January… the year’s slowest month for eCommerce and retail in general. But it’s also a time when many people are looking to start a new business. I can see that from the number of emails and comments I’ve received so far this year – up more than 50% from the usual figures.
If you’re considering starting an eBay business, Terapeak is the ONE tool you need for market research. I won’t go into detail on how exactly to use it as I have already covered that in this eBay market research post.
Instead today I want to talk about post-holiday research specifically, using a tool like Terapeak, as you have to keep a few things in mind to get accurate results at this time of the year.
So here’s the catch – if you do your eBay research in January, you will get inaccurate results. Why? Well because the results will takes sales from the previous month – which includes December (the busiest month of the year) and January (the slowest month of the year).
Terapeak doesn’t just manufacture data from thin air – they simply use eBay’s numbers from a set period of time. Now if you do research for the past 30 days and half of December is in that time frame, you’ll get skewed results as December, for most goods, will always show better results than in a normal month like March. This is of course due to the fact that in December all sales are spiked because of people buying gifts for Christmas.
So how do you overcome this problem?
By comparing data for the last 30 days with data from past periods. Of course not all products are hugely affected by Christmas sales but you still want to do this to verify you’re not getting misleading results.
By default, you can set customise your Terapeak account to show all research data for 1, 7, 14, 30, 45, 60 or 90 days BUT you can also set a totally custom date range and get data from beyond that 90 day point.
Unfortunately Terapeak doesn’t allow you to set this for more than a 90 day range so we can’t just get data from the whole year. I guess it’s because it would put too much of a strain on their resources to process that much data in one go – particularly for popular items that are sold in huge quantities.
What I recommend you do is set a custom date range and get the numbers for at least 3 consecutive months:
If you’re doing your research in January, pick:
This will clearly show you what affect the time of the year has on sales volume and the sell-through rate.
If you can’t see much difference month by month – that’s not a big deal! It only means that the product you’re researching isn’t affecting that much by Christmas sales.
If you see large discrepancies in these numbers, I would recommend ignoring months with spikes (like December) and just use average figures from other months. This may be a more pessimistic prediction model but at least you’ll be working with real figures and not influenced data, which is skewed by sales from just a few weeks out of the entire year.
And this does not only apply to the Christmas period. If you’re selling any seasonal items (summer goods, winter good, Halloween goods etc.), ALWAYS use a custom data range to verify your research data.
The most important numbers you’re looking at are:
- Total Sales
- Sell-through rate
- Sellers per day
And these can change quite a bit during peak periods, especially Total Sales. You could do research for the last 30 days and see – wow – this item is HOT and selling in huge numbers just to find out that in February sales are 30% of what they are in December.
Don’t just guess; verify this so you get the proper information!
Another tool I like to use to verify an item’s seasonality is Google Trends. It very clearly shows yearly trends for products with seasonal spikes. For example, take a look at a graph for the search term “home gym”:
YES! You guessed right! All those spikes are in January, each and every year. People get on with their new year’s resolutions to lose weight and therefore buy fitness equipment way more than in any other month of the year.
And who said January is the slowest month in sales? Not for everyone….
Another classic example – “swimming goggles”:
June/July, June/July, June/July… with 100% accuracy for the last 10 years! And it only makes sense of course as not that many people will be going swimming in winter!
IMPORTANT! When using Google Trends, make sure you filter the results down to the country you’re selling in, otherwise everything gets completely mixed up.
This is especially true for people based in the southern hemisphere, such as Australia, as seasons are inverted – when they’re in summer, we’re in winter.
So that’s it for today – a quick post just to get things going again on the blog. After more than a month of silence, it’s not that easy to get back to writing (lazy me!!).
It does take some time to get back into the flow again… But I’ll do my best to continue publishing high quality, valuable posts on this blog in 2014 – as the responses I get from you, in emails and via comments, is what really keeps me motivated!
As always – I would love to hear from you on what topics I should write more about. This blog is all about you – my reader – so your opinion is highly valued.
I’ll most likely create some kind of contest in the up-coming weeks with some nice gifts up for grabs. All you have to do to enter is post some ideas for new topics in the comments section. More details to follow…!
On Thursday I’ll publish a step-by-step guide on how to reach that #1 search position in eBay’s search results. Something I get asked about on a regular base.
Wishing you a Happy & Prosperous New Year!
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[…] my websites and my eBay sales are both picking up very steadily and once again, I can clearly see yearly trends taking […]
I’ve just started using Terapeak and it’s definitely been an eye opener for me and the tool paid for itself in the first month. All that said, I know there’s a lot more to learn. The info Terapeak provides is very useful and the webinars are very illustrative, although they’re mostly oriented to sell their product rather than provide a structured way to learn market research and analysis. The “tutorials” I’ve found so far on YouTube are either shallow affiliate reviews or heated rants.
I just recently started reading your blog posts and so far they have provided me with straight and actionable answers. Just this morning, while having my coffee, you made me realize that I could use a custom date range in such a way. Thanks so much for your awesome insight!
I also wanted to ask for suggestions on books, courses or webinars that help me expand my knowledge and be able to make better sense of the information that Terapeak provides.
Thanks again for your help!
Great to hear you find my guides valuable! 🙂
I also haven’t seen many, high quality “research type” Terapeak tutorials and for that reason I have planned releasing a guide on this topic each month on my blog. So stay tuned for further updates on this.
I’ve been following your EAB course for a few months now and I have a question about Terapeak research.
I’m trying to find profitable niches using Terapeak, I think I’ve found a few good possibilities, however I’m a bit confused about using the ‘sellers per day’ value.
If I have a niche where total sales over a 30 day period is say £50000 and the total number of sellers per day is 25 the sales per seller is £2000. Now is that per month?
I’m confused because I am mixing a value based on 30 days (total sales) with another based on one day (number of sellers). Or is the number of sellers per day an average value across the 30 day period?
Hope you can help!
Technically it won’t be per month, yes BUT we just take it as average figure and if there are on average 25 sellers and total is £50k per month, then yes – we assume it’s £2k per seller on average.
It’s an average indicator of course as in majority of niches there will be top 10 or 20 sellers who make more sales together compared to rest.
Thanks Andrew that’s helped me out!
You’re welcome Sean!
Hi Andrew I have been trying to login into a free trial on terapeak but the process doesnt get any further than page 2 .After a frustrating day i decided to to just buy the product but the same thing happened the process stalled on page 2
Are you aware of the reason for this ?
i ve emailed terapeak but as yet had no reply
i just wondered if the terapeak site was down
Hmm, not sure what’s going on there – works for me all good.
Wait for their response, in meantime – try using a different browser and/or update your browser.
Good to have you back blogging and I’m looking forward to tomorrows post.
One suggestion for future posts is something on stock management – could be on Linnworks – for cross platform selling
Thanks Peter, will put that one on the list too!
Hi Andy, great post as usual!
I do have a topic idea, if possible can you create an in depth guide on how to do split testing on eBay listings?
Thanks Shimon for your suggestion!
Next week I’ll be running a contest for this, with some prizes so stay tuned and try coming up with some more ideas!
welcome back. High quality and valuable post as expected.