Update: In this video lesson, we make mention of eBay Pulse which has since been decommissioned by eBay.com. An equally good alternative for market research is the SaleHoo Market Research Lab.
In this video, we will cover the first in a three part series that details free ways that you can find out what sells on eBay.
Many people get started selling on eBay as a way to get extra money -- that's a given. But although some of these sellers are already well-established, cash-rich businesses, many of them are not. Many of them are individuals with little to no business or internet experience and even less cash, who just want a chance to prove themselves and succeed according to their hard work.
Unfortunately, starting a business costs money, even if it's just a fledgling eBay business. You have to pay your eBay and PayPal fees, you have to buy packaging materials for shipping in many cases, you have to pay to set up your business, to buy products, etc. But in many cases, sellers with little to no investable assets can start out drop shipping, allowing them to start making money without having to purchase products in advance.
Nevertheless, how do you figure out which products to sell? Sure, there are some excellent eBay market research tools out there, but how many of them are free? Can't think of any? Neither can I.....
Fortunately, there are other alternatives to finding viable products to sell on eBay, and some of them are even free! These are the techniques that will be discussed in this series of lesons: eBay Pulse, Want It Now, internet keyword research, workshops, discussion boards, and chat rooms.
Specifically, this particular lesson will focus on eBay Pulse.
Those new to eBay may be unfamiliar with eBay Pulse. If that's the case, it's a feature you should learn about right away. And although it's a fun page for buyers to visit, where they can see what the most watched items on eBay are and who the top eBay sellers are, it's even more valuable to eBay sellers.
In a nutshell, the eBay Pulse page can tell you what the most popular products are on eBay. It can also indicate which products are TOO popular for you to sell, or in other words, which products are already too saturated and are therefore more difficult if not impossible to break into.
Although eBay has recently made it difficult to find links to the Pulse page on the eBay site, you can get to it easily by going to http://pulse.ebay.com anytime.
When you first get to the eBay Pulse page, this is what you'll see:
As you can see, the main features highlighted on the page are the most popular eBay searches and the largest eBay stores. Seeing what the largest stores are is somewhat interesting, but not very helpful. Instead, where you want to focus your efforts is on the first list, the most popular eBay searches.
When the Pulse page first comes up, the most important thing to remember about this list that you see at the top of the page is that it's an excellent indicator of which products/brands NOT to sell on eBay, that is, unless you have vast financial assets at your disposal, amazing product connections, or some other type of secret that will allow you to jump in and suddenly be able to compete successfully with the thousands of large, high-volume eBay sellers who are already selling these items to buyers at huge discounts.
If you're like most people, when you first started contemplating selling on eBay, you immediately thought of at least one of these items as being a great product for you to sell. Well, you weren't alone. The fact is that the vast majority of new sellers coming to eBay want to sell one or more of these products, and many of them attempt to do so with little consideration of the fact that everyone else wants to sell the same products, and therefore with little success.
So what you get is a huge supply of products and not enough demand to meet it, or at least not enough demand to meet the prices you'll likely need to charge to make a profit, which will most likely be much higher than those of the longtime eBay sellers who are already entrenched on the site and who regularly place orders of $100,000+ at a time with their distributors or manufacturers, so that they can then offer these products for much, much lower prices than most other sellers could ever afford.
Another discouraging aspect of this list that is important to remember is that all but 2 of the products/brands usually appearing on this list fall into the same group of what are known as "high-risk" categories: Electronics, Cell Phones, Computers, Video Game Systems, and Designer Handbags. Beyond just avoiding the products on this list, it's equally as wise to avoid selling products in any of these categories, at least until you've established a solid reputation and sales history on eBay, and even still at that point.
Beyond the fact that most items in these categories are already too saturated, the fact that eBay and PayPal consider them "high-risk" categories means that if you've been registered on eBay less than 90 days and/or you have less than 100 feedback (among other factors), most if not all of your payments from buyers will be subject to payment holds by PayPal, which means you won't get the money until AFTER you send the items and PayPal has proof they've been delivered. This can be extremely problematic for sellers who are so strapped for cash that they're not in a financial position to pay for the products up front, before receiving payments from their buyers.
So in short, stay away from these products. Fortunately, this list rarely ever changes, so it's usually very easy to keep up-to-date on which products are overly saturated on eBay at any given time.
This brings us to the true benefit of eBay Pulse -- the popular searches that are "hidden" within each category and sub-category on eBay. If you look at the top of the eBay Pulse page, you'll notice what you might have missed the first time, that there's a dropdown menu labeled "Category" right above the list of most popular searches:
Click on the arrow to expand the list of eBay's main categories and select a category of interest to you (for the purposes of this lesson, we'll choose Health & Beauty), and the page will reload to show you the most popular searches in that particular category:
Now we're getting somewhere!
Of course, keep in mind that each of the main categories on eBay is still vast, in and of itself -- Health & Beauty, for example, just like all of the other main eBay categories, contains millions of listings at any given time.
In other words, we're still talking about a very large supply of products, and many of them are undoubtedly still pretty well saturated, as you can probably imagine, given some of the hugely popular names on the list: Chanel, Mary Kay, Hoodia, Mac, Clinique, etc.
So although it might be worthwhile to make note of the names on the main category list, these shouldn't be your primary focus, at least not yet, and not until you've exhausted more specific, less high-profile options.
Instead, eBay has done a wonderful thing by making the Pulse page even more comprehensive and detailed. Besides narrowing down the most popular searches within each main eBay category, you can narrow them down even further, down to two levels of sub-categories within each category.
So continuing on with the same category, if you click on the arrow to expand the dropdown menu again, you'll see a list of all of the top-level sub-categories within Health & Beauty:
Just like the previous search, simply select one of the sub-categories (let's select Skin Care for this example), and the page will reload again to display the most popular searches within Health & Beauty > Skin Care:
Although this list is more specific, we're still dealing with a lot of brand names that comprise a large number of different products. So it's even better to continue drilling down to the next level of sub-categories:
As you can see, this list of sub-categories is much more specific, and will likely yield the best results to pursue. For example, this is what you'll see after selecting "Anti-Aging Products":
Although there are a few names on the list that are still too broad to pursue, there are also some fairly good prospects. Here is where it can come in handy to know something about the products in question, but even if you don't, it's very easy to figure out which names on the list are likely to be the most viable.
All you need to do is perform a keyword search within this particular sub-category for each of the terms on the list (Health & Beauty > Skin Care > Anti-Aging Products), and the ones which yield the fewest number of results are likely to be the most viable products to pursue. The fact that they're on the list of most popular searches indicates that there's a healthy level of demand for them, but the fact that there aren't very many listings matching these terms in the current eBay search results indicates that there isn't currently too much existing supply on eBay in these areas, that these items aren't even close to being overly saturated.
So if you apply this logic to the example in question, here's what you'll find as far as the current results for each of the terms on the list:
Lancome gets 1125 results
Clinique gets 611 results
Philosophy gets 293 results.
You should check the results from the full list of products, but if it were me making a decision based on these results, I would look into selling Clinique or Philosophy products. Remember, you still need to find a supplier who can supply you with these products at competitive rates so that you earn good margins on eBay.
Hopefully this discussion provides you with some insight into how to use eBay Pulse to find the best products to sell on eBay. If it's this easy to zero in on 2-3 extremely promising products within one very specific eBay sub-category, how much more fruitful will it be for you if you duplicate this process across 5-10 sub-categories, or even 20 sub-categories?
Thanks for watching this video lesson and make sure you check out part 2 where I reveal even more free ways to find what sells on eBay.