February 25, 2015 by Andrew Minalto - 30 Comments

How to LEGALLY Spy on your eBay Competition!

spy-on-ebayWouldn’t it be nice to see exactly how well your competition is doing on eBay? To see how much money they make in sales each month? To see their best selling items, to see what listing formats they use? What listings titles and upgrades? Even the exact sales they get from each individual listing?

Well, it may surprise you to hear this but you can already do all of that, and more, using nothing other than Terapeak!

If you’re not familiar with Terapeak, to put it simply, it’s the world’s best and most popular eBay research tool. It’s cloud based software that gathers data from millions of eBay sellers and billions of listings in total to show you the specific data you need.

This all happens online, so you don’t have to install anything on your computer. All you have to do is sign-up for a Terapeak account and you can start doing research straight away. To learn more about how Terapeak works, check out my previous guides here:

IMPORTANT!!! When you sign up for a Terapeak account, make sure to select the Professional Plan as only that provides you with competitor research tools. And no, it doesn’t matter where you live – UK, USA, Canada, Germany, Australia, France or Italy – you can do research on all these regional eBay sites from your main Terapeak account.

So once you have an account sorted and have learnt the basics behind Terapeak, you can move on to the next level by learning how spying on your competitors can help you with both the product research phase as well as when you’re already running a successful eBay business.

Let’s cover these two scenarios separately.

How to use Competitor Research to find new products to sell on eBay!

If you’re new to selling on eBay, your biggest hurdle will be finding good, profitable products to start with. And the same applies to existing eBay businesses too as you should always be looking for new items to add to your product range. And I believe this is the biggest advantage of Terapeak’s competitor research function as it essentially allows you to BORROW other seller’s research work and simply copy it in the blink of an eye!

Just think about it – why do all the research on your own if you can simply “borrow” research data from dozens or even hundreds of other sellers who have already done it for you? Exactly! If they sell a product successfully which they’re most likely making a profit from, all you have to do is get that same product (or a similar/rebranded version) and sell it yourself, practically risk-free, as it’s already proven.

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with doing your own research to find products that no one else is currently selling on eBay, but that way:

  • YOU take the risk of that product not selling well (as you have no historical sales data);
  • YOU run the risk that once you start selling that item, very soon other sellers will simply start doing the same (as many of them will use the exact competitor research function I’m teaching you about today).

All in all, I’m not a huge fan of searching for unique products to sell on eBay as it carries a lot of risks but very little benefit, as even if it is a success, you’ll be copied in no time anyway, so really, I just don’t see the point in it.

A much better approach in my opinion is to simply take existing/proven sellers and make your offer look better! This starts with a superb listing and terrific product pictures and for advanced sellers – re-branding or creating a better variant of that same item. I have already covered these strategies in detail in previous blog posts so I won’t spend time on them now.

So, how do you find such proven sellers using the competitor research function in Terapeak?

First of all you need to get a list of all the seller IDs you want to research. Simply go to In-Depth research > eBay Product Research on Terapeak and search for any product/niche you want; this will give you a good overview of that niche/product.

Next, in the Views menu, click on “Top sellers who sell the item you’re researching”.

competitor-listThis instantly shows you a list of sellers who sell the item you researched, grouped in descending order by highest Total Sales. Initially it shows the top 20 sellers, but if you scroll down the page it’ll be expanded to 40, 60, 80 and more.

You can also sort all this data by Total Listings, Total Bids, Items Sold and other filters but usually I just leave it to Total Sales – highest first as that essentially shows the leaders in the particular niche or product that you’re researching.

Next, you hover over the seller ID you want to further research and click on “Research all items from this seller” link. This will automatically re-direct you to the full competitor research profile for that particular seller in a new window, so that your previous list/research remains open.

all-itemsIn this overview you can see various data for the seller you’re researching, like:

  • Total sales
  • Number of listings
  • Items sold (number)
  • Sell-through rate
  • Top categories
  • Listing promotions
  • And other data.

total-salesAll this data is shown for your default search period, which in my case is the last 30 days. But you can change this to last week or even a custom data range, for a 90 day period. This is very handy if you want to research sales over Christmas or say summer, which is the slowest period in many niches. Doing custom product research is CRUCIAL when you’re looking into seasonal items!

