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What Sells Best on eBay?

A research website that will help you answer that question
what-sells-best

Are you curious about what items are hot sellers on eBay right now? Of course you are—you’re reading this article.

One of the best ways to get a feel for what sells best on eBay, and for how much, is to do a Completed Listings search. If you haven’t taken advantage of this goldmine of eBay market data, start by clicking the “Advanced” search hyperlink next to the Search button on the eBay home page.

On the next page, enter your keywords, category, etc., as you normally would and click the “Completed Listings” box under the “Search Including” option. The search results that appear next are limited to listings that have closed. A red price means the item didn’t sell; a green one means it did. This little exercise can be an eye-opener. It’s likely your results will include a lot more red items than green ones.

The site scrapes information from eBay auctions about hot items in 25 eBay categories. The many bestseller lists are broken down by time period

One of the things you can do to help reverse these odds is conduct additional research on sites such as WhatSellsBest.com. Founded in 2008, the site scrapes information from eBay auctions about hot items in 25 eBay categories.

The many bestseller lists are broken down by time period (day and month) as well as what’s active and what’s already sold.

Sellers can use the site for trend research, pricing guidelines and selling ideas. The site also includes information about how to have items appraised for free. For more details, including inside information on the hot eBay sellers over the past year, we spoke to the site’s founder, James Massey.

The background

Schepp: Why did you create this site?

Massey: I’m a bit of a treasure hunter at heart, so I’ve always had an interest in hearing stories about rare and unusual items fetching extraordinary prices at auction. But I often wondered if I was passing by items while treasure hunting that might have had value because I didn’t recognize them as valuable.

So I started tracking the highest-bid items on eBay and other auction sites as a way to educate myself about the styles, names and types of items I should be looking for. From there, WhatSellsBest.com was eventually published to help others who might also find the information helpful.

Schepp: How do you recommend online sellers best use your site?

Massey: Well, there are quite a few ways, but here are a couple of the main ones:

Because the site only focuses on highest-bid items in a variety of categories, it can provide a real-time snapshot of the items with the biggest demand at any given time. So it’s a great way to quickly get the pulse of hot items, within multiple categories, from around the world.

“Because the site only focuses on highest-bid items in a variety of categories, it can provide a real-time snapshot of the items with the biggest demand”

This information can be particularly valuable for online consignment sellers, who can use the site to stay abreast of hot items and educate their consignors.

In some cases I’ve seen consignment sellers use the site—mentioning our stories in their blogs, newsletters, etc.—as a way to provide incentive for consignors to keep a lookout for certain items.

Another way to use the site is for researching the sourcing methods of top sellers. Because often the same sellers rise to the top, with the highest bid items, it’s likely they have systems in place to consistently find and sell those high-value items.

Sometimes a little research—visiting their websites, subscribing to their newsletters, Twitter, etc.—can provide valuable clues into how they’re soliciting the public to find their best products.

Hot items

Schepp: How can sellers discern trends from your site?

Massey: Trends usually start showing up when similar items consistently reappear on the monthly top-10 list, and in the (WSB) news section, which also tracks top items and items breaking price records.

[You can access these here]: top 10, news.

Schepp: What does your data suggest about what sells best on eBay right now?

Massey: Over the past year I’ve noticed strong sales in:

  • Early Beatles items
  • Rare vintage vinyl (records)
  • Chinese antiques
  • Rare comic books and comic art
  • Vintage Apple (computer) items
  • Rare video games
“Style shifts often provide leading indicators of trends developing in the marketplace, which might lead a seller to recognize an opportunity in their sales channel”

Schepp: You focus on 25 categories. If I sell outside of those categories, what can I still glean from your site?

Massey: Yes, there are 25 primary categories and within those categories are nearly 200 subcategories. The collectibles category, alone, tracks over 40 subcategories of collectibles, but you’re right, certainly some items won’t be covered.

Even in those cases, I think sellers can benefit from knowing the styles of items that are hot. Style shifts often provide leading indicators of trends developing in the marketplace, which might lead a seller to recognize an opportunity in their sales channel.

Helpful resources

Schepp: Please describe the Find Your Items Auction Value part of your site, and how sellers may want to use it.

Massey: They’re a couple of free online resources to help people determine the auction value for almost any item sold online, worldwide. The links can be really helpful for comparing sold prices in a variety of the world’s top auction houses and venues.

Schepp: Should sellers be following you on Twitter? Why?

Massey: Yes, because my Twitter followers are among the first to know about items—the best of the best—generating high-bidder interest in auction venues worldwide. This means they can leverage all our research free to get an early heads up about hot items and new trends emerging.
Editor’s note: To follow WhatSellsBest.com visit this page.

Schepp: Do you sell online? If so what and where?

Massey: Yes, [I sell] part time to fund my hobby of treasure hunting. I mainly look for rare collectibles and antiques, but I rarely pass on anything that is profitable, which I might stumble upon at a flea market, yard sale or thrift store. I mainly sell easy-to-pack [and] ship items through eBay and awkward-to-pack [and] ship items through Craigslist.

Schepp: What else should readers of The Online Seller know about your site?

Massey: There are some 2012 year in review lists coming out … which will highlight some of the top sold items of the past year. The list will be posted on our home page, as well as our Twitter and Facebook pages.

Thanks, James!

About the author

Brad & Debra Schepp
Brad and Debra Schepp are the authors of 20 books, including eBay PowerSeller Secrets and The Official Alibaba.com Success Guide: Insider Tips and Strategies for Sourcing Products from the World's Largest B2B Marketplace. Their most recent book is How to Find a Job on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Brad is also a literary agent for Waterside Productions. For further information, visit the couple's website, bradanddeb.com. Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.

  • http://twitter.com/jsamericana jsamericana~Vintage

    Just about everything will sell at the “right” price