Essential eBay Research to Make Money at Home By an eBay Powerseller

eBay Powerseller Education Specialist Make Money

Make Money on eBay with eBay research from an eBay powerseller

I have said many times that in order to make money on eBay you have to have great listings AND great research. One without the other would not merit much success on eBay. 

To begin, let me illustrate the point. Let's say you go to the grocery store and see 2 boxes of cereal. They both are the same brand, the same quantity and everything. The only difference is that one has a price 1 dollar higher than the one next to it. Which one do you think will have more sales? Obviously the cheaper one. eBay is an interesting marketplace because it isn't some place that people have price tags on their merchandise and people pay those prices. No, this would be more like a conventional retail store. Instead, people only pay what they are WILLING to pay for an item. A price isn't dictated by the value on eBay, it's dictated by how much people are willing to spend on those items. This is probably why eBay has received so much popularity. Why would you pay 49.43 for an item when that same item is selling for 39.11?

So, in order to be successful in listing your item and giving you a higher chance of success consider the behavior of the exact same item on eBay. 

eBay has a very good research tool already in place. Better yet, it's free. It's called the 'completed listings'. How you can determine the worth that eBay buyers are giving on your item first type in the brand of your item, and what it is. For example, 'Nike Basketball'. One you have located the current listings of your items, find the 'completed listings' tab on the left hand side under 'preferences'. 

This then gives you the items that sold, (green prices) and the items that didn't sell, (red prices). Now, I'm not too concerned if you see a lot of red in this category. After all, eBay is full of people that have terrible listings. I don't let this data skew my thoughts. However, I like to look at the listings that DID sell. This tells me that they do sell, no matter how many reds I see. 

Once you have located all of the green listings, you want to ask yourself which listing style sold for A), the higher price, and B) the most often. If you see that a lot of items sold better in the buy-it-now category, then you can be relatively sure that you'd be an idiot to sell it as an auction. 

Determining if the item sells better in an auction takes a little more steps. Once you have decided that a lot sell in auction, then you'll want to see how many bids did they receive, and what was the starting bid price. If you find that they are receiving 6 or more bids, then people are attracted to this item and you'll find better success this way. You'll also notice more often then not that when an item sells better in an auction, it has a very low starting-bid price. This makes sense. A lot of people make the mistake of putting an item up for auction at a high starting bid price because they don't want to lose money on the item. More often then not, you will any way. Remember the cereal box analogy? Why would someone buy this at 30 bucks when in an auction it is currently bid at 2 bucks?

Auctions are great because they can attract a lot of people. The more bids you have on an item the higher it can result in searches. Imagine having a room full of millions of people looking for an item. If you told them that it costs .99 starting bid, won't you be sure that you're starting bid wont stay there long?

Here's my point: ALL eBay AUCTIONS START AT .99 CENTS NO MATTER WHAT PRICE! The reason I can say this is because your research supports that you'll receive A LOT of bids and that you'll attract A LOT of attention? Doesn't the evidence on other items you've seen sell better in an auction support this? People are afraid of having to sell an item at .99 cents if they put it up on eBay for that low. If you've done the research, you know this won't happen.

Once you have found out what type of listing it should be. (Buy-it-now or auction) Then you need to determine if your item will make you money at the price people are willing to pay for it. There is another great (free) resource made my Ryan Olbe called the eBay Fee Calculator (

If you don't use this tool correctly, then you can still lose money. First, I only use 2 categories here because I want to skew the results in my favor. (Like a pilot underestimating fuel to their destination.) First, you put in the average cost of the top 3 prices for your item found in the completed listings. (The green ones.) Then, at the bottom, you put in your total cost to acquire. This is zero if you already own it, or the total cost of the item plus taxes and fees if you used another product source. (More on product sourcing later.) The bottom that is labeled your total profit or loss is how much you can expect to get out of this. That is if you don't ship it. 

If you do plan on shipping it then you'll need to go to,, or and estimate the shipping. Usually the US postal service is your  cheapest option. Usually, when I ship an item I go to the post office and I tell them that this needs to be shipped as cheap as possible. As long as you're shipping the item out on the same day, then there will be no need to expedite the shipping that cuts into your profits. Do not procrastinate this step. 

Once you have the estimated shipping cost then you can make the decision to list the item or not. If you can still make a good profit after shipping the item, then it's a yes. If not, it's better left to a garage sale or to a donation center. There is no reason to take a loss or to break even. If you want to sell something on eBay, you ought to make a profit!

Do not forget that making money on eBay take great listings AND great research. Another installment later will go into more depth of the research process but this should get you started. 

For reference, these are the things you need to know before selling any item on eBay.

The product, the total cost to acquire, the completed listings prices, the listing format that yields better results, the eBay and Paypal fees, and the estimated shipping cost. The last number is the total profit or loss, or in my opinion, the list or don't list number

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janesmooch 5 years ago

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