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The Elusive eBay Product Niche

There’s nothing more disappointing than doing the research, getting the product, and then finding that no one wants to buy it. It can also be quite a shock.

It’s not unusual to research the item, see it listed in eBay’s hot list, hear everyone talking about it…and still no one buys.

This is one of the most disheartening experiences known to eBay sellers!

So what’s going wrong here? And more importantly, what can you do about it?

First of all, it’s quite likely the niche will already be filled.

Electronics are popular – but there are so many suppliers already selling iPods that you will have to come up with a unique point of difference before you can expect to get into the market successfully.

On that note – don’t forget that an eBay business is similar to any other in terms of preparation. You’ve still got to have a point of difference, carry out market research, and define your target audience. If you want to get really serious, write a business plan too. I guarantee that the mere act of putting your business down on paper will give you a much clearer idea of where you are going and what you need to do to get there.

Secondly, experimentation is essential! Always test a product idea with a sample lot first. Never, ever buy in bulk with the assumption that you’ll be able to sell it all – you might have a nasty surprise.

Instead, buy in small quantities and test 2 or 3 different products at a time. Try different pricing points and adding value. For example, rather than selling Frisbees individually, you could try making up a ‘Family Sports Pack’ with a Frisbee, tennis balls, hula hoop, and a jump rope. This is a great way of increasing value and attracting people looking for a good deal.

The most difficult thing of all is not giving up when your first couple of ideas fail. What top eBay sellers don’t often admit to is that they failed a few times before they succeeded. If you ask, almost everyone will tell you about their disastrous first few attempts before they got it right. This is where making a plan can help: if you map out four product ideas at the outset, then you are less likely to give up when the first one doesn’t work out.

Finally, timing can be everything. A product that isn’t selling well now might suddenly become more popular in a couple of months time. For example, a couple of years ago the only people who counted knitting as a hobby had gray hair and wrinkles. But, after a few models were photographed knitting backstage, suddenly everyone’s hunting for specialty wool and knitting patterns.

If I hadn’t noticed a couple of articles in fashion magazines on the increasing popularity of this hobby, then I’d still think of it as a craft appealing only to pensioners. It’s amazing what niche opportunities you can stumble across if you go looking. And once you find them, do something about it! It’s quite possible that knitting will be passé in 12 months time.

Finding a great product on eBay is all about three words: Niche, Persistence, and Experimentation.

Have a look at this inspiring article from Entrepreneur magazine to learn what products some people have made work!

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