ECommerce stores saturate the internet. And each battles to persuade online consumers to buy from their store.
Even though big stores have sewn up the market generic items, this does not mean you should forget your dreams of owning an eCommerce store.
There is still plenty of room on the edges of the market, and stores selling fringe goods can make a healthy profit.
So, how do you know which niche market to enter? We look at three main considerations in turn:
- Product Price
- Target Audience
- Competitive Markets
It’s important that you choose a product with a high markup. As a specialist goods provider, you are, by definition, not going to sell a huge volume of products. This means that you have to make sure that every sale counts. The best way to do this is to sell a product that generates a large amount of profit.
Expensive products often have the highest markups. We recommend choosing a product which sells for $200 (£127) or more. But there’s no hard-and-fast rule here, so think big. Still, you need to balance the price of your products with demand. It’s no use selling a £2000 product if you’re not going to make more than a handful of sales a year, even if the markup is 100 percent.
This leads us into our second consideration: target audience. You want to sell to people who have a demand for your product. But you also want them to be easy customers. What which we mean likely to buy without needing too much persuasion and unlikely to make a complaint or return.
Some experts advise targeting the upper-middle class. But our advice is to target enthusiasts. Enthusiasts are willing to part with significant sums of money, no matter what their income level is. And, so long as you operate a quality store, will generally not make complaints or returns. The Small Business Association, the US government’s small business support agency, have some great advice for choosing which niche market to target here.
Finally, you need to avoid markets dominated by well-known brands. It’s hard to sell alternative products to consumers who are already loyal to another brand. And this doesn’t just apply to mass markets. A few leading brands control certain niche markets too. So it’s imperative that you don’t pit yourself against the big dogs from the offset.
Now, let’s get down to business.
Here’s our list of three great industries to start an eCommerce store in.
Paragliding and Powered Paragliding
In 2014 the Paraglider Manufactures Association (PMA) commissioned a research project. Its purpose was to determine the size of the paraglider and powered paraglider market in key countries. The report showed that there are more than 127,000 active paragliders and more than 26,000 powered paragliders worldwide.
Europe is by far the largest market, with about 99,000 paraglider pilots and 19,000 powered paraglider pilots. Asia and Latin America also represent substantial markets (with 14,000 paraglider pilots and 1,200 powered paragliders pilots, and 8,300 paraglider pilots respectively).
But, as of yet, no paraglider/powered paraglider retailer has taken control of the market, and many of the industry’s most popular websites are of low quality.
What’s more, much to the annoyance of the pilots, the price of paragliders (especially powered paragliders) fluctuates wildly, and many involved with the sport also express a dissatisfaction with the average levels of customer service and product availability within the industry.
It seems, then, that the paragliding and powered paragliding is crying out for a quality e-tailer to assume the role of market leader. There’s a demand, and the product fits the criteria outlined above. Of course, due to the nature of the industry, you’ll need a decent amount capital to get going.
Aquariums and Aquarium Accessories
Although no up-to-date studies exist that assess the state of the aquarium industry (as if often the case with niche markets), the latest study (taken in 2013) shows that, whilst the economic downturn hit it hard, the industry is now growing in the US and the UK. And, what’s more, the industry is constantly reinventing itself, with aquarium enthusiasts seeking out the latest kit and most exotic, rare fish.
This means that there are lots of opportunities for entrepreneurs. For example, energy-efficient technology is becoming popular among aquarium owners, and bigger tanks are in vogue since the myth that they are hard to keep has been dispelled. You can read more about aquarium industry trends here.
However, there are already some big online retailers operating in the industry. As such, those seeking to enter the industry should be looking to capitalise on the great variation of products that exist for aquariums.
There’s no real brand loyalty here, so, if you can find a way to provide aquarium owners with something fairly unique and impressive, there’s a good chance your store will be a success.
The scuba diving industry is set grow at a CAGR of 3.68 percent from 2013 to 2018. The main driving force behind this growth is the increasing levels of disposable income amongst consumers.
Even more promising is the fact that the Global Scuba Diving Equipment market has seen an increase of innovative scuba diving products available on the market, which indicates a demand for (and, therefore, an opportunity to sell) new products and product lines.
There are already some key vendors operating in the scuba diving market, so differentiating yourself from these is likely the key to success. Unique products are one way of doing this, but another is targeting less developed markets.
With the increase in backpacking and travelling, many developing countries now operate scuba diving schools and classes. Picking a relatively untapped but growing area may be another way to set yourself apart. This may involve hiring a translator or even visiting a foreign country to make connections. If you can establish yourself as the go-to scuba diving equipment e-tailer for even a relatively small place, you could experience significant success.
Did we miss anything? What industries do you think eCommerce sellers can make a killing in? Let us know with a comment.