If you’re not growing your ecommerce business, then you’re shrinking -- and you can’t afford to stagnate. One of the best ecommerce growth tactics is to focus on profitable niches. Today, we’re going to look at your options and help you find the best one.
You probably know the old saying: “You either evolve or become extinct.” And if you work in ecommerce, you know the saying well. In the world of online commerce, the sheer number of competitors forces you to make slight adjustments every few months. Failing to do so might hinder your entire operation.
If you want to stay competitive in this market (or launch a competitive store), you need to stay on top of things. That’s why you should look into expanding into new niches.
Here’s what we’ll discuss in this post:
- What are the different niches in the ecommerce industry
- How to recognize whether a niche you’re eyeing is profitable or not
- The exciting niches in ecommerce
What are ecommerce niches?
An ecommerce niche is a limited, specialized market. Simply put, while niches don’t attract the general population, they attract specific groups of people that tend to be more loyal to the people they work with.
The best way to explain what niches are is through some examples:
- Animal-themed clothing is a niche
- Country-specific, homemade jewelry is a niche
- Company-specific gadgets are a tight niche
You get the idea. So while a non-niche store can have more potential customers, it also has tons and tons of competitors. A niche store, while having fewer potential customers, has a better focus, fewer competitors, and better loyalty rates.
Generally, ecommerce niches can be divided into four categories:
- Pricing: First off, your niche heavily depends on the type of products you’re selling. Different consumer groups have different needs. There’s a huge difference between selling cost-effective products and premium, luxury ones.
- Demographics: Your niche has to have a clearly defined audience. Items like fitness and sports equipment are naturally sold to young adults, while luxury items like jewelry are aimed at older demographics with more money to their name.
- Psychographics: This category is quite similar to demographics. But while demographics explain who your shoppers are, psychographics explains why they shop. It includes information about your audience’s hobbies, shopping, and spending habits.
- Geographic: Do you want to sell your products locally or do you want a global reach? Are your products weather-sensitive? Are they seasonal? These are just a few ways in which geography can affect your niche choice.
Why is finding a niche so important? Mostly because of the competition. As you know, there are literally millions of web stores today. When you’re trying to expand your business, you have to be careful. One mistake can lead to business failure.
You need to research the niche you want to expand to, assess the risk, and see if it’s worth investing in.
7 ecommerce niches to check out
Here are seven ecommerce niches you can look into.
1. Care products for men
In the last two decades, men’s care products have become more profitable than ever. As a matter of fact, according to Allied Market Research, the market is only going to continue growing in the next few years. In just two years, the market will be worth more than $166 billion globally.
What products should you look into? Shampoos and 1-in-3 shower gels? You can do better than that. Beard care and grooming products have been booming in the last five years. But face wash, moisturizers, and colognes are also popular options.
Want to niche down even further?
2. Vegan cosmetics products
Why settle for a single niche when you combine two and enter a completely new market?
Case in point: vegan cosmetics products that not only cater to people into self-care but also to vegetarians, vegans, and other animal-lovers. This is a highly sophisticated niche where new products are quickly accepted.
The market might be tight at the moment, but it’s quickly expanding. In just 5 years, the market will grow to more than $20 billion. You also need to know that the market won’t make you rich overnight. However, if you invest enough time, it will definitely pay off.
If you are selling consumable products, like cosmetics, you may want to consider something with more recurring revenue.
3. Subscription boxes
Although the hype around subscription boxes has died down a bit over the course of the last decade, they’re still here and the market is still worth investing in. Since 2011, the subscription box industry has grown by more than 200%.
Now, within this niche, there are many niches to go over, so you need to do your homework.
For instance, you can go for trending products - like movie-based merchandise - or you can go with something more evergreen like meal boxes. The only problem with this niche is the number of competitors, but if you pick your sub-niche carefully, that too can be avoided.
You can even use subscription boxes like Barkbox to inspire you.
4. Homemade pet treats
Since we now spend most of our time indoors, it’s no wonder that people are becoming more and more attached to their pets. Almost 85% of pet owners have become more worried about their pet’s wellness and health ever since the outbreak started.
Whether dealing with quarantine or not, people look at pets as family members. So it’s not a real surprise that homemade, healthy pet treats have become such a hot seller in recent years.
