Build Your eBay Business and Make More Money on eBay with Niche Marketing, Part 1

Don’t try and compete with large sellers of consumer products on eBay. The real money for the little guy is in niche marketing.

I get email from people trying to make a living on eBay all the time asking where they can find the magic wholesale source for iPods, DVD players, XBoxs, Nikon cameras and Gucci shoes and handbags.  The problem isn’t that you can’t find wholesale sources for these products –you can.  Simply contact the manufacturer and ask for the name of their distributor. Many times these distributors can be found on line.  The problem is that you will need to buy very large quantities and the margins on these products are very small.  Sometimes it is better to leave the big produts to the big guys.

The way to make money on eBay today is find a small niche and exploit it.  And you don’t have to work in just one niche –you can have several as I do. 

There are two primary benefits of niche marketing:

  1. Sourcing
  2. Selling

Let’s look at each one:

Sourcing

The more time you spend in a market or product category you will learn all the sources of supply for that market. The more you know about a product the better you will be able to buy it.

When I was in the antique business, I used to sell a broad line of 18 th and 19 th century American antiques. However, within that, I used to specialize in the niche of early American woodworking tools. After a couple of years I developed an expertise and a “feel” for the products. I could recognize makers, spot reproductions and I knew what tools were in high demand from collectors that would command high prices. Once I developed the expertise, my profits shot though the roof.

Remember the old adage on pricing: You make money when you buy not when you sell. Well I became a very savvy buyer –well able to spot bargains. Also, as word spread that I specialized in old woodworking tools, people with things to sell started seeking me out. At one point I was the largest old tool dealer in our state and I routinely bought antique tools that I could sell at markups of 200% to 300%.

When you decide to specialize in a niche of any kind the first thing you want to do is become expert in that area. Learn and read everything you can about it. Study the history of the product. Get to know the companies that manufacturer the product and their distributors. The more you know the better you will be able to buy.  Jonathan Gariss, now a huge eBay PowerSeller, sells overstocked and surplus shoes.  He started small but has done so well that shoe companies now come to him with their excess inventory.

Selling

The other major benefit of niche marketing is selling. The very fact that you are selling on eBay in a narrow market segment means you will have less competition and therefore you can command higher margins.

The other factor is that people prefer to buy from someone who is knowledgeable. Terry Gibbs is one of the largest and most well-known sellers of antique toys and trains on eBay. People seek him out for his knowledge and his integrity. Everyone knows that when Terry describes a toy in one of his auctions, the description is accurate, he doesn’t sell fakes or reproductions and he will stand behind everything he sells.  I get lots of questions from eBay buyers. If you are selling something and you get a question, as an expert or a specialist you will be able to answer the question with authority and detail that will give the bidder instant confidence and more than likely result in a bid.

The other selling advantage of niche marketing is the ability to accurately describe products in your auction descriptions. The extensive knowledge you develop from being a specialist allows you to add more data and “insider” information that someone else can not. A potential bidder looking at your auction will have more confidence and perhaps bid more liberally than otherwise.

Tomorrow we will cover how to find your niche so you can build your business and make more money on eBay.

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