Many eBay sellers believe they should sell highly requested products, wanted by millions of customers, i.e. Apple iPhones or Gucci Handbags.
This is a probably the fastest way to KILL your eBay business, and the WORST strategy you can choose.
The idea in a nutshell –
A small eBay business is more likely to grow and succeed by focusing on a narrow demographic, understanding their needs, and offering a focused & differentiated shopping experience, along with more specific marketing messages that are better tuned to those specific audiences. Once it establishes itself for a narrow customer segment, a business can expand to bigger ones.
This post is a paraphrase to Dave McClure’s – Niche to Win, Baby. A brilliant post that I highly recommend to any business, eBay or otherwise to read, and re-read.
I strongly believe in the power of FOCUS. It may sound counter intuitive for many – by narrowing down your marketing focus on a specific segment, you are x100 more likely to succeed and grow your business.
We experienced this with our eCommerce business – We narrowed it down on the small-mid filmmakers in UK.
And now with CrazyLister – We focus on eBay businesses.
The same approach worked for companies you might have heard of –
- Amazon started out by being an online book store.
- Facebook started out with pictures of college students who Mark Zuckerberg wanted to try and get a date with.
- Uber first connected San Francisco nerds with a few taxi drivers who weren’t total alcoholics.
Most eBay businesses begin with zero experience, having crappy listings, offering a mediocre customer service etc.
But that’s exactly the thing – If you are able to attract even some customers to your (initially crappy) eBay business, and actually make them buy from you, that’s a great sign… it means you have the potential to grow your business.
It means you have at least SOMETHING better than other sellers for SOME customers. Because, otherwise nobody would buy from you…
The secret is to find a product niche where you can create added value + find a segment of customers who will appreciate this value, and have the combination of these two create a just barely better shopping experience than the more established competitors.
Dave calls this strategy “Niche to Win”.
You may hear reactions such as –
- “You’re thinking too small”
- “You’re narrowing your market too much”
- “You’re not ambitious enough”
But let’s look at this example –
Say you have a small eCommerce business selling headphones, and you’re competing against Amazon, Wallmart, BestBuy or well established, big eBay sellers.
Feels like a lost battle right? How will the small poor you win against those giants?
But now consider this – those companies focus broadly on a huge, largely undifferentiated market, with the only focus being “people who look for headphones”.
Now, as a small business, you can focus on:
Headphones for Women…
… Aged 20-40
… Who live in California
… Who need the headphones for swimming
… Who are busy and willing to pay extra for professional service and great product
When you look at the above segmentation, it becomes much easier to research & discover their common needs, pains and wishes, and build a shopping experience aimed at answering to their specific needs.
Think of such a lady looking at your competitor’s eBay listing, she will see a marketing message in the line of “Best headphones for everybody”
Now, here’s a message she can get from your listings – “These headphones are the perfect fit for female swimmers. Free 1 day delivery to California”
You are x10 more likely to win the customer with your focused message, even if your price is higher for the exact same item.
You just showed the customer that you understand her needs, you specialize in this niche, and she will have a much higher chance for her needs to be answered by doing business with you VS the “best for all” Big co.
Once you win over the 20-40 aged female swimmers of California, you can expand to more female sports categories, then to general “Headphones for Female”, then you become a giant yourself – offering “Best headphones for all” 😉 And then the smaller businesses will begin eating away at your niche segments…
A word about specialization and focus –
Take a look at what happens for eBay itself, an all-in-one eCommerce giant with more and more niche+segment focused companies taking bites from it’s pie –
Etsy – Niche Marketplace for All things unique and handmade
Beepi – Niche Marketplace for motors
Lyst – Niche Marketplace for fashion
Tindie – Niche Marketplace for electronics
Well, you get the idea – Focus and conquer!