What's It Worth? Analyze Collectibles Sales Data from eBay
By Phil Dunn and Amy Balsbaugh
Whether you're a collector or sell to collectors, the burning question in most folks' minds is, "What's it worth?"
A company called SmartCollector (http://www.smartcollector.com) offers a free, easy-to-use service to help collectors and dealers get to the bottom of the value question while uncovering priceless information on just about any field of collecting.
SmartCollector has been storing and analyzing data from eBay's antiques and collectibles categories for the past three years. They've also stored data from select subcategories of books, pottery, toys and more. They use a data analysis system, along with insights from experts, to track trends, predict future trends in collecting, and even compare trends between different categories.
One very functional feature of Smart Collector is the ability to keyword search through completed eBay listings going back 120 days. Compare this to the 15 days of listings that eBay provides for completed searches. Best of all, Smart Collector has stored the item listings pages on their own site, so not only do you get the information on final gavel prices, you can open the page, see the pictures and read the item descriptions to learn even more about the items that sold.
Collectors will also appreciate SmartCollector's personal "Manage It" database. It allows users to create an inventory database of their collections, including fields to enter the date and price purchased for each item. You can even import your purchase data directly from eBay, as well as track the current values of comparable items.
Dealers will find Market Trend and Market Mix reports invaluable, as they offer insight into the scarcity and demand of different collectibles, and what to expect in the future for selling in specific categories. You can even keep an eye on the top sellers in each category.
For example, SmartCollector can tell you how many sellers are controlling most of the sales in a particular category. It would be really useful if they gave you the user IDs of the top sellers, but they don't.
eBay doesn't disclose sell-through rates for categories, but with SmartCollector, you can get hard numbers from three years back.
SmartCollector even has a mobile device service that allows you to look up trend data on your cell phone or Wi-Fi PDA. So the next time you're out antiquing and wonder if you've uncovered a "sleeper," you can find out in an instant if you've struck gold.
PriceMiner is another pricing tool that combines data from eBay along with two online antiques malls, GoAntiques and TIAS. You can also use PriceMiner on your wireless device, like a PDA or smart phone. http://www.priceminer.com
About the author:
Phil Dunn is a marketing and advertising writer and consultant for Fortune 500 companies, including Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Pitney Bowes and IKON. Amy Balsbaugh runs a lucrative eBay antiques and collectibles business, and has been a member of eBay's PowerSeller program since its inception. Phil and Amy co-authored "The 7 Essential Steps to Successful eBay Marketing" (McGraw-Hill, July 2005). See their Blog at http://ebay-marketing.blogspot.com, and their book at http://digbig.com/4dhwf.
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