Finding a Niche Market for Your Online Store

Often times, finding the right market to pursue is the hardest part of starting your store. Here are 5 things to consider when choosing which market segment to attack.

Choose an Area or Set of Products That You Are Passionate About

Many people make the mistake of opening a store and selling a product just because a particular product is hot. If a product is hot, chances are there will be lots of competition and unless you are truly passionate about what you are selling, you will not be able to differentiate your store from your competitors.

Having expertise in your products will also allow you to easily distinguish good and bad products when deciding what to carry in your store. The ability to write in depth reviews and product descriptions about items you love will instill confidence in a buyer as well.

Most importantly, selling products that you love will provide you with the necessary confidence and determination to persevere. For the first 6 months after the launch of our online store, we were only making about 100 dollars a week in revenues. But because we were passionate about our products and the added value we provided to customers, we were able to stick it out until business started picking up. The first 6-12 months in the life of your store is the toughest time. You will feel despair, anguish and remorse when business is slow or nonexistent. If you don’t feel strongly in what you are selling, you won’t make it through.

Choose a Market Segment That Has Room to Grow

Even though you may be extremely passionate about a particular product or set of products doesn’t necessarily mean that you can make money from it. For example, if my passion happened to be edible insects, even if I cornered the edible insect market, there might not be enough edible insect aficionados out there to support my business and overhead costs. Ideally, you want to choose a large target market of which you can conquer a small niche. This will allow some room for your business to expand as the money starts rolling in.

Pick a Product That is Generally Hard To Find

If you just sit down and think about it, you can probably come up with at least a dozen items that you need right off the top of your head that you wish you had but can’t easily find in any store. Just the other day, I was looking to buy a full length sunscreen for the back window of my car so that the sun wouldn’t get into my baby’s eyes. You would not believe how difficult this was to find. In fact, after a weeks worth of searching, I still haven’t found one that suits my needs.

If you have problems coming up with anything, the best way to brainstorm is to take a vacation to another country and look around. As you are traveling, look for items that aren’t available in your home country and make a note of it. While you are there, go the extra mile and look up local manufacturers of that product and talk to them directly. Find out what the pricing of their products to sell is in bulk and inquire if they will ship to your home country. When tax time rolls around, go ahead and expense your entire vacation in the name of your business!

Pick a Product That Has High Margins

Ultimately you should follow where your passion takes you, but it certainly helps to sell a product that has high margins or a greater perceived value. Items that are handcrafted or personalized will carry a much larger premium whereas technology items tend to face constant margin pressure and price drops over the lifetime of the product. I would tend to stay away from tech products in general unless you can add significant value or can get special pricing from the manufacturer. Tech items are generally more popular so you will definitely face fierce competition. Coupled with the fact that as technology becomes obsolete, you may end up with useless, unsellable items on your shelves.

Choose a Market Where You Have Connections

If you have relatives or friends that run successful businesses, make sure you use them as a resource. People with existing businesses probably have a pretty good idea of what will and will not make money in their particular area of expertise. Furthermore, they probably have lots of good ideas that they’ve thought up in the past but never had the time to pursue. The key is not be afraid to ask questions. You’d be surprised how helpful even total strangers can be. If any reader of this blog has any questions for me, I welcome them to ask.

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18 thoughts on “Finding a Niche Market for Your Online Store”

  1. Christi says:

    I am really enjoying the info that I have found on your site! I have a question that you may be able to assist me with.

    I am opening an online store, and would like to speak with a local business that carries the products I would like to sell about purchasing the the items from their store (therefore I do not have to stock the products). I would be wiling to pay a little more than they pay from their distributor (so they are getting something in return). Do you think that this is a smart idea and if you were the business owner (of the brick and mortar store) would you be willing to do this?

    Any comments or advice would be greatly appreciated!

  2. Nibs says:

    Hello,

    I’m committed to opening an online store asap but am stuck trying to figure out a niche product to sell. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks.

  3. Hello, I was wondering if you would consider guest-posting on my website? It is about learning to make money online and I am currently needing further information on finding a niche market. If you would consider it, please contact me at http://momsmoneymakingmission.com Thank you!

  4. jon says:

    Hi Steve,

    I have a question about the passion required for a niche product. Do you and your wife have a burning passion for wedding linen? Do you go on forums for brides and talk all about thread count and such?

