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Selling Smarter on eBay with ShelfTrend Competitive Intelligence Tool

eBay sellers can now monitor competitors and obtain detailed information about products in real-time through an eBay-certified application called ShelfTrend. Imagine being able to print a report for a particular product – “sleeping bag,” for example – that shows the top 500 Best Match listings with price range, postage range, quantity, number of sellers, number of brands, and number of sold.

And imagine being able to see details in a spreadsheet including: seller name, Best Match rank, price, listing type (Fixed Price, auction, or Store inventory), condition, Multivariation, Quantity, Quantity sold, views, Top Rated listing, and more.

ShelfTrend offers these reports, and even lets you drill into a seller’s listings so you can see which brands they sell and the rank, category, format, etc. for that seller’s listings. Those with a premium plan can delve into data by brand – and all of the reports can be filtered (you can look at auction-format listings only, for example, or those offering Best Offer).

This level of competitive research could help you in numerous ways, such as when you’re deciding which products to source and what price you might expect to attain, and – arguably even more important – how to attain better exposure in search results.

Anojan Abel led eBay’s Buyer Experience, Search and Structured Data programs before leaving to start ShelfTrend. He believes that faster insights into search ranking relative to other products help sellers better understand why and when listing visibility changes.

Abel calls ShelfTrend an inventory intelligence tool – the earlier a merchant spots an opportunity, the more likely they will stay ahead of competition and succeed, he told EcommerceBytes. But he makes it clear it’s not an analytics tool – in other words, it doesn’t report on the source of traffic coming to your listing.

“eBay is a very competitive place to do business, and the seller who is able to determine how and why a competing product is successful has the advantage in making the right improvements to their product to entice buyers to their offer,” he said. “Most sellers rely on a few important products that contribute the most income to their business, and these are the ones that need to be constantly monitored.”

How can ShelfTrend help sellers make product-sourcing and product pricing decisions?

“Product Sourcing is a closely guarded secret in our experience and sellers want to avoid being caught with stock. Our service can help a seller decide if a product is worth sourcing based on the level of competition in the category the seller is going into.”

Abel provided an example. “If you were looking to source and sell sleeping bags, a quick search on ShelfTrend would give you a Live Listings overview of the number of sellers and brands that are already ranking, the price and postage ranges you need to charge to be considered and the sales quantities the top sellers are achieving. We save sellers time and money entering a battlefield where a price war to the bottom and small margins are the only way to trade.”

SCREENSHOT ShelfTrend_Data_F

Above: A screenshot of a report ShelfTrend generated for EcommerceBytes shows the top 500 Best Match listings for sleeping bags in the US (cropped for room).

SCREENSHOT ShelfTrend_Top500_ChartView_F

Above: The same report, but in the form of charts to help sellers visualize the data.

“We are always working on new reporting features to keep sellers data driven in their businesses,” said Abel. “Sellers are time poor and often will make decisions on instinct and experience, we want to complement this with the insights we can provide.”

ShelfTrend is also introducing some new reports:

– Supply & demand: Find supply gaps that show signs of buyer demand, comparing Live Listings vs. Price and Units sold per week (velocity).
– Best Match rank monitor: Watch for page rank drops and rises.
– Category level merchandise assortment: identify the most efficient brand and product mix…plus many more.

And additional ways to slice and dice the data:

– Split results by page rank.
– Find out when top selling items were listed.
– Understand how fast items are selling per week.
– Zoom into Product level attributes.

Newly introduced this month, all reports are accompanied with interactive chart visualizations. “We hope our new visual approach and access to data to learn what best match is showing to buyers and where there is a gap/low supply area for a new product to enter resonates with most sellers,” said Abel.

ShelfTrend allows users to search and filter in numerous ways, including:
– Search by Seller, Brand, and Title;
– Filter by Rank, Category, Price, Condition, Location
– Formats: Fixed Price, Auction, Auction BIN, Store Inventory, Ad Format, Best Offer, and MSKU

Does ShelfTrend have any plans to offer information to merchants about Amazon data, we asked? “This is one of the top requests we receive from our customers, and we are working on it,” he answered.

ShelfTrend has a Free plan and a Premium plan that is priced at $9.99/month until October 16th, at which point the price rises to $14.99/month. Anyone subscribing before the 16th can sign up for the $9.99 plan indefinitely. Sellers can also explore custom plans by contacting the company – see the ShelfTrend pricing page for more information.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

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