For years people have been looking for those perfect products to sell on eBay, and in 2013 I wrote a guide on exactly how to find them. As expected, it quickly became one of the most popular posts on my blog.
Fast forward to 2017 and I think it’s finally time to update this guide to include all the latest tips and tricks to help you find the BEST products to sell on eBay.
I go into a lot of detail though, so I suggest you get yourself a cup of tea and really dig in to this lengthy post.
What to sell on eBay? This question has been asked MILLIONS of times but there still isn’t a simple answer. Well, I could tell you to sell iPhones and iPhone cases as they’re hugely popular on eBay BUT that would be bad advice, very bad advice.
Popular does not always equal BEST, or even profitable for that matter.
If you take a look at the iPhone case market on eBay for example, you can see that it’s over saturated with thousands of competing sellers, offering basically the same products for very low prices. Margins on these cheap cases are less than 50p per case, often just 10p or 20p.
Now, can you imagine running a profitable eBay business making just 10p profit per processed order? It’s really not worth the effort! To make £10 profit, you would have to process 100 orders. That’s just ridiculous.
Another aspect of such over-saturated markets is the presence of Chinese and Hong Kong based sellers who are in fact more than happy to make that 10p profit per order.
Now, I know that some of you may just want to ask me – “Andrew, what are your top 5 or 10 products on eBay that I can sell and make good profit?”
I’m afraid that’s not gonna happen, sorry.
No one will tell you – sell product X and product Y on eBay and make millions! Why would they? To reveal their best sellers? To give you everything on a plate after they’ve done all the research?
As much as I love my blog readers, it would be “business suicide” to start publishing the best products that I’ve found from my own research and testing. Not only would I suffer hugely by sharing this info, no one would really gain anything anyway. I mean just imagine the situation where tens of thousands of people are given a list of profitable products to sell on eBay – everyone would start competing and before you know it prices (and profit margin) will be driven to the ground.
It wouldn’t do any good for anyone.
So instead of just giving you false dreams, I will give you something better. Instead of the fish, I will give you a rod and teach you how to fish! Like this, YOU can learn to do proper market research and find these profitable products to sell on eBay for yourself.
Before we get started, you have to get rid of the mindset of asking/looking for miracle products that will make you rich on eBay. There’s no such thing.
What you should instead do is get into the RESEARCH mindset and simply execute my step-by-step formula for finding profitable products to sell on eBay for your start-up business.
While common sense is still your best friend through every step of this research process, with the help of some software available nowadays, you really don’t have to be that bright or creative to find solid products you can sell for profit on eBay.
So in today’s post I’ll share with you the exact strategy I’ve used countless times to find profitable products to sell on eBay (and not just eBay!). IF you follow this system, you’ll make money on eBay! Yes, it’s a bold claim BUT I’ve been doing this for more than 10 years now and have personally helped hundreds of people to find products to sell on eBay via my 60 Day Blueprint Program plus thousands more via my Easy Auction Business course.
Trust me when I say – THIS WORKS!
Before we get started – a quick side note. This system relies on identifying proven sellers. I do not use the “inventor’s approach” here. What’s the inventor’s approach? It’s when you try to come up with your own products from scratch.
Basically Dragon’s Den online.
I don’t do this.
It doesn’t mean it can’t work BUT if you want to get your own product to market, be ready to spend lots of money on advertising and even then – the risk of it being unsuccessful is still very high. If you do want to go down this route, this guide most likely won’t be suitable for you.
I’m not talking about OEM or slightly modified products – these are totally fine and you can still research such possibilities using the system covered in this post! And I will even guide you on how to get this done for FREE.
But I won’t cover inventing brand new products in this post as such – as for me it’s just not the optimal selling approach.
Ok then, let’s get started! This is how you find profitable products to sell on eBay….
Step 1 – Brainstorming
The first step of this process is to gather product ideas. Just brainstorm – any random product ideas you can come up with! Don’t think about how good or bad an idea it is, just compile a list of as many possible products to sell as you can.
It’s super important to SEPARATE product brainstorming from the steps that follow! I have worked with many people who get completely stuck on this phase because they start analysing each idea they come up with. And this puts a block on your brainstorming and slows everything down – the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve at this point. For some people it even gets to the point that because of their analysing and overthinking they’re unable to come up with any new product ideas at all!
So don’t do this!
Simply brainstorm product ideas and DON’T even spend a second further thinking about what you come up with – simply write it down and move on!
For creative people like me, this task is super easy & even fun! I could write hundreds of product ideas down on paper in less than an hour. It’s enough for me to take a look at a car across the street to write down 10+ product ideas in less than 2 minutes, such as:
- Alloy wheels
- Dog safety car leashes
- Sun protectors
- Chair covers
- Car washing supplies
- Emergency kits
- First aid kits
- Car covers
- Parking sensors
- Car phone/iPad stands and covers
- Car DVD players
- Various electronic car chargers
- And so on!
Or if I see a commercial for a NutriBullet blender, my head will instantly fill with products ideas, like:
- Replacement blades
- Replacement jars
- Recipe books
- Freezer cups
- Carry bag/case
- And so on!
Or when I pick up the latest kids craft magazine, I can pick out countless products from the how to guides and ads, including:
- Scrapbooking paper
- Grosgrain ribbon
- Double sided tape
- Cutting boards
- Replaceable blades for cutting plotters
- Glitter paper
- Loose glitter
- Paper cutting dies
- And so on!
With my years of experience and naturally creative mind, it’s super easy!
And you can do the same – just start looking AROUND! Look in your house, on the street, in a bar or restaurant, at school, the gym, your workplace. Everywhere you go you see hundreds of different products that could potentially be good sellers on eBay.
But I understand that this is not an easy task for everyone. In fact, after working with more than 300 clients in my personal eBay coaching program, I realise that MOST people can’t even come up with just a few ideas for products they can sell
No problem! There are other, more systematic and mechanical ways to look for product ideas, such as:
Pick any lifestyle, tech, hobby or how-to magazine from your local newsstand and you’ll find plenty of product ideas inside. Pay close attention to the ads you see as many popular, hot products will be advertised there. If you have an Amazon Kindle or iPad with Kindle application, you can get many such magazines for free with trial subscriptions so it won’t cost you anything.
The best magazines are the ones that concentrate on specific niches, like hobbies or cooking or crafts and so on as they will have info on hundreds of little known, niche-based products. But even popular hi-fi or gadget magazines can be good for this task, especially if you’re into electronics and want to find out about the latest hot products.
- Amazon best-seller list
A super easy way to find thousands of potentially good sellers! On Amazon, you can narrow down categories and sub-categories and in each see the best-selling items, which are updated in real time.
These items will most likely also be popular on eBay but as I said – don’t over-think the products at this stage. Just get them written down.
- Alibaba product categories
Did you know that on Alibaba.com there are SEVERAL THOUSAND product categories and sub-categories, each carrying hundreds and thousands of different products… just by browsing these you’ll find plenty of product ideas.
This is one of my favourite ways to find products to sell on eBay as Alibaba categories are structured in such a way that you’ll easily find suppliers there too, something we’ll cover in detail later on in this post.
- Best-seller lists from Ali Express and other similar Chinese websites
While on Amazon many items in the bestseller lists will be branded products, on sites like Ali Express, all top selling items will be un-branded. This means that they’ll be suitable for importing from China by default.
And do not stick with Ali Express alone, here are some other, highly popular Chinese retail websites you can use for this task:
This is a QUICK & EASY way to get hundreds of product ideas, do not skip it!
- Top gift lists
Every year around Xmas, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day etc. various online sites publish top gift lists. These are good indicators of trendy, new & hot products that will most likely be in high demand on eBay.
These are all good, very easy to use and FREE ways to find products for your list.
If you have more time on your hands and are generally more adventurous, my absolute BEST way to find products to sell on eBay is attending TRADE SHOWS!
