4 Steps to Defining a Niche in Ecommerce
Ecommerce is the future. Online shopping has become easier, more affordable, more trustworthy, and a place where regular folks go to shop everyday. It’s no longer a fringe business. In fact, it’s booming.
A recent article in Business Insider details exactly why you should be jumping into Ecommerce:
“The NRF expects that online retail will grow 8-12%, up to three times higher than the growth rate of the wider industry.”
Seems like a no brainer right? Well, there are certain pitfalls. The first is that everyone is doing it. If you want to succeed, you’ll have more success if you tackle a niche.
Find a Problem to Solve
With the sheer amount of competition out there, a niche is the only way to make some noise and get customers. If you just try to tackle the entire electronics category as a whole, you’ll find yourself battling some pretty big players. Do you think you can beat out major online retailers like Best Buy for customers?
This makes tackling a niche more important than ever. Finding a niche is as simple as solving a problem. For example, gamers spend an obscene amount of time at their computers or consoles. This is usually done in a crappy chair that leads to fatigue and poor gaming reflexes. That’s where chairs4gaming.com comes in. They only sell one category of product – gaming chairs. That’s the problem they’ve solved.
This allows them to dominate a very specific category – or niche – and grab more attention than if they just generally sold gaming gear as a whole. The reason for this is that most people don’t search for “where to buy electronics”, they search for “where to buy a gaming chair”. That’s why niche’s matter.
Want a niche? Find a problem. That’s where you’ll find your answer.
Solve The Problem
Now that you have your niche problem, you need to find the niche answer. This is where you either search out a product to fill your void, or you create something entirely new yourself.
In the case above with gaming fatigue, they’re really just solving the problem with a custom chair that comes with a huge markup and a cool look. That’s it. If you look hard enough, you’ll see numerous threads that talk about how they’re no different than an inexpensive office chair.
Another great example is the cold brew coffee niche. It’s one of the fastest growing segments in the coffee world, but there’s a problem: people want cold brew coffee at home. One company has built a unique solution: BodyBrew BOD.
That product tackles a niche, and was created to solve the problem of brewing cold coffee at home. Which brings us to the next step…
How to Make Your Product
If you’re looking to make a product, there’s really only one place that’s really good at manufacturing. Sorry USA, it’s China. The BodyBrew and most of the gaming gear mentioned earlier is all manufactured in China.
This is not just for financial reasons, but also for technical and speed considerations. The manufacturing plants in China have long surpassed North America. There’s no place that will manufacture your product cheaper and faster than China.
If you’re new to this, hunt around sites like Alibaba or AliExpress as a starting point. You may be able to find the exact solution you’re looking for there. If not the exact product, aim to start conversations with companies that make similar products. The contact info is all there, you just need to reach out.
The big obstacle here is quality. No matter where you go to get your product manufactured, experts recommend you request samples. Things can get lost in translation, or your level of acceptable quality can be different than theirs. The last thing you want is to place an order for 500 widgets and when they arrive they’re all garbage. You’ll be out cash, with nothing to sell.
Finding a Sales Channel
Now that you have a problem, a solution, and a finished product – it’s time to sell it.
There are two main ways to sell your product. We’ll cover all three here, and a few steps to get you started on each.
Amazon / EBay / Etsy – The benefit of selling your niche product on Amazon, EBay, and Etsy should be obvious: the built-in traffic. It’s like getting your product on the shelves at Walmart. If you use fulfillment by Amazon, you don’t even need to worry about shipping. The downside is that someone can swoop into your niche and undercut you pretty easily.
Your Own Website – This one is by far the hardest, but the most rewarding. It’s the hardest because you now have to generate your own traffic. However, once you get them to your site, you control the entire process and audience. If you go this route, Shopify is an easy way to get the store up and running.
If you have your own website check out our post on creating content targeted to the buyer’s journey.
Don’t let this ecommerce boom pass you by. You don’t have to go big. Simply tackling a niche is one of the best ways to generate revenue. Good luck!
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