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Its just hard to stay positive when you have some days that are good, and some days where you lose money because of high PPC spending and no sales.
One site in my niche mainly sells retail, and they have some of the highest prices around... Yet, they are probably the top retail site in the niche. I have no idea how they do it, but they do... Just extremely aggressive advertising I guess.
There are competitors in my niche that rarely discount below MSRP, and they are one of the top site in our field. I would kill to be like them, but its so hard to get new customers when I am selling at MSRP which is a requirement by the manufacturer. It makes me wonder how in the world they and the other 5-7 other sites like them are able to do so well when they are not selling for any discounts. Here and there I will do coupon promos, but never in violation of any MAP policies.
There are so many other little sites that are doing extreme discounting, and that are also going out of business quickly because they dont have any margin. I hate it especially when you have these idiots who are violating MAP policies just to make a quick buck
PPC costs - You mention that PPC isnt always a silver bullet, personally id find a very good SEO firm and spend you PPC funds on them.
I assume the product cost is your largest expense. Here are some thoughts on giving yourself an advantage over the competition