Brand Positioning: How to Beat Your Competitors in Your Customer’s Mind

When you think about selling your old stuff or buying second-hand and vintage stuff, eBay is no longer on the top of your mind.

In France, for example, one would think about the very cheap but full of scams Leboncoin.fr, the very selective but safe Gens de Confiance, or the tech-oriented PriceMinister.

But not eBay…

Does Anyone Know What eBay Is About?

The eBay brand doesn’t have a clear positioning anymore. It has become a bazaar. You don’t know what to expect. It means that you just don’t know for what reason you should go on eBay. There’s no trigger that pushes people to use eBay.

It used to be the auction site, but it lost its position in the customer’s mind by pushing the “buy it now” feature. It was also the place to go for second-hand/vintage stuff, but it lost the position by encouraging professional sellers who started selling “made for eBay” products.

A lack of positioning is the result of bad marketing

What To Do When You Lose A Position in Your Customer’s Mind?

When your brand seems weaker than ever, you need to narrow down your focus on what makes you really different. You must go back to the roots of your business: why your business exists.

Here are a few questions that should guide your thought-process:

  1. Why do your customers need you?
  2. What do your customers want from you?
  3. What are you doing to serve your customers in the best possible way?
  4. What business are you in?
  5. What can you do that nobody else can do?
  6. What effect is your business having on the future?

Why Nobody Thinks about eBay Anymore

eBay needs to be top-of-mind when someone considers selling or buying second-hand products. It needs to create a trigger for its prospects: “You want good deals to buy safely? Go on eBay.”

A real positioning strategy would set eBay apart from its competitors:

  1. the classified ads, which are full of scams but very affordable, and
  2. the Etsy-like platforms, which require to pay a premium to buy a hand-made or vintage product and the story that goes with it.

Of course, some real change must support the new marketing strategy. Merely advertising eBay’s positioning won’t solve the problem. eBay should adapt its business model to fit the distinctive position.

Short-term result: It will reduce the turnover and this may impact the bottom line.

Long-term thinking: It will reinforce eBay’s leadership for the next decade with a clear position in the customer’s mind.

[Interested in hearing more about brand positioning? Listen to a conversation I had with positioning expert Laura Ries.]

Brand positioning & eBay