Using Terapeak for eBay Market Research and Analytics

eBay terapeak
Terapeak is an analytical tool that can help an eBay business. Getty Images

Good market research is the key to success in any business. For eBay sellers, the market to be researched is the eBay marketplace and its customers, and one tool sellers can use is Terapeak. This service is available on the internet as well as mobile, and stores data extracted from eBay for up to a year. Below is a list of ways Terapeak can help an eBay seller increase sales.

Item Performance

Learn which items are performing well and which ones aren't. Terapeak shows how entire eBay categories are performing over the most recent week or month period. It also shows different metrics including total sales volume, total listing volume, total successful listing volume, bid activity, average per-listing bid activity, sell-through percentage, and average selling price.

Trending Products

Terapeak offers sortable hot lists of all current top-performing eBay categories, listing the overall sales rank for the category and the sell-through percentage for items listed there. The same is available for current top media items, shopper searches, products of all kinds, and listing titles, providing important metrics for each of these—things like a total number of bids and listings for items with the same title and overall GMV. But remember, just because a product is selling well does not mean the seller is making a profit. 80% of merchandise on eBay is new, and some are imported from China. Items like iPhone cases and fidget spinners may be hot and trending, but the seller may only be making razor thin profits on them. Very high sell-through rates usually are an indication of lower profit items.

Listing Upgrades 

Terapeak helps sellers discover features, descriptions, keywords, and listing upgrades will drive sales. This feature can be very helpful for sellers who aren't keyword savvy in a certain niche, such as fashion or trending home decor. The keyword feature helps sellers discover and learn what buzz words to use so that their listings can be matched up with buyers' searches. 

Competitor Research

More than just data, sellers can collect lists of listings from competitors, where they can examine them, see their results, and figure out what the description, title, and other listing property best practices are. Search not just by item, but also by the seller, conducting data on competitor's metrics including sell-through performance, average selling price, and other information.

Listing Type and Duration

Terapeak provides data about listing type and duration. Learn if a fixed price or auction is better for a specific type of item, and what duration results in the highest sell-through rate. In most cases, for sellers who run eBay as a business, fixed price, 30 days, with Best Offer, is the norm.

Longer Period for Archived Listings

eBay only archives data Because data is available for custom searching over the previous year (rather than just the previous 90 days as is the case on eBay), you're able to monitor your progress, the progress of your competitors, the progress of your favorite categories, or the progress of your favorite inventory items with a much more long-term, metrics-oriented view.

Limitations of Terapeak

As with any research tool, understand that the data is only as good as the way the information is presented. While Terapeak gives information like sell-through rates, this data is skewed by sellers who price too low, start off auctions at 99 cents, or take low offers. The data Terapeak provides does not show the entire picture or account for those factors. 

Terapeak likes to focus on sell-through rates. This can be highly inaccurate. Many times an item goes unsold because the seller has done something wrong on eBay, not that the item is inferior. To use Terapeak correctly, sellers must examine comps closely because sellers make mistakes such as not offering international shipping, or re-running auctions over and over again.

The item may not have sold because the photos were poorly taken, or there was no text in the description area. The seller may not have offered returns or done something else outside of eBay best practices that caused the item to go unsold. Sellers should take the time to closely evaluate the sold listings with the unsold listings and determine what causes listings to go unsold. 

Never rely on raw data. The best decision maker is the human brain. Research tools are just that, tools to help your business, not to make decisions for you.

Revised by Suzanne A. Wells