Yes, same old boring trade shows, right? There seems to be a common misconception that these shows are just for industry professionals, which is not the case at all! Almost all trade shows are open to the general public and most of them are even free to attend!
If you stick with large, reputable trade shows, you won’t be disappointed, trust me. In one place you can meet/see hundreds of suppliers/distributors/manufacturers offering thousands of products!
And as most people are lazy (by nature), if you take this extra step and go to these trade shows, chances are that you’ll be amongst the first people to see these products.
You can read more about trade shows in a separate guide I wrote here.
Lastly, and while this may sound a bit too extreme for some, attending some of China’s largest trade shows may even be an option, especially if you can combine it with a holiday!
Ok, these are all “manual” product brainstorming methods and work great as long as you have at least a small bit of creativity trapped inside your head. But what if you can’t come up with many products this way? Is there a more automated way of getting this task done?
Luckily for you, there is!
Product brainstorming on STEROIDS!
Let me introduce to you Terapeak.com – the world’s best, most advanced eBay research software. I will be using Terapeak throughout this post to show you some of the various features it has and how you can copy exactly what I do to find those profitable products to sell on eBay.
However I won’t cover the basics of how Terapeak works, as I’ve created various Terapeak tutorials for that here.
For the product brainstorming stage, we’ll use Terapeak’s HOT RESEARCH function.
You can easily access it from the main menu by clicking on Research > Hot Research:
There are 5 ways you can use Hot Research on Terapeak:
1) Hot Categories – this view shows the most popular categories and sub-categories based on their sell-through rate. Very handy if you’re not only looking for a few products to sell on eBay but rather to start a niche based business where you concentrate on one specific product category.
2) Hot Media. If you want to sell media items such as DVDs, Blu-rays, video games, audio CDs or books, this is a MUST HAVE function! It will show you the current best-selling media items on eBay with sell-through numbers (which are very important when dealing with media items).
This function can also be used if you start your eBay business following my Used Goods concept.
3) Popular Keyword Searches – this is similar to eBay Pulse (discontinued) where you can clearly and easily see what keyword phrases are most popular on eBay.
4) Best Selling products – this is my FAVOURITE Terapeak function!
What you can do here is amazing – you can sort products by:
- Sell-through rate
- Average price
- Items sold
So if you set sell-through from high to low and items sold from high to low, you can easily identify hundreds of products that have a super high sell-through rate and are selling in large quantities on eBay. While the minimum sell-through rate I recommend is 50%, using this function you can EASILY find tons of products with a sell-through rate of 70%, 80% and even 90%+! AMAZING!
5) Best Selling Titles – this is somewhat similar to the best-selling products function but even better! In this view you can see the EXACT listings which generate the most sales, the best sell-through rate, the highest average price or bids. You can sort the data by any of these filters to see the results how you want.
I hope you can see how great Terapeak is and how easy the product research process becomes when you have it. I’ll also be using Terapeak in later research stages so I highly recommend you get an account.
There’s a FREE 7 day trial available so there are NO EXCUSES to not sign-up! I’m sure you’ll love it so much that even after the trial ends you’ll want to keep it for a month or two at a minimum, while you do a full product research cycle.
Ok, after finishing this step, you should have at least 20-30 product ideas (ideally more) written down.
The more the better really!
The number of potential products you end up with on your list shows how dedicated and serious you are. Lazy people will quickly gather the minimum needed (20) and move onto the next step while people who are really hard working and want the absolute best results will come up with 100+ ideas. I really hope the majority of you are in the second group.
Remember – on this first stage you just gather product ideas! NO NEED to think about how good or bad they are! Just come up with as many as you can and write them down so you don’t forget any.
To keep organised, use a spreadsheet in Google Drive or Excel and write your product ideas down in one column. I have even created a sample template for you which you can download by clicking on the image below:
This spreadsheet also has additional fields for data which we’ll gather in the next step….
Step 2 – Market data
When you have compiled your potential product list, it’s time to get some numbers behind them!
I wish I could tell you something else but in reality, Terapeak is the only tool that can give you such data on demand. You could of course try to manually count sold items, listings etc. via eBay’s advanced search but it will take you days if not weeks.
Why do all that work and get inaccurate results when you can simply use Terapeak to get the same job done with the click of a button? Exactly! Work smart and not hard!
What is Terapeak and how does it work?
Terapeak.com is an online based software which means that you don’t have to download anything on your computer, deal with software compatibility, updates etc. All of that is taken care of for you and you can access your online account from anywhere in the world, including smartphones and tablets.
Terapeak is a subscription based service with a monthly fee. The good news is that you don’t have to commit to any long term contracts – you can use it for as long or as little as you need. PLUS there’s also a FREE 7 day trial available which allows you to check it all out before you make any payments.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to get a Terapeak account. Without it, you’ll simply be guessing about whether or not a product has real potential. Do you really want to GAMBLE on the basis of your business? I didn’t think so.
Ok, once you login to your Terapeak account, you basically want to use the main Product Research function (located in the Research tab from the top/main menu) and research EVERY product you have on your list. Type the product name and hit that Go button.
After a few seconds of data processing, a screen with various blocks will come up, like this:
The first thing you want to do is:
1) Narrow down the category to the most suitable one for this particular product to ensure you get as accurate results as possible.
2) Use the NEW only filter to show results from listings for new products only. Why do this? To filter out all listings related to used goods as those will alter your results.
Terapeak allows us to select what period of time data is collected from. From just 1 day to the past 90 days + custom data ranges which can go beyond that point – up to 1 year.
I personally have always used the 30 day term (one month) as for me it’s easier to calculate everything based on that. So all figures in this post are based on 30 day research data. That doesn’t mean you can’t use other settings, you can – just make sure to adjust your calculations accordingly.
From all the blocks of data that Terapeak shows us, at this stage we’re just interested in one – General Stats:
And more specifically these are the numbers we’re looking at:
1) Sell-through rate.
This number shows what percentage of total listings ended with at least 1 sale. If it’s a GTC listing, it needs just one sale in the last 30 days to count towards this indicator.
The sell-through rate is in my opinion one of the most important numbers for indicating a potentially good niche. As a general rule of thumb, anything above 50% is considered good at this point though ideally it would be 60%+.
If you see a product with a sell-through rate of 80%+, that’s a good sign you have found a product with great demand.
While there are always exceptions, I wouldn’t really consider a niche if the sell-through rate is 40% or less.
But remember, at this stage we’re only gathering data. Just get the sell-through rate for all items on your list and write it down in your spreadsheet.
2) Sellers per day.
This shows how many different sellers are competing for any given keyword/product. This number is very approximate and doesn’t really tell us much about how good a product is but still; add it to your spreadsheet so it can be used for further evaluation in the next step.
3) Total Sales.
This shows the total amount of sales generated over the last 30 days for a particular item. So in essence this shows us how big the market is.
4) Average price.
While in theory this should give you a good idea on what your selling price should be, in reality it’s wildly inaccurate. This number takes data from ALL listings – good and bad, correctly priced and over-priced, and just shows the average. In the next step I’ll show you how to get the REAL price for a product you plan to sell.
So all in all you’ll end up with 4 numbers for each product idea:
1) Sell-through rate (%)
2) Sellers per day (number)
3) Total Sales (£/$)
4) Average price (£/$)
But as you can see in my example spreadsheet template, I have added a fifth column called – Target Price. What is target price? This is the actual price you plan to sell your item for. Not the average, lowest, or highest but your target price.
Terapeak won’t give you this. You get your target price by doing a manual search on eBay and checking out the first page of results. This is where you’ll find your target price.
What you do is look at good looking listings from TRSs that are on page one for the same product and write down the average price you see there.
