Niche Auction Sites
For many sellers, finding the right items to sell is only half their battle. Finding a place to sell it can sometimes be just as challenging. After all, if you’re selling a rare or hard-to-find item, you will most likely find success at the larger sites such as eBay and Yahoo. Sometimes, though, those sites don’t work out as well as you’d hoped. Or maybe you’d like to supplement the sales there and expand to another site. In either case, you’ll most likely be searching for a niche to move into with your product.
This is where the power of the Internet really comes into play. The Internet is broad, powerful, and heavily populated with people willing to buy if they see something they really want. Like any mass media, you need to target your intended audience to focus your sales and get the best results. Luckily, the Internet seems made for this!
Online auctions are a great way to not only find customers, but encourage sales. If you look for them, you can find auction “niche” sites which specialize in a specific type of auction or a specific type of item for sale. These sites combine the best of both worlds: online auctions AND targeted buyers!
The first step is finding the sites you want to use for your auctions. A good tactic for this is to use Google or The Open Directory (dmoz.org) and search for the item (or similar items) to what you wish to sell. Most likely you’ll come up with quite a few hits. Narrow the search as far as you can. Include words like “auction” or “sell” in your search terms along with the item. Once you have the list as narrow as you can get it, begin checking out the sites in the results.
Many of them will be retail outlets, “fan” pages, and hobbyist “how-to” pages. Some of these are useful – especially the last – because they may include links to good niche sites for selling at auction. It may take some time, but eventually you should have at least one (try for two or three) sites that specialize in your item for sale at auction.
Now check the sites out thoroughly before you sign up or use them. Peruse the lists from the buyer’s prospective. Are there plenty of listings? Do they seem to have a fair amount of bids, watchers, or visitors? Now look at it from the seller’s prospective: read their information on selling. What will it cost? How long do the listings last? What are their policies for returns, refunds, privacy, and so forth?
Once you have decided on a site or two to list on, begin blowing away the competition with the skills you’re learning here at the Online Auction Academy. You’ll find that most of the sellers on these sites are fairly amateurish – using ugly listings, badly taken pictures (if any pictures are used at all!), and atrocious descriptions of their product. Take advantage of this and make your listings shine in comparison. You’ll find that, at most niche sites, the sellers are much less refined than they are at eBay and the competition is most likely much less fierce. The tradeoff is usually the visibility – after all, on eBay, the people visiting your auction are usually measured in the hundreds or thousands whereas on niche sites, they’ll be more likely to be measured in tens. You can make up for this by listing your items at a fair price to begin with – rather than having to stoop to the “.01 auction” to get attention as you would on eBay and risk losing your shirt when only one bidder tries for the item.
Another bonus to these smaller sites is that they usually have looser rules than eBay and the bigger auction sites do. You may be able to cross-post your item on more than one site because the delisting rules are simple so if the item sells on one site, you can remove it from another. This is a great bonus as you can spread the visibility of your item and therefore boost sales of them.
So if you’re selling something unusual, hard-to-find, or sometimes even something that’s overly-competitive on the larger auction sites; you’ll want to look into selling on the smaller niche sites that are sure to exist for your particular item. In any case, a little experimentation never hurt anyone and you might be surprised at what you come up with!
Aaron Turpen is the author of “The eBay PowerSeller’s Book of
Knowledge” and the editor/publisher of two successful newsletters, in
their fourth year of publication, The Aaronz WebWorkz Weekly
Newsletter and Aaronz Auction Newsletter. You can find out more about
these and other great resources from Aaron at his website