If you were to start selling books online, the chances are you'd find making serious money very difficult. Why? Well, because Jeff Bezos almost cornered the online market for books 20 years ago. But make no mistake: there is still money to be made in ecommerce. You just need to find your niche.
So, what exactly is a niche market? In simple terms, it's a very specific and well-defined segment of a much wider online market for goods or services. For instance, the primary market might be books, but you might be able to find a niche for selling your handmade children's books.
In most cases, a niche market hasn't been fully developed or leveraged by providers.
In most cases, a niche market hasn't been fully developed or leveraged by providers, and this is where the potential lies. If you can identify a niche in the market before your competitors, you should be able to create an ecommerce offering that blows your competition out of the water.
Why Ecommerce Entrepreneurs Target Niche Markets
The most obvious reason for targeting a niche market is the untapped sales opportunities it provides. You may find that there's a demand for a product your competitors simply don't know about. If you're the only retailer satisfying this demand, you should be able to grow your sales exponentially.
If you can preempt the new and specific products your typical customers might buy (and deliver them), you can create the demand yourself.
But in many cases, even the consumers themselves don't even know what they want. If you can preempt the new and specific products your typical customers might buy (and deliver them), you can create the demand yourself. And because you already have the solution, you can corner the market before other vendors have a chance to offer something similar.
There are also some less obvious benefits associated with targeting a niche online market:
A more focused marketing strategy becomes almost inevitable
Appealing to the needs and emotions of your ideal customer becomes easier
Long-term financial goals become easier to achieve without serious competition
Significant sales growth can be forecasted with confidence
What Niche Markets Are Popular Right Now?
What constitutes a niche market changes all the time. After all, once a niche market has been discovered, it's never too long before everyone jumps on the sales bandwagon. Think about music downloads in 1993. They were little more than a technological dream before Apple cornered the market. Now, they're as obsolete as the vinyl record, thanks to the advent of streaming.
There are still quite a few online niche markets that are delivering strong returns.
Nevertheless, there are still quite a few online niche markets that are delivering strong returns for vendors that can get their ecommerce offerings right:
Natural nutrition supplements
The great outdoors (supplies)
Handmade and bespoke arts and crafts
Fandom products (TV and movie memorabilia)
Organic beauty products
Subscriptions (coffee and snacks are very popular right now)
Male grooming products (playing catch-up with ladies' beauty products)
Of course, this isn't an exhaustive list; new niche markets for ecommerce retailers are developing all of the time. Not only that, the above examples have their own sub-niches — which are also growing in number every year.
As consumer tastes evolve and new technological advances are brought to market, expect to see more and more market niches online for ecommerce entrepreneurs.
How to Market Niche Items
Too many ecommerce entrepreneurs underestimate the importance of a comprehensive and detailed niche marketing strategy. Their ideas or products are strong, serve a purpose and aren't readily available from competitors. But because the wrong approach to marketing is adopted, the small window of opportunity to exploit the potential of a niche market is often lost.
There is no right and wrong approach to niche marketing.
There is no right and wrong approach to niche marketing. Every industry, product and target consumer brings its own challenges and opportunities. But while a bespoke approach to marketing is usually desirable, there are a few tips that are relevant to any ecommerce business targeting a niche market.
Understand Your Customers
Once you've identified a hidden demand for a product or service, make sure you can sell it in a way that appeals to your target audience. Segment your market according to key demographic groups, and ensure your marketing efforts are designed to appeal to individuals — rather than the general public.
Oftentimes, the best way to persuade a consumer to buy something is to demonstrate how it can solve a real problem. And in many cases, your customers won't even know a problem exists. But by making your target consumer's life a little easier or more enjoyable, selling should become a lot easier.
Don't just tell your customers how great your niche products are — they won't take you at your word. Show your products in action with videos, and share them across your social media channels. Become a thought leader in your industry, and answer the queries and concerns of ordinary people. And remember: the most effective marketing outlet is often word of mouth, so cultivate it among your customers at every opportunity.
Have any questions about finding your niche? Leave us a comment!