Using Terapeak for eBay Market Research and Analytics

Get eBay performance, best practices, and competition data to drive success

Terapeak's product research, one of many reports, shows you every metric about the item you're selling, from pricing and sell-through percentages to the most critical keywords, listing formats, and selling times. Image: Terapeak

Good market research is key to success in any selling endeavor. For eBay sellers, the "market" to be researched is the eBay marketplace and its customers, and the gold standard for eBay research is Terapeak, not least because it is web-based and mobile-device based (and thus available to PC, Mac, and other computer users alike) and tightly integrated with eBay.

If your goal is to become a serious eBay seller, using Terapeak (or a competitor like Hammertap or the research tools in ecommerce management suites) is an absolute requirement.

Terapeak and many of its competitors give sellers tools that go well beyond anything offered by eBay directly, including the ability to answer all of these questions:

  • Which items are performing well and which are hard sells? See how entire eBay categories are doing over the most recent week or month period, along a number of different metrics: total sales volume, total listing volume, total successful listing volume, bid activity, average per-listing bid activity, sell-through percentage, and average selling price.
  • What are the absolute hottest products on eBay right now? Terapeak offers sortable "hot lists" of all current top-performing eBay categories, listing the overall sales rank for the category and the sell-through percentage for items listed there. The same is available for current top media items, shopper searches, products of all kinds, and listing titles, providing important metrics for each of these—things like total number of bids and listings for items with the same title and overall GMV.
  • How are my kinds of items selling? What are the best- and worst-case scenarios? Locate the item you're planning to sell and see how it has been performing on eBay. How much does it sell for, on average? What are the recent high and low prices? How much competition is there? What is the sell-through rate? How do these change for refurbished or used as opposed to new items?
  • What titles, descriptions, keywords, and listing upgrades will drive sales for me? What are the top keywords associated with this item? Which titles have proven most effective in generating sales? What listing upgrades are the top sellers using?
  • What are my competitors doing? More than just data, you get the ability to collect lists of listings from your direct competition, where you can examine them, see their results, and figure out what the description, title, and other listing property best practices are. Search not just by item, but also by seller, conducting reconnaissance on their metrics (sell-through performance, average selling price, and so on).
  • When should I sell which kinds of items? Get charts and graphs that show you which days, weeks, or months are sell-through, average selling price, or eBay inventory high- and low-points for your item(s) or for entire eBay categories. Time your listings with pinpoint accuracy.
  • What kind of listing should I use? For how long? See sales performance ranked and charted along various metrics by listing type and listing duration so that you can see which kinds of listings will lead to profitable sales and which are likely simply to incur unnecessary fees.
  • How are my (or others') sales evolving over time? Because data is available for custom searching over the previous year (rather than just the previous 90 days as is the case on eBay), you're able to monitor your progress, the progress of your competitors, the progress of your favorite categories, or the progress of your favorite inventory items with a much more long-term, metrics-oriented view.
  • What can I find out about this item right now? Because many serious sellers and several eBay business models may involve footwork in search of goods and products to sell, on-the-go eBay performance information about a product the first time you encounter it or hold it in your hand, right at the source, can be a real time and effort saver. The Terapeak mobile app makes it possible for you to evaluate item potential and performance when you're out and about, looking for things to sell and sources for them.

    Despite these benefits, many beginning sellers seem to balk at the monthly fees that are involved in subscribing to an eBay research and analytics service. If this is you, consider this: as an eBay seller, the most serious of your competitors will have access to all of this information. Do you really want to try to compete against them without it, on a trial-and-error basis in which you have to "learn as you go" over the long term?

    Even for casual sellers a one- or two-month subscription during "spring cleaning" or "yard sale" months or after taking a tour of the house to de-junk can be well worth the cost, perhaps meaning the difference between 80 or 90 percent sell-through rates and 20 or 30 percent sell through rates with money left on the table due to poor pricing decisions.

    Let's examine some of the most common kinds of operations carried out in Terapeak.

