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Love it or hate it, eBay has become the yardstick by which all other online selling sites are measured. In 2017 alone, eBay’s net revenue hovered around a staggering 9.7 billion U.S. dollars. Not only does this offer a prime outlet for sellers, but it also represents a goldmine of information as to consumer trends, tastes and buying habit, to any entrepreneurial online company willing to exploit it.
How so, you may well ask? No matter which product your company sells online, someone will have sold it on eBay before. Millions of buyers are providing you with free information as to what they are buying, how much they are willing to pay, as well as a myriad of other crucial data which will best position you to be competitive in your product market.
Extraction and analysis
For the average seller, trawling through thousands of sold listings to extract sales data, is a laborious and time-consuming process. Employing the services of an ethical, automated web scraper can save hundreds of man hours and provide a wealth of information surrounding buyer habits and competitor sales.
These third party services can provide daily reporting, statistical analysis and tailored programs; optimised for your unique business. Imagine having the ability to instantly access data which furnishes you with a genuine, quantifiable sales advantage.
So, what exactly can be gained through transparent data harvesting off eBay? Some of the valuable methods and insights can be obtained by identifying a direct competitors product and listing ID. From this you can compare a multitude of data, including:
- Title structure and wording
- Marketing content
- Category ID
- Sold quantities
This information and more is presented in spreadsheet form which makes it easily manipulated. Spreadsheets allow users to filter data and hone it down to specific items. Having the ability to access competitors URL, means you can compare ‘like for like’ products.
Meeting and exceeding expectations
Scraping data from eBay provides transparency into a range of other buyer behaviours, such as preferences to shipping costs and delivery methods, along with feedback analysis and insights into how, why and when, shoppers make purchases.
All of this information is available to be exploited by shrewd sellers. Those that use this tool, have an invaluable edge over their competitors.
As an example of this, in 2016 respondents to a survey by UPS, stated that they are more likely to buy from sellers who used a free shipping policy. The total value of a sale may have been the same as a seller who used a flat fee or calculated postage cost but the psychological advantage of using free shipping, is undeniable. One seller who implemented free shipping reported customers average spending increased by almost $620 over a two year period.
The above scenario shows how one single piece of strategic marketing can influence buyers perceptions and behaviour. Understanding buyers expectations equips a business with the tools to meet them. Imagine how optimising every aspect of the selling process could impact your bottom line!
Another aspect of marketing which can influence buyers is of course images and product depiction. This is yet another area where web scraping can be utilised to pinpoint direct competition, make image comparisons and identify the most successful way to present and market your product using competitors sales results.
As an example of this, it has been found that eBay listings which have the highest conversion rate, have an average of eight to 10 pictures, yet 85% of listings have only a single image. Fewer than 2% of listings have the optimal amount of images. These simple statistics show that the average eBay seller is not making best use of this online platform. It also shows how easy it can be to get a selling edge, using such knowledge.
If the key to successful selling is knowing what buyers want and what motivates them to commit to a purchase, then understanding how to exploit that knowledge therefore must give businesses an edge.
Empowering your sales campaign through marketing intelligence is the way of the future.These tools are available to everyone, and those savvy enough to utilise them will be equipping themselves to compete and win in an international market.