As eCommerce ventures have exploded with the rise of online shopping, the market has become quite saturated. So how does an up-and-coming online venture sell its products?
Ecommerce is inarguably dominated by massive global brands like Amazon. That means new e-businesses will have to thoroughly research what to sell online.
The best way to beat online competition is to hone in on a niche market.
If you think about a time you walked around in the commercial part of a city, you will most likely walk past several restaurants, often selling the same type of cuisine like Chinese, Thai, or Italian. Now think about how each restaurant tries to lure customers away from the competition.
Some restaurants may aim for high rankings and celebrity chefs. There will also be offers trying to tempt customers, such as “free brunch” or “discount shrimp.”
These are traditional attempts at attracting customers in a saturated market. The internet, as you may know, is anything but traditional.
These classic tactics do not necessarily work when your competition is a behemoth like Amazon. Offering free shipping on online orders of jeans? Amazon has already beaten your business to it.
This is where the niche market concept comes in. It refers to finding a specialized market or focusing on a target audience underserved by a mainstream online shopping site.
So how does a new e-business actually corner a niche market? Read on to find out.
How to Find a Niche Market for Your eCommerce Business
1. Find a Solution to a Problem
The most lucrative niche markets offer solutions to problems.
Consider the example of Karen Rzepecki: Her invention stems from a personal observation. As someone who stored foodstuffs in mason jars for cooking, she noticed that mason jar lids were not adequate enough to hold liquids in.
In particular, it wasn’t possible to shake a jar containing liquid without causing some spillage. Rzepecki solved this problem by inventing a unique pour cap for mason jars.
She also made the jar cap eco-friendly and highly reusable. Rzepecki found a solution to a problem that others like her faced. She raised funding for her innovative product on Kickstarter and was soon offering the products to customers.
Like Rzepecki, aspiring eCommerce entrepreneurs can sell a solution to a problem that a select group of customers faces. It could be a new product like the mason jar cap. Or it could be a service solution such as 1-day shipping to anywhere in Australia.
2. Sell an Opportunity Product
Not everyone can become an innovator, but there are other ways to find products that sell like hot cakes online.
For any product to sell, there must be a demand.
Ecommerce businesses can find great success catering to a prevalent demand. The trick is to find an “opportunity product” or a service with a high demand.
Entrepreneurs can search for top products that trend online, but which up-and-coming products are customers interested in? Research the latest cosmetic products, tech items, or personal services that are highly in demand online. Then it’s only a matter of time until you can design a website offering these products.
Another way to find an opportunity product is to look for trending keywords.
Entrepreneurs can strategically look for keywords or search phrases that lead to a sale of a product. Keep in mind that this may require some technical expertise as well.
The subsequent e-store should be built incorporating these keywords to drive sales. If you have a strong desire to build an online store but have no idea what to sell, keyword search is a strong place to start.
3. Offer Customers a Unique Brand
Can you tell the difference between Pepsi and Coca-Cola based on taste? Probably not, but as a consumer, you may strongly prefer one over the other. This is the power of branding.
The best-known eCommerce successes in recent years do not owe their achievements to offering innovative products alone, rather, these successes stem from strong branding.
Think Newegg, Gilt, HauteLook, and Kylie Jenner. These are all eCommerce success stories based on strong branding driven by social media engagement and online ad campaigns.
Not all customers want to buy the cheapest items on Amazon. There’s still a strong desire to own branded products based on factors such as eco-friendliness, luxury, or locality of products. Such factors create excellent opportunities for entrepreneurs to create brands and find followers for long-term success.
The bottom line is that if you want to sell anything online these days, it’s best to find a niche market first. Competing with e-retail giants like Amazon or Walmart.com is out of the question for many budding entrepreneurs.
A niche market can give venture access to a select group of customers who are most likely to remain loyal. Use online demand, branding opportunities, and come up with new items to sell online even as a fledgling business.