The Dreaded Bedroom Vendor and how to Overcome them

With the rise and rise of Ebay and Amazon, comes the “bedroom” seller. It might be more accurate to call them hobby vendors. All Ecommerce retailers understand them. They are the sellers who undercut you and sell at cost or less. They appear, hang around for a month or two, and then vanish. In the old days, you simply outlived them. Hobby sellers are cheap mainly because they’ve forgotten a cost or 2. Forgotten to cover themselves a living wage, forgotten that boxes cost money, forgotten that stamps also cost. A successful business must make a profit. All too many new vendors believe they’ve succeeded because they make so many sales, completely forgetting that every sale has dropped them a cent or two. I am being a bit harsh here. Some very large and successful companies have started out as bedroom companies, but these aren’t those which are currently causing the issues.

The thing is that these times for each hobby vendor who disappears two more spring up. It appears that with the hard economic climate, a growing number of individuals are seeking to earn an additional income by selling online. Amazon and Ebay both offer a very simple platform from which to market. So the cheap, undercutting hobby vendor is not going to go away.

So to remain in business you need to beat them. There’s not much point in competing on price. You need to decide on a different battlefield.

First and foremost is customer support. Send orders out as soon as possible (90 percent of our orders become despatched within 12 hours). Have great communication (100 percent of our email queries get answers within 24 hours). Send out the goods well packed so the products arrive in good shape.

If you’re able to do it right first time, clients are more likely to give you repeat business. Hobby sellers may miss at least one of these.

Then you will need to do your research and tailor what you do based on the revenue platform.


With Amazon it’s mainly about the Buy Now box. In theory for each item there’s a single catalog entry on Amazon and all sellers list their offerings against this item. Amazon selects among these offerings and set it in the blue Buy Now box. Most customers on Amazon purchase from this box without looking at the other offerings. So getting the Buy Now box radically improves your sales.

In practice, many items on Amazon have duplicate entries. Whilst it’s absolutely forbidden to make a duplicate entry, and I’d strongly advise that you don’t, they do exist. It’s always advisable to set your offering on each duplicate listing. I have one thing where there are 4 separate catalogue entries on Amazon. I record on all 4. On two of these there’s stiff price competition and that I seldom sell. On the other two, the other vendors have mostly ignored, and that I have a constant sales flow, at typically 20% higher price compared to busier duplicate entries.

Likewise there might be opportunities to make valid different catalog entries. By way of instance sets, or 5 x packs, etc.. If what you’re selling could be a part of a set, then why not provide the set?

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Again research is vital. Unlike Amazon, where you discuss the listings with other vendors, you make your own listing. Here you get a real opportunity to differentiate yourself from a hobby vendor. Offer a fantastic return policy, have a professionally designed template, use your specialist knowledge to write a fantastic description, use excellent photos. Then once you’ve created the ideal listing, set it carefully. Make sure that it is in the appropriate category, be certain it is easy for prospective customers to find.

You don’t need to be cheapest to acquire the sale on Ebay. You simply need to be found easier than the cheapest. Then if your offer looks okay, you get the sale.

These are simply a few of the ways to overcome the inexpensive horde. Some may work better than others based on what you sell.