Knowing your target audience buyer often makes a difference. If you know who is interested in your listings most of all, you can choose the right words for your item descriptions and promo offers. For example, you need to appeal to different values and highlight different benefits when you address passionate collectors, parents of large families, tech lovers, auto enthusiasts, etc. And when you try to appeal to everyone, you actually appeal to no one.
In this article, you will find practical tips and recommendations on how to define your target audience and how to use this knowledge to grow your business on eBay.
Target audience and target buyer
A target audience is a demographic group of people most likely to be interested in your items. When you define your target audience, you specify their age, sex, education, income, family status, interests, lifestyle, geographical location. However, this is only a broad overview that doesn’t tell you much about buyers’ goals and motivations. To glean more insights about your customers, you need to create a target buyer profile.
A target buyer is a fictional representation of an ideal customer who is the most interested in your eBay inventory and the most likely to buy your items. It can also be called a "buyer persona".
When picturing the target buyer, don’t start with such attributes as income, gender, age, or social standing. Goals, problems, and motivations are what’s actually important. The main question is: “Why does this ideal customer buy my items?” When you find the answer, you’ll be able to create more appealing listings and more effective marketing messages.
When creating an imaginary ideal buyer, don’t lose contact with reality. The buyer persona should be based on actual research rather than guesswork and fantasies.
Motivations of the most active eBay buyers
There are people who are shopping on the marketplace much more often than others — the so-called "enthusiast buyers". They drive about 70% of gross merchandise value and spend 9 times more than an average non-enthusiast buyer (about $3,000 per year)*. Obviously, it’s worth trying to appeal to such users and make them your regular customers!
To help you do exactly that, the eBay team has studied the behavior and motivations of enthusiast buyers and divided this group into 4 main categories. Read about each category and think which of them might be the most interested in your items. Understanding these groups of buyers and what they’re looking for will help you develop your business on eBay.* eBay’s internal data as of EOY 2021.
1. Sourcing pros.They leverage eBay for their commercial activity and usually purchase within one theme. A good example of a sourcing pro is a garage owner who purchases parts and accessories.
2. Category-centric buyers. They are also concentrated on one theme, but for non-commercial reasons. Hobbyists and collectors fall within this category.
3. Value seekers. They are always on the lookout for great deals and discounted prices, mostly in electronics and fashion. Such buyers are often interested in pre-loved things, items with free shipping, coupons, or seller offers.
4. Horizontal buyers. They leverage eBay across all categories, but aren’t as price sensitive as value seekers.
Category-centric buyers and value seekers drive the most growth.
Core values: economy and sustainability
Sellers should bear in mind that an overwhelming majority of eBay buyers buy pre-owned or refurbished items. The recent survey conducted in the US, the UK, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Australia and Japan showed that 90% of eBay buyers purchased such items in 2022. In France this rate was even higher and reached 98%**.
According to the survey results, 56% of buyers bought pre-loved items to save money. Gen Z demonstrated a much higher percentage in this area: almost two thirds (64%) of Zoomers purchase previously owned goods due to economic reasons**.
As for environmental benefits, they are more important for buyers of younger generations: millennials (39%) and Gen Z buyers (36%). Only 26% of Boomers think of eco-friendliness and environmental footprint when buying pre-loved or refurbished items**.
To sum up, appealing to such values as economy and sustainability is likely to hit the mark, because they are shared by a great deal of eBay buyers.** eBay Recommerce Report 2022.
Getting familiar with your existing customers
At the moment, eBay sellers can’t directly access the demographic data of their buyers, but there are other ways to know more about your target audience.
- Google Analytics is one of the most popular web analytics platforms. It gathers the essential data about your buyers and leads. You can use third-party solutions to integrate Google Analytics and your eBay seller page to learn the demographics and behavior patterns of your audience.
- Social media will help you connect with more buyers. Use your eBay seller name or Store name when creating your pages on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. and encourage your buyers to follow you on their favorite social media. When you get enough followers, view their profiles to learn more about their passions and challenges. Start public conversations on your page and write direct messages to the most active followers.
- Other online resources can also help, especially if your eBay business isn’t on social media yet. Try niche forums, comments on competitors’ social media pages, discussion websites like Reddit, questions and answers on Quora, and other platforms that may come to your mind.
Questionnaires for existing customers are a valid option, too. Create a brief survey on Google Forms and use the Store newsletter feature to send it. You will get more responses if you offer a discount or a coupon to those who participate in your survey.
Creating a target buyer profile
When you have enough research data, use it to invent just one person that is your ideal buyer:
- How old is this person? What generation does your ideal customer fall into?
- Where do they live? What online platforms does this person prefer?
- How much can your target buyer spend?
- What affects this person’s buying decisions?
- What inspires your target buyer?
- What are this person’s hobbies and pastimes?
- What’s the daily routine?
- Does this person have children?
- What do they do for a living?
- What blogs does your target buyer follow?
- What are this person’s problems and pain points?
Get really specific and create a realistic portrait with lots of details. Give this person a name and think about them when writing your listing titles, item descriptions, or Store newsletters. Keep your target buyer in mind when adding new products to your inventory. What might "Sporty Sarah", "Handyman Hank", "Eco Emma", or "Thrifty Tommy" want to buy together with your other items? Imagine their life, values, challenges and doubts, and you’ll know what to do.
Look at your Store with your target buyer’s eyes. Does the design feel welcoming? Are product descriptions and photos appealing enough? Are they in line with your target buyer’s values and preferences? Do your items fit this person’s lifestyle? If not, make the necessary adjustments until everything “clicks in”.
Useful eBay tools
As your partner eBay will also help you build trust and loyalty by providing you with a rich set of tools that help you attract target buyers and keep in touch with them.
- eBay Store newsletters — a recently launched tool for email campaigns. You can easily create and send compelling emails to subscribers, followers, and past customers who've signed up to receive newsletters from your Store. Use the newsletter to welcome your customers, and let them know about new listings, sale events, discounts, and more.
- Offer to buyers — a feature that allows you to reach buyers already interested in your items and to close the sale faster. If a buyer is watching your Fixed price item or has placed it in their shopping cart at any point in the previous five days, you can send them a message and offer a lower price than the one on your listing.
- Promotions Manager — an easy-to-use tool that helps eBay Store subscribers set up sales and promotions. Encourage buyers to buy more of your items and increase your average order value.
- Store customization — an opportunity to personalize your Store’s homepage and make it more appealing to your target buyer. Create a recognizable logo and a storefront banner, add a Store video to let your buyers know the history, values, and passion that goes into your business.
- Coded coupons — a new way to offer your buyers a discount through a coupon code. You can share coded coupons publicly on ebay.com or privately through your Store newsletters, on social media, or via other marketing channels.
- Terapeak — an eBay service for market analysis. Terapeak uses eBay’s recent data on supply, demand, and pricing to help you determine what to sell, when to sell it, and at what price.
Engagement and loyalty are critical to cultivating relationships with your target buyers, and the eBay team is working to help you create these connections with ease. Use these tools to build your audience of relevant highly engaged buyers and then turn them into very loyal customers.