Tuesday, December 13, 2016

How to Test Market Your Invention or New Product on eBay


I am a huge fan of the TV Show Shark Tank. When watching the show, I've noticed several products that hit big were tested on eBay. (My ears always perk up when eBay is mentioned.) Unfortunately, many inventors may shy away from the eBay test market because they don't know how eBay works or are intimidated by the process. So this article is for you budding inventors or anyone who wants to test their invention or new product on eBay. I addition to these tips, I have some connections that may help you get your product into retail - contact me here to chat.

Why Test Your Invention or New Product on eBay?
eBay is the world's largest online marketplace and perfect for test marketing products for these reasons:
  • Huge audience assembled in one place (165 million users)
  • Diverse audience with people from all walks of life, both genders, all ages, and in over 80 countries
  • It is cheap to test a product on eBay (and can even be free!)
  • You can get feedback from shoppers and buyers about your product
  • You can easily tweak the price to discover the right price point for your product 
Generally speaking, eBay is a wonderfully convenient and inexpensive exploratory marketing tool.  If you have invented a cool item or have a new product to sell, and want to test the consumer waters, here is how to do it on eBay.

Sell on an Established eBay Account
If you are brand new to eBay, and don't have an established history, your results selling an invention or new product could be skewed - or you may not get any sales at all. New accounts mean the seller isn't experienced and buyers may avoid buying from that seller - either consciously or unconsciously. Find someone who has an established account to sell the item from their account or store. You could ask a friend, co-worker, or hire a consignment seller.

Give the Item a Keyword Rich Title
Buyers find what they want on eBay by using search keywords, just like on Google. Make sure buyers can find your item by using synonyms in the title if it is a product that buyers won't know the name of. Let's use our old friend The Snuggie as an example. When the Snuggie came out, no one would have searched for Snuggie because the name, along with the product, had just been invented. Nobody knew what a Snuggie was. Keywords for the Snuggie could be travel blanket, blanket with sleeves, wearable blanket, or unique gift. The key to sales on eBay is appearing in searches. Think about what buyers might search for that will lead to your product.

Give the Item a Keyword Rich Description
Same philosophy as with the title, make sure your description has keywords your buyer will search for. Remember, people are looking for a solution to a problem. They will often search Google or eBay for the problem to see what search results are returned. What problem does your product solve? For example, Shark Tank Product ReaderRest is a magnetic eyeglass holder. It solves the problem of lost glasses, broken or damaged glasses, stretched glasses (from wearing them on your head). Include the problem your product solves in the description on eBay so the search engine can find it.

No Keyword Spamming!
If your item is like something else, you may not use that brand or copyrighted word in your title. For example, if your invention is like a Squatty Potty, don't put that in your title. Use words like plastic toilet stool, digestive aid, or potty stool. Don't use another item's name in the title to get traffic to your listing. That is called keyword spamming and your listing can be removed.

Use a Variety of Listing Types
Some folks new to eBay assume a 7 day auction is the way to go. Maybe yes, maybe no. The problem with auctions is that they have very little exposure. 7 days isn't very long to wait for your buyer to find the item. You are using eBay for exposure - so you will need to let your item sit for a while so it can be seen. The effective frequency of an ad is 12 times. This means a buyer needs to see your ad or product 12 times before deciding to buy. Don't be in a hurry. It will take some time to get traction before buyers find and buy your item.  Try different listing types and durations. The biggest mistake you can make is to give up after a week because nobody bought one - avoid the 7 day auction when testing products on eBay.

Try Different Price Points
You know what it costs to make your product and you know what profit margin you want, but will buyers pay the sales price you are asking? Jiggling the price around will help you discover what buyers will pay. Try fixed price for at least 30 days, and add Best Offer. Using Best Offer will enlighten you to what buyers are willing to pay for the item.

If you have a great invention or new product you are trying to get to market, contact me here. I have some connections in the direct marketing world who may be able to help you.

Related Articles:

eBay Seller Increases Sales by 873% in 12 Months

How to List eBay Items Faster

How to Use Google Image Search for eBay Research


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