The logic behind this is very simple – the first page is where you eventually want to end up and those are the actual going prices on eBay for this item. But don’t just look at the first listing in your search! Quite often there you’ll see some underpriced stuff being sold by major sellers. You want to check out the whole first page and take into account all listings to come up with a target price.
Use common sense. Think for a minute about how you could make your listings look better, maybe offer some added value or a bonus so you can charge one of the highest prices on the first page.
Don’t forget that the quality of products can vary greatly. The same item can be selling for different prices because of a difference in quality. Materials used, warranty, style etc. all are factors in the price. But even if you only get an approximate target price, that’s good enough for this research stage.
Lastly, there’s a 6th number in my spreadsheet – Sales per seller.
Sales per seller will be automatically calculated for you if you use my spreadsheet but just so you know how it works – this number is created by taking the total sales for the product for the last 30 days and DIVIDING it by the number of sellers.
So the formula looks like this:
Total Sales / Sellers per Day
For example – if the product you’re researching has total sales of £100k over the last 30 days and there are 50 sellers per day, sales per seller comes to £2k.
£100k (total sales) divided by 50 (sellers per day) = £2k (sales per seller)
I came up with this added data point as a great way to properly gauge the overall competition for any given product. In step 3 you’ll learn how to implement this number correctly but for now – just so you know – the more sales/money per seller you get, the better.
To sum it up – after Step 2 you’ll end up with a long list of product ideas with 6 numbers researched for each:
1) Sell through rate (%)
2) Sellers per day (number)
3) Total Sales (£/$)
4) Average price (£/$)
5) Target Price (£/$)
6) Sales per seller (£/$)
So far so good!
While Terapeak is a very easy to use tool, there are some nuances you have to be aware of to get as accurate results as possible. Here are the most important ones:
You have to understand that Terapeak isn’t run by eBay – they’re partners, yes, but this service is not owned/run by eBay. Terapeak bases most of the results on LISTING TITLES. This means that if you search for a product “dog name tag”, Terapeak will show results and data from ALL listings having “dog name tag” in listing title.
In 99% of cases this works very well AS LONG as you use the correct keyword (product name)!!!
One of the most typical mistakes newbies make is to search using overly long keyword phrases, like “metal id tag for big dogs”.
This is far too specific a search phrase and you won’t get accurate results. What you want to do is search for the product name – generic phrase, like “dog name tag” or maybe even “dog tag”.
This search phrase will cover ALL listings selling “dog tags” as any listing selling this product will have “dog tag” in the listing title, right?
So rule no.1 – don’t be too specific with your search phrases!
Another classic mistake people make is using singular and plural forms incorrectly.
For example – if you research men’s socks, you’ll want to search for “mens socks”, right? YES! As customers would also search for “mens socks” on eBay and NOT “mens sock”.
On the other hand, with the same dog tag example – most likely people will search for “dog tag” as they need just one piece. So in this case you would use the singular form.
You just have to remember that you want to use the same form that most of your potential customers would use. If they usually buy just one product, it will be singular form, if multiple – plural.
To be 100% sure you’re getting correct results, you can do a Terapeak search for both versions and see whether the results differ much. If they do, go with the phrase that has the highest Total Sales number as that version will be the one most sellers use.
There are many filters available in Terapeak BUT I recommend just sticking to the NEW item filter, to get rid of listings for used products. Don’t touch any other filter like seller country or listing type, as that will affect the results and mess up our next step.
Apart from using the NEW items only filter, I also recommend narrowing down your research to the most suitable category BUT you have to be careful when doing this as some products are listed in many different categories (multi-purpose products) and if you narrow down too much, again, you’ll get inaccurate results.
iPhone 6 case – this is a very simple & straightforward example – you’ll narrow down your search results to:
Mobile Phones & Communication > Mobile Phone & PDA Accessories > Cases & Covers
Brown leather – this one is far trickier as the phrase “brown leather” will be used in many different product titles. So if you want to sell plain “brown leather” as a material, you’ll narrow down your search to the most suitable category (probably in Craft sub-categories or something similar)
Obviously each and every situation is different – it could be a multi-purpose product but you know exactly which version, for which market, you want to sell. Then just use that category and narrow down the results so you get data for YOUR potential market and competition.
Ok, once you have Terapeak data for all the products on your list, it’s time to separate the good from the bad using my own Filter system!
Step 3 – Filters
This step is more time consuming but it’s CRUCIAL to get this part done! The more accurate your research here, the easier the last step will be.
The very first technical filters you want to use are:
1) Sell-through rate.
Delete any products with less than a 50% sell-through rate UNLESS total sales are large with very few competing sellers (a rare occurrence).
For example you see that the sell-through rate is only 45% but total sales is £25k for the last month with only 6 competing sellers. This could indicate that there’s maybe one or two good sellers doing a great job milking the market and others are amateurs who can’t properly sell their items.
These situations will be rare BUT they can happen.
2) Total Sales.
This will obviously depend on your buying power and future plans. But in general, if the total sales for a product is less than £10k per month, it’s not even worth looking into it any further UNLESS there are very few sellers and a sell-through rate of close to 100%. In such cases you could still consider selling this product as there is very little competition.
For example – there could be a product with total sales of just £7k for the last month BUT with just 2 competing sellers and a 100% sell-through rate. This clearly indicates that while the overall market is small, the competition is very small as well. So if you have a small starting budget to invest in stock, this could be a good product for you.
But in most cases, you’ll simply delete any products on your list with total sales less than £10k per month as they will be very small niches with small demand and limited future growth potential.
3) Sales per seller.
If you use my spreadsheet, this number will be calculated for you automatically. If not simply divide Total Sales by number of sellers per day (you have both numbers from Terapeak).
Anything below £500 per seller is no good and ideally you should look for products with at least £1k in sales for each seller over the last 30 days.
If there are products with £2k+ per seller per month, these are very strong picks and potentially ones you’ll want to concentrate on in further research.
4) Sellers per day.
Most people reading this post won’t have tens of thousands to invest in stock and for that reason, you want to stay away from very competitive niches. This almost always means eliminating products that have 100+ competing sellers per day.
More sellers means more listings in search results for you to compete against so ideally look for products with the smallest amount of competition possible.
After doing these simple mathematical evaluations, you’ll lose a large portion of your product ideas and that’s totally fine. That’s the goal here – to find the absolute BEST products to sell on eBay! Products that are almost guaranteed to sell and make money for you.
The next step (a MAJOR one) is to evaluate your buying power and find how suitable each of the items you researched are for you personally. While there are no exact formulas to share with you here, in most cases you’ll want to multiply the product’s price by at least 100.
For example, the product you’ve researched is car covers and the TARGET PRICE for them is £20. You would multiply that by 100 to find out the approximate buying power that would be needed to purchase this item. So in this case £20 x 100 = £2000
Why x100 and why target price?
Again, this is an estimate but with most items, the minimum order quantity (MOQ) if you want to order from manufacturers directly in China will be 100. For cheaper items this number can be as high as 500 or even 1000 and with more expensive items – just 10. But we use 100 to get an approximate estimate.
And the reason we use the target price is to essentially have a worst-case scenario once shipping costs and taxes to bring the product from China to the UK (or any other country) are included.
But please use your common sense here and don’t filter out all ideas that exceed your buying power. It could be that you can find a good trading company with low MOQs and decent prices and still be able to sell this item.
The purpose of this step is only to filter out items that are completely unviable for your buying power. For example, you have tablet PCs on your list that sell for £100 but your buying power is just £500. In cases like these, you can forget about selling such products as your buying power only lets you buy a max of 5 such tablets. That’s not wholesale and you’ll never be able to compete in this market.
For very cheap items on the other hand your situation could be much better than you expect. For example, you research some temporary body tattoos that sell for £1.99
As it’s a cheap product, you would multiply that by 1000 to get an estimated required buying power of £2k..
