A question that appears in my inbox very frequently concerns the amount of “competition” on eBay and in particular what the best plan of action to take is when a competitor jumps into your own very carefully researched and selected niche market, and undercuts you with a price that you can’t possibly meet and still expect to make a decent profit from.
I’ve been in this very situation a few times over the past seven years and I know just what a heart- breaking and very frustrating experience this 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 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 frustrating! Don’t worry, though, because there are steps you can take to ensure that not all is lost should this happen to you.
So, what can you do now that you have this extra competition and you know you can’t match the other sellers’ prices? Well, you most definitely shouldn’t throw in the towel because, fortunately, I am pleased to tell you that you don’t necessarily have to offer the cheapest price to be able to sell successfully within your chosen niche market!
Does this sound unbelievable? Are you thinking that surely everyone that shops on eBay is just simply looking for the cheapest priced item that they can get their hands on?
Well this is absolutely not true and I know this from experience. Many buyers on eBay will spend more money than they need to just to ensure they get a better service, a faster dispatch time, or simply because they get sucked into bidding war.
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 I thought that this month I would share a few strategies with you that will help get your listings to the top, without the need to lower your prices. Here are my four top tips:
1. Use relevant keywords to get your listing seen in the first place
This is the most important piece 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. 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 and also look on eBay Pulse for more keyword ideas to use. Once you have done this and added the correct keywords to your listing title your product will appear higher in the search results and potential buyers will 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 in point 3 in just a moment!
2. Offer something unique to persuade a buyer to purchase from you
This could be free postage, it could be the promise of an immediate same-day dispatch if they order before a certain time of day or it could even be a more detailed description of the item in question with lots of images and even a video if this lends itself to your product. Whatever you offer, it must be something different to that of your rivals. In effect, you are looking for something to grab the attention of your prospective buyers and steal it from sellers offering the same product for a cheaper price.
Now, for you to be able to conduct this step effectively I can’t stress enough the importance of researching your own niche market. Knowing the price that your rivals are selling your products for is only half of the story; you must also know what their listing descriptions are like, how much information they provide, how much they charge for postage and how quickly they dispatch. Armed with this valu- able knowledge you will be in a much better position to think of something different that you can add to make your own product the better deal.
3. Create persuasive descriptions to make you and your product the superior selection
Writing the perfect eBay listing description is something of an art form. You need to be persuasive without being over the top, descriptive without being boring and you 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.
Think about the following points when writing 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:
- Remember to 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!
- Include all the essential information that a buyer needs to see – and be completely honest. Describing your item as new when it should blatantly fall into the used category will only earn you negative feedback that could damage your business.
- Bear in mind that the majority of Internet users like to skim through text so it’s best to use easy-to-read bullet points and headings to sum up 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.
- Ensure that your English is accurate, as spelling and grammatical mistakes easily put people off, sending them straight to your competition! Personally, I hate to see listings full of errors – it’s just not professional but you would be surprised at how many listings I see that suffer from terrible English. When I see mistakes, I tend to think that the person creating the listing was probably in a hurry, but if they are in a hurry to write their listings then it’s possible that they may also be in a hurry when posting my item, perhaps packaging it poorly or even forgetting to post it promptly amidst their busyness. So it doesn’t send out a very good image!
4. Value customer service above all else to keep your buyers coming back for more
If you make customer service your number one priority it will show in your feedback. Your buyers will feel valued, they will feel important to you and these feelings will keep them coming back for more every time they need to purchase a similar item, even if you don’t offer the cheapest price.
It’s easy to keep your customers at the forefront of your mind. Be ready to offer refunds if required, respond to questions and queries quickly and politely, and post items very promptly. All you need to remember is the old principle of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you’. Provide the type of service that you would like to receive and they will return to you time and again.
Not sure how you can communicate your excellent customer service to new buyers? Why not include some of your positive feedback quotes within your listings to give them an instant impression as to how valued they can expect to feel as soon as they make their purchase from you. This can make all the difference to someone looking to buy.
I hope this reassures you that you certainly do not need to be the cheapest seller within your niche to bring in a profit from your products whatever you are selling.