mythI want to lay a myth to rest…

So, my E-Seller Mastery Mentoring Programme number 5 is now under way and this week as my students start reading up on what’s required I’ve been busy answering their emails and advising them to get started! One question that has appeared in my inbox from several students this week though is to do with competition on ebay – and I know this is a concern for many, especially when starting to sell online from scratch.

Now, I’m certainly not going to deny that there is a huge amount of competition on ebay – in some niches more than others – and this can indeed be very off-putting and hard to get your head around – particularly when you start researching an in-demand product, only to realise that some other seller has listed it at a cheaper price.

So, if another seller is advertising the same product as you (or one that you would like to source and sell yourself) and suddenly undercuts you with a price that you can’t match even with a bit of super-hard negotiating with your supplier, what do you do?

Well, I’ve been in this very situation a few times and I know just what a very frustrating experience it can be. It’s difficult not to get despondent when it feels like all of your hard work has been for nothing. If you’ve spent hours searching for your own niche market to sell within and you’ve sourced a great product and put together a fantastic listing, to see some idiot offering plain silly prices because they are totally unconcerned about making a decent profit is extremely annoying to say the least!

In fact, coincidentally, this scenario happened to me a few weeks ago when I calculated the profit margin on a product listed by another seller and that I had also sourced and listed. My listing ensured me a profit of £5.55 per item sold. The other seller’s listing gave a profit of only 74p per item sold simply because they were offering the product at a barely break-even price!

BUT…my item still sold in slightly less but similar quantities to the other seller. So for every 5 they sold they made a profit of £3.70. For every 3 I sold I made a profit of £16.65.

So you might be asking, how on earth did I manage to compete?

Well first of all you definitely need to alter your mindset and dispel the myth that you have to offer the cheapest, silliest price you can think of to be able to sell successfully within your chosen niche market!

This ‘you have to sell cheap’ strategy is absolutely not true and I know this from experience with a number of my own products – past and present. Many buyers on ebay will spend more money than they need to just to ensure they get a better service or a faster dispatch time, if you have a more persuasive and descriptive listing or simply because of a bidding war if you are using an auction listing format.

It’s entirely possible to dominate a niche even if you aren’t the cheapest seller – I’ve been there and done it myself – so for starters, here are two strategies that will help get your listings working for you, without the need to lower your prices.

Use relevant keywords to get your listing seen

I’ve talked about keywords before and that’s because this is one of the most important pieces of advice I can give you!

In order to sell your products you must get people to find them in the first place. Your keywords should reflect what people are actually searching for and should be totally relevant to your product. So, put yourself in the shoes of your buyer and think about which words you would use if you were searching on eBay for your product.

If another seller is listing the same product and they are appearing high in the search results, look at their keywords. Which keywords are they using to achieve a high search placement? If you can replicate this, it will help your listings move higher up the searches because ebay already sees those keywords as relevant (because people have searched for those words and purchased from the listings that have those keywords – and ebay show what’s popular). There is no law against using the same set of keywords as another seller (as long as they are relevant to your product too).

Once you have done this, buyers will see your listing in the search results and start to click through to your actual description itself. Once you have persuaded them to click through to your description, the price is actually immaterial because at this point you will have written such a great listing that your viewers will be desperate to purchase! It won’t matter that you are not the cheapest in your niche because you will have ‘wowed’ your potential buyer in other ways within your listing description – which I’ll talk about next!

Create persuasive descriptions to make you and your product the superior selection

Writing the perfect ebay listing description is a skill. You need to be persuasive without being over the top, descriptive without being boring and must make sure that you display your text attractively without being garish. It takes time and practice to craft the perfect listing, and I am confident that you are perfectly capable of it – once you understand exactly what a prospective buyer is looking for.

So, think about the following points when creating all of your descriptions and you will start to see a difference in sales, even though your items may not be the cheapest in the niche:

1. Identify with your potential buyer – solve the problem that they have – after all that’s why they are looking at your product in the first place!

2. Include all the essential information that a buyer needs to see – and be completely honest. This includes sizes, colours, model numbers and also other information that will persuade someone to purchase – fast dispatch, free postage and money back guarantee.

3. The majority of internet users like to skim text so it’s best to use easy to read bullet points and headings to put across the main elements of your item, and highlight key selling points in bold or in a different colour. This will help you to direct the attention of your visitors to those few lines in your listing that will spur them on to actually making the purchase from you.

4. Ensure your English is accurate, as spelling and grammatical mistakes can easily put people off, sending them straight for the ‘back button’! We’re all guilty of the odd grammatical or spelling error that creeps in accidentally, but it’s just not professional.

5. Add photographs to your actual description as well as using the gallery images available. If it’s easy for potential buyers to see what they will be purchasing whilst they are reading the details, rather than having to keep going back and flicking through the gallery images at the top of the listing, it makes it far more user friendly – and again can help you make that sale.

So, please don’t think that you have to sell cheap to make sales. It’s not true, and if everyone realised this, many ebay sellers would be making far more profit than they already are! As I said, I won’t deny that competition is fierce – because it is – but with the knowledge, skill, common sense and determination the sales will happen.