As we’re looking for new products, we’re interested in the top selling items from this particular seller. So just click on the “Your Competitor’s best selling titles” icon in VIEWS menu to get a list of their top selling items. It will look like this:

best-selling-titlesAgain, by default this data is sorted by Total Sales but you can manually sort listings by:

  • Total Listings
  • Sell-Through rate
  • Average price
  • Total Bids

Usually I just leave it to default settings as I want to see which items actually bring in the most in pure sales for that seller.

And there you have it – A LIST OF ALL ITEMS sold by your competitor, sorted by best selling products! How amazing is that? You see exactly how much sales each product has generated, what sell-through rate was achieved and for what price it was sold. There’s no way you can get this data from eBay itself!

When you do this process for all of the sellers you found in that first step, you’ll end up with dozens or even hundreds of potentially good products you can start selling. The next step is to start looking for suppliers, getting prices etc., which is of course also very important but at least you won’t have to waste time searching for products to sell on eBay!

IMPORTANT!!! This data won’t be accurate down to every pound because all this research is based on keywords used in the listing title. The more spammy titles are used in the niche you’re researching, the more inaccurate the results will be.

But you can minimise this effect greatly by:

  • Narrowing down your research to the most suitable product category;
  • Doing manual product research via In-Depth research > eBay Product Research function

Remember, the goal for using the competitor research function is to get PRODUCT IDEAS! Once you get that, you should still do full product research to get the most accurate data.

Another interesting angle on using this competitor research function in the early days of your niche market research process is to see the overall potential of your chosen niche.

For example, you have found one product with a good sell-through rate, decent total sales and average competition BUT you don’t know the full potential of this niche as you have researched just one product. So what you can do is simply research the biggest sellers in that niche on eBay via the competitor research function and you’ll instantly know how much sales they generate per month in total.

This will give you a good understanding of how big or small that niche is, taking into account all of the products in that niche, rather than one or two. For example – if you see that there are many sellers making £10k, £20k and £30k in sales per month in that niche, it’s a strong signal that it’s a rather big market with lots of potential. On the other hand, if you see that most sellers generate less than £1k per month, it’s obvious that that particular niche is very small on eBay and depending on your buying power and future plans, may not be suitable for you.

Ok, that sums up the process of using Terapeak’s competitor research function to find proven sellers and other good products that you can potentially start selling on eBay! Now, let’s quickly go over the advantages of using the same function for an existing eBay business…

How to improve your existing eBay business by spying on your competition!

This post is NOT only for newbie sellers and the same competitor research feature can also be used to improve your existing eBay business in various ways:

1) Finding new products to sell, following the same formula detailed above. We all know how important it is to stay updated on market trends and new products and to expand your range constantly. By monitoring your competitors closely, you can be sure you’re not left behind on any new products in your niche/market. You don’t have to do this every day of course! I personally check my biggest competitors once a month, quickly going over their listings to see if they have started selling any new items. This will literally take you 5 minutes each month – so why not do it?

2) Researching competitors’ most valuable listing data – the listing types and format they use, what upgrades they use, what times their auctions and normal BINs end etc. This won’t be that valuable for GTC listings of course but for auctions this data can be very valuable and by doing this you can remove the guesswork by using your competitors to your advantage.

listing-dataFor example, if you see that they use a particular style of listing and end them at a specific time or a specific day with a 100% sell-through rate AND good average prices, it means they’re doing something right and it might be worth you copying that proven strategy!

And you can even twist this in the opposite direction – if you know when your competitors’ auctions end, you can list your items to end at different times, when there’s less competition in search results.

3) By comparing your sales to other sellers. For example – if you want to know how big of a market share you currently have, you can simply get total sales per month for your biggest competitors and calculate this easily.

Or another common problem – you see that your sales have been slow for the past few weeks, you are stressed out and start to change listings etc. without actually knowing the cause of it! The first thing I normally do in cases like this is check competitors’ sales trends for the same period! If their sales have also gone down, it’s a clear sign that there’s nothing wrong with your listings – it’s just a seasonal trend/overall lower demand for the products you sell!

competitor-trendTHIS IS IMPORTANT!!! As you don’t want to start playing around with your listings, titles, images etc. when nothing is wrong with them and it’s simply the overall market for your niche that has slowed down.

