Niche targeting is an amazing strategy to elevate your eCommerce business to a level of repeat sales, long-term loyalty, and a status of expertise for highly specific consumer needs. In part 1, we introduced you to the world of niche markets, their valuable benefits, flexible business nature, and the consumer trends or sub-communities involved.
Now in part two, it’s time for action. Start from observing the shopping landscape in your community based on factors such as spending power, understand examples of niche products within niche markets, then take action by identifying a profitable target niche market that aligns with your values. Let’s go!
1. Niche market factors
Consider these factors when researching niche markets that you have in mind in order to gain a better understanding of your community’s shoppers and the types of niche products, which they may need:
- Demographic factors such as marital status, education level, childbearing status, income level, gender identity, age, religion, race, ethnicity, and whether one is childfree or has children.
- Psychographic factors such as social class, lifestyle, daily habits, values, beliefs, hobbies, and interests in animals, brands, music, or sports personalities.
- Price sensitivity in terms of the affordability range of your target audience, which are determined by both demographic factors and perception of value.
- Local state or country demands
Consider local or regional demands that are not fully met by the landscape of mainstream products or services. These can be a highly sought after local condiment such as bottled sambal made using a secret recipe, Korean luncheon meat, imported snacks from Australia or Japan, and cultural fashion such as sarees, cheongsam and Baju Melayu.
2. Examples of niche markets and their products
Interestingly, niche markets can be identified from the demographic and psychographic factors discussed above. The number of niche markets that you can enter are non-exhaustive, based on trends, and relies on constant or changing preferences.
Be mindful to always do your research via eCommerce Apps such as Lazada that shows best selling categories and Alibaba that shows popular products. Here are some examples of niche markets and their products:
- Animal lovers and pet owners
Pets are increasingly popular with Bloomberg predicting the industry to grow to $500 billion by 2030. Pet owners shower their furry kids with an endless list of products: dry food, wet food, premium treats, essential pet hair removal combs, cat litter, indestructible toys, slow feeders, adorable clothing, shoes, pet water fountains, pet cameras, and even baby strollers for miniature dogs.
- New parents
New parents are focused on giving their baby or toddler all their love in the form of food and protection. This can be at home or on-the-go baby equipment, baby food, nutrition, clothing, hygiene, and nursery education.
- Batik-loving locals and tourists Traditional batik clothing found in Indonesia and Malaysia has gained global popularity thanks to its intricate patterns and cultural significance. Selling these can attract both locals and tourists who are looking for unique fashion pieces. Try getting batik materials fashioned into modern skirts or dress designs to attract higher demand.
- Muslim women looking for Halal cosmetics
The Muslim population that is predominant in Malaysia drives a demand for halal cosmetics, which comply with Islamic dietary laws. In fact, Malaysia is one of the top ten consumers of halal beauty products in the world. You can offer a range of halal-certified skincare and makeup. Complement these with headscarves and makeup tools.
- Specialty coffee or matcha
There is always a group of die-hard coffee lovers or matcha lovers in every community. Coffee: With an increasing preference for specialty coffee blends, you can sell artisanal coffee beans, single-origin brews, and coffee-making accessories.
Matcha: With its vibrant green color, distinct flavor, and health benefit of being an antioxidant, matcha is a hit. Offer ceremonial grade matcha, bamboo whisks, bamboo scoops, and subscription boxes for those who love its strong taste. For matcha beginners, you can offer matcha latte mixes, instant drinks, cookies, and chocolates.
3. Reflection on personal values
When you go into business and become an entrepreneur, it is fundamental to love what you are doing. Wanting to make money is playing the short game. Rather, having a strong sense of passion and a purpose is essential.
For example, “I want to help businesses grow” or “I want to help new parents own sustainable yet affordable baby furniture.” Reflect on values that matter to you in three steps:
- Step 1: Identify your core values
i.e. your personal principles and beliefs. These can include sustainability, health and wellness in your daily life, faithfulness, trustworthiness, sincerity, inclusivity – principles that drive decision-making.
- Step 2: Explore your passions, hobbies, and interests
What meaningful products, activities, or categories excite you most? These can be a passion for gardening, childhood education, minimalist fashion, multitasking techy devices, organic skincare, nifty beauty tools etc.
- Step 3: Define your ikigai or business purpose
Place your passions in focus and identify your ikigai: a perfect combination of what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for.
4. ACTION: How to identify your profitable target niche market
Now that you have identified your ikigai, reflect on what we have learnt about spotting consumer trends (part 1), identifying sub-communities (part 1), niche market factors, and trending niche products. After all this research is done, it is time to identify your very own profitable target niche market.
Let’s begin from ikigai. For instance, Mason loves techy stuff, he is good in procuring the latest tech products due to his expertise, the world needs reliable technology sellers like Mason, and he clearly can be paid for this. If one zooms in further, Mason can further explore the technology niche markets of gamers or child iPad users.
Next, conduct some keyword research and take a look at how your competitors are doing with these tools:
- Google Trends
- eCommerce Apps such as Lazada and Alibaba for category research (point 3 above)
Last but not least, do make it a point to get outside on a regular basis. Stroll the malls and take notice of the shops within your target niche. You can also network with business owners in the same industry by joining: a group, tasting events, one-day workshops for programming, fitness studios, and even visiting pop-up markets.