The E-Commerce Entrepreneur – How Ebay Can Be Utilised As A Marketing Intelligence Tool

Very few e-commerce sites can compare to the selling power of ebay.

In fact, according to ebayinc.com, the total amount of successfully closed transactions (GMV – gross market value) was US20.9 billion dollars – in Q2 2016! It can easily be seen that nobody sells like ebay.

This phenomenal success translates to a wealth of information regarding market / buyer trends which can be utilised to better position your product/s in the marketplace. Ebay’s transparency regarding recent sales, enables you to stay ahead of the competition in pricing, services and offerings.

With such a huge amount of information available to you, it begs the question – how can I sift through the maze of data on ebay, to enable me to channel my marketing competitively? Let’s look at how best to extract this valuable information and how to utilise it to give your business a winning edge.

How – the best resources

Manually extracting information regarding a competitor’s pricing and products, is a laborious and time consuming job. Outsourcing it to a reputable third party such as Scraping Solutions who offer free daily reporting on your ebay competitors sales, is the most viable option. They can also enable you to customise programs to suit your requirements, enabling you to tailor specific searches to suit your needs.

Some of the questions which you need to ask are:

  • What specific data are you interested in?
  • What platform do you wish to use to interpret, modify or manipulate this information ie Excel?
  • What are your frequency requirements? Hourly, daily, monthly or one off?
  • Do you wish to obtain the software, or use a facilitator to provide you the information?

What – information which can be gleaned through data harvesting through ebay?

A myriad of options are available as to the information which can be harvested through ebay. Once you have ascertained exactly what data you require, it is only a short process to extract it and load it to into an excel file. You also have the ability to extract only unique data – no duplicate items. Information available includes:

  • Listing Id
  • Image
  • Seller
  • URL
  • Title
  • Category
  • Category ID
  • Price
  • Quantity sold

Double clicking on the URL will allow you to view the item in your browser so you know you are comparing ‘like for like’. This also enables you to hone down information so you can filter it to identify only the location you wish to search in.

Why – the benefits

Ebay is a powerful tool for consumers, allowing them to hone down searches to specific localities, price ranges, shipping costs and delivery expectations along with feedback regarding the experiences of other purchasers from a specific seller.

This transparency of information translates to opportunity for those sellers equipped with the tools to exploit it.

Data scraping software provides your business with the ability to target specific sellers who are your direct competition and compare ‘like for like’ products and pricing. The fact that price optimisation has been shown to improve gross profits by up to 10% means that you are armed with a leverage over your competitors.

With online consumers more price savvy than ever, undercutting your competitors price, shipping costs or delivery times can give your product a definite, quantifiable edge, keeping you abreast of the opposition.

The psychological edge

Having the cheapest price on ebay may not always win you a sale.

Some interesting studies have been done in consumer behaviour which identify marketing strategies which affect buyers choices.

As far as ebay is concerned, customers are often drawn to free postage, free delivery or a visibly discounted sale price. The perception needs to be, that they are obtaining quality at bargain price, when compared to the competition.

Highlighting words such as ‘genuine’ can intimate that other similar products on the market are not genuine and put doubt into a consumer’s mind regarding the quality of competitors product quality.

Sellers are always looking for an edge over the competition.

With ebay consumers able to price compare quickly and easily, knowing what your competitors are doing empowers you with a huge advantage when planning your pricing and marketing strategies. Exploit this knowledge and you are placing yourself in the best position for sales success.

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