Do you want to open your first e-commerce store and you cannot get over the initial step of getting started? You ask yourself, “Where do I begin, what products do I sell and to what audience?” That initial step might be the hardest of all, taking the leap of faith and diving into an e-commerce pool head first can be scary but incredibly rewarding in the long run.
Why go niche
According to the balance small business, “Essentially, a niche in the industry you will be in and the types of products you will sell; it’s what you specialize in.” Finding a niche can be a daunting task, don’t fret! If you got this far, you are one step ahead of your competition. Many businesses make the mistake of going too broad. Having a niche is a key to short-term and long-term success. Less is more. Having a specific set of products make it easier to describe what you do, it helps to target buyers who are ready to buy immediately. Start small and expand at your own pace. Give your audience an opportunity to voice their desires for new products. Your audience is the ultimate source of your market research. Your loyal customers bring insight and value to your business whether it’s in the beginning stages of building your brand or with a well-established brand.
Every purchase process starts with a niche!
1. Customer recognizes the need or wants for a certain product
“I love my dog more than anyone else in this world, I want to buy a shirt that showcases my love for my pet.”
2. Customer conducts thorough research to find the particular product
Uses Google to search for “dog themed t-shirts”
3. Customer analyzes multiple web pages that sell dog themed tees
With careful consideration, the customer goes for a Google search result with the headline of “Products for those who love dogs more than humans.”
4. Customer purchases the product
Tee with “It’s not drinking alone if your dog’s home” slogan was purchased
5. Customer evaluates the purchase experience
The customer is happy with this find and will recommend the brand to his/her friends
6 STEPS to Find Your Niche
1. Explore your interests
Passion gives us meaning in times when we start doubting ourselves, passion keeps the wheels turning through the hard times.
According to K. Shalev, “Some say not to mix passion and entrepreneurship, but I respectfully disagree. Money can take you only so far, but integrating your passion with your business provides sustainable motivation and the grit to weather the inevitable ups and downs of entrepreneurial endeavors.”
Zeynep Ilgaz said, “As an entrepreneur, you have a keen eye for recognizing unmet needs, market trends and potential business opportunities, regardless of the industry. Fancy accolades alone won’t help you strike gold, even in territory you know front-to-back. You simply need a critical eye, passion and the willingness to carry the burden to win big.”
Both entrepreneurs mentioned passion as a key to your success. So what are you passionate about? Unsure, that’s okay! Start small, be honest with yourself.
- What are your interests?
- What is something that you do in your free time?
- What do you constantly think about?
- In a perfect world, if you could ditch your 9-5 job to run your dream business, what would that be?
- Do you have any previous experience in that line of work that could turn into a business?
Once you have a general idea of what you think you might be passionate about. Grab a whiteboard and don’t hold back, think outside of your comfort zone and don’t disregard any idea that comes to mind, you never know, that one idea can change your world. You don’t necessarily need a brand new idea to start a profitable business. Find a way to combine two ideas in one. Put a little spin on the idea that already exists.
Conduct a thorough research. Ask a question. Survey your family & friends. Find everything about your competition and learn from their ups and downs. How do you differentiate yourself from your competition? What can you do better? Why should your audience choose you over your competitors?
4. Position your business
You should be able to describe your business in a brief sentence. More detailed the better. “Dog-themed products for those who love dogs more than humans” is better than “Animal-themed products”.
5. Targeted Audience
Identify people who are interested in your products. What are those people’s characteristics in terms of demographics (age, location, gender, income level, education level, marital status, occupation, and ethnic background) and psychographic attributes (What are their interests, hobbies, values, attitude, behavior and lifestyle preferences)?
Who are your competitors? Who do they target? Instead of following in your competition footsteps find the itty-bitty tiny gap and target to that audience.
6. Online visibility
In addition to your e-commerce store consider strong online visibility. Create a blog and feed your customers with valuable information and share the story behind your brand. Give updates about new products. Add comments section to each blog post to see your customer thoughts. Share promotional giveaways to provide incentives to purchase your products. Run contests. Share customers reviews and photos on your social media. Upload a video content. Utilize SEO keyword search. Incorporate paid advertising to your marketing strategy.
Niche can result in better sales because shoppers are searching for a specific item and are ready to buy instantly. It is much easier to run a business that you are genuinely passionate about. Having a niche will help to attract a specific group rather than the masses. Your advertisements will be more targeted and, therefore more effective. A niche allows for a steady growth. You are in control of adding limited edition products (cause, environmental issues or politics). Remember everything in e-commerce is a continuous process of trial and error don’t be afraid to try new things. Everything is in a constant state of change, always be on a lookout for a new opportunity to scale your business.