But it could actually be less as cheap products selling for just a few quid on eBay are often sourced from China for 10-50p. So it could be that you can still buy 1000 pieces but for just a few hundred pounds.
Again, common sense is your best friend here – if you find a good product, but you can’t calculate your buying power properly, get in touch with a few suppliers to find the REAL price and minimum order quantity for this item in China (we’ll talk more about this later on).
The last set of filters are not number driven. These are all subjective filters you use to find whether these items are really suitable for you:
- Storage space. Evaluate your available storage space and whether it’s suitable for the goods you plan to sell. If you don’t have a spare room in your house, you’ll want to stick with small items only. If you’re ready to take some risk and rent out a self-storage space, you can of course consider bulkier items.
- Seasonality. There’s nothing wrong with seasonal items but still, they do carry more negatives compared to products that sell well all year round. With seasonal items you always have the risk of having a large amount of unsold stock left over when the season ends. Also, make sure for such items that you do more extensive research using Terapeak and go back 90 days+ to see exactly how big the market and competition is.
I usually recommend staying away from heavily season-based items (like Christmas trees for example).
If you suspect that a product you’ve researched is seasonal, simply use Terapeak and get our 6 numbers (total sales, sell through rate etc.) for the LAST 12 months, month by month.
So you get results for:
- And so on!
Then you can easily see how much fluctuation there is in the monthly sales, depending on the time of the year.
- Brand domination. Stay away from items that are heavily dominated by well known brand names. You won’t be able to import them from China (unless you want to deal with FAKES!!!)
For example – baby movement monitors – it’s a product that (as the name suggests) monitors a baby’s movement and tries to detect when a baby stops breathing. Parents, when buying an item like this, won’t even look at cheap Chinese models as they want to be 100% sure the product will work perfectly and will therefore only trust well known brands.
Or high end electronics like TVs, smart watches – people are looking for well known BRANDS when purchasing a product like this. Sure, there will be a small % who will go for unbranded/Chinese versions but they will be the minority.
Filter out any such products from your list.
- Offline availability. The more difficult it is to buy an item locally, in a B&M shop, the higher online potential it will carry.
For example – when a person needs one pack of A4 sized printing paper for home use, he will just buy it from a local office stationary store or even a supermarket. On the other hand, if a person needs water decal paper, which can’t easily be bought locally, internet/eBay comes into play as the favourite place to order such items.
Sure, if an item sells like crazy on eBay, this won’t matter that much! But what I have found is that items that are easily available offline carry very small margins and, generally, are not worth dealing with.
So with that in mind, try to stay away from products that can easily be bought offline from major retailers and supermarkets.
- Google Trends. Check Google Trends to see whether the product is increasing or decreasing in popularity.
A good example would be: “Standing Desk” – as you can see, this product shows steady increase in popularity over last few years:
A bad example with decreasing popularity: “kindle light” – this was a huge product online a couple of years back, but now that Amazon sell a backlit Kindle you can see a clear drop in search volume.
You can of course still sell products which are decreasing in popularity but you just have to be aware of the fact that the same number of sales may not be there in a year or two. So not ideal for long term planning or if you intend to expand into product-related niches later on.
- Knowledge. Ideally you should have some basic understanding of what the product is, how it works etc. This will help you greatly when writing product descriptions and dealing with customer support requests.
It’s not like you have to be an expert to sell an ordinary item, not at all. You can always read up on a product and within a few hours have a basic understanding of the most important points.
What this step should do though is filter out items that are really complex and require a much deeper knowledge. For example, it wouldn’t be a wise idea to sell electronic components if you have no understanding of electronics whatsoever.
Just write down some quick comments in this field so later on you can possibly use it to choose between some different products that have passed all the other stages.
When you finish this rather time consuming task, you’ll end up with a small list of items with the best market potential that are most suitable for your buying power. When you do, you can move on to the last step which is….
Step 4 – Suppliers
Yes, the last step of this process is to actually get prices from suppliers, see if your buying power is really suitable and most importantly, find out your potential profit for that product.
Here’s a simplified step by step action plan:
1) Go to Alibaba.com and search for your product.
2) Find the best suppliers using these filters.
3) Contact them – get prices and terms and then negotiate the best possible deal.
4) Put together a virtual order and get a shipping quote from Woodland Global.
5) Put all costs in the Excel spreadsheet and calculate potential profits.
When you do your calculations, don’t forget about VAT and import duty. You can read more about this in my importing from China guide.
After doing this, you’ll end up with the product’s COST price. This is the total price you’ll pay to import the product and get it shipped to your address.
Then you have to find out how much postage will cost plus add eBay/PayPal fees and you’ll instantly see the profit potential for this product.
Remember, you have already established a target price and if you can’t match it with all costs and your target profit taken into account, then that product is not suitable for you (most likely because of your buying power or that there are too many competitors).
Ideally you want to look for items with a ROI of at least 20-30%. But again, this will vary greatly based on the product’s price as with higher priced goods, margins will be smaller.
Here you have it – a step by step guide on how to find profitable products to sell on eBay! No more excuses and no more lame questions on “what to sell on eBay?” No one will tell you that! So get yourself a Terapeak subscription and start WORKING on this now!
In my opinion Terapeak is really a godsend for any serious eBay seller – I use it all the time to research new products, spy on competition and write keyword rich listing titles. You really can’t live without it in 2016 as most of your competitors are using it! If you don’t, you simply put yourself at a huge disadvantage right from the beginning.
Remember, there’s a 7 day free trial available and no long term contracts in place – simply sign up and use it for as long as you need!
This is a simplified guide but I have tried to cover the most important things you have to keep in mind when looking for new products to sell on eBay.
There are of course MANY other vital factors you need to learn about in terms of product sourcing, rebranding, selling etc. etc.
For that reason I highly recommend you check out my creation – the UK’s no.1 eBay course – Easy Auction Business
It’s a complete, 15 hour+, step by step VIDEO COURSE that will teach you how to find the best products to sell on eBay AND Amazon, how to source them properly & safely, how to create your OWN brand and put it on your products, how to take amazing product pictures, how to get top rankings in eBay’s search results and much much more.
PLUS you get some amazing bonuses with the course, such as FREE membership to the exclusive EAB forum, access to more than 1,000 pro eBay templates, and a 1 hour chat session with ME! Yes, you get 60 minutes of one on one time with me to help you with any questions you may have.
I truly believe that Terapeak and Easy Auction Business are the two best investments you’ll EVER make in your business.
As always – if you have any questions, please post them below this article in the comments section and I’ll do my best to help! 🙂
Click Here to Leave a Comment
I am now using Terapeak to research for good items to sell in eBay as you shared here. But I found that there are Product Research & Product Research 2.0 in Terapeak now. I tried the same keyword and seen to give different results and data. The sell through rate is completely different. Which one should we use now?
The method you shared here is based on Product Research. If we have to switch to Product Research 2.0, can you share more on how to make use of 2.0 to get good items to sell?
Thanks & regards,
Thanks for your comment.
Please take a look at this article:
Just want to say what a great blog and great advice from you
I am starting buying and selling but the only thing stopping me is that when i find a good item to sell from my research on e-bay i then go to DH gate or alibaba and then i paste the item on them and it don’t appear as they don’t sell these items hope you can help and point me in the right direction as to how i can buy the same hot item from thats going hot on e-bay regards mark
Thanks for your comment.
99% of un-branded goods sold on eBay, Amazon and other places are manufactured in China and you will find them on Alibaba.com
Maybe you’re using wrong keywords to find them?
OR maybe you’re looking for branded goods?
Branded goods you can’t source from China, forget about it – you’ll either get fakes or get scammed.
China is only good for un-branded/your own brand goods.
I’ve followed you on and off through the wholesale forums and now your own website and i have one question really and i hope it can be answered honestly.
