Vic had a good vlog post called 100 BANS Sites where he talked about selecting the product ID for your BANS store. I thought I’d throw together a quick post to compliment his that might help you find your way around eBay and the category selection strategy I’m using. This method should work well for BANS or simply building RSS Feed and eBay Sniplet sites like I mentioned earlier. It actually isn’t that different from the pattern I followed when I was looking for potential products to sell on eBay a few years ago. It’s just for a BANS site you’re looking for a category that is served well rather than being underserved.
What To Look For
It starts at the category listing page on eBay:
This gives us a big huge list of all the top level categories on eBay and how many items are currently active in that category. Now you can break it down further into a category that looks promising to you. In this example, let’s use “Rubber Stamping & Embossing” where we see a healthy 25000+ items listed. This means there are probably a good number of sellers and buyers in that area. Plus it’s a hobby area, one of the better niches to be in when selling on eBay as an established seller.
Now, let’s dig a little deeper.
Narrowing Things Down
As you can see we have the option to narrow down our search further into sub-categories. We see that “Rubber Stamps” has a large number of listings at about 21,000. Is this a good category to use in your BANS site? I’d say, probably not. Here’s why.
When we look at the listings we see that the price of rubber stamps is rather low, typically a few dollars and almost always under $25 except for large lots. These items aren’t that profitable to sell on eBay and the potential eBay commissions will be lower too. So, let’s dig around a bit more and see what we can find.
“Stamping Tools & Equipment” has just over 300 items listed. When you look at the price most of them fall into the $25-$150 price range. This is one of the ’sweet spots’ for profitable selling on eBay because it makes enough money to be profitable but isn’t so expensive that it rules out the impulse purchase or bid. Of course, some categories will be a bit higher than this but this is a good average range. More expensive categories will result in higher commissions but won’t come as often. It’s a trade off that you should bear in mind.
Will it Sell?
Next, do a search on completed auctions to see if items in that category are selling well. Go to the “search options” on the sidebar and check the “completed listings” checkbox and then click the “show items” button below.
It looks like things are selling well in the “Stamping Tools & Equipment” category since there are close to 1000 auctions in the past few weeks and most of them sold. The green price on the completed auctions listing indicates a completed sale while red indicates an item that didn’t sell. This indicates that this would be a good niche to build a BANS site around so far as eBay is concerned.
Of course, there still is the matter of getting enough Google traffic. There are some very good search terms in this niche but I’ll let you look for them if you want to try it out.
What if a niche isn’t a good performer? Back up and work down another query path. Remember that you’re looking for sub-categories where the selling is in a ’sweet spot’ price range and the items are selling well plus where the items will break down even further into sub-categories. Also remember not all of the categories drill down to as low a level as in the example above so you may need to identify them yourself using search terms. As Vic says though, don’t overthink it. It shouldn’t take you more than a couple of minutes to determine if a category niche has good potential.
What do you think? Let me hear from you if you have any thoughts or questions on picking out niches on eBay.