Online shopping is booming. So which niches are your best bet for entrepreneurial success? Here are 5 categories to consider.
With Amazon, eBay and other digital marketplaces essentially taking over the world and kicking brick-and-mortar stores to the curb, it’s no surprise that more entrepreneurs are turning their attention to ecommerce.
Of course, not all ecommerce businesses are created equal. While much of your potential for success depends on implementing the right website design and marketing tactics, your chosen niche could make all the difference in whether or not your ecommerce site soars or flops.
After all, it’s unlikely that your company will be able to compete with the likes of Amazon by trying to offer everything. A much wiser marketing solution is to focus your efforts on one niche in particular. This enables you to build a base of loyal, profitable customers while lowering your marketing costs and other expenses.
So which ecommerce niches are your best bet for entrepreneurial success? The latest reports on the state of the ecommerce industry indicate that certain niches are poised for booming success. With steady sales and a growing customer base, these niches are well worth considering for the potential ecommerce entrepreneur.
1. Apparel and accessories
Clothing became ecommerce’s top-selling product category in 2015, and that growth isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon. CNBC reported that online clothing purchases will increase by 20 percent between 2016 and 2020, with much of the growth fueled by millennials and other mobile shoppers.
Of course, with so many merchants already in this particular niche, budding entrepreneurs must find a way to stand out from the competition. Free shipping, a customer-friendly return policy and accurate size recommendations aren’t differentiators anymore – they’re expected by digital clothing consumers.
For lasting success, you’ll need to provide unique clothing that can’t be found elsewhere. Targeting your apparel to an even narrower niche (such as sports fans or movie buffs) is another way to improve your chances for success.
2. Cosmetics and grooming products
People care about how they look and feel – and they’re willing to pay big money for it. The self-care and cosmetics industry has been completely transformed by the digital revolution. An increasing number of companies offer specialty body washes, makeup kits, essential oils and other similar products exclusively through online platforms, rather than relying on a physical storefront.
Many businesses in this niche have found great success by establishing a subscription service that delivers a new supply of desired self-care items on a monthly basis. The subscription model provides the added benefit of helping consumers save time while generating a continual source of income for ecommerce suppliers.
Self-care startups shouldn’t forget about men, either! Some of the fastest-growing companies in the cosmetics industry cater specifically to men, with specialty razors, moisturizers and even beard oil.
3. Flowers and gifts
It’s a tired cliche, but it’s one that still rings true for many people: the unlucky spouse who has forgotten their anniversary, a significant other’s birthday or Valentine’s Day and is in need of a last-minute gift. Our fast-paced society craves instant solutions, so it should hardly be a surprise that flowers and other gifts have seen rapid ecommerce growth in recent years.
The ability to quickly purchase an item that can be delivered to anyone across the country (often within a single day) plays a large part in the growth of this online niche. Of course, gift-delivering companies don’t need to limit themselves to flowers. Gourmet food samplers, barbecue rub samplers and other trendy gift options are also spurring growth for many ecommerce businesses.
4. Craft supplies
Pinterest has forever changed the way people find recipes and craft ideas, and the widespread popularity of this social media platform has led to significant growth for the arts and crafts industry. After finding inspiration for a project on Pinterest or YouTube, the natural (and easy) step is to then seek out the necessary supplies online.
This has created huge growth opportunities for niche craft businesses. Research has found that the majority of female shoppers prefer buying craft supplies from specialty retailers, rather than a chain store, and this applies to online marketplaces as well. If you can provide quality supplies or unique projects, you will soon tap into a passionate, loyal customer base.
5. Video games
Video games are more popular than ever, and entrepreneurs are starting to take notice. Video game players are naturally tech savvy to begin with, making ecommerce a natural solution for reaching this audience.
Your product offerings needn’t be limited to the newest games and consoles either. Many gamers crave rare or classic games or unique accessories (everything from posters to charging stations) that help them celebrate their fandom and get more out of their gaming experience. Gamers aren’t afraid to spend their money online, and that can yield fantastic results for your business.
However, digital efforts to reach the gaming audience are generally held to high standards – especially with the majority of purchases now taking place on a mobile device. If your website isn’t optimized for mobile users, you’ll be unlikely to make much headway. An authentic, user-friendly site is essential, for this or any other ecommerce niche.
Nathan Resnick is a serial entrepreneur who currently serves as CEO of Sourcify, a marketplace of the world’s top manufacturers. Having brought dozens of products to life, he knows the ins and outs of how to turn ideas into realities.