This is a great sub-niche if you already sell homemade goods, recipes, or pet-related products. The market has been growing steadily for the last few years, so even after all of this is over, you can still make a healthy profit.
Even large pet stores like Petco are shifting to accommodate the shifting taste of pet parents.
5. Eco-friendly baby products
Kids are responsible for a large percentage of things we buy every day. Researchers estimate that kids influence more than half-a-billion in household spending in the United States on a yearly basis. A large part of that is baby toiletries.
Seeing how even the average people have become more environmentally conscious lately, eco-friendly toiletries are a great niche to look into. Biodegradable wipes, diapers, and other products are now a necessity for many parents, so you should consider them seriously.
6. POD lifestyle apparel
POD - or print-on-demand - is an interesting industry. Before, POD services were mostly used by companies, sports clubs, and other organizations. Lately, with the rise of the so-called “nerd culture” interesting t-shirt designs have become a good investment.
Printing unique, limited-edition clothing can be a good investment. The custom t-shirt industry alone will be worth $10 billion by 2025. You can print music, fitness, and pet inspired shirts to attract multiple niche consumer groups at the same time.
POD can be a great way to drive brand loyalty, add promotion, or test new markets.
7. Homemade jewelry
Last year, around 29 million shoppers purchased jewelry online. While most of those people bought regular jewelry, unique, homemade pieces also represent a good percentage of these purchases. This is because more than ever, people are in the market for unique products.
Even though you can’t expect to sell thousands of pieces of jewelry, the prices in this industry are considerably higher than any other we mentioned, so you can expect a rather healthy return on your investment.
Jewelry is a great way to test a new brand and store. Expanding into new niches is how the Ghandi Brothers have launched a 9 figure ecommerce business.
How to know if a niche is profitable
Not all niches are going to bring you a lot of money. Some are simply more profitable than others. But that’s not the full picture. There’s a time and place for everything. The same goes for niches.
One year, a niche can help you earn hundreds of thousands of dollars. Next year, it may bankrupt you. You should avoid chasing trends and find something sustainable.
Here are a few ways you can research a niche and see if it can be profitable in the long run.
1. Check Google Trends
You need to recognize whether or not your niche can be profitable in the long run. Do you remember fidget spinners? If you look them up in Google Trends, you can see that they’ve reached their peak between May 14 and 20 and had a huge fall off just a month later. You can also use SEMrush and Sistrix to look for upcoming niche opportunities.
Who is still stuck with fidget spinners from 2017?
2. Check its search volume
Next, you need to find out how many people are interested in the product you want to sell at that moment. Therefore, it would be good to look up the search volume of products in the niche and see how many people are googling them. Here, tools like Keywords Everywhere, and Ubersuggest can really help you out.
3. Study popular ecommerce websites
Besides using new tools, you can also do a simple Google search to find out whether your potential niche is popular at that moment in time. Just take the name of the niche and put “top blogs” or "top communities" beside it in the Google search bar. If you get a good number of results - a few hundred thousand at least - then there’s a good chance that the niche is popular.
4. Look into Google Ads
This is another research technique that requires nothing but some observations. When you Google a niche, you should look to see if product ads pop up at the top of the results page. The logic here is simple: if the niche is profitable, people will advertise their products on Google. Just think about it, no one uses PPC advertising if they can’t make their money back.
5. Search on Amazon
Amazon is great for product ideas. You don’t need any money or overly-expensive programs to research it. You only need time and patience. Look up your niche on Amazon and see how many search results you get. That will give you a rough idea about its popularity. If you want to research specific product groups, you can use tools like Unicorn Smasher and JoungleScout.
Discover new niches and expand your business
And there you have it. That’s all of the basics of niche research you need to know. So what are some of the biggest takeaways from this post?
- A niche is essentially a group of shoppers interested in a similar product group
- They’re divided by pricing, demographics, psychographics, and geography
- There’s plenty of profitable niches, you just need to find one and stick with it
- Don't forget to factor in your cost of customer support when choosing a niche
Once you manage to select a niche, your journey is just starting. There’s plenty of other problems to address (and opportunities to grow): adding new products, marketing them, making sure everything is within budget, and of course, what sort of customer support expectations will this new ecommerce niche have?
That’s where we can help you. Our platform allows you to address many of these issues and make sure your store stays on the right path.