Business Niche 2022 | What It Is And How To Choose One
Let’s start this by answering a few questions; What is a business niche? A business niche is an area in which you specialise. So if you’re a photographer, maybe it’s a specific type of photography. Why is a business niche important? A business niche is important so that you are not doing all the things. You can become a specialist – an expert in your area. How do I find my business niche? Ah, read on….
Want to run your own business? Who doesn’t? There are so many reasons why it’s more fun and rewarding to take the bull by the horns and try being self-employed. You can set your own hours, work from wherever you want, make all the decisions, and take as much leave as you want to. Fancy a two-month break in the Bahamas? Hey, it’s totally your call.
And when it comes to running your own business, the ecommerce industry is a perfect fit, because you can start selling quickly and scale your store to fit your schedule. It’s easier said than done though (if it were easy, everyone would do it). You need passion, perseverance, dedication, resilience, and the right mixture of confidence and humility. You also need some kind of hook, or niche, that makes your business unique and worth paying attention to.
But what if you can’t figure out that niche? What if you have the will and all of the other qualities needed, but you can’t choose just one idea for your store? Well, the good news is that you don’t need an idea — you just need to find a niche. Here’s how to do it:
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Research current search trends
It’s always advisable to begin with some research, and this step is extremely important, because you need to gather information on what people are currently searching for. It’s tricky though, because trending products in particular are hard to find. If they were easy to identify, everyone would be selling them, and there wouldn’t be much value in joining the bandwagon.
Look around your favourite social media accounts, from brands and influencers alike. Check out Twitter and Facebook trends to see where they lead. Head to Google Trends and start putting things in to see how they stack up. (That said, bear in mind that trends are generally most visible after they’ve started to lose momentum.)
The point of this isn’t to pick out specific things to offer, because that won’t account for an entire store. The point is to get a general idea of what people care about, what they’re willing to pay for, how they like to spend their time, etc. The better you know your prospective customers, the better you can sell to them.
Try combining popular interests and products
There are plenty of fine ways to start coming up with business niches, but I think the most consistently useful is the simple trick of mixing and matching popular interests and product types. You’re essentially taking the good ingredients that you identified during the research stage and putting them together in different recipes to see what works.
If you can see that people are passionate about environmentalism, you can combine that with products that might interest them: ethical clothes, ethical food, ethical furniture, etc. If you see a lot of interest in bold colours, you can offer neon umbrellas, hats, bags… you get the idea.
The reason this works is that there’s no true originality in business: the best you can do is mix existing things in original ways that are authentic to your perspective. Ideally, you should make a shortlist of possibilities at this stage. Get down 10 or so business niches that you think might be viable. If all goes well, you’ll be able to pick just one by the time we’re done.
Consider your strengths and passions
For the moment, look past what people want and think about what you’re good at, and what you care about. What motivates you? Ecommerce might have a low barrier to entry, but long-term success will still take a mighty struggle, and you’re not going to make it if you get tired of what you’re doing and consider it easier to give up.
Here’s another reason why this matters: authenticity. If someone wants to buy a particular type of product online, they have plenty of options, so they don’t need to pick any store in particular — and their prices are often very similar. What often makes the difference is the quality of the brand, which is heavily determined by the quality of the content.
The more you care about what you do, the easier you’ll find it to write compelling content. You can pick a niche that’s good in theory but fail to make it a success because it’s clear that it doesn’t really interest you. Before you decide to run with something, answer this question: will it give you the kind of captivating story needed for a punchy About Us page? If not, your indifference will shine through. Only something you’re passionate about will be sustainable.
Think about what would be easiest to sell
Some products are simply easier to sell than others. This can be because they’re known quantities that don’t call for quality indicators (if you’re buying a plastic bottle, you’re going to reasonably assume that it will get the job done), or because they’re low-cost and thus not really worth thinking about too heavily.
A good example of a product that falls into both categories is the basic phone case: rubber or plastic construction with a decal on the back. The cost of such a case can vary wildly without anyone finding it odd, which is great for sellers because they can use healthy profit margins and still have a chance of making sales. And cases are easy to produce and source — if you’d be willing to run a drop-shipping business, you’d have a huge selection to choose from.
It’s no surprise, then, that marketplaces such as eBay are absolutely saturated with them, and that some people build entire businesses around them. On the other hand, high-end electronics are much tougher to work with. It’s hard to make money on them because sellers need to keep pace with the market leaders, they’re tricky to sell (being high-price items), and they’re returned relatively frequently.
If you have a compelling reason to pick a product type that’s difficult to sell (maybe you think you have the solution), then don’t let this hold you back — but it’s absolutely worth considering.
Remember that you can change your mind
At this point, you should have established a strong idea of what’s popular at the moment, mixed some trends and ideas together to come up with some workable combinations, and whittled the list down based on your preferences and what you think would be easiest to sell at a profit. If you’ve managed to arrive at just one business niche, then great — you’re ready to go.
But don’t worry if you haven’t. If you have two options, or three options, or ten options, then you’re still in a solid position. What that means is that you need to just pick something and run with it, even if it feels like an arbitrary choice. Why? Because you can change course later. Pivoting is a core part of the modern startup model, and it’s very easy in ecommerce.
Online stores are adaptable. You can swap out your stock (and change your content) quickly and easily. Your domain name is trickier to shift, but there’s a simple solution: setting up a completely new store. You can use something like WordPress with a suitable host if you’d prefer a customisable self-managed setup, or you can use a hosted alternative (higher cost, higher convenience).
Regardless of the specific approach you take, you can have a fresh store up and running within days — then simply delete your old one, or let it become inactive. It isn’t great for organic traffic, but a PPC campaign can ramp up quickly.
In the end, picking a niche doesn’t prevent you from changing your mind in the future, so don’t worry about it too much. Go through these steps to identify some options, then go with your gut and see how things pan out.
Guest Post By Rodney Laws, Editor at Ecommerce Platforms