I don’t sell on Ebay anymore and wish to get my own site started and have an idea on how to drive traffic through directory listings, adwords, free advertising and so on.
My main gripe i think is i don’t think people should be encouraged to sell anymore on Ebay, can you honestly answer and say it’s easy to get any decent profit anymore when your suppliers are trading on ebay, wholesalers and Chinese wholesalers and even the UK wholesalers of your own items.
Let me expand, i know you always say to ignore them, but look at the mentality of the buyer, it’s a cheap item, and if they get tired of waiting they can open a case and most of the time ebay will close in favor of the buyer as there is no tracking on these low value items.
Then comes the new seller, trying to sell at a realistic price for profit and he can’t make sales because buyer expectations say he’s too expensive when you can get someone else i.e. chinese or chinese wholesaler with a uk warehouse to sell the same item much cheaper.
Then there’s Ebay’s hikes on shop prices, final value fees, these people have access to the items at the lowest possible prices and just about every niche coming out, so you try to be creative except bam, chinese wholesaler again, or chinese wholesaler with a UK warehouse.
Wouldn’t it be better to actually get someone to make your own items rather than competing on mass made things that anyone can get a hold of?
Thanks for your comment.
I personally don’t sell on eBay anymore – please watch the FREE Amazon video I have on this blog (get it via the opt-in form at the top of this page) and there I explain my take on all this situation.
Your blog is really really helpful and I know because I am googling lots lately to educate myself in dropshipping.
My question is : I live in Canada and wondering if I can buy from Aliexpress then get supplier to dropship to the US market too. Is that possible or I am restrict only to the Canada market. Also would not it takes a long time to dropship from China to say US and the buyers would find out it does not come from Canada but China.
Awaiting your reply and thanking you in advance.
Thanks for your comment.
Yes, of course you can dropship from Aliexpress to the USA or any other country in the World you want!
And yes, it will be a long delivery time between 2-4 weeks, which in my opinion makes this whole concept very risky.
My thoughts on dropshipping you’ll find here:
Hi Andrew! Such a great blog filled with quality information to be read! One thing that i am unsure of is that does the products that we are selling have to be of the same niche? Thanks!
Thanks for your comment.
Please read this post answering your question in detail:
Really great blog thank you!
I’ve just downloaded Terapeak and started to play around with it along with your spreadsheet (thank you). Few quick questions:
– the target price column – is this the price I’m trying to sell at to my customers or the target price I’d hope to be able to buy it from China etc?
– even if I find a niche product with a minimal amount of other sellers, if I’m not on page 1 of eBay will my product even get seen and be able to sell? If it’s unlikely then how do you get on the first page on eBay??
Thanks for your comment.
For this spreadsheet, target price is the BUYING target price, yes.
You want to get on page one for sure and this is the best/quickest way to get it done:
will the above research methodology work just as well for those looking to start a profitable dropshipping ebay business? I presume it is more or less the same aside from the storage costs?
Also, as the USA site clearly seems to be the most profitable, is it possible for a UK-based seller to sell and import items to the USA or does this complicate things legally?
I’m just in the initial planning stages of this at the moment so I have no knowledge of the legal/official side of operating an ebay business, just wondering if you might be able to help by advising me on the above?
Dropshipping on eBay/Amazon in the UK is almost impossible to make work due to lack of good dropshippers. I have explained it in more detail here:
Yes, it will. If you keep stock in the USA, you have to deal with sales tax, registering NEXUS in states you held stock, which is a rather complex issue.
If you’re new to all this, just stick with the local, UK market for now.
Gotcha. Thanks for the reply. I was hoping to dropship rather than hold my own stock as it requires less set-up costs and I was hoping for a side-earner that didn’t require a lot of initial monetary investment but I guess that was always going to be too good to be true.
I’ll have a look through the article. Thanks!
You really need to put effort into this if you want to make it work. There are so many people out there competing for same thing – only ones who put extra work into, gets rewarded.
I am trying to use your market research method, and thus just opened a terapeak account yesterday.
I am based in France, and therefore conducting research on terapeak for the French market: ebay.fr
Here this issue: Sales figures appear to be extremely low for any of the items I search. Way under your recommandation of minimum 10/15K per month (new items only)
Portefeuille cuir homme (Mens leather jacket): €2700 on .fr vs €125,000 on .co.uk
Laisse chien (Dog lead): €2,400 on .fr vs €264,000 on co.uk
Planche à découper (Cutting board) €700 on .fr vs €55,000 on co.uk
And so on…
As you can see, the differences are massive (sometimes over a hundred times more) and I cannot figure out why:
-Spelling of products is right (I am a French native speaker)
– I a using the same filters (new items only over 30 days)
-The UK and France have a similar population and buying power, I would presume that online sales would be roughly equivalent
I am currently trying you method to build an ebay business and working toward my TRS account, but with such low figures, I am wondering whether to bother at all.
I think it’s because eBay is simply not that popular in France + many people there shop on eBay.co.uk and eBay.com (in same way people in Ireland prefer to use eBay.co.uk instead of eBay.ie).
You could also try searching for same products on eBay.fr BUT in ENGLISH and see what comes up!
Thanks for the information. I registered two days ago and have done some research. But the information I found on the Terapeak is different from what I searched manually on the eBay’s website. The numbers on Terapeak seems to be too small. I used the same filter conditions: same condition: New, same time frame: from May 14 to June 12 and same category: pet supplies>small animal supplies>exercise & toys.
Take hamster mouse ladder/bridge for example. Let’s use keywords: hamster ladder. On terapeak, it shows
sell through rate: 60%
total sales: $17.69
sellers per day is 0.
But in my manual research, I found the sell through rate was 84% (64 completed and 54 sold). I just added up a few sales and the total sales were already larger than the Terapeak number. There were sales every day and there were certainly more than 1 seller everyday.
The same thing happened to other product researches as well. But if I clicked “Canada Only” button, the completed listings and sold listings all reduced to 0. But I already used eBay.ca, what’s the point of setting “Canada Only”? I’m selling on eBay.ca, not in Canada. On eBay.ca, there are sellers from all over the world and I’m going to compete with all of them, not only the sellers from Canada.
Can you help me getting that clear? Thank you.
Thanks for your comment.
This is because eBay shows way more listings in search results than Terapeak does.
Terapeak shows/uses data for all listings containing search phrase/keywords you have provided – in your example – hamster ladder.
eBay on the other hand will also show listings THEY THINK are related to product you are looking for. This will include listings with different keywords too or ones with partial keywords.
I did same search you did and for example eBay includes listing with a title like this:
Wooden House Villa Cage Exercise Toy Hamster Hedgehog Mouse Rat Guinea Pig New
This listing title only has word HAMSTER in the title, but not LADDER. Terapeak won’t show this listing.
What you can do to fix this situation is to use QUOTES when you do search on ebay, so in your example, search for “hamster ladder”.
This should show results for listings with both keywords included in the listing title.
Hope this helps Cathy! 🙂
Thanks a lot. The information is very useful!
You’re welcome Cathy! 🙂
Would it be possible for a beginner to ramp up to $100k net profit in a year if they were to start selling on eBay today? Not new to selling items online casually or understanding the concepts you explain but simply new to selling on eBay full time to make a living out of it. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on the opportunity as of today on eBay. Thank you!
Yes, with right products, knowledge, right amount of capital (it can’t be done if you start with just few thousand) it can be done, of course, why not! Happens all the time, especially on eBay.com (USA site).
Hi there Andy,
When you use terapeak do you narrow the website sold on bit down to ebay.co.uk or leave it blank?
Yes, of course – I narrow it down to the website which I plan to sell on – in most cases that will be eBay.co.uk
You’ll get different results on various eBay sites, so don’t leave it blank.
Invaluable advice here.