    What would you recommend is the cut-off line between “according to my metrics, this should sell well and generate good profit” , and ” I freaking LOVE this product”.

    I am a fairly analytical and dispassionate guy so the former way appeals to me, and I think it might appeal to you. But I wondered about getting bored with a product or not LOVING it enough (like a fanatic) to go onto the related forums/websites/groups every day to pimp the product (sorry, I mean, do SEO) and read all about that niche.

    Can you offer any guidance?

    Thanks!

    1. Hey Jon,

      I have an article coming up that exactly addresses your question. For our online store niche, I’m not really into handkerchiefs or weddings for that matter, yet I’m really enthusiastic about the business.

  5. Hello,

    Thank you very much for writing clear, understandable, real information about selling on the Internet. I have been trying for about 3 years to find items to sell. I have gone to the doba’s and the like and nothing has worked as of yet. I am working hard but to no avail. But at least I can understand what you are saying and there have not been as of yet a long squeeze page trying to sell me things I do not need or want. Please do not become of less worth by doing the things that I have mentioned. I wish you well. I am going to write a book about….well I will share that with you when I am ready to publish such. Again thanks.

  6. this is a great point and tips i found in your website. previously i was promoting products because i see people making money from it but still noting was coming fort.

    One day i decided to sell an information that interest me( Education and loan)which i created my self then i saw my sales increasing steadily and more customers. Thanks for your write up sir, keep it up.

  7. Hi, this is a very honest piece straight to the point and very resourceful. Thank you for sharing.. It’s rare to find people who has done it out there helping others and giving priceless advice!

    TA

  8. Amen says:

    Thank you
    I enjoyed reading all the articles which provide the readers with much needed information
    A lot of people do online business but they will say it is HELL but if you ask if they would go back to their old job they’ll say no , I appreciate the honesty and how you are helping people with this
    Looking forward to reading more of your writings

  9. Sarah says:

    Hello!

    Thank you for this great info!
    I just stumbled upon your website and ill be reading all your articles.

    I am still in the process of finding a niche to get into.

    Thanks agaaaaaiiinn!!!!

    Sarah

  10. uche says:

    Hi,
    Thanks for your educational write ups. i am new to your site yet i find every piece of information very useful.
    i am not very new to eCommerce since i have already started the journey to setting up my store but i have a little problem that is holding me back. i have got the niche am centering into and have done done my due-diligence but getting a supplier or drop-shipper has been a little tough for me because of my region. i actually got some drop-shippers that wanted to work with me but required i must be a registered us resident/business.
    I am actually from Africa and Nigeria precisely, please any advice on what i can do from here?
    Thanks as i expect your usual support.
    Uche

  11. Travis says:

    Steve:

    I’ve been wanting to start an online store for the past few years but the one thing that has always held me back is finding a product to sell! As an Internet Marketer myself, I have all the resources, capital, etc. a person would need to be successful but the one thing I don’t have is a product (or line of products).

    How did you discover wedding linens? And if you had to start over today, what specific things would you do to uncover the best products to sell? This article you wrote is great, but it doesn’t give specifics.

    Every time I have tried to do product research I find products that are impossible to source, aren’t profitable, or there is too much competition. I get frustrated and then I just give up. How do you uncover that “gem of a product” that you can run with and build a store around? It’s so frustrating.

    Travis

    1. Hey Travis,
      First off, there is no such thing as a “gem of a product”. There’s no perfect niche that can guarantee success. But there are quantitative and qualitative guidelines that I go over in my class on how to find a niche. The full answer to your question can not be answered in a comment as I have 15 videos on this question alone in the course. But the short answer is you want to find products around you that aren’t adequately covered in brick and mortar stores. There are many niche products that fall into that category. If you want to learn more, email me offline.

      1. Travis says:

        Steve:

        Thanks for the reply! I completely agree with you. There is no such thing as the perfect niche or perfect product. I guess what I mean by “gem of a product” is a product that you can build a successful store around like you did with your wedding linens. I’m defining “gem” as a product that meets most of the criteria for a good niche store.

        I sent you a message via your contact page a few days ago. You must not have gotten it. I’ll send another message after this comment.

        Thanks!

        Travis

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