The secret to running a successful e-commerce platform is making sure you start off with a soft landing. In order to actually start off, though, you need to figure out which niche you will occupy. This may need a decent amount of research and often ends up being a difficult hurdle to get over for some people.
The choice you end up settling on should be one that’s both profitable and doesn’t eat up too many resources. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a position where you’re unable to gain any customers because of a bigger competitor or a simple general lack of interest by the market. Here are some tips to get you started.
Do Some Market Research
The first and possibly most important step in the process of setting up your e-commerce platform is going to be having people that are actually interested in it. The ‘build it and they will come’ motto may work in Hollywood, but in real life, that’s a disastrous piece of advice to give to the average startup.
A lot of people think their ideas are amazing, based on anecdotal data, and that may be, but without a proper vision to guide the product to success, any business is bound to fail. All business people have to have enough foresight to avoid simply building the product to completion without any insight from the target audience.
Do thorough research and prepare a detailed business plan that serves as your guiding light. For a high-quality business report or a research paper, read reviews on essay writing services and hire the best essay writing services.
You will need to do research through tools like keyword planners to analyze search volume, Google trends, and individual personal engagement. If you can single down on a single problem in a single niche, then you’re off to a good start. It will be a lot easier to attract an eager audience.
Analyze the Competition
Once you’ve decided the market has enough customers to venture into, the next step in the process is to carry out an analysis of the competition.
A useful place to start would be to some SEO research. If you want your online business to be successful, you need to be able to get your product to the first page of Google’s search results, at least. This may not be possible if other larger and more established companies already dominate the top of these results.
You don’t want to enter a market with too much competition because it will be an uphill battle to set yourself apart. On the other hand, a niche with very little competition might be so because of a comparatively smaller market or because of unprofitability.
Each end of the stick has its own downsides, so whether or not you enter a niche based on competition will come down to individual conditions. For instance, it’s possible to succeed in a niche with a small market but plenty of demand.
Additionally, competition isn’t always a bad thing. It can often be used as an indicator of a business having the potential to succeed. With a sufficient amount of resources, it’s possible to get ahead of them.
Offer a Unique Product or Service
Before you can declare your product complete and put it online, you need to be able to sell yourself on it. This is especially important for e-commerce because there is probably someone who occupies the same niche already.
Unlike what most people will tell you, there are very few truly unique businesses out there. Instead, several e-commerce clothing retailers, pharmacies and hardware stores are all able to co-exist in already-occupied markets.
The key to survival in such a market is being able to pinpoint how your product differs from the rest in a space littered with competitors who do more or less the same thing. Business professionals often refer to this as the ‘Unique Selling Proposition’
Finding your USP may require a lot of research and a little bit more creativity. The research end of things would be to find out what your competitors’ USP is and how they use it to make their products better known.
This may require digging through their ads and marketing campaign to see what they emphasize their efforts on. Often, all they need to sell is the brand. For you, it might be as a result of using effective checkout technology like CS-Cart.
Figure out the Margins
Profit margin refers to how your profit compares to the number of sales you’ve made. In our case, net profit is the most important metric to consider because it’s a useful indicator of how the business is performing.
Most conventional advice will have you believe that the ideal profit margin is 10%. This number, however, holds no real significance at the end of the day. When it comes to profit margins, it’s a lot better to have one, even if it’s as little as 0.5%, rather than not having one altogether.
Determine your margin target by checking out your competitors’ prices, industry benchmarks and factor in your own experience. Some companies are able to make up for small margins by moving a lot of products, for instance.
From an innovative viewpoint, choosing an e-commerce niche that can make you successful is a challenging task. It’s a huge platform and cutting it down to a single niche that gives a good return on investment and the effort that you put in is tricky.
Make a thoughtful choice that’s backed by solid research from past data and statistics related to the future. The numbers won’t get you wrong and when combined with your innovative ideas, it’s a guaranteed success.
About the author:
Justin is a marketing specialist and blogger from Leicester, UK. When not working and rooting for Leicester FC, he likes to discuss new trends in digital marketing and share his own ideas with readers on different blogs and forums. Currently, he is working as a content marketer at velvetjobs.