There are an estimated 12 to 24 million ecommerce sites across the world, with thousands more being created every day1. So, how can you possibly stand out in such a seemingly overcrowded space?
The key to securing your place in any industry is to select the right market niche to serve. With the vast majority of ecommerce startups set to fail within their first 120 days, it’s crucial to understand the needs of your market and align your product and service accordingly1. Niche marketing is an advertising strategy designed to attract a specific subset of customers.
There’s a host of intelligent tools in the market you can use to tap into customer data for more targeted advertising. Best example is product features, a suite of tools that help you grow your global sales online, optimize your product listings, and attract more customers.
The most meaningful benefit of niche marketing is that it allows you to differentiate your brand from competitors with a similar offering. So, rather than blending in with all the other brands in your service, your brand will stand apart, therefore appearing more valuable.
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Niche marketing is a byproduct of specialization. Focusing on a well-defined market allows you to understand your target market on a deeper level, and this is one of the most critical keys to ecommerce success. Niche marketing divides a target market into smaller, more defined categories, which enables your business to build a stronger, lasting connection with its audience2.
There are several ways you can identify such a specific audience. You can differentiate your niche market by:
Once you find your audience, niche marketing enables you to create hyper-focused, highly personalized marketing strategies that will draw potential customers to your business.
Additionally, niche marketing makes it easier to focus your marketing resources on reaching the most valuable audience for your business.
Ultimately, the goal of niche marketing is to establish brand recognition within a specific market. Building brand awareness requires getting to know your customers, identifying their particular needs in your market segment, and determining how best you can meet those needs with your products and services.
In some instances, you might need to develop niche products that specifically cater to the wants, needs, or preferences of your target demographic.
Small businesses benefit more by focusing their products and services on a niche audience. Doing so offers you a comparative advantage over your competitors. Your company has a better chance of becoming an authority in your industry for that specific customer base, which helps attract more customers3. Here’s how.
Niche marketing is often easier than promoting your brand to a wide audience. For instance, there are several companies selling handbags that appeal to a broad range of tastes and preferences. However, if you narrow your focus to appeal to “new moms” who need business bags that double up as diaper bags, you'll find a more exclusive and willing audience.
The more specialized your business is the fewer the competitors in that space. A niche is part of your unique selling proposition. Plus, it's easier to focus your business efforts on one specific niche, making it easier to stay up to date with trends and become an expert in your field – another competitive factor you can leverage to your advantage.
Marketing is all about building connections. When you focus on a specific audience, you can develop more powerful marketing messages because you understand the unique characteristics of your target audience. Rather than using generic, vague language that speaks to a broad audience, you can use direct, targeted messages that will draw in ideal prospects and convert potential customers into buyers.
Today, niche marketing has become easier with tools like social listening and Facebook ad targeting. Social media platforms come equipped with refined targeting options so you can find your audience quickly and use your budget in the right places.
The distinct value of niche marketing is that it leads to stronger bonds between brands and customers. Fewer people in a niche audience means you have a better chance of developing intimate, valuable relationships with clients.
You can inspire brand loyalty with little effort in your niche. Because you have a unique value proposition, you can easily build connections that lead to repeat business.
Being in a niche business means your products and services solve a highly specific problem for your buyers. For instance, people are looking for items produced by hand or in a sustainable manner and are willing to pay more to get these products. Other niche markets include traditional or indigenous ornaments, cruelty-free variations of conventional products, organic pet food and treats, and health and wellness supplements.
By targeting a small market, you’re likely one of a handful of brands offering particular products, which gives you the leeway to charge more.
Niche markets are often segments of larger industries. Brands that succeed within a niche are those that find a gap in the larger market and fulfill the needs of a very specific audience4.
Here are some niche marketing examples of brands that found a gap and built successful businesses around it.
You probably don't think of Whole Foods as a niche business, but it's a great example of how a brand can succeed by narrowing down its focus to a specific audience. Whole Foods focused on organic foods before you could find them anywhere else in the market.
The brand targets affluent consumers who place a premium on health and wellness and ethically produced products. To target this market, Whole Foods goes the extra mile to provide a luxury shopping experience that ensures brand loyalty.
It's no secret that the world is built for right-handed people. You probably don't notice this because odds are you're among the 90% of the population that is right-handed. Lefty’s saw this and created a store dedicated to products for left-handed people.
To reach their target audience, Lefty's has to invest in digital analytics to get insights to target an incredible niche market. They do this by using keywords to rank highly on Google searches, utilizing targeted ads and creating personalized marketing campaigns.
Under Armour is a brand that started when the founder, a former football player, decided to make sportswear that wouldn't be soaked in sweat after a few minutes of exercise. He found a gap in a market, developed a product to fill this gap, and found a ready market. The company started with compression shirts and has since expanded into many kinds of activewear and footwear.
Niche marketing enables brands to carve out an essential piece of a broader market for themselves. Let’s look at how you can do this.
In other words, do industry research. Laying out a niche-specific awareness strategy is an arduous task when you don’t have a good understanding of your competition plus the overall market. Look to see if there are any gaps in your target market that may have been missed and whether there's a legitimate demand for your products.
Market research is crucial to developing your unique selling proposition – your niche lies somewhere at the intersection of what you’re passionate about and what you offer that none of your competitors do. If you’re an expert in a field and have an unmet need, that’s your niche. Whatever it is, find your specialty and craft a story around it.
Narrow down your niche market and identify loyal customers that are more willing to buy your products or services over those of your competitors5. Research your ideal audience and identify what they really want and need. Understanding your audience can help you provide a better product or service. Not to mention, it works wonders for your marketing strategy.
Supposing your model customer spends a considerable amount of their time scrolling on Instagram or TikTok, it doesn't make much sense to focus your marketing around email campaigns. Get to know your buyers, how they find products and what drives their purchase decisions; then, you can create an effective niche marketing campaign.
Once you’ve meticulously set out your unique selling proposition and pinned down who your customers are, the next step entails creating a brand that will resonate with them. If your ideal customer is an eco-conscious consumer looking for sustainable clothing, create a brand that capitalizes on this trait.
A well-defined brand will help differentiate you from your competitors and showcase a marketing plan that’s unique to you. That’s how you attract the right buyers in a niche.
Successful niche marketing is a gradual process that builds upon successes. You can't just set up a niche marketing campaign and assume it will achieve your desired results. You have to test your ideas, review the results, and adjust accordingly.
Tweak your strategy as needed and expand your business by seizing new opportunities.
Looking at online retail giants like Alibaba.com that sell everything you can think of, it can be hard to imagine how specializing in one category can make your business more profitable. However, large companies have the resource bandwidth to manage large inventory, which is why you should use their resources to your advantage.
Case in point: With millions of active buyers on the site at any one time, Alibaba.com is a very attractive sales channel for online merchants. For this reason, you can find any niche market on the site and target them with an end-to-end suite of tools that allow you to get discovered no matter how niche your audience is.