    Common Task: Research on a Particular Item

    From the Terapeak main reports screen, follow these steps to evaluate a particular item for eBay performance and best practices:

    1. Click the "Search" tab.
    2. Type your item's make and model into the search box and slick "Search" to see general results for the last week across all of eBay.
    3. Note the average selling price, average shipping cost, total number of listings for the period, and sell-through percentage for the item, shown directly at the top of the results.
    1. In the "Overview" box, note the best day of the week for closings, the most successful duration, the top keyword, the best time(s) of day, the most common listing upgrades, the most common listing format, and the top category for this kind of item.
    2. In the "General Stats" box, look at the total sales volume, total number of listings, total number of bids and bids per listing, and number of sellers active on average per day to get a good picture of the competitive landscape on eBay for this product.
    3. Scroll down and look through the remaining report widgets to see this data charted and expanded (i.e. not just the top keyword as is shown in the "Overview" box, but a chart showing all of the top keywords, ranked by importance).
    4. Scroll all the way down to the bottom half of the page to access and browse through all of the listings for this item that closed during the time period in full, including the results of the listing (sold or not sold, final price, number of bids, and so on).

      Common Task: Refine or Research on a Particular Item by Condition, Time Frame, or Other Criteria

      If you're looking for more specific data on the item you've searched for, use the date selector near the top of the page or the "Categories" and "Filters" lists on the left side of the report page to:

      • See data only for items in a particular category. To narrow the report to show results only from a single category, click on the category you're interested in in the "Categories" list on the left side of the page, then click the "Search" button near the bottom of the left-side column.
      • See data only about new (or used, or refurbished) items. To narrow the report to show results only for a particular item condition, click on the "Item Condition" item in the "Additional Features" list on the left side of the page, then select the item condition you're interested in, then click the "Search" button near the bottom of the left-side column.
      • See data only about a particular listing type, duration, or time, or only about a particular seller. You can filter your report results by each of these criteria using the clickable items in the left-side column of the report page. Don't forget to click the "Search" button at the bottom of the left-side column each time you add a new filter.

      Common Task: Study Item Trends and Cross-Reference Item Metrics

      To see charts and graphs over time that plot the item's performance according to a variety of metrics—and, importantly, that allow you to compare several metrics visually—follow these steps:

      1. Click the "Trend" item in the "Search" list at the upper-left of an item report page.
      2. Use the selector to choose which two metrics you want to compare and over what time period.

      For many sellers, some of the favorite trend comparisons and searches include:

      • Total listings vs. average price. Particularly if you're a fan of auction-based selling, see how supply affects sale price and whether high-supply days represent a great opportunity to tap into cyclical demand or a time to avoid because of surplus availability and cratering prices.
      • Average price vs. sell-through. See how pricing is correlated to closing the deal and improve your item pricing so that you're taking only as much risk as you want to relative to your listing fees, and know exactly where you have to be, price-wise, to maximize sales on a given day.
      • 30-day, 90-day, and historical (seasonal) date ranges. Don't just see how things are this week; see also how performance fluctuates over the course of a month, several months, or by season.

      Common Task: Map eBay's Top Categories and Items

      To see how items in all of eBay's varied categories are doing, what the best categories for eBay selling are right now, and which items in each category are getting the job done (and how), use the category report, rather than the item search report:

      1. Click the "Category" tab.
      2. On the large, color-coded category map that's displayed, make a note of the best-performing and worst-performing categories on eBay by color.
      3. To see data for subcategories, either click on one of the top subcategories in the map on the right, or click on one of the top-level categories in the left-side column to display the entire list of subcategories in that top-level category, each also color-coded.
      4. Continue to "drill down" in the categories table until you reach just the level of category specificity you're interested in, whether that's the desire to see performance overall for a major category (just stay at the top level of "Anqitues" or "Computers & Networking" for example) or to see performance for a very specific subcategory (keep clicking until the one that you want is selected).
      5. Once you've got the category you're interested in, see comparative trends for the category by click "Trends" in the left-side column, top seller data in the category by clicking "Top Sellers" or the best performing titles by clicking "Top Titles."

      Common Task: See What's Hot on eBay

      To do general market research on what's in demand on eBay right now in a way that's much more detailed than what's available on eBay Pulse, click on the "Hot Research" tab to get sortable lists of high-performing categories, items, searches, and titles on eBay, sortable according to sales rank and sell-through percentage.

      Common Task: Conduct Research on a Particular Seller

      To research one of your competitors, or even your own performance as a seller over a period of time that you select, use the "Sellers" tab, then use the search box to search for a particular seller by their eBay member ID. Then, examine, filter, and and chart results in precisely the same way that you do for item search reports—except that now all of the data applies to the seller you're interested in, rather than the item you're interested in.

      Try it for a Month

      If you're still not sold on the benefits of a market research tool subscription, one idea is to select one and try it for a month. This isn't your mobile phone or satellite television bill; you're not locked into a yearly contract. See how market research improves your eBay selling life, and whether or not using Terapeak or a similar service is right for you.