Finding your place in the wide world of ecommerce might seem like a daunting task - where do you even begin?
Well, the first answer is deceptively simple - if you already have your product or the idea for one, this is where you begin. If you’re still unsure of what exactly it is that you’d like to sell, you can instead start with thinking about the general purpose of your store and the message you’d like to convey. Once you have the general idea in mind, let’s go through the path of finding your ecommerce niche.
Start with the product
Take a real hard look at your product. What was on your mind when you came up with the idea for it? What inspired you? Did it solve a problem you had? If so, there are probably other people facing a similar problem and who would love seeing it solved.
Bingo! That’s basic outline for your niche!
It could be, of course, that your product is not a problem solver, per se. But this shouldn’t change your approach - try to imagine the person who would enjoy it. For example, if you’re selling t-shirts with adorable kittens on them, you’ll, naturally, want to market them to people who love cats (as opposed to dog people).
Don’t be afraid to narrow it down
When thinking about your niche, make sure that you don’t target something that’s too broad. Remember that no one wants to be treated as a part of a huge, anonymous mass. We all like to feel special and unique (because we all are!). So if you target a very large market, it’ll be challenging to create the feeling of specialness for each customer. Your message will be broad, and, as a result, probably not as effective as you’d like. Customers will like it if you create a feeling that something’s been created just for them.
Let’s look back at the example I used earlier - t-shirts with kittens. Although cat enthusiasts are a given in this case, you can definitely narrow down this niche to something even more specific. For example, you could target people who are fans of a particular breed of cats.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and go in specific directions - you’ll want to hit that sweet spot where your niche is large enough to be profitable but also narrow enough to let you be as on-point as possible with your marketing and sales efforts.
Research, research, and research again
As always, research is key, and the good news is that there are many tools that can help you with this. For example, do a simple keyword research to find out if there might be any interest in your product or idea. Tools like Google Keyword Planner and SEMrush can help you get an idea of the potential market for your product - see if people are already searching for the things that you’d offer. These are the people who could become your customers one day. Keep in mind - if the number of searches is very high, be prepared for some stiff competition, or try to think of a way to narrow down your niche.
Results for “cat shirts” in SEMrush
If you need help with narrowing down your idea, a tool like Answer the Public can be very useful. It’ll show you what other words are often searched for together with your keyword, giving you pointers for possible directions you can go in.
A few other important things to remember
Once you’ve figured out your niche, start thinking of ways to approach this audience. Are there online communities where they hang out? Is it more likely that they’re Facebook users? Or maybe Instagram is where it’s at for you? The places where your potential customers gather will also strongly impact the way you build your store and how you market your products.
Keep in mind that as awesome as your product is, you also have to hit the right spot when it comes to price. Make sure that the audience you’re targeting can actually afford it. Otherwise you’ll have created something great that many people might be interested in but simply can’t spare the money for.
The bottom line is - don’t be afraid to experiment, do your research, and make sure that the niche you’ve chosen is big enough for your store to prosper but not too big that your message becomes diluted.