It's a pretty bleak story, really. The ancient nation of Israel is at war with their own Taliban, the Philistines. Things look bad enough, and then Goliath shows up. Nine feet tall, hundreds of pounds, with a spear so big it looks like a telephone pole. It looks like the battle will be over before it even starts – till a young guy named David steps up. If you ever colored Bible stories as a kid, you know what happens next. He wonks Goliath in the head with a slingshot, the Israelites win their freedom, and ever David goes on to be their king and the author of a manic depressive book of the Bible, the Psalms. So what, you may ask, does this story possibly have to do with my e-commerce business?
We live in a day when we have to war for every cent we make online. Giants like Amazon.com, Half.com, and eBay stand like Goliath, just daring us to challenge them. We are David, the little guy with no fancy weapons but a burning will to make it. Like David, you will win if you take an unconventional approach.
1.) Find your niche. On Amazon, you see everything from books, to clothes, to bedroom furniture. So find some product that has escaped the notice of the big Goliaths. One option is to meet with local artists and set up a website to sell their wares. Think creatively to find some little crack in Goliath's armor – then exploit it.
2.) Use your slingshot. Amazon has the size and weight to crush competition in direct combat. Get around their advantage by doing things they can not – like putting flyers on local college campuses, spreading the word at yard sales, creating events that spark a buzz at churches, civic organizations, and so on. They will always have more marketing muscle than you, but you can get more involved than they can.
3.) There's no use calling Amazon. You can set a higher standard. Put a photo of yourself on your site. Include a number to a cell phone you carry everywhere. Give your customers A + personal service. Before long, they will be recommending you to others. One site that does an excellent job of this is 2muchinventory.com. A friend of mine bought Dreamweaver from them, and next thing you know, I decided to get my copy there too.
4.) Optimize your site for search engines. Be certain that you come at or near the top of search results. If you're not sure how to do that, hire an SEO expert.