How To Build A Niche Store
There is increased interest in how to build a niche store for eBay products because of the latest changes to eBay Partner Network policies. These new policies (July 09) state that it is no longer allowed to promote eBay listings by placing eBay content on a site that you don't own. This means that if you have articles on sites similar to Squidoo or HubPages (although these have now been accpeted into eBay again), or a free Blogger or Wordpress blog, you can no longer display eBay content because you don't own the site. So the solution is to build a niche store complete with eBay content on your own domain, which you do own, and then link to the niche store from Blogger, for example.
This isn't the place to go into the rights and wrongs of this decision by eBay, it's their business and their entitled to do what they want, but it leaves many bloggers, publishers and webmasters needing to build a niche store if they want to continue to promote eBay to earn affiliate fees. This isn't too much of a problem if you understand the detailed code for integrating eBay with your own website from scratch. But for the vast majority, it is a major challenge – just how to build a niche store.
Before looking at a possible solution, perhaps it would be a good idea to clarify what exactly is meant by a niche store, or niche site. In sales and marketing, a niche market is defined as a market that can be identified as a sub-sector of a larger market, and can be targeted to achieve sales.
In fact, it may be easier to define a niche store by looking at well known examples of what are definitely not niche stores, e.g., Amazon, and eBay itself. They are not niche stores because they sell absolutely everything. To some extent Amazon started out as a niche store because for a while it used to just sell books. That would be considered a pretty wide niche, but it is a niche, or a specialist area. As Amazon developed, it's range of products grew bigger and bigger until it's now possible to buy just about anything from Amazon. It's slightly different with eBay, because it always sold just about everything, but it did start off with simply auctions. So it was a niche store in some ways. But as eBay has developed, it has also changed, and now there are Buy-It-Now listings and Classified Ads meaning that it's no longer a specialist auction site although that's what everybody still associates eBay with.
So a niche store is a specialist online store which tries to offer a specialist market exactly what it is looking for. If you want to build a niche store for eBay products, or any other products, that will be successful, the challenge is to find a niche that is just the right width, i.e. not too narrow and not too broad.
If the niche is too narrow, the online niche store will not attract enough visitors, because it will be so specialist that there will just not be enough potential buyers looking to buy online. The number of searches on the search engines will be very low for a niche that is too narrow, and so traffic will be too low to make the niche store a success. There may, of course, be other sources of traffic but if the search engine visitor numbers are low it's unlikely too succeed.
If the niche is too broad, it will not be identifiable as a niche at all. If that's the case it will be difficult to promote to a specialist group, because that group of potential buyers simply won't exist. As far as the search engines are concerned it will be difficult to attract traffic because you will be competing with non-niche stores like Amazon for traffic. And with their online presence, they are far more likely to hit the top of the search engines than a brand new little website with no online credibility.
Niche Marketing Resources
There has been a wealth of information written about identifying niches to build a niche store that is successful. Much of it revolves around using the Google Adwords Keyword Tool to identify search terms, or keywords, that are searched for in sufficient numbers but for which there are not too many competing sites. You also need to check that the niche you identify, has products available for sale on eBay, otherwise you will have nothing to sell.
Even with the niche identified, there is still the need to build a niche store. If you understand the technicalities you may be able to do this from scratch, integrating content feeds from eBay with the code for your site. But for most of us, including me, this isn't possible. I just can't do it – or perhaps if I'm honest I don't want to do it. And I don't need to do it because there is software around that will do the technical stuff for me, leaving me free to do what I do best – write content. Not surprisingly, the software is called........wait for it.......Build A Niche Store or BANS for short.
The Build A Niche Store system includes the site-builder software, complete installation and instruction manuals, and most importantly, unlimited site licences enabling you to build as many BANS sites as you wish. When the system was first released, almost three years ago, there was a temptation to throw together many, many niche stores using the software, with very little original content, but after a while the search engines appeared to start penalising these “thin” stores because they were all getting a bit “spammy.” Now there is much more emphasis on trying to build a niche store that is loaded with quality content as well as eBay products. These sites do well in the search engines if the niche has been identified correctly and the time taken to build strong, original content. It's still quite acceptable to build several sites, but the successful sites are all well thought out, not just a few pages of products.
You can buy BANS software here for $97 which will then let you build as many eBay niche stores as you want to. It includes comprehensive manuals, but in the last few days (July 09) a new comprehensive complete guide explaining how to build a niche store has been issued. I'm not going to quote a price because it may change after a few days of launch activity. I've bought a copy and it is an extremely comprehensive guide to identifying a niche market and building a niche store.
If your hopes for the future have been severely knocked by the new eBay Partner Network Policies that stop you from listing eBay content on third party sites, the Build A Niche Store system will enable you to build stores that you own, which makes them fully compliant with the new policies. I suggest you give it try.