“Half the battle is won by just picking the right battlefield.”
I want you to think a bit deep on it because probably your entire business and its profitability depends on it. I am starting as such because I am not the person who should be picking an eCommerce niche for you. Sure I can give a few ideas on how to do the research or maybe what are the most trending niches right now.
But I can’t really pick the “battlefield” for you because I’m not you.
However, I will share some insights on how to find a niche. A profitable one.
But before we begin, let us understand what exactly is a niche?
What is a niche?
I’ll try to put it in a layman’s language.
It is a submarket catering to the needs of a specific group of people. That is how I can put it most simply and aptly.
Well, in order to decide what to sell, let us try and observe stuff that we already bought.
Look at your TV or refrigerator or as simple as your notebook and pen. You don’t just buy them out of whim don’t you?
Yes! Even when ladies go out on a shopping spree, buying a gazillion pair of dresses, there is a purpose behind it.
We buy all these stuff because they help us fill up three broad requirements of our lives.
The requirements are:
Guys! This is the HACK to consumer psychology! If you can understand this, you are good to go.
Think about it. Why do you buy a TV? For leisure? For information? For a quality time isn’t it?
That helps your personal relationship. Maybe a relationship with your family or with yourself. Watching a classic on a lazy sunday afternoon or watching your favourite movie, all alone. The device helps you with some relationship. Right?
Why do you buy a refrigerator? To keep your food safe for a long time so that it doesn’t go to waste. In this case a refrigerator helps you with two of your requirements, your money and your health.
Why do women love shopping?💃💃
Nobody knows! Not even women! 😂
Just kidding lol.
Shopping new garments make people feel good about themselves. Wearing a new piece of apparel makes you feel rejuvenated. In this case, apparel and fashion sense help you with relationships.
Any product you pick helps you serve one of the three fundamental needs right?
Now if you sell products that cater to at least one of these needs, you will be profitable.
And this particular market need is the niche.
But, Why Niche?
Let’s say you try to sell health products. You can’t really sell everything under the sun unless you are highly funded and have a very good marketing strategy, right?
Sure some companies do it, like Amazon, Walmart or Aliexpress.
But they did take their sweet time to reach the top. Infact, Amazon itself was started by Jeff Bezos as an ecommerce niche store. They were selling books online.
Who knows you may also find yourself alongside or ahead of Amazon one day, if you play your card right.
But as a general advice that I can give what my mentor gave to me,”If you try to become everything to everyone, you end up becoming a nobody.”
It is important to pick a category within these markets.
As we are talking about health products, let us pick a category within it. That becomes a sub market.
Let’s say you want to deal with HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training) equipment.
So Great, you picked a submarket within the health market. Now, the most important thing. Who are you selling to?
Surely you can’t sell it to people who are beyond 45-50 years of age? Simply because it’s not advisable. Even though some extraordinary people love HIIT training after 40, The numbers are too less. Also it is not recommended for teenagers either.
And of course you can’t really sell them to people with heart conditions or breathing issues right?
You need to pick the right audience. It is very important to figure out which section of people you are targeting. Whether they are men or women, What is their age, what are their interests and pain points, is there any specific medical condition your product needs to cater to?
Solving these problems will give you an idea about who exactly you are serving. When you solve the needs of a specific audience, you are known in it.
Take the example of Muscleblaze. Their niche would be “Nutrition Products for Gym Buffs probably within an age range of 18 to 40”. Now that really is a good place to sell.
What is a micro-niche?
While starting out you also have to pick a similar niche. I’d go on a step and say, go for a micro-niche. A micro ecommerce niche market is a submarket within a niche. It is catering to a certain section of that specific audience.
Let me share with you an example.
Example of a niche store will be let’s say a T-Shirt store that sells shirts with funny quotes. A micro niche store would be a T-Shirt store for Doctors.
This would be highly effective because you know your target audience and most doctors would love to buy it from you. Once you feel that you have made enough profits, you can always expand your market and add, let’s say nurses or pharmacists etc. It’s up to you what’s your calling.
I hope I cleared the concept of niche and micro niche to you. Now let us look at the ways how to find an ecommerce niche.
Here’s a quick Diagram to help you understand niche and micro niche.
I hope you understood about niche and micro niche. Let’s look at some of the best techniques to find your ecommerce niche
The Talent-Passion-Demand Diagram
In this section, I’ll probably just summarise whatever I mentioned above but it will have a fun diagram in the end so, do give it a read.
In the previous writeup, I mentioned about how you are solving a problem. Any problem that was annoying, bought in a lot of businesses. That is what you need to look out for.
So here, the first thing is the Market Demand.
Secondly, there is passion. Sure, It always helps if you are passionate about the product you are selling. Or atleast, don’t hate it.
Because there is always a certain level of emotional investment required to become a successful businessman. Let’s say you are dealing with axes and wood chippers and yet you hate the idea of destroying the environment. You’d probably not be happy selling it right.
So having a little emotional attachment is essential.
But! I am not really talking about that passion! I am talking about your buyer’s passion. If you sell products related to your buyer’s passions and interests, your stuff will sell like hot cakes.
Example: Let’s say you are selling DSLR camera bag. Now There is a passion. Cameras are expensive and photographers or people who love photography will definietely buy the product.
Now the third aspect of it is your talent. This again boils down to your knowledge. If you are passionate about something yet you don’t know anything about it, you’d still suck because that exposes you to being cheated. So all in all your eCommerce niche boils down to this diagram right here.
That’s a general idea of finding an eCommerce niche. And clarity to find this eCommerce niche comes from quite a lot of research.
Because as easy as it may sound, finding a solution is quite a task. Some people may not even know that there is a problem yet they are still living with it.