Just a quick question regarding the initial brainstorming. I have found a product where the keywords for the plural and singular have a similar total sales,but other numbers differ(I’m not sure how significantly). For example lets say it is “dog tags” vs “dog tag”
The “dog tag” has 60% sell through, and 58 Sellers per day and 931 sales per seller
The “dog tags” has 53% sell through, 49 sellers per day and 1200 sales per seller.
Which keyword’s results should I use as a benchmark, because I have narrowed down the category already to the right sub-category.
Thanks in advance
They both are very close to each other Simon so you can use both.
Usually I go with one that shows most Total Sales as that will probably cover larger proportion of listings.
Andrew have only just started to use terapeak, but looking through the videos on youtube, it has been changed significantly. Will this change the effectiveness of it and will you be doing an updated article.
Personally I think it’s a bit academic because you can’t use anything else, also you can still find the top seller’s names if you need to.
I think you’re mixing up something here – the screen shots used in this article are from the latest/current Terapeak version.
There are some minor changes but nothing that changes effectiveness of material covered here.
Hi Andrew!! Great blog! I do have one quick question though. I decided to get a free trial membership with Terapeak. I played around with it for a while, and the main function (sell through rate) seems to be missing from research option completely. Im guessing that you have to get a membership in order to enjoy the data you are talking about?
And anybody else that might have gotten confused!!
I take back my comment entirely.
There seems to be an additional option (research 2.0) that is now live.
That is what i have been using, and it doesnt give you the full spectrum of information. Regular “research” function works just as described!
Good stuff! 🙂
Thanks for this information, I spent weeks just studying your blogs prior to starting my Terapeak trial. So, struggling to find that item to kick start a business. As my buying power is not huge to start with and I dont want to take risks with my first China imports, I am crossing off those items with 100+ sellers per day as you suggest.
The best I have found (in my opinion) is an item with a sell through rate of around 80% and total sales in 30 days amounts to 39K. However sales per seller falls below your recommendation of 1k (it’s around £700). Sellers per day is 51. Would you disregard such an item? I guess this is the difficult part, as surely in 2017 most niches are going to have competition. This item would be fairly small, light so seems a good pick for a first order. I guess I would have more confidence if it ticked every box. But would I be able to compete with such an item given that there are already people selling lots who have all the power seller status etc and I don’t?
Found other items at 90%+ sell through rate but sales per seller down at £300 or so. So basically the difficulty seems to be finding an item with under 100 competing sellers per day and the sales per seller over £1k. Gone through hundreds of items so far.
I can see that it can be done, but it seems that in every niche there are already people “set up” whom it would be very difficult to compete with. I am going to stick with it, I mean I would be happy to start very small even making say £50 a month and build from there.
Something I have done for years (not related to the above) is buy things here in the UK to sell on Ebay. Obviously these items are not always available but occasionally you can get real bargains in store and then sell on Ebay for a profit. The actual ROI can be much higher with such items, but the downside is that the item is not always available to buy at such a cheap price (and you have to have pre-knowledge of what you could sell it for). An example of recent is a kids toy, which I bought in a Supermarket for £6, which sold for £20 + postage on Ebay.
Any advice is appreciated.
Thanks for your comment.
These numbers/figures I give – these are only guidelines! You don’t have to stick to them 100%!
You always make final decision by checking manually eBay first page search results, see if you can compete with current offers, is there a profit to be made etc.
£700 per seller is not a deal breaker really. If you see that you can source the product cheap enough and make money selling it, it’s not a problem.
I would rather pick an item with smaller competition (less sellers per day), than to worry about the sales per seller number.
“source the product cheap enough and make money selling it..”
I’m thinking of jumping into the fire, but before that I was just wondering, if someone here wanted to share a quality, legit and reliable source so the same can jump-start first sales. Thank you.
if main Alibaba.com website seems too risky for you, you can start with AliExpress.com or DHGate.com
On these websites you can pay with a credit card and get buyer protection too.
This is such a great blog post! Thank you. I have a quick question if you have the time – do I need insurance? If, for example, I sell baby products. What would be your advice?
Please take a look at this article:
Does your program applicable to Asian countries?
Yes, my EAB course works Worldwide.
Thank you for your article!
I’ve signed up with the Terapeak and downloaded your Excel spread sheet. I only have one issue:
After using the search on Terapeak the sell through rate always shows up as 100%. Hope you can help, thanks.
Make sure you don’t use Seller country filter.
That should fix the problem.
I have run very successful EBAY sales ventures on a few occasions while living away from home for work and having nothing to do in the evenings. These plus the income from the business consultancy work I do means I can work 4 months a year and have 8 at home doing nothing but enjoying the family. I did roughly calculate that if I did the EBAY work 40 hrs a week full time I would be making north of £200,000 per year in profits so I think I am qualified to comment on your article.
Basically its good stuff but you miss out a key issue that I think is critical to successful operation. This is handling and logistics. People need to consider how they will receive, store, pack and ship items and the handling costs associated with such. Also if storage is limited then there is always an opportunity cost to be considered as whatever is held will prevent other stuff being stored too. So the questions I ask myself when deciding what to range include:
1. How will the stock arrive? Do I need to take time off to wait in or to go to a depot or customs warehouse to collect or can it be delivered in my absence. When considering the full cost of sales for an item I allow for the costs to me in time and expense involved in this.
2. How will I store the stock? As I have always had limited storage space I have to look at stock value/projected margin per unit volume of storage space and factor this into my item selection. For instance 6 new washing machines may only cost me £120 each and have 100% margin potential and a likely turnover of 2 per week but they would completely fill my available storage. As such if I took them my maximum profit per week, for the 8 hrs or so I would work, would be £240. If I filled some of the same space with high end sextoys and clothing (I have made a great deal out of such) I can store potentially hundreds of units that though only on a 50% margin will generate maybe £800 in profit in the same week. Basically making best use of a scarce resource.
3. “Handling time” is also a scarce resource and has to be considered in ranging. I originally sold racing bike parts including wheels but it could take half an hour or more to wrap and tape up a wheel as it would not go in easily available packaging. Each wheel did make a good margin but if I looked at what I could make in the half hour I could do much better popping sextoys and lingerie etc into Jiffy bags for posting. The other part of handling time is shipping. Whether taking the items to a Post Office or waiting in for a courier, its all time and time has value and is limited. Items I could drop into pillar boxes had the lowest cost here and those that required a courier collection the highest. Factoring in processing time and shipping time against income per unit sold is vital or people will be busy fools spending an age to earn pennies.
4. This one is at odds with some of the above but balancing it and them helps get a good business operation. The issue is packaging and shipping costs. These costs are not linked to the value or size and weight of items in a linear way. The cost of wrapping and sending an item is not twice the cost of sending one half the size/weight and there is no relation between value and shipping costs. So selling lots of small/cheap items will incur a lot more expense than selling a small number of larger (higher margin) items. Some may think this is irrelevant as surely the buyer pays postage so its not a factor? This is wrong. Increasingly EBAY tries to make the seller offer free shipping so the cost has to be built into the selling price. If I sell a tennis ball worth £1 I have to quadruple the cost to the seller to cover the £3 postage or more likely build in £2.50 for shipping and take a hit on the margin! If I sell a real leather and cork cricket ball for £25 the postage is still only £3 and I can over recover this from the buyer easily.
Bottom line is that you cant just say margin per item*sales volume is the only factor in deciding what to range.
Thanks for your comment – great to hear you’re doing so well on eBay, well done! 😉
This is just an overview article, quick guide – I have more than 300+ articles on my blog that covers
issues you mention + many more in greater detail:
Hi I have just read this article and found it very useful. but my main problem is where do I buy from in order to sell the items?
With most items (un-branded or your own brand items) you want to buy them from China so Alibaba.com is a great place to start your research for suppliers.
