If you’re new to the world of ecommerce – or even if you’ve been around the block before – you might not have a full grasp of what it means to define your niche. Essentially, this is the specific target market you’re trying to enter with your online store. Many people new to the ecommerce world make the mistake of trying to attract too large of an audience too soon. They see the promising growth statistics of ecommerce (which ballooned by 16 percent in the U.S. in 2017) and assume anyone can make money with any kind of business model.
While you obviously want to get more customers, you’ll have a hard time competing in broader markets. Why? Because there are already so many other stores working in those spaces. This is why it’s important for you to narrow down your niche right away. These are a few things to keep in mind when trying to discover and leverage your ecommerce niche.
What Are Your Main Interests?
You’ll be best off by choosing a niche that strongly overlaps with your inherent interests. For example, you probably don’t want to sell dog accessories if you’ve never owned a pet. There are a few reasons why you want to align your niche with your actual interests:
- You know more about the industry. People with background in a subject already have some experience with it as consumers, and therefore know what makes desirable products.
- People will trust you more. There’s a saying that says you shouldn’t trust a skinny chef. The same theory applies to the ecommerce world. Why would you want to buy products from someone who hasn’t tried them? Don’t just choose a niche because you think you can get rich overnight. This will come back to bite you.
How Specifically Do You Understand Those Interests?
As already stated, part of defining your niche is really drilling down to find something super specific. It’s almost always better to capture a substantial share of a tight market than get buried in a broader one. This is why you should focus on a niche that you understand on a really deep level. You’re going to struggle to make a lot of sales if you just generally like sports and want to sell random sports-related items online. However, you’ll probably find a market selling vintage apparel for your favorite team.
Are People Searching for Your Niche Online?
People trying to define ecommerce need to think about it holistically. Online stores are more than just a place to sell goods because you like them; they’re places to meet consumer demand. It doesn’t matter how much you know about something if no one else is interested in buying those products. You need to do a bit of background work before you get too set on your niche. This will involve keyword research, which is a way for you to see how often people are looking up certain terms in search engines.
Are Those Niches Already Saturated with Competition?
Remember, defining your niche is about striking a balance between demand, and knowledge, specificity—plus saturation. Even if you can check off the first three boxes, you’ll still struggle if you can’t overcome the fourth hurdle. A saturated market will be the bane of your existence in the ecommerce world because your store will get buried by competitors who already have market share.
How Much Upfront Capital Is Required to Start?
It’s always important to think about money when you’re trying to start a business. Just because ecommerce companies generally require less upfront money than physical retailers doesn’t mean cash is of no concern. The more money you need, the more risk you’re taking on in order to start your business. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you have a really great idea, it’s certainly something you need to carefully consider when deciding if a niche is right for you.
Don’t underestimate the importance of defining the niche of your ecommerce store. This is going to determine the long-term success of your business. Consider all these factors and take as much time as necessary in order to get your niche right.