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Selling a Brand New Product on eBay?

November 4, 2013 by Andrew Minalto - 6 Comments
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So you’re looking for a product to sell on eBay and going through that boring research stage where you gather market information, find the average selling price, judge the competition and other important data using Terapeak. But what do you do if no one is actually selling that particular product on eBay and there is no data to analyse? Let’s try to find out how to proceed in a situation like this.

Firstly we have to try and understand WHY the product is not currently being sold on eBay and there are several possible reasons for this:

  • There’s no demand for the product
  • It’s a VERO item and can’t be sold on eBay
  • It’s a prohibited item that can’t be sold on eBay
  • It’s a brand new product and no one has spotted the opportunity yet

Start with eBay’s policy on prohibited items – it could be that the item you’re planning to sell isn’t even allowed by eBay! If that’s the case, then no further investigation is needed.

IF you can’t find the product on eBay’s prohibited item’s list, the next thing I would do is check on Amazon (both the UK and US sites) to see whether anyone is selling it there. If you don’t get any results from Amazon, do a Google search and see what comes up. If you still don’t get any results from online shops, that means there currently isn’t really anyone selling that product online.

That can be a bad thing and it can be a good thing. If the item has potential, it would mean you can get first-mover advantage and, in the beginning at least, dominate the market by being the only seller for this product.

On the other hand, it could be a case of NO DEMAND for this product which means you would just be wasting your time and money on stock no one is interested in buying.

It’s not enough that you believe this product will sell on eBay – you need proof that there’s actual demand for it. And not only that – there must be people actively searching for that product to make this work! Otherwise, no one will find your product even if you do list it on eBay.

So what you do is go to the Keyword Planner tool in AdWords (open a free account if you don’t already have one) and check how many Google searches there are for this product. If the numbers are more than say a few dozen per month, chances are people will also search for this product on eBay.

In fact – if there’s no one selling this product on eBay or other online marketplaces, your eBay listings will be at the number 1 spot in Google search so effectively you’ll also get traffic and potential buyers directly from Google.

In a situation like this, it would be a risk worth taking! You can even start with a sample order from your supplier – get 3-5 items and list them on eBay and see what happens. If you make at least 1-2 sales in your fist week, it’s a sure sign that demand is there and you can go full speed ahead by making a bigger order and setting everything up properly.

You can also check out Google Trends for this product and if you see a graph like this (below), it’s a good sign that the product is new but quickly growing in popularity. This would be a real goldmine as in the beginning, you’ll be the only seller on eBay and can pretty much milk the market with a premium price until your first competitors come in (which definitely won’t be long).

Another thing you can try is to get exclusive rights to sell this product on eBay or say in the country you reside. This means you make an agreement with the manufacturer that you’re the only one who can sell this product on set terms. But bear in mind that manufacturers will want guarantees on regular minimum order sizes so be prepared to invest some serious money if going down this route.

If there are no searches on Google for this particular product, leave it alone – you won’t be able to sell a product on eBay that no one is searching for! If you have an online shop (outside eBay) and really believe that the product will sell if marketed properly, there’s still a chance you can make this work. But then you must be prepared to actively promote your new product via paid advertisers, blogger reviews, forums, YouTube etc.

Do that ONLY if you have experience in bringing a new product to market and know exactly how you’ll promote it to your target audience! This is not what most eBay sellers are capable of so to stay on the safe side, it’s better to leave such products alone. It’s just too much risk to take on with only a slim chance of being successful (if you need proof of this, watch some of the countless episodes of Dragon’s Den where people try to bring totally new products to market and fail miserably after investing tens of thousands of pounds).

Don’t mix unique products with slightly different versions of products already selling on eBay. It could be that you have found a supplier that makes a different version of the product and a search for that specific keyword doesn’t bring up any results. This doesn’t mean there is no data, you just have to look at the item that’s already selling and using your common sense; determine whatever this new, slightly altered version will sell better or not?

In general, for newbies, I recommend staying away from products that are not already being sold online. It’s just there’s so little room for error and you really have to know what you’re doing to get this right.

It’s always safer to sell what already sells well!

Does that sound boring? It is indeed! Hence why I always say that you need to find your OWN, unique twist to products you sell! It can be:

  • Your own brand
  • Unique packaging
  • Unique, added feature
  • Unique sets/kits/bundles

I believe that your own BRAND and packaging is the BEST WAY to create a unique offer and stand out from the crowd in the long term. But when you do create your brand, make sure it’s actually BETTER (name and visually) than what’s already out there.

Many people ask“hey, what does it really change if I do my own packaging?”

It changes EVERYTHING!

It changes the customer’s perception as to the value of the item and how much money they’re willing to spend on it.

We all know that marketing and brand names in particular drives the consumer market these days – there have been made many blind tests to prove it and the results are always the same. People buy with their eyes – they buy the BRAND and not the actual product.

But you’re not only limited to putting your logo on the product and packaging, not at all! I even advise you take it one step further and create your OWN, UNIQUE product! Don’t be scared off! You don’t have to invent anything here – what you do is simply work with the manufacturer (found on Alibaba.com) and create a slightly different version of the product. Small changes like:

  • Different colour
  • Different shape
  • Different material
  • Etc.

This way with a very minimal investment you can create a totally unique product that’s better than what’s already out there, with your OWN BRANDING message – which will enable you to have decent margins, even on eBay’s marketplace. This is a whole different topic though and something that’s worth its own, more lengthy, dedicated post.

To sum it up – if you can’t find any evidence that there is demand for this particular product on eBay and Google, leave it alone unless you have experience with bringing new products to market.

If no one sells the product online but there are Google searches at a decent volume each month, take the plunge and get a small sample order in and test it on eBay. If you start getting sales, it’s a good sign you’ve uncovered a real gold mine! When you do – you must act FAST and get the product out there on eBay, Amazon, and your own shop ASAP!

Good Luck!

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  1. Hi Andrew,
    thank you for your work, is something real special.
    My question is :
    if I take a known brand product, and I change just the brand name, I could sell that product on ebay or not?
    If not, could you please tell me what kind of change I must to do.

    Thank you.


    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Cornel,

      Thanks for your comment.

      If that product is not patented or does not come with design patent, then yes – you can do that.


      1. cornel

        but how I could find out if is patented or comes with a design patent?

      2. Andrew Minalto

        You need to do Google searches for product name + patent and see what comes up.

  2. Hi Andrew,
    My name is Alison

    I have invented a new innovative toilet training devise/approach for infant use .And would like to take this opportunity to thank you for providing such a valuable source of information for start up and newbies. such as myself 🙂 your blogs have provided light ,for me, in a lot of grey daunting
    areas .
    Your importing suggestions /information on how to ship items from over sea was very valuable knowledge to obtain , the process was explained in a very clear format making it seem a much less daunting process .We have even contacted the freight forwarding company you recommend on your site and yes found John at woodland Global to be very efficient .

    I have just been reading your information on selling new products on Ebay and hoped you could provide some expertise? .I own the intellectual property on the product I am manufacturing and am in the proceeds of protecting the design in 23 European countries .I also have evidence which indicates this product will sell well within the Nursery sector . Ultimately I am aware of the potential global commercialisation /sales Ebay and Amazon can generate for new products .What is your advice for someone in my position ?

    Thanks in advance

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Alison,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Not sure what advice I can give you apart from – just get the product out there, start selling & marketing it! 🙂 I’m sure it can be sold on eBay, Amazon and your own website. Get some bloggers to do reviews for your product, make a good YouTube video.

      Your own website probably will have the highest potential for selling such item + you could probably even use Groupon to launch the product, spread the word.

      Good Luck!


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