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How to Start an Internet Business: Competing with E-Retailers

Amazon.com has expanded beyond sales of books and CDs to be a seller of virtually everything, including used goods. Ebay goes on to offer all of the rest, from used and second-hand goods to allowing small-scale sellers to create their own virtual stores. With this kind of competition there are a few main choices for how you can compete. Consider these three strategic options for your e-commerce site.

Sell Niche

By choosing a niche market (a small subset of the much larger market of internet surfers and shoppers) you have the opportunity to focus your marketing, content, and products on meeting the needs of that group much better than a broad seller like Ebay or Amazon can. One example, Etsy, sells all types of handmade goods. Etsy acts as a broker between the creators and buyers who look to support craftspeople and the handmade movement (or who simple want to find an off-beat gift). Etsy brings in $10 million per month in revenues, and manages to nip at the heels of Ebay because of this sharp focus.

Sell Differently

Ebay may not have been the first online auction, but it was the first to become wildly successful at online selling to the highest budder. The auction aspect of Ebay is what makes buying on Ebay exciting, both because of the thrill of the countdown and the idea of possibly finding an undervalued gem. If you can build your brand around a similarly different way of selling, you can give internet shoppers a reason to buy a product on your site rather than one of the giants.

Sell Cheaper

Low prices are a major reason why Wal-Mart is the world’s largest retailer and why Amazon is the world’s largest internet retailer. Selling books and CDs at lower prices than can be found in stores makes up for the additional shipping fees that must be charged for e-commerce to work. Amazon now has sales of nearly three times the internet runner-up, Staples.com. If your site can offer the means to sell its products cheaper than the competition, and still operate profitably, there is still room in e-commerce for you to succeed.

Want more tips? Here's a related article: Internet Business Plan

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