Lastly, to make this whole competitor tracking easier, make sure to enable the Value Track List feature in your Terapeak account. You simply need to click on that pin icon in VIEW menu in any research you do and it will be automatically saved in your Value Track list under Improve My Productivity > Bulk Research tab:

value-trackThen you can simply go there any time you want, click on the seller you have saved and do research with one click, without having to look up the seller ID and typing it in manually. This is very handy and will save you a lot of time, especially for the once a month check to spot any new products your competitors may have started selling.

Conclusion

I hope most of what I have written made sense to you. I know there are lots of terms and function names I have used that might not make sense initially, but once you get your own Terapeak account, you’ll learn the basics of doing competitor research very quickly.

You can’t really mess anything up in your Terapeak account, so just go and play around with the functions covered in this post to see how it all works.

Remember, no other tool or software can do these tasks as efficiently as Terapeak. If you really want to succeed on eBay, you simply need to get a Terapeak account, as simple as that! I have been a subscriber for many years now and use it on a weekly basis to do product research, hot research, competitor research and other tasks. It’s basically invaluable to me and my business.

When signing up, don’t forget that you need a Professional account as only that will give you in-depth product research and competitor research functionality.

Ok, that’s it for today. If you have any further questions or need help with strategies covered in this post, as always, feel free to leave your comments below and I will answer you personally within 24 hours, Monday-Friday.

Good luck with the research!

Thanks,
Andrew

30 Comments
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  1. Feature just been removed by terapeak (it was very useful)

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, I know.

      I will be updating this article soon with the new way it works.

      Andrew

    2. sad .. i loved this feature too

      1. Andrew Minalto

        It’s not completely gone! 🙂

        I will do a video on how to make this work in 2 weeks time, so stay tuned for that.

        Andrew

  2. Hello, I would like to find out how well the product is selling, I already done some research and found that there are more than 12 brands in UK, I know the prices and size of product.
    What I would like to find out is, how many items per week and month, with in UK, are selling? by each seller.
    I am not very good with computer and I would like to ask if you would do this research for me and how much it would cost me ?
    I’ll let you know the product in question, once I know the cost.
    I know that there is a free trial, but I am not confidence to use it.
    kind regards
    Mohammad in Uk

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Mohammad,

      I do not provide such service BUT you can easily get these figures by simply following this guide.

      in Terapeak, go to Competitor Research function and enter seller ID. You’ll get their total sales numbers.

      By combining all seller data you’ll easily find out TOTAL market size.

      Or you could simply do main/normal Product search in Terapeak to find out total sales for that product for last month.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  3. […] Terapeak’s competitor research is obviously idle for this, sometimes you may want to just quickly get a rough idea of the monthly […]

  4. […] that’s it’s free, I still 100% recommended Terapeak if you’re doing some serious competitor spying! It’s a definite case of getting what you pay for with Terapeak, and the £10/month […]

  5. Meera Kharbanda

    Hi Andrew,

    Does Terapeak allow you to compare prices between countries on a given item?

    Thanks
    Meera

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Meera,

      Not automatically – side by side BUT you can simply do theses searches by changing eBay regional site setting and see the difference. Basically it’s just one setting you need to change so it’s very quick and easy.

      Andrew

      1. Meera Kharbanda

        Many thanks.

  6. […] have already covered how to use Terapeak’s Competitor Research tool to find the most popular products in your niche, sold by competing sellers, but today I want to […]

  7. Thanks andrew! you’ re trobin hood lol

    i’m from france, what can you advice me to sell and ebay.fr? (beginning in terapeak)

    regards

    1. Andrew Minalto

      You can research eBay.fr via Terapeak just like eBay.co.uk

      Please check out this guide for step by step instructions on how to find good products to sell on eBay:

      https://andrewminalto.com/best-products-to-sell-on-ebay/

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  8. Hi Andrew!

    I have been trying to locate that topic you covered on buying unbranded items and then changing them to any colour one wants. You had pictures of electrical appliances such as toasters/kettles etc, unfortunately ican’t find it anymore. Please send it to me if you still have it in your archives. i actually love the idea as i have decided to colour appliances with a rainbow colour, something like the South African flag. Furthermore tell which supplier from China can do that for me.

