Help: Someone Stole My Brilliant Idea


You came up with the greatest idea in the history of forever! This is a game changer and it’s all thanks to you! You thought of the best item to sell online. It’s affordable to make and can be sold for a hefty profit. You know that demand will be huge. Rays of light are shining down on your prototype and angel choruses are singing. You can already see the money pouring into your bank account.
And then you search Etsy, and there are 18 others listings of your great one-of-a-kind item. The rays of light fade, the angel choruses are silent, and your once perfect product is seconds away from being relegated to the junk drawer. Only to be brought out occasionally as you tell the story of how you were sooooo close to that great breakthrough, but someone else beat you to it.

Well, hang on just a second.

The world is full of great ideas, and similar great ideas. Someone always came first and then someone else put their spin on it. For every McDonald’s, there’s a Burger King across the street right? I’m certainly not saying that you should intentionally copy someone else’s idea, but before you throw away your beloved product, ask yourself how you could bring your product successfully to market, even in a sea of lookalike items, by taking just a few steps to set yourself apart.

Of course, the first answer is: Just sell it less than the other guy. But remember that hefty profit that was going to boost your bank account to Hollywood A-Lister status? Profit is good, but be mindful of your mark-up. Look at those similar listing again. Are they charging more than you intended to? Is the product really worth that much? Being more realistic about your selling price can put you ahead in the game. It’s completely obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people want a huge dollar amount per item. If you’re selling the right item, at the right price, you’ll win every time. This is Selling 101, and is strangely overlooked.

Looking back at our mystery listings again, are people selling their similar items for less than you intended to sell yours? It’s possible they’ve misjudged the value of the item but chances are it tells more about the quality of the product. A change in materials can mean a world of difference. Don’t be afraid to charge more if you’ve put in quality that other haven’t, but be sure that your potential customers know what sets yours apart. Selling a product isn’t about modesty. If yours is better, tell people why. Don’t cut corners on quality and don’t say “But everyone does it!” The fact that everyone does it is what will set you apart

Customer Service
You have the right item, you’ve found the perfect price, now just sit back and watch the orders roll in…ummm, no. You’ve made a sale, but now take steps to help you secure a loyal customer. Mail the item on time, faster than promised if possible. Remember that quality continues through shipping, don’t skimp on packaging. Whether to protect the product or just make it look pretty this is the first impression that your buyer will have of you—if the reality matches what they thought they’d be getting. Make the first impression count. If the volume allows, add a personal note to each shipment. After the sale, follow-up, tell them that you hope that their experience was a positive one and that you hope that they’ll come to you for future purchases. Encourage them to leave a review, offer a discount for future use. If there was a problem, fix it. No excuses.

I’ve bought more things online than I’d care to admit, and despite these somewhat obvious points, I still can’t believe the number of listings I have to sift through of overpriced items, cheap quality and negative reviews.
Some watch their pricing, or concentrate on service but the true Holy Grail for sellers is all three. There’s more than enough customers out there for everyone willing to put in effort. Word will get out that you’re among the better sellers. So get that prototype out of the junk drawer and get to selling! Along the way, comment below and tell us of your experience. And share this article on Facebook and Twitter, so that your customer network can start growing too!

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