Please check out my other guides about Alibaba, importing from China before you do anything though as there are many things you need to be aware of:
Hope this helps!
Do all products in your niche have to be at least £500+ average sales
im finding this quite hard, as i found 3 products in a niche with over £500 average sales, but the rest are under £500
but total sales added all up come over £50k is that ok
No, not all products need to qualify.
That’s why we do this research to find best products and sell those, with most potential.
Hi Andrew, I have 255 Positive Feedback, I want to start selling £25 – £50 Profit margins. What Product will be the best to start with.
That’s why I put together this post – so that you can start working on proper research and find those products.
No one will give them on plate, just like that.
I would like to know if you can make money with only a small budget for example £25.
This would be very helpful for me.
Yes, you can. Check out this guide:
Hi – good article however why China, why not use drop shipping and then no need for a large outgoing before you can sell if you have a small budget.
There are many problems with dropshipping concept, some of them I have covered in this post:
Great post,Andrew! May I know if your “Easy Auction Business” program is good for USA sellers as well? I want to make sure of your program is solely for UK sellers OR Does it apply to other International Ebay sellers (e.g USA,Canada etc) as well? I would eagerly wait for your response.Thanks!
Thanks for your comment.
Yes, absolutely! EAB course works in the USA, just like in UK, Canada, Australia and many other countries around the World.
I have hundreds of customers based in the US.
I am from India, would like to start ebay store.
Could I research using Terapeak in India. I mean, ebay.in included in terapeak or not.
Thanks for your Guidance
No, eBay.in is not included in Terapeak.
Hi Does you EAB videos come with transcripts that I can read as well as the video. Thanks
Yes, all videos can be downloaded as PDF transcripts too 🙂
Do you recommend anything other than Terapeak ? Their reviews are horrible on the web.
There are no real alternatives to Terapeak.
I really don’t know where those horrible reviews are coming from as I and thousands of my customers have been using Terapeak for many years now and don’t have any problem with it.
great tutorial how much is EAB please ?
EAB course costs £67. That’s a one time fee for lifetime access, including all bonuses.
I have read about your EBay guide, I am very interested in purchasing this, how do I do this, also what’s the cost of this? once I know this I will purchase your guide, looking forward to reading some tips from an expert. Also I have never sold on eBay do you think that I could be successful trading on eBay, if so what products would you recommend selling to start with, thanks.
I have replied to your support ticket and answered questions there.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your wisdom!
53% sell through
£2,054.31 SPS 30 days
Go for it or no go?
I’m feeling rather positive
Thanks again xxx
Numbers look good!
But you of course need to get more into the product, competition, supplier pricing etc. to see
if it’s a viable product or not.
This is a really helpful, clear and informative post, thank you.
I wonder if you could help me? I currently own a recruitment business along with my business partner (just the two of us) but quite frankly I’ve had enough of speaking with people all day long – it’s very stressful. Back office suits my personality a lot more than being client facing so an ebay business is very appealing to me. Anyway, I’d like t to sell my shares in January 2017 and should have approx. £50K to take away with me.
Of course I’ll follow all your steps and do my own research (I love research) but considering I’ll have £50K (some of which I’ll need to live on from month to month/mortgage etc), would you generally recommend buying higher-priced products with a high ROI or larger quantities of lower priced products?
Both my partner and I would like to start an Ebay business together as a full time business (taking it seriously) and it would therefore be our only source of income (bearing in mind I’ll have some money in the bank for back up). Is there any advice you have for me taking in to consideration my situation and plans?
Thank you for your help and time.
Thanks for your comment.
With a budget of £50k, you definitely want to look in items in £20+ price range. You will be able to buy such items in true bulk and make more money on each sale.
It totally depends on what you find of course, it could be even £100+ items. If you have storage space, you can also consider bulkier items, which usually attracts less competition.
If you haven’t done it already, make sure to get my EAB course which will teach you step by step on how to get started:
I’d like to start by thanking you for the invaluable information you provide in regards to eBay via your blog, products and services you offer. I have purchased the Easy Auction Business video course and found the information extremely helpful.
Could you please advise me on the best place to source products for a custom t-shirt business. I don’t sew or make clothes and would require this to be done for me. Was also thinking going the China route would not be practible due to the timing factor, in terms of receiving the custom orders, processing and having them delivered.
Thank you in advance for answering my question.
Thanks for your comment & EAB purchase.
Sorry, are you looking for companies that make custom t-shirts? Or looking for blank t-shirts you’ll print on? Or company that provides blank t-shirts and printing service?
Let me know.
Thanks for replying me. I just submitted a ticket in regards to this as I had to go in a little more detail.
Its ok. I’ve worked it out, just changed the settings. 🙂
Thanks for this advise and information.
When I select ebay.co,uk in the research feature it shows average price in US dollar, how do I get it to show prices in £?
You need to change currency in your account settings! 🙂
You omitted to mention that Terrapeak is USA based and only relevant to their markets AFAIK
No, not at all.
All these regional sites are covered:
This is amazing article. Actually what got me started!
I have managed to source products and even negotiate for lower moqs. But hopefully when I come to shipping large orders by sea, say by cnf to UK port… how when and where do i get a clearing agent ?? I think this is all I need to know!
Also I spoke to UK freight forwarder that said I needed to fill in a form on the inland revenue site…. Do I need to do this?
Thanks again! Hope for your reply!
If you use a freight forwarder, such as Woodland Global, you don’t have to worry about any of that stuff as they will do it all for you – clear goods through customs and deliver to your door.
Not sure what form they’re referring to, sorry.
Terapeak is a little expensive for me right now.Is there a free site to get this information?
No, I’m afraid there are no free tools that offer same or even similar functionality.
I signed up for the Terapeak free trail and used the program and , I’m not interested in keeping this program. How do you cancel the free trail, so the company will not charge my credit card. I tried to find this information on the website, but couldn’t find it. Thank you in advance for your assistance.
You can submit your support ticket here:
Thanks fot all the interesting information. Can you assist me with Terapeak? I just wanted to know if I should sign up for the SEO Pro or the Proffesional version. Also, what is the difference between the two? Thanks!
The PRO version is basically the standard one you would want to get to follow all my guides and do FULL eBay research.
The SEO add-on gives you additional functionality on coming up with listing titles, as covered in this guide:
Thanks a lot for sharing this blog with us. It’s really helpful and resourceful! I was always skeptical about starting my business on eBay as I wasn’t quite sure of what steps I needed to take. I would much appreciate if you could help me with a few more queries.
-Given the fact that Brexit has happened. Does this change the game of international trading deals, would it mean the VAT would be higher?
-Are there ways of automating the supply distributions to the customers from warehouses? Like is it worth the extent of effort in wrapping up and posting the items to e.g. 2000 customers buying the tattoos for 1.99? You sure will have a decent sell-through rate but there is a lot of commitment involved to post/dispatch the items. Or does the wholesale supplier pack the items so that they are already wrapped and ready to dispatch?
Would it be possible to branch out to Europe and/or potentially the USA. Or wouldn’t it be worth it because of the posting fees?
-What are your thoughts about branching out to Amazon? I heard a lot about Amazon being somewhat better than eBay, but how do they differ? I heard that the GUI (interface) of Amazon attracts more customers, therefore is it a good consideration to venture to Amazon?
Thanks for your comment.
I will try to answer your questions one by one:
1) Brexit – we don’t know how it will all work Matt. We haven’t even started official talks with EU, not talking about negotiating any Free Trade and good movements agreements. We just have to wait and see how the whole situation progresses.
2) If you sell lots of cheap products, you simply have to have a very good warehousing/order picking system in place. A system like Linnworks is perfect for you as when you integrate it with barcode scanner, it’s quick & easy to pick/process large number of items in short period of time PLUS it minimises mistakes to minimum, due to fact that every item/order/label needs to be scanned.
