eBay Power Search Offers Advanced Features including Wildcards
By Ina Steiner
Serious buyers and sellers know the importance of good search, and EcommerceBytes is kicking off its new Online Seller Tools with a powerful application for searching eBay. Third-party developer "Watched Item" created eBay Power Search to help professional buyers, serious collectors and online sellers "get to the good stuff" on eBay and provide enhanced search functionality.
Watched Item founder Michelle Waldorf created the tool for users who seek out eBay listings that others are "watching," believing it helps identify quality, sought-after items, and for buyers and sellers who want to use eBay's wildcard search functionality to find misspelled words or a portion of a part number and save time.
The eBay Power Search tool, the first to be offered on the EcommerceBytes Online Seller Tools portal, is based on Waldorf's eBay search tool on WatchedItem.com.
Like many ecommerce developers, Waldorf started as buyer and seller herself. In her case, she started selling Tahari women's suits on eBay in 2005. "I fell in love with helping people make their purchase decision and feel good about their item," she said. "I'm a techie at heart, so I created this tool so people can find the best items from the best sellers."
eBay Power Search
Watched Item is a search tool that helps you find the best listings within a niche on eBay, Waldorf explains, and eBay Power Search offers users on EcommerceBytes the same functionality.
eBay Power Search covers all eBay U.S. and international sites, but only includes active listings. Watched Item earns revenue through the eBay Partner Network, the company's affiliate program.
Wildcard searches enable shoppers to broaden their search for an item by finding plural forms of nouns and alternative endings - a search for "base*" would find all listings whose titles contain the words "base," "bases" or "baseball," for example.
eBay recently eliminated wildcard searching on its marketplace. Waldorf explained, "eBay optimizes their search capabilities for the typical buyer and have hidden some options such as wildcard search and watcher count. eBay provides an incredibly powerful API so developers can build sites for the needs of serious buyers, collectors, and sellers."
With eBay Power Search, serious buyers and sellers looking for inventory can keyword-search using a wildcard asterisk (*) to find misspelled words or a portion of a part number.
Watcher Count: Strategic Searching
Shoppers add interesting items to their eBay "watch" list; the more watchers an item gets, the more popular it is. According to Waldorf, comparing the number of watchers of similar items is a great way to judge value. "Great items get a lot of watchers. A low number of watchers means you found a hidden deal."
"Collectors like to see listings sorted by the number of watchers so they can spot the most remarkable items and devise a bidding strategy," she said. Sellers research other seller IDs to see what's selling, get product ideas, and buy inventory.
Tips for Sellers
Waldorf is always working on new projects. Her latest website is called WonderFinds.com, designed for people who love to share recommendations of great things. "People can recommend anything that made their life notably better and could help someone else. A great find can be as simple as Witch Hazel for making skin clear and bright, or a GoPro wearable camera that records your outdoor adventures." The recommendations feature is still in progress, she says, but the site is functional.
Waldorf notes that "visual product discovery" is very popular with buyers, and recommends sellers use great photos to make their listings stand out from the rest. "Take very sharp, detailed photos in morning or evening sunlight or bright indoor light," she recommends. "Make sure you keep the photo dimension aspect ratio 4:3 or 3:2 with the minimum dimension larger than 500px. You want to avoid cropping your photo into a long rectangle that will either be displayed too small or cut off."
As for eBay Power Search, Waldorf says she sees users researching their niche over 15 times a day. You can try out the tool at eBay Power Search, and suggest other tools and calculators for EcommerceBytes free seller tools portal by using the email link at the top right hand corner of the page.
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About the author:
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). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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