the middle of the profitability scale, the only specific baby-related items selling well were in the feeding and stroller category. It wasn't too long ago that anything baby related soared on eBay. Is it possible that with the tough economy new parents are shopping for new items only in the most necessary areas of baby care? Does this suggest that families are relying more on hand-me-downs and yard-sale finds for the bulk of baby clothes, toys and other quickly outgrown items that were flying off the site not so long ago? We can't say for sure, but if we sold in that category or were thinking of venturing there, those would be some questions we'd consider.

Once your seven-day free trial ends, you'll pay a monthly fee to keep the research coming. You can subscribe to the Research Advantage plan for $24.95 per month or $197.95 annually, or for $39.95 per month or $299.95 annually you can choose the Research Advantage 6 Sites plan, which will give you access to information about eBay US, UK, Australia, Canada, Germany and France.

Whether you've set your sights on U.S. or international sales, Terapeak can help you get there, and now you can easily use the data as you're building your listings or formulating your strategy without leaving eBay's site.

About the Author

Brad and Debra Schepp are the authors of 20 books, including eBay PowerSeller Secrets and The Official Success Guide: Insider Tips and Strategies for Sourcing Products from the World's Largest B2B Marketplace. Their most recent book, which Deb co-authored with John Lawson, Kick Ass Social Commerce for E-preneurs: It's Not About Likes—It's About Sales, was recently named the 2015 Small Business Book of the Year in the social media category.

For further information, visit Brad and Deb's website,

Opinions expressed here may not be shared by Auctiva Corp. and/or its principals.

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