The Holy Grail of the wholesale or retail business is the niche market. It is not in all instances that “variety is the spice of life”. Definitely not in business. While it is not something that defies possibility, dabbling into a lot of business options at the same time is indeed not a sound business decision.
As a business owner in the wholesale or retail industry, you really don’t have to be a ‘generalist’. A generalist is one that just dabbles into all sorts of products. The problem with this is that while you may feel you’re making profits, you could be making more if you specialize in specific products.
The thing with being a ‘specialist’ is that you become very good at it such that very few other people will be able to match your proficiency. This goes the same way for sellers too. In business, specializing in a particular business idea or product means you’re in a “niche”.
Many business owners have been performing below par because they’re yet to find their niche and are instead just jumping on random product ideas. The business goal then is to identify a potential niche market with a viable audience and profit margin.
Finding a niche is not however quite easy. But you shouldn’t worry much. This article covers all you need to know about why it is important to find a niche market, how to find a profitable niche market – including proper examples of niche markets you can tap into.
Table of Contents
What does niche market mean?
If you take apart every general business idea, what you will have left is called a niche market. A niche market is simply a ‘specific’ portion of a larger market. The unique, ‘personified’, or tailored need of the niche market sets it apart from the commonplace market. There are some features of a niche product or niche market that set it apart. It may be because of the difference in:
- Demographics (gender or age)
- Quality level
- Special values, interests, attitudes
- Geographical area
- Lifestyle or culture
- Activity or habits.Whatever it is, niche markets are about catering to the need of targeted consumers rather than selling to a broad audience. In other words, business owners in niche markets try to explore those areas that mainstream businesses are overlooking. Here’s a quick example. Women’s fashion is a mainstream market. Choosing to sell only plus-sized woman’s lingerie will be considered a niche market.
Why target a niche market?
Channeling your resources towards a distinct customer base rather than targeting the larger market is what the niche market is about. It may appear quite limiting at first glance. The argument against it is that you’re only marketing to a minor section of the market.
The logic against this is that business owners targeting a broad market are only doing what thousands (or even millions) of sellers are already doing. In such a market, it is difficult to stand out or create your own “niche”.
Whether you’re a small business owner or a large business owner, the advantages of tapping into a profitable niche market are numerous. First off, you’ll be able to position your business as the plug or ‘go-to’ person for that particular market. This will help you create a reputation for that niche market.
The popularity garnered will then allow you to establish a devoted customer base. The potential profit in this is unimaginable. While other businesses are competing in a saturated market, you’ll be making huge profits from a niche market with lesser competition.
For small business owners, starting with a niche market may be the quickest path to the breakthrough you need to break even. The clientele information you have will further create opportunities to expand your business into the larger market.
Steps to find your own niche markets in 2021
Almost every business owner is currently looking for an untapped niche market to explore. Not everyone will though – mainly because they don’t have access to the information we’ll be giving you here. To find your niche market, you need