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How To Dominate Your Niche Market on eBay

April 29th, 2007 by Skip McGrath

Build your eBay business, crush the competition and increase your eBay profits by dominating your niche.

There are several advantages to building a niche market on eBay.  Among them are less competition and therefore the ability to retain pricing power. But an overlooked advantage is the ability to concentrate your resources and dominate your niche.  This further hinders any competition you might have, makes it difficult for new competitors to enter the market, leads to repeat sales and helps you create a list of interested customers for long term sales.

If there are 10 competitors in a given market that doesn’t mean that each of them have 10% of the market. One of them could control 50% of the sales in that market and the other 9 competitors could be splitting up the other 50% –or any combination thereof.  So where do you want to be in that mix?  Obviously I would rather be the guy with the 50%.

So how does one go about dominating an eBay niche market?

If you want to make money on eBay with niche marketing, it comes down to three key strategies:

1. Offer a broad range of products within the niche.

For example, lets say you decided to sell vacuum food savers.  There are two major brands and a couple of minor brands.  Each brand has several models. And then there are the accessories and the supplies (vacuum bags).  You would want to carry at least two brands, a wide range of accessories and all of the supplies.  As for the models you would want to carry an entry-level budget model as well as the mid and top-of-the-line sets.

Think how customers shop on eBay.  Someone stats by typing a keyword into the eBay search engine.  When the listings come up, people scan them to see which result meets their needs.  If you have a lot of models and brands and your competitor only has one or two, you will dominate those search results.  Once someone clicks on your eBay listing make sure that each individual listing has a prominent link to your other listings (including stores) and tell folks right up front that you have other models and brands if they click on the link.

2. Run all types of listings

eBay gives you a choice of auction style, BIN, fixed price, Dutch auction or eBay store listings.  You should use all five in such a way that each supports the other.  There are all kinds of shoppers on eBay: Bargain hunters, impulse buyers, immediate gratification shoppers and those who just get caught up in the excitement of bidding.  You want to appeal to all four. For example, if someone is a bargain hunter and you have an item that you got on closeout for a very low price, you will want to put a link to that item right in each auction description.  Here is how you do that:

Place the bargain item in an eBay store listing at a fixed price. Now in each of your auction or fixed price listings create a link that says: Click here for our special of the week.  The words "click here" would link right to the listing.

You can do the same thing to capture those who want something now without waiting for an auction to end.  Just create a link in your listings that says: "Click here to purchase this item now from my eBay store. Free same-day shipping on all store purchases." (Don’t forget to build the shipping cost into your price).

There are several variations of these examples. The point is to create all types of listings and use them to cross-promote your other listings.

3. Promote your expertise

When someone is buying any kind of specialized product, they prefer to buy from a specialist. If your listings contain lots of good information and complete descriptions of your product, people will believe you have some expertise and that you specialize in a product. 

Going back to our example of food savers.  If you state the brand and model name and show a nice photo, this doesn’t give anyone the impression that you know anything special about the product. If a buyer already knew exactly what they were looking for, and they found your product and the price was right, they would probably buy it.  But, if someone knew they were looking for a vacuum food saver and didn’t know much about them, they would be hesitant to buy because they aren’t sure it’s right for them. 

On the other hand, if your auction description talked about the benefits of this particular model and compared it to other models or brands and talked about the quality, availability of spare parts and repairs, the accessories available and so on, this give the customer much more confidence in what they are buying and in your knowledge.  Now –if you also offer a free eBook as a bonus, such as Tips for Using Your Food Saver, you have taken an extra step to solidify your expertise, given the customer confidence that you know what you are talking about and created extra value in their mind.

The other way to promote your expertise on eBay is to write reviews and guides on the products you sell and link them to your listings.  I have been doing this for the past 6 months and it has increased my sell through rate by almost 5%.

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