A successful niche is one that is large enough to support an eBay business but also small enough so that there are not many competitors to cut into profits. There is an indeterminable number of niches still to be found on eBay, providing plenty of opportunity for new and experienced sellers alike. The most difficult part of taking advantage of a niche market however, is finding one in the first place.
What is a niche?
Let’s back up a little. A niche is a focused part, a small subset, of a larger market. In relation to eBay this means to sell specialist items to a small section of interested shoppers.
A niche market will have less competition and therefore potential for better profits than an eBay seller trying to offer mass market products. It’s a bit like the small fish in a big pond scenario; in this case, many eBay sellers make more money as a big fish (a big seller) in a small pond (a niche market) rather than the other way around.
How to find a niche market
For some sellers, the idea of what to sell comes by chance or luck. Most sellers wanting to sell niche market items have to carefully find, research and consider each potential niche market for profitability. Here’s some ideas to get the ball rolling.
Check your interests
It always helps if you sell items you are personally interested in or already have knowledge of. Consider hobbies, collectables, brands and products you like or would be intrigued to know more about. Keep in mind though, you need to sell things that other people will buy so it is important not to get tunnel vision and only choose items or a niche that you like without any further research.
Hard to find items
Think about what people are more likely to look for online than buy in person locally. The easiest way to do this is to brainstorm what is not easily available to buy in stores within your own home town. This will lead to a list of specialist niches which may have great eBay selling potential.
Have a look at eBay’s ‘Trending Now’ as well as Amazon’s Best Seller list to get an idea of what is selling in the major item categories. Google Trends is also worth a look to see what people are talking about and looking for. Trending stories can be narrowed down by country and topic. Always keep in mind international selling potential.
Being interested in a niche isn’t enough if you have no reliable way to secure stock. Take time to research where you would be getting items from for each potential niche, whether that is flea markets, house sales, thift stores, garage/yard sales, charity shops, reuse/free item websites (e.g. Freecycle, Craigslist) or wholesalers.
Pricing and shipping
Research current selling prices from completed sales on eBay to assess how much profit could be expected for items in a potential niche. Note also what type of shipping the sellers are offering and consider whether this would be possible to compete with, in terms of pricing and speed of dispatch.
When considering a niche, don’t forget to think about how much storage would be needed to keep stock safe and in good condition before selling. Some items may not sell quickly and would have to be kept in storage for an extended time. Managing your eBay inventory properly is key to being a successful seller.
Review the competition
Once you’ve found a potential niche, type some relevant item titles into eBay’s search bar or explore related categories. This will allow you to check out the competition and work out whether there is space in this niche for another seller. If there is already a lot of competition, it will make it more difficult to sell items from this niche unless you are able to sell with significantly lower prices or another unique selling point.
If you encounter no-one or very few people seemingly selling items from a potential niche, consider that they may not be much demand. Watch and check whether these items eventually sell and how much for before automatically assuming that little competition makes for profitable niche. Be sure to search for completed listings, to see if the items are selling and how much for.
Determination brings success
Finding a market niche may seem like the ‘Holy Grail’ of eBay selling at first. There’s no way around it; plenty of research is essential for any seller looking to find their own market niche on eBay. Trial and error is necessary too, as some niches are far more lucrative than others. It may take a couple of goes before something works and makes all of that research worth it.