If you sell singles only, of course you can have agreements in place with manufacturer that they say already pre-pack all items in envelopes for you (in case of tatoos for example). Only thing, this could mean higher shipping costs from China.
3) Yes, of course! Europe is a massive market and with many countries having limited choice of online shops, so they’re perfect for UK sellers. Many European customers shop on eBay UK, Amazon UK so if the product is small in size, cheap to ship (below 2kg so it goes via Rm Airmail), you should definitely sell to Europe too.
USA is a different story though – usually most products are cheaper there + shipping to the US is usually expensive. So unless you sell something that isn’t easily available there, it’s not worth it really.
4) Again, Amazon is another great channel to expand your target audience. I always recommend selling on both places – eBay & Amazon.
Hope this helps!
Thanks for this information, it has given me a good start with looking into starting up my own ebay business.
I am using terapeak now to do research on my items, do I have to keep the ‘Product Research’ on ‘Ebay.com’ ? I will be planning to sell only on Ebay.co.uk as I am in the UK. However, noticed through one of the comments below that you advise not to select the UK option when doing research….will i be getting accurate figures by searching with ‘ebay.com’ as opposed to ‘ebay.co.uk’ if i only plan to sell in the UK ?
No, you want to do research using eBay.co.uk if you will sell on eBay UK.
What I’m talking about in that comment is that you don’t want to use UK Seller filter option as that screws up results.
Hi Andrew, Sorry I have another question. As I have been researching my ideas for a few days now, there was one particular item that I was suprised with the results showing on Terapeak:
sell through = 93.79%
Sellers per day = 22
making the sales per seller = $2719
so, all looking very good… however I decided to search for the same item on Ebay.co.uk to check the Total Listings showing. I selected the exact same category and used the exact search phrase as on Terapeak…
Terapeak stated a total of 1335 listings in its general stats box
Ebay.co.uk stated a total of 5026 listings!!
Quite substantially different…making me concerned about the data showing up in terapeak and whether it is reliable. Can you please advise why this could be ? Am I missing something ?
Your help is appreciated.
It’s because Terapeak shows data for all listings that use your search phrase in the listing title.
On the other hand, when you do a search on eBay, it shows much broader results – with related keywords. That’s why this number is higher.
Thanks for your reply Andrew.
Okay, I can understand why we have different numbers now. However, surely that means the sell-through percentage is unreliable ? As well as the ‘sellers per day’
If ebay is going to always show a broader range of results for those searching…(even though the item I’m looking at, under this particular category can only really be one thing/idea that people are looking for) …than the exact phrase I use in terapeak, how can I rely on Terapeaks data? Especially in this instance, where it looks to be a good selling item, yet I can see it already appears to be saturated in ebay.
Thanks again. I hope you don’t feel I am trying to be awkward, I’m just concerned about investing money into stock using terapeaks data when I don’t understand the above.
Look at it this way – eBay search works now similar to Google search – it includes related items/search results to your main search.
Terapeak only gives results based on keywords used in listing title which is more accurate way of researching and analysing data.
But looking on situation on eBay manually is always a good thing to do! I actually highly recommend you do this as only by manually checking out first page results, you can really get the feel of competition, prices, product specs etc.
You’re welcome Tina! 🙂
I was about to sign up for the free trial for Terapeak and decided to search for reviews first. I’ve been seeing many more terrible reviews than anything–especially the newer ones. People are complaining that it’s very slow and that the best features like Ebay Listing Optimization were removed recently. They also complain that when they try to cancel the free trial Terapeak doesn’t get back to them until 2 weeks later charges their card for the full year and says that they should have contacted them sooner. So people are saying that Terapeak is basically stealing their money and refusing to give a refund.
What are your thoughts on all this?
I have made Terapeak aware of your displeasure and I have been informed that they will always address a cancellation/refund requests from the time it is submitted and not when they view it, therefore if the refund request fits within their policy they always honor it and process it as soon as they are able to.
Listing Optimization removal was done so that it can be improved on, but more features will come in the near future to help those in need of improving their listings, like the new SEO feature.
In my opinion, terapeak’s most important features are within the Research tools where you do product, competitor research. The brand new SEO tool is also very handy. Listing Optimisation tool wasn’t something I was personally using anyway.
As for the service being slow – that can’t be true. With the latest version they launched last year, everything works SUPER FAST and even when you do product research for very popular products, it’s working very fast.
Hope this helps Adam!
So, I’ve quickly followed your steps and done a search on Terapeak for the first 4 items on my brainstorming list. They’ve each got a sell-through rate of 100%. Now I’m wondering what I’m doing wrong….
Do you use UK seller filter in Terapeak?
Don’t use it as it will then show all sell through as 100%.
Thanks for getting back to me – I’m not using any country filters!?
Are you sure you’re not selecting UK sellers or UK buyers option?
As that screws up data and shows 100% STR.
You can test this – search for “phone case” – if it shows 100% STR, you’re doing something wrong.
In Step 3 – Filters section, you have told to filter by 1) ‘Sell-through rate’ — to delete products with less than a 50% sell-through rate, 2) ‘Total Sales’ — less than £10k per month, 3) ‘Sales per seller’ — not less than £500 per seller per month & 4) ‘Sellers per day’ — to eliminate those that have 100+ competing sellers per day.
You have stated these for UK market and in £ (i.e.GBP). I am selling in the US market. Could you please advice me what filters (in USD for currency) and parameters would be suitable to use for the US market.
Many thanks & regards,
You can basically use same numbers as exchange rate is very close now for $/£.
Don’t forget that this is just first step to quickly see which products carry most potential.
You still need to do manual research, competitor research to see the real story.
I had selected ebay.co.uk!!! Sorry for wasting your time.
I know this sounds like a stupid question, but is eBay not too saturated now? I am usually very good at research and so I don’t mind putting the effort in, but I worry that it may be in vain! Have you had any people confirm that they found profitable new products in the last 6 months that they have made a success of?
Also, it it better to brainstorm ideas around things you have a natural interest in or knowledge of?
There are still plenty of profitable products out there. I know this 100% as I work every day with my EAB & 60DBP customers.
Yes, it always helps to work with products you have interest/knowledge in but that shouldn’t limit your choice as per se.
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Thanks for updating this guide. I’ve been working on this off and on since last Autumn and I was just about to sign up to Terapeak when I noticed this update, so thank you! I have 500+ products written down (I’ve been taking my time!) I just wondered about Step 2, would you still recommend using a ‘Buying power needed’ column? Thanks for all your hard work.
Yes, I still recommend filling it out but as I explain in the guide, don’t simply delete products from your list because of BUYING POWER only.
Unless the figure is totally off (like your budget is £1k and you get £10k in Buying Power number).
You’ll get exact prices when you contact suppliers and then you can see whatever that product suits your buying power or not.
Thanks a lot
this is a great piece of knowledge …thank you.
Sometimes when I do terapeak research for a niche that has 5-6 similar keywords to describe,
I got different STR % for each keyword! How could this effect the product sourcing decision?
How you handle this?
First keyword – 70% STR
Second Keyword – 35% STR !
Third KW – 40% STR
How do you handle this?
You want to do this research for EACH product, and not niche as whole.
Then you can decide whatever that niche is good or not – you can always just sell products with good numbers in that niche and avoid “bad ones”.
This is a great piece of knowledge . Many thanks for sharing
When i search a product, more than 1 sellers’s items appear on the page and when i hover the cursor over any of those it asks ” Do Product Research”
Now the all indicators that you have mentioned can be seen easily by clicking this ” Do Product Research” however when same product (the very next to it ) is clicked , the stats are different and this confuses me
When we click on any of the items on the page ( they all are same mostly) why stats differ under different items
It’s because then you research specific item/title which will show different results.
To gather overall market data, you don’t need to click on any specific listings – just use general numbers across all listings/products.