.:The Internet Home Business Magazine for Moms & Dads:.

Deal or No Deal? Will it sell on eBay? Volume 1.


How is your target product research coming along? Are the answers coming or are you feeling overwhelmed? Both? Neither? Still don’t have a target product, so you don’t even have anything to search?

Talk to me, baby.

I have received a good number of emails from other blog authors who write about selling on eBay and I would like to take a second to regroup over here at eBay Selling for eParents. Though we will have occasional wrap-ups of what we have covered so far, this blog will not be like so many of the others out there and offer lots of “Top 10 [fill in the blank] to [fill in the blank] on eBay” lists. The internet is overloaded with those, so why add to the clutter and noise?

Rather, I truly do want your feedback. This is an ongoing conversation and you can set the pace for where we go and how quickly we get there. Our ability to personalize the learning process is what will set this experience apart, and therefore set the stage for setting you apart from so many eBay sellers.

Having said that, let’s further the discussion of some of your ideas regarding what to sell on eBay. My BFF, the Completed Listings Search, and I got together, talked about your target product ideas behind your back, and now I’m going to spill the beans. You just can’t trust me with secrets.

A lot of your ideas revolve around all things vintage and hard-to-find. Ya’ll are my favorite kind of eBay seller, because I do like to think of eBay as a one-stop-shop for the lazy treasure hunter in all of us. However, while running your own Completed Items searches, you may have found that what you consider rare or scarce is not, in fact, all that hard-to-find on eBay. Don’t let that dissuade you, though. It’s all about spin.

I have been toying with launching a vintage apron line myself for my eBay store, so let’s do a little market research on that one first. Here is what I found:

  • Searched “vintage apron -pattern -patterns”, though not in quotes
  • Found 1,287 active listings in All Categories
  • Found 2,087 completed listings
  • Quick scan of recently completed listings showed that the listings ended with a sold/unsold ratio of close to 50/50
  • Highest winning sale price was over $300, though the average high seemed closer to $40-$70
  • Average sold price $10- $15 range
  • Lowest sold price range hovered around $1 (the big risk you take when starting your auction at $0.99 and something I never do) and there were a lot of these

How do you interpret this data? My first impression is that, while there is money to be made in selling vintage aprons, you would want to focus on a niche. Vintage novelty aprons, for instance, seem to sell well, while vintage gingham (or other general styles) do not.

Does your apron have a print of 1960’s Las Vegas on it? List it now! Is the most you can say about it is that it is a sweet gingham with a floral ruffle? Might not be worth your time to list. Try listing that one in a batch lot of five or more nondescript aprons.

Let’s take a look at Dublin Dr. Pepper. This intrigued me because I have heard of Coca-Cola products made with cane sugar but know that they are next to impossible to find.

  • Searched “Dublin Dr. Pepper”, though not in quotes
  • Found 7 active listings in All Categories
  • Found 14 completed listings
  • Quick scan of recently completed listings showed that the listings ended with a high sold/unsold ratio, however the number of listings in total was not promising
  • Highest winning sale price was over $10 for a 6-pack, though the average high seemed closer to $7
  • Average sold price $5-$10 range for a 6-pack
  • Lowest sold price range hovered around $5, though there were unsold listings as low as $3

Though I thought this sounded like an interesting product idea, the demand might just not be strong enough for the effort involved, particularly the shipping. The shipping would be both a bit of a hassle on your end a bit of a hike for your buyer, given the nature of the product. Depending on your cost, though, it might be worth a try if you thought you could move a lot of listings. Based on the Completed Listings, however, there do not appear to be a lot of items moving.

Dublin Dr. Pepper would be a case of your product being too specific. Again, though, once you had your initial listing done, you could relist and relist with almost no work, so if you could move each listing with a profit of $5 or so, it could be viable.

Finally, let’s take a look at baby clothing. This is something that a lot of us have at home, much of it having been worn once or not at all. Having bought baby clothes on eBay frequently, I can speak from personal experience on this one a bit before going into the market research.

