Can You Successfully Sell Non Niche Products Online?

To start up a successful online business you should find a niche market.

This is me, basically quoting myself! And my quote is absolutely true and is in my opinion the best way to get started. However, just recently I received an email in which I was asked whether it’s absolutely imperative that you do sell in a niche – specifically on eBay. In other words, can you instead build a business on eBay by selling a variety of non-related products but that all produce a good profit.

The answer is that when it comes to eBay (and I must reiterate, only eBay) a successful start up may on occasion involve sales of non niche products. But quite honestly, this strategy can only really work on eBay for a reason which I’ll explain in just a moment.

First, let me explain my ‘choosing a niche’ concept

What should you sell on eBay? This is a question that has been asked of me a gazillion times and I’m afraid there isn’t one simple straight-forward answer. There is no one particular ‘get rich quick’ product that I or anyone else can suggest that will make you your fortune on eBay.

With this in mind, I always suggest choosing a niche that you are interested in, have a related skill to or have some knowledge about as a starting point.

Collating a list of your hobbies and interests can easily help you identify a niche. All you need to do is ask yourself these very simple questions:

  • What are you passionate about?
  • What are your interests?
  • What topics do you like to read about?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What types of job have you had?
  • Are there any specific subjects in which you have knowledge or skills?
  • What clubs do you belong to?

Then, once you’ve listed all of these things, think about how you can potentially turn them into a product to make a viable business. For example, is there a way you can turn your expertise on a particular subject into a physical product, is there an idea that you can come up with that others who enjoy similar interests to you would like or is there anything related to your hobbies or interests that you can create.

Are there any products already selling successfully that you can use your knowledge to add a twist to, to make a better product.

That’s the traditional way of choosing a niche and one that I champion because there are loads of advantages. If you’re going to be selling something you’re passionate about and specialize in, it stands to reason that if you adore what you’re doing, you have a much greater chance of sticking with it, enjoying it and making a success of it.

By being highly knowledgeable and enthusiastic about what you sell, you’ll be far more attentive to your customers’ needs. This results in more satisfied customers, and ultimately repeat business.

In choosing a niche that you are familiar with, your insight into your products will make it easy to spot deals when you’re sourcing products to resell. If you don’t know anything about what you’re selling, you won’t know how to spot the in demand products that could be sitting right in front of you!

Within a niche, you’ll be dealing with the same types of customer over a period of time, and so you’ll start to understand the mindset of your target market and what your customer actually wants and this will help you sell your products better.

And this, quite frankly, is why selling related products within a niche works best.

But, I did say earlier that in some instances it doesn’t always have to be this way – specifically when it comes to eBay.

With eBay you can sell various non niche, but profitable, products and still make money.

You can source current profitable products as one offs, or look for bargains in the sales, at charity shops, on liquidation sites or on other sales venues and flip those items on eBay for a profit each time. In fact there are part time sellers who are making a decent amount from doing this right now.

So there is no harm in kick starting your eBay business by selling a variety of products that are not related to each other nor fall into a particular niche.

The main thing to remember though is that this method is a starting point only and definitely not a strategy you should use for long term viability.

For a start, you will have to constantly research and find new products to list rather than researching and sourcing a profitable product and selling it over and over again. Adding one off products continually, means more work in all areas. On top of this, one off but profitable products often mean you will be competing on price and can expect very small margins.

But the main issue is that by not narrowing your business down to a specific niche, once you expand and want to sell off eBay – for example on your own website – it’s very difficult to build a successful store when you haven’t got a main niche focus and are trying to shift dozens of products in dozens of categories because it will be difficult to drive targeted traffic to your store and make sales. The marketing will be down to you.

On eBay this isn’t a problem because your potential customers have already found their way to the site and assuming you’ve got an in demand product they will easily find you.

All successful businesses diversify and expand and this is why it’s important not to rely solely on eBay with a mish mash of products.

The most successful sellers are those who understand that research is key – both into the marketplace and the competition to determine the saleability and profitability of a product. They also know that the long term success of their business does not depend on selling ‘one off’ products.

So the formula for real success is to settle on a niche and find the products that sell well, then sell that product over and over again.

In the short term, selling a variety of products on eBay is perfectly acceptable to enable you to initially build your business and of course your reputation, but long term, a niche based business plus the addition of your own web store, is a far wiser and more business-savvy option.