Go ahead, admit it. You love those top 10 lists that appear everywhere you look, whether online, on TV, in newspapers or in magazines. They're fun to read and, we admit, even fun to write. But let's take it a step further: How about top 500 or top 1,000 lists as they relate to your fellow eBay sellers? More work, perhaps, but the payoff is certainly there.
Such lists go beyond interesting reading, crossing over into market intelligence to inspire you, and perhaps suggest new product lines or strategies you can use in your own business.
For years, the Nortica eBay 500 set the standard for such lists, ranking the top eBay sellers by overall feedback numbers. In our years of interviewing and working with top PowerSellers we were amazed at how closely they paid attention to this list. We know of one PowerSeller who had his staff call companies that have fallen off the list to see what happened. To us, that seemed a bit forward at the time, but it did enable him to gather market intelligence so his company could learn from their mistakes.
Recently, a new companySellerDome.combegan providing similar data and a whole lot more. We asked company founder Rob Horton to part the curtains a bit and give us a closer look at the site.
"We had two goals for SellerDome.com when we launched the site," Horton says: Publish rankings for eBay accounts and gather statistical data about eBay accounts.
Horton had been selling on eBay for four years. With 50,000 items sold, he had tallied up more than $2.5 million in sales before launching the new company. This background as an eBay seller was never far from his mind as he fashioned the SellerDome site. What you'll find there is based on his own feedback and experience.
If a seller can say, 'I'm a top 1,000 seller on eBay,' that fact alone may provide the extra credibility needed to win the sale
Here are some of the ways Horton says sellers are using the site, and why it might be important for you also to check it out:
- Relativity: Sellers know how much their feedback is growing but they aren't sure how they compare to everyone else. The relative feedback rankings let them know if they are staying on pace with other sellers, gaining ground or falling behind.
- Competition: Many sellers have told the company they use the site to monitor their competition. Most sellers know who their competition is, but without spending a lot of time sifting though eBay listings, they aren't sure how they stack up against them. They can get accurate snapshots quickly and easily at SellerDome, including feedback numbers and items listed. It's interesting that NARU (not a registered user) sellers are also listed, to give you a different kind of food for thought.
- Business modeling: You can view top eBay sellers to determine what products and/or categories are saturated or have room for expansion. You can also use this information to set performance benchmarks based on what product users are selling.
- Vanity: Could Carly Simon have been thinking of an eBay seller when she wrote "You're So Vain?" Unlikely, since the song was written decades before eBay came along. Still, there's a bit of vanity (or certainly, competiveness) in us all and eBay sellers are no different. It's human nature. If a seller can say, "I'm a top 1,000 seller on eBay," that fact alone may provide the extra credibility needed to win the sale. Horton says the company has users who check their accounts regularly, and have "set milestones from a ranking perspective that they are trying to reach."
He notes that while some of this data is available in some form through other sources, SellerDome also provides unique reports. For example, through its blog the site provides reports and charts about statistical phenomena the company's identified. (One recent report discusses the rise in NARU and inactive eBay sellers.) In this way the site can provide a "forest" view of eBay selling, with the ranking lists covering the "trees."
Detailed seller ratings (DSRs) are on everyone's minds these days and SellerDome can also be of help. The company breaks out data on DSRs by category, number of overall sellers in that category and feedback rating. As shown here, sellers can quickly see which categories as a whole achieve the best average DSRs (crafts), as well as the lowest (cell phones and PDAs). For new sellers, or those thinking of expanding into new markets, this data is invaluable.
SellerDome is a new site, so the archives only go back a few months. However, new features are coming on board all the time so be sure to check out the company's blog at SellerDome.com Blog. Use the site well, and one day you too may find yourself on one of those top 10 lists.