Monday, May 12, 2008

Choosing your market niche

By Mikal E. Belicove: Director, Community & Education - Doba

If you and I were to decide to go into business together, and we chose to open up a brick and mortar store on Main Street, there's no way we'd sign an 18-month lease, order display furnishings, install carpet, hook up a phone line, and hire employees without first knowing what we're going to sell. Yet, online retailers--or, more accurately, casual sellers who want to become successful online retailers--do it every day.

Without giving much thought to a company name, product line, or business or marketing plan, new online sellers sign up for services like Doba, work with a third-party vendor to build a webstore, and only then get around to asking, "Hey, what should I sell?" They head to eBay, see what is selling, and then decide to sell the same products--usually consumer electronics--for slightly less than the competition. They end up being disappointed, mainly because their profit margins are so low.

The problem is that...

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