Finding Inventory That Sells on eBay

June 29, 2016

Marketplaces ChannelAdvisor By ChannelAdvisor

Finding inventory that sells on eBay is critical to success. By taking the time to do inventory analysis, you can identify new opportunities, pinpoint hot and upcoming trends, develop your sourcing strategy and even improve your descriptions and titles.

In this post, we’ll look at strategies you can use to find out what products are in demand on eBay, along with tips to guide your inventory analysis strategy.

Use Predictive Search to Find eBay Top Selling Items

As a buyer on eBay, you’ll notice that as you type a search query into eBay’s search bar, eBay is populating possible items you might be looking for. Flipping this on its head, as a retailer, this predictive search function could be data that you use to identify gaps in your product line.

For example, if you sell children’s items, type ‘children’s’ into the search bar, and a range of products appear. What’s important to notice about the items in this list is that they aren’t ranked alphabetically; they’re listed in order of the frequency buyers are typing them in. You’ll also see what categories these products are listed in, so if you list only in one, it may make sense to expand to listing under another relevant category. For example, ‘Children’s bed’ is listed under both the ‘Furniture’ and ‘Children’s Home and Furniture’ categories.

Don’t forget to try multiple variations of keywords in the search bar to identify any trends that you might be overlooking. Make note of any new keywords that work well during this search to help you optimise your current listings.

Look at eBay Sold Items

Take a look at sold items on eBay to identify whether there’s a gap in the market, or if there are items not available at the right price that consumers are already browsing for. To discover what’s trending on eBay, select Advanced Search at eBay.co.uk, and type in your item keywords, specifying ‘Sold listings’. Then check how popular these products are by looking at how many have been sold, as well as how many people are watching these items. You can also discover how quickly items are selling to ascertain their current popularity.

Use Your Google AdWords Account to Identify Trending Terms

You can also use the keyword planning tool on Google to identify hot trends. Enter relevant item keywords to assess how many people are searching for them. You can also identify other similar words or phrases you might be missing from your descriptions and titles. This feature is particularly useful for seasonal products, as you can gauge when shoppers start browsing and researching these products.

Other Ways to Spot New Trends

It’s worth regularly reading articles from the trade press, expos, and blogs, as well as speaking with suppliers to identify items that are new or different to find products that could generate excitement. Keep an eye on top bloggers in certain categories or areas to give you an insight into what’s trending.

Examples of Products Trending Right Now

According to eBay, men’s underwear, suits and trousers have been selling fast, as well as women’s boots (with free postage) and kids’ shoes, so these are worth targeting as an apparel retailer. Additionally, in the Jewellery category, top-selling items include fine charms and bracelets. In the Beauty sector, curling tongs and straighteners are trending right now, while Home & Garden products to consider include beds, mattresses, tables and wardrobes. Top techie products continue to be mobiles and smartphones. These are just examples, however – you will need to do your own research, since things change quickly.

What to Consider When Selling on eBay

  • To increase sales and minimise risk, it can pay to spread your business across various product types. Always ensure you’re meeting eBay standards when it comes to item quality, and don’t create duplicates.
  • Search: Go for the upsell with products by bundling items or presenting them with enticing and convenient packages.
  • Meet seller expectations for quality and sales experience, in particular shipping times.
  • When it comes to infrastructure, consider whether you can support your new items. Do you have the upfront investment and enough warehouse space? Do you predict that you’ll get more returns, and if so, can you cope? How about delivery and customer service – can you provide the highest levels to ensure customer satisfaction and keep your eBay metrics high?
  • Could diversifying your product range reduce your operational costs?

What Can You Do Right Now?

Don’t put off expanding into new areas because you feel you don’t have the time. Invest just one hour and you will reap the rewards. Take a sample of any 10 items you would consider selling on eBay, then using the methods we’ve suggested, e.g., eBay search and Google keyword planner, investigate the market for these products.

Check out the current margins on these products and consider future trends and seasonal nuances. Ask suppliers and wholesalers if this product is easy to get hold of. Consider your current infrastructure and whether you would need to change your operations to accommodate this new line.

Now apply what you’ve learned by adding the new product to your current listings. Monitor results over the following two months and build this into your usual reporting structure. You will then be able to see if the new product has created an uplift in sales and therefore whether it’s been worth the investment.

And remember, when it comes to selling new items, don’t simply go for a low price. Test and learn – especially if you’re selling seasonal products.

Blog post by Laura Lane, manager of marketing & communications at ChannelAdvisor UK


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