What is niche e- commerce and how does it differ from mainstream e- commerce ?
Niche e- commerce refers to those online stores that cater to specific and specialized customer requirements. The specialization can be based on factors such as geographic location, product type and target audience. Some niche e- commerce enterprises also sell products/ services that are hard to find and not commonly available. Therefore, uniqueness is the main highlight of most niche e- commerce sites.
When compared to mainstream e- commerce, the target audience of niche e- commerce stores are smaller and require relatively higher levels of personalization. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. Having a smaller customer base can limit growth of the business but it can also ensure stability as smaller customer bases often lead to a highly loyal customer base.
Niche e- commerce stores have very low competition in their fields because they offer specialized products. They do not have to market their products as extensively as mainstream e- commerce stores.
In short, niche e- commerce stores offer specialized products with highly personalized experiences to their customers. Uniqueness is a major selling point for niche online stores.
In this article, we will discuss how you can bring your niche e- commerce venture to success.
Why are niche e- commerce ideas getting more popular?
As discussed above, niche e- commerce businesses have lesser competition and are highly specialized. This offers higher profit margins as they can charge higher prices for their products. But apart from profit, there are several other reasons for its popularity.
Entrepreneurs especially, have more benefits when it comes to starting a niche business online. The reduced competition is a great advantage for new entrepreneurs because it helps them gain a foothold in the market.
The market saturation for niche businesses is very low compared to the mainstream, traditional markets that are oversaturated with products/ services that are not really unique (a ‘same product, different label’ situation).
In recent years, there has been a change in consumer preferences. They are now looking for unique, authentic and specialized products/ services. Passionate entrepreneurs are capitalizing on this consumer preference shift with their niche businesses.
Another major reason for the rise of niche e-commerce is the advancement in technology. Online platforms, digital marketing and e- commerce tools have helped entrepreneurs overcome previously existing challenges, making it easier for them to enter niche e- commerce. Even the most unconventional e- commerce businesses have global reach now because of the internet and expert digital marketing campaigns.
Steps to take for a successful niche business
How to identify your niche: Tools to help with market research
The most important thing that you should keep in mind while selecting your niche e- commerce business idea is market research. Since this process requires in- depth and deep market research you can use different research tools to identify your niche.
Since the mainstream market is oversaturated and has the same products produced under different brands, the easiest way to find your niche is to look for those needs and necessities that the mainstream market does not cater to. To do this you can make use of Google Trends.
Google trends helps you explore the popularity of search terms over time. It will be easy to identify your niche by picking up search terms based on their popularity over a period of time.
Keyword research tools like Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush and Ahrefs help you find the right keywords and plan accordingly. Tools like SEMrush help you learn the competition of each keyword and also lets you in on the recent search trends.
Statistical figures are a quick way to understand the market trends in your preferred fields. The most helpful tools in statistical analysis of your market are Statista and MarketResearch.com. Statista presents statistics and market reports on various industries. MarketResearch.com helps you with the same.
If you want to research a bit differently and want to rely on content based research instead, then relying on Reddit and other social media groups is a good option for you. These spaces often invite people with unconventional interests to discuss it with other experts and members who share the same interest. Here you will find answers to precisely what drives people to such niche interests, how they got to know about it, and their personal viewpoints.
Build a unique brand
After finding your niche, you have to build a unique brand. For this, you need to present your brand as unique and unconventional. You might also want to resort to unconventional branding strategies. Having a unique and memorable brand is very important even in the most mainstream industries. When it comes to niche e- commerce brands, most of the other brands would have a unique and special touch to them.
To stand out in such a diverse market, you will have to up your game. Stay up to date with the latest developments in the field of marketing and branding.
To start a branding strategy, the next thing you need to do is to create an ideal buyer persona. To make your strategy work you will need to know what the potential buyers will connect to and relate with easily. Depending on this understanding, you will be able to plan and tailor your branding strategy to match your target audience’s interests.
Your brand should have its own aesthetic. Everything related to your brand should reflect your values, your goals and your beliefs. This will set your brand apart from others and will make your brand easily recognizable.
The one thing that will definitely create a successful brand image in the minds of your audience is to make yourself unique and memorable in the age of diverse marketing techniques.
After finding your niche, completing your market research and creating a branding strategy for your e- commerce business, the next step is to decide what kind of product or service in your niche you want to sell.
For selecting the product and deciding on the source provider you can use the same market research strategy that we employed previously for selecting your niche. There will be many different kinds of products you can choose from that fit your niche. See what matches your brand and satisfies your buyer persona.
Make sure that your product reflects your brand identity and conforms to the ‘unconventional norms’.
Depending on the product you selected, your source can be another business or a specialized source provider who caters to your unique product/service needs. You can also choose to manufacture your own products.
Another point to keep in mind is that your products should be of the highest quality possible. Ensure that you have a quality checklist and that your product meets these requirements. Create guidelines to make sure that your product will maintain its quality.
This is how you can maintain trust with your customers. If one of your customers receives a low quality product from you, then there will be a chance that other customers and even potential customers will hesitate to buy from you. So ensure quality to maintain a trusting relationship with your customers.
Marketing and promotion
Niche specific marketing strategies are required to make the strategy work for your chosen niche. You will have to tailor your marketing to suit what your niche calls for. Since your business is unconventional, you might need to have an unconventional marketing strategy as well.
Feel free to experiment with different marketing and promotion strategies to find out what works best for you and resonates with your customer base. Take advantage of platforms like Reddit and different social media groups to promote your brand.
Content marketing is something that will benefit you greatly. Make use of blogs, videos and other content types. Create valuable and useful content for your audience to remain relevant and memorable.
There is no shortage of content these days. If you slow down, other brands will move ahead in no time, and your customers might prefer other brands too. Keep up with the pace and create a detailed plan to produce relatable content regularly.
The best way to keep your customers/ audience engaged is to keep them in the loop. Even a video of the packing process of your products can be made engaging.
Niche e- commerce ventures are promising. They are different from mainstream e- commerce and offer a variety of unique and unconventional products/ services. They fill a gap that mainstream ventures cannot fill.
The growth in popularity of niche e- commerce comes from the advantages it offers entrepreneurs. For example, they have higher profit margins, less to no competition, growing interest from customers for niche e- commerce and a lot more.
To have a successful niche business online, you first need to select your niche. There are many tools that you can use for your market research like Statista and MarketResearch.com.
Next, you need to build your unique brand. Learn about branding strategies that can help you. Keep in mind that you will have to do something different to stand out in an already diverse area. After this, select the type of product you want to sell from your niche.
Marketing and promotion is the final step to ensure a successful niche e- commerce business. Once you have a good marketing plan you can improvise in different ways to ensure that your brand is unique and eye-catching.