Learn to buy and sell antiques and collectibles

Identifying eBay Products People Want

Selecting products to resell on eBay is about people. . .

Back when I started teaching eBay selling skills, the most common question was "How do I put pictures into my auctions?" Today, few people ask about pictures because eBay has made adding photos easy.

Now, eight years later, the most common questions are, "Where do I find products to sell on eBay?," and "What do people want to buy on eBay?"

Back then, almost no one asked about finding products. It just wasn't a concern because we were all collectors and dealers selling used items.

That's not the case anymore. Now everyone wants to know what to sell on eBay, and eBay has become all about finding products.

With the heavy promotion of eBay Stores, eBay is trying to become a marketplace like Amazon where people go to buy new things. In fact, I got a catalog from eBay in the mail yesterday. The catalog showed pictures of new items along with their average selling price.

Ebay has even added pre-filled item specifics for sellers of the most common new items. This makes listing items easier for sellers, and helps buyers comparison shop for new items, but there is a problem.

This is product focused not people focused.

Maybe that's why so many people ask where to find products?

A better question is, "How do I identify groups of people who want to purchase items?"

When you start with that question others naturally come to mind:

  • What else do these people want?
  • Why are they buying these items?
  • What are they used for?

Starting with people rather than products has another important advantage - it helps you add value to your listings.

Here's a simple lesson on value - Copywriters talk about features versus benefits. Features are product focused statements like these:

  • 92 pages
  • gold plated terminals
  • die cast construction

On the other hand, a benefit demonstrates value to the buyer. Here are the same statements, rewritten as benefits or "value statements":

  • At only 92 pages this book is to the point
  • Gold plated terminals will not corrode reducing connections
  • Detailed die cast construction resists damage and increases pulling power

People buy items based on benefits -- not features -- and you are selling things to people. When you shift your focus from products to people, everything else becomes easy.

When I look at items, the first thing I ask myself is who will buy them.

For example, earlier this week, I bought an item on eBay which I'll relist as soon as it comes in. I expect to get about $300 more than I paid for it because I know what type of person will want it and exactly how to appeal to potential buyers.

This is one way of doing eBay Arbitrage: looking at items listed on eBay from a buyer's viewpoint.

Now, I know what toy train buyers want because I have years of experience. I'm also a collector, but I'm finding that helps less and less because my tastes aren't the same as most newer collectors.

In order to stay current with my buyers, I track what sells. I also read discussion boards and talk to buyers and sellers in person and on the phone.

No matter what you sell, you should be doing the same thing. Ask your buyers questions. Send your phone number to your buyers, or put it in your auctions and encourage them to call.

Go to shows in your area and see what people are buying. Simple questions like, "What are you going to do with that?" or "Why did you buy that?" will provide you with a wealth of information.

If you're caught up in looking for eBay products -- STOP. Start looking for people, and the products will identify themselves.

There is another way to go from people to products. In this issue, I have only talked about finding out what people want. In the second half of this article, I'll show you how to find people with items for sale -- people no one else buys from. Read it at Finding People With Products You Can Sell On eBay

Terry

PS Here's a list of all articles on products to resell on eBay.

PPS I mentioned that how to insert pictures into eBay auctions used to be the most asked question, and truthfully, it's a question you should be asking. The default eBay format is description first, image second. This is backwards. Even eBay recognizes this and has a preview image to the left of the auction details at the top of the listings.

My tests have consistently shown that placing a clear, high-resolution picture at the top of your auction description gets better results.

And I'm here to tell you that if you're still using eBay image hosting, you're paying for inferior results.

The Auction Revolution contains easy-to-understand, step-by-step instructions for editing and hosting your own images with free programs.

PPS I also mentioned eBay arbitrage. In The Auction Revolution, you'll learn eight ways to profit by buying items "low" on eBay and reselling them at a profit.


Many of the articles and free reports here on IWantCollectibles were originally sent to readers of my Antiques and eBay Newsletter. Not all articles make it onto the website, and readers also get notices of free reports and special offers.

Ted at his desk.

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