I have two toddler boys, but always dreamed of having a little girl to dress up. Since she never showed up, I have to make do with dressing up little boys, and it can be a challenge. Cool boy clothes are hard to find, particularly if you are working with a Target budget but prefer boutique brands. Cue eBay.

Shopping for baby clothes on eBay can be tiresome, to say the least. It is tedious work if you don’t have a specific brand in mind, and even then it can be a hassle. Unless you have a high-end boutique brand piece you want to sell, most sellers move their baby clothes in lots of 3 or more outfits, 5 or more pieces at a time. You can absolutely sell baby clothes on eBay, but your best bet is to be specific in your approach.

For the purpose of this post, I narrowed my search to “(baby, infant) boy” in Clothing, Shoes, Accessories/ Infants & Toddlers.

  • Searched “(baby, infant) boy”, though not in quotes
  • Found 7,388 active listings in Infants & Toddlers Clothing, Shoes, Accessories
  • Found 16,226 completed listings
  • Quick scan of recently completed listings showed that the listings ended with a sold/unsold ratio of slightly less than 50/50
  • High/ low sale prices are difficult to determine because most listings are lots, however removing the terms (lot, lots, clothes, clothing, outfits) revealed single items and outfits selling for as much as $40-$100, all of which were high-end boutique name brands
  • Average sold price $10
  • Lowest sold price range was far less than $1, often as little as $0.01. Ouch. Again, that is a bad call on the seller’s part, in my opinion, however we will discuss starting bids later.

Given that, for the most part, the baby clothes most of you seem to be considering selling is clothing you already own, a profit of close to $10 per listing would be a good risk. If the alternative is donating the clothes or selling them on a yard sale for a quarter, then go for it.

But do your research.

All of these example searches were very general. You will find much more specific and useful results when you search for your specific target items.

Try lots of different combinations, as well. For instance, when searching vintage aprons, try: apron (vintage, antique, retro, mod). The search terms within the parentheses means that your results could be any combination of apron and one or more of the listed terms, such as “vintage apron” or “antique apron” or “vintage mod apron.” You’ll end up with some non-vintage aprons, but it will also help you to see what styles are moving.

  • Completed Listings Searches are free to run for registered eBay users. All it costs you is time.
  • Next, we’ll discuss a short-cut to compliment your manual searches, the Marketplace Research feature. This is a paid feature that costs between $2.99 for a 2 day pass to $24.99 for a month. It cuts out a lot of the search and averaging work for you, though does not entirely replace some of the manual work you should still be growing accustomed to doing yourself as you research what sells on eBay.

Keep submitting your ideas for what you would like to sell on eBay to our comments or email them to me at velveteenmind at gmail dot com. If you’d like, they may be featured in a future post. Who doesn’t like having another take on their brainstorming work?

In the meantime, how are your target product searches going so far? Have you found that your target product is not selling for what you had hoped? Are you floored at the high bids your stash of goodies is drawing by some sellers? Have you stumbled upon some even better ideas hidden in your search results? Jump in, speak up, get involved!

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    On October 1st, 2007 at 6:23 pm, Nell said:

    Well, I don’t have as much experience as you do, but I’m curious as to why you say you’d never start an item at $.99. I’ve sold used children’s clothes several times, sometimes in batches, sometimes alone, depending on the items, and I found that the lower my starting bid, the higher the final price. Maybe this was a coincidence, or related somehow to what I was selling, but I swear it’s true.

    On October 2nd, 2007 at 5:29 am, Heat said:

    Just stopping in to tell you I think you’re doing a GREAT job!

    On October 2nd, 2007 at 7:23 pm, Juliesews said:

    I agree, and the five dollar “profit” on dublin dp doesn’t include ebay fees, paypal fees, boxes, peanuts and schlepping around those bottles. So while paying nineteen dollars for something that I buy at wal mart for $3.59 sounds good, it really isn’t.

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