One of the best examples I can give is Apple. Before smartphones were invented, people did not even know that such a thing could exist. But Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak found out a problem even when the world seemed to be okay with it.
So try and think in those terms. For inspiration you can always look into the nearest marketplaces or may be amazon. Try and find out if your product is already known to the world and has quite a demand and you can start building on the idea.
How to validate the business idea?
In short, how to know that there is a demand in the market. Let’s say you are not as creative as Steve. But you love something. Let’s go with our example, the HIIT eCommerce niche. How do you know that this niche will work?
Well I am there for you. Here are a few techniques you can use to validate your business ideas. There are a lot of tools out there but here I’ll mention about few of the best free tools that you can use to check if your product idea is viable. Throughout the article we will use out example topic, the HIIT training equipment, but you can pick your favourite household object and head over with that
Because why not?
Amazon is the biggest eCommerce website and what better place can you look for when searching for your favourite topic.
All you have to do is type in your product name and hit “space’.
You’ll see something like this
Here you’ll start to see a number of auto suggestions related to your topic. And find the needed equipment. We will be going for the highlighted HIIT workout equipment.
Note: I am in India and thus I see this screen. It works in a very similar way no matter what country you’re from.
Now, once you are in, you will start to see a lot of results. But what we are interested in is the customer ratings and the number of reviews.
In these products, clearly you can see there is a good rating and a lot of people are giving reviews, that means that the product is just that popular.
You can just pick their names and find suitable suppliers that can supply you the product.
Keep a google sheet with you to monitor all these products that you are selling.
2. Amazon Best Sellers Listing
Another cool method is head over to amazon homepage and select this link
I logged in through Amazon India but I believe the same interface comes up with amazon sites of all countries. If you’re in US, click this link: https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers/zgbs
That’s it. After getting in there, head over to your ecommerce niche category and see what all products are selling the best.
In our example of HIIT equipment, here are the results.
3. Google Auto Suggest and Search
This is one of the best if not best ways to validate your ecommerce niche idea.
Just open google search in an incognito browser and type in your product idea and add the word ‘for’.
Google will suggest you complete keywords.
These are all potential niches. But since we are just looking at the market so We can go ahead with the first keyword, ‘HIIT workout equipment’.
Go ahead and check out the stores that sell these equipment and are placed in the first page.
Repeat the same exercise we did on Amazon.
I can already see that there is quite a demand for HIIT equipment and I am on the verge of validation.
4. Spy on your Rivals
While validating your ecommerce niche idea, you will definitely come across a lot of sites and brands that sell the same products that you wish to sell. Now they are your rivals. You need to know how much competition you re going to face.
Now! Here’s the catch!
You are only human aren’t you? Researching manually may give you 2,3 or may be 10 competitors without losing your sanity.
But in order to know exactly what your rivals are working on.
Also if there are too many sites taking up the space, you may wanna avoid the product or ecommerce niche. OR modify your plan to fit a microniche.
To assess that, I reccommend you to use the power of robots.
Not actual robots! Rather tools that crawl through the internet for you and give you the exact data you need, while you hold back and take a sip out of your coffee.
Now There are many such tools out there but what I personally recommend is SEMRush.
Let’s take out example of “HIIT equipments”.
Search that key phrase in SEMRush and here is what you get.
You can literally get access to thousands of website data and find your competitiors by the click of a button. You cna filter by country and see who all are competing with you in your country.
I know may be as a beginner you wanna save some money on the business. well, you can still take a free trial and be done with it. But my recommendation is to invest a little money on good tools like SEMRush.
You can take the free trial by clicking the button down below and you can cancel anytime
How to Survive the Competition? (and Even do Better)
Now what to do if we have a lot of competition?
As you can see there are a lot of websites selling HIIT equipment.
Now here! you can either sell only one specific niche, for example, you can sell HIIT equipment for Chest exercises as I mentioned at the beginning of the post or, be a little creative and combine different categories.
Combining categories is probably one of the most creative ways to filter out your competition. Let me show you how it works.
Let’s go with our example of HIIT equipment.
You see that ther are a lot of competitors out there who sell that stuff and you want to better.
Let’s say your custome is looking for the perfect gym shoes for HIIT workouts or the breathable apparel for HIIT work out.
It wont be easily available right?
SO there you go, you just combined HIIT with apparel and you got a new category to work on with less competition.
You still have to validate this idea by doing the same reseach as mentioned above to check the market demand.
How to market your products?
Now this is a huge segment to cover and we will explore each of these segments, but for now let me give a guideline or a blueprint on the marketing steps.
Once you start your ecommerce store, its imperative that you bring in people to show your products. Now there are two ways to go about it:
1. Invest your time;
2. Invest your money.
Investing Time – Power of Search Engine
We regualrly use google to solve our queries and 90% of the time we get our desired results.
What if your store ranks on top of the results when people search regarding your product?
The art of putting your site on the top of a Search Engine Results page is called Search Engine Optimization.
You can ask me why this is important?
Well! It drastically reduces your monetary investments. Its basically, FREE traffic, so why not?
And Trust me, big corporations take SEO very seriously.
Here are two awesome articles that can get you started on eCommerce SEO.
Investing Money – Run ads
Well! It is very similar to traditional Ads that appear on TV or newspapers.
The only difference here being, all the ads that you run will be on social media and search engine platforms.
It is better in a way that, as internet ads are way more inexpensive and effective.
I have written extensively about it on my LinkedIn pulse here.
I guess I have pretty much covered everything that you needed to know about finding th perfect eCommerce niche. However, if I missed anything, do let me know in the comment section below.
Thanks! and Keep Rocking!
Special Thanks to Tanay Dey for proofreading this.