eBay Market Research – A Creative Way to Determine What to Sell on eBay

September 22, 2007


Do you want get started selling on eBay but you’re not sure what to sell? Here’s a simple trick you can use to get some good local product ideas.  What do most eBay sellers that aren’t drop shipping their products have in common?  They have to ship the packages themselves via US Postal mail, UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.

It’s kind of like the National Geographic researchers that hang out by the watering holes in dry climates.  They know all animals need water so the ones they’re studying will show up there sooner or later.  Of course, you don’t have time to hang out at the local UPS store all day snooping for ideas. Why not “spy” on other eBay sellers in your area with the help of the people that work at UPS or FedEx stores?  These people are in contact with other eBay sellers every day and could pick up some good information for you through those interactions. 

Shipping Research Contact
Start off by building a relationship with the owner of your local shipping store.  The local post office probably wouldn’t be an ideal spot.  There are so many people working there on varying schedules it would be hard to form a relationship with one.  Plus postal workers are government employees that aren’t necessarily in the same customer relationship mode as franchise owners like UPS or DHL that is conducive relationship building.

Let the store owner or worker know you’re going to be starting an eBay business and would like to use them as your primary shipper.  Bring up the fact you’re looking for some product ideas and ask if they’d be willing to help you do some simple research.  If they say no, just move on to the next shipping store.

Product Idea Research
Just ask your shipping contact to strike up a conversation with their customers that are sending packages with pre-paid PayPal labels.  See if they’ll ask what they’re selling, where they get their product, how much they make, those kinds of questions.

Some people will be guarded and won’t want to share but other people love to talk about their business and might go into some detail.  Your shipping contact likely won’t reveal the identity of their customers to you but they don’t have to.  All you’re looking for are ideas that work for others.

Strategy in Action
I have established a great relationship with the owner of our local UPS store and he has given me some good ideas on seasonal and hot products that he’s heard from other customers. In return, I loaned him some informational resources and gave him some advice on how he could sell on eBay.  He setup an eBay Store to make some extra money and passes product tips onto me. If you’re looking for some ideas, give it a try!


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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4 Responses to eBay Market Research – A Creative Way to Determine What to Sell on eBay

  • Brandy

    This is a horrible idea. Most eBay sellers, good ones anyway, don’t go to UPS, Fedex, or USPS. A good eBay seller knows to let them come to you. Probably 85-95% of Power Sellers use carrier pick up no matter which carrier is preferred.

    Another reason this is a bad idea is that only an idiot tells strangers what they sell on eBay. So whoever told the UPS guy what they sold is a moron and you probably don’t need their advice. You don’t want everyone in town going to your favorite place and buying up all the good stuff. COME ON???

    So to sum it up:
    * Use carrier pick up only!
    * Don’t tell anyone what you sell on eBay or where you get it.
    * Don’t take advice from the UPS guy who got his words of wisdom from a idiot.

  • Patrick

    Wow, that is a great idea! I never really thought of that. The best part is, now that the local UPS store owner is doing the same thing, he will be more enthusiastic about helping (it’s not like thee isn’t enough eBay to go around for the two of you!).


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