Today’s eCommerce startups are a dime a dozen. They’re easy to start, inexpensive to get up and running and still offer a reasonable chance of success for the average entrepreneur. At the same time, however, today’s biggest retail players now come from the eCommerce space (I’m looking at you, Amazon) which means that starting an eCommerce business today is a bit like jumping into shark-infested waters with a life vest and a handful of raw meat.
So why do people keep doing it? Is it hubris? Misplaced optimism? A masochistic streak? More than likely, it’s because today’s eCommerce startups believe that they have something unique to add to the marketplace that they big guys don’t offer. That’s why you’ll find so many recent success stories about startups succeeding in niche markets – serving market segments that are ignored by everyone else.
Believe it or not, there are still plenty of niche segments that can provide ample opportunities for eCommerce success in 2019. If you’re looking into starting an eCommerce venture in the near future, here are some niches to target that will all but guarantee success.
Sustainable, Ethical Products
Today’s consumers aren’t like previous generations. They want to know all about where products come from, who’s affected by them, and if they’re having a detrimental effect on the environment. From a societal standpoint, that’s good news. From a marketing standpoint – it’s a goldmine. Research shows that an increasing number of consumers are now willing to change their shopping habits to favor sustainable and environmentally-friendly products.
For eCommerce startups, this means any product line that falls into those categories will have a natural advantage in the market. For example, consider the current boom in bamboo bedding products that’s taking place around the world. It’s a product type that would have been all but impossible to sell a few short years ago, but its’ sustainable bona fides are fueling the kind of sales growth that can turn an eCommerce site into a real moneymaker.
Boutique Pet Products
If you’ve ever taken a walk through a major city recently, you’ve no doubt noticed that there’s no shortage of well-heeled pets out there. It’s the visible part of a trend toward high-end pet products that is sweeping the world right now. ECommerce startups can take advantage of this by focusing on boutique pet items that offer surprisingly high margins.
Organic pet foods, pet clothing, and flashy accessories can fill out the bulk of a high-performing product line, or you can even go for high-end designer pet products from some of the most well-known fashion brands in the world. Either way, there’s no shortage of willing buyers, ready to spoil their pets with the finest things money can buy.
The majority of today’s eCommerce and other retail outlets specialize in products that are designed to incorporate planned obsolescence. For them, this ensures a healthy bottom line as consumers have to return again and again to replace products that have reached the end of their useful lives. There is an alternative, however. There’s a big and growing movement toward buy-it-for-life products (BIFL).
They’re the kind of things you’ll hand down to your children and beyond – just like it was in the now-distant past. Creating an eCommerce site that specializes in such products, which are more numerous than you might imagine, can help you tap into this growing movement and grow a solid new venture. If you choose this niche, there’s even a subReddit with over half of a million subscribers that you can market to on launch day.
The Key to eCommerce Success
The niches that I’ve identified here are by no means the only options to start a thriving eCommerce venture today. There are literally hundreds to choose from, and they’re not that hard to find. All you have to do is conduct some thorough market research and engage in some targeted test-selling to validate your ideas.
If you’re careful, you might hit upon a niche with solid demand and little in the way of competition, which is the holy grail of modern eCommerce. Plus, it’s a much better approach than trying to beat Amazon at their own game – unless you’re into that kind of thing, of course.
Interesting related article: “What is a Startup?“