    Thanks
    Cyrill

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Cyrill,

      Sure, no worries – here’s the link to that guide:

      https://andrewminalto.com/product-branding-guide/

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  9. hi Andrew ….luv all ur stuff on ebay biz opp ……I do however feel that encouraging people to create a biz on the competitive model is counter productive ……if everyone is leaving a ladder behind themselves for a competitor to step onto,their margins will all inevitably go to zero ….people will be constantly looking for the next hot item to sell ….

    someone like urself Andrew had the good sense to create their own product/brand which is impossible to copy ..therefore guaranteeing no competition & keeping healthy margins ….I do feel that the creative biz model is the biz model you should be encouraging people to focus on …..thnx again for all ur info Andrew

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Rick,

      Thanks for your comment.

      I do actually talk a lot about it, especially in my Easy Auction Business course. The whole model I teach is to pick proven sellers and then twist them, re-brand them, add more value etc. This is not about copying exact same product and selling it cheaper or whatever.

      Check out my guides here where I teach this:

      https://andrewminalto.com/how-to-create-new-products/
      https://andrewminalto.com/product-branding-guide/

      So it’s not about copying exact same product ideas but just getting proven sellers, with solid figures and then use re-branding and other strategies to sell it successfully and compete WITHOUT lowering price of the product.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

  10. Nice one Andrew. Didnt know about these functions of terapeak. I have used terapeak before for product research but I think being able to research your competitors data will make process much more easier and faster. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Yes, this is a really great feature, actually my favourite one! 😉

  11. Connor Smith

    I’ve never used terapeak before but as my business is growing quickly at the moment I think I might have to look into. I only wish there was some kind of option to see listing that are selling X quantity per day as that is effectively what I am looking for whenever I do my own research!

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi Connor,

      You can actually see this in terapeak – how many sales (both £ and quantity wise) each listing generates per month or day.

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      1. Connor Smith

        That’s brilliant, thanks! Think thats done it then I’ll have to sign up, perfect timing since I’ve been researching for the past 3-4 hours anyway doing it the old fashioned way!

        1. Andrew Minalto

          no worries, you’re welcome!

  12. John Reimann

    I’ve looked at Terapeak and almost signed up but the trouble I find is that when you look at these sellers, the front page of any popular niche is dominated by those with tens of thousands of Feedback ratings.

    I know you can shortcut getting TRS status by buying/selling cheap items but I find it impossible rank on the front page of popular items no matter how good/cheap your listing is.

    Ranking for popular products since Best Match was introduced just seems like a pipe dream.

    I sell personalised photo gifts, and even when I sell at cost (cheaper than my competitors) they often have over 50k feedback so I can’t touch them.

    1. Andrew Minalto

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your comment.

      First of all – you should stay away from super competitive items. Margins with those are too small anyway so it’s not even worth selling such items unless you are happy selling 100 items a day to make £20 profit. So just don’t look/deal with super competitive items.

      In “normal” niches, with “normal” products and competition, you can get your listing ranked following this strategy:

      https://andrewminalto.com/top-search-position-on-ebay/

      Thanks,
      Andrew

      1. Thanks Andrew,

        I read this a while ago but I will take another close read.

        I guess my problem is simply that I already have a business in place and am aiming long term to get my customers familiar with my website, so I’m limited by my niche.

        Having said that I suppose there’s no reason I couldn’t sell other items on eBay until I’ve increased my feedback.

        Thanks again,
        John.

        1. Andrew Minalto

          You can def. sell other items on eBay, it’s not as restrictive as your own website where you wouldn’t want to dilute your brand selling un-related items.

          So def. give it a go!

          Thanks,
          Andrew

    2. Connor Smith

      I had that when I first started, tried to sell iPhone covers (what an idiot) and never even stood a CHANCE haha, think you either have to offer something different/better or just get out and find a smaller niche with fewer big players. That’s what I’ve done now, and it’s worked brilliantly.

      1. Andrew Minalto

        Exactly, it’s one of the most common newbie mistakes made on eBay – to try selling mobile phone cases, play station 4 video games or designer clothing. People just want to sell these because they know there’s huge demand but forget that competition is also extreme.

        There are thousands of medium/small sized niches with reasonable competition on eBay where you get much higher chances of succeeding.

        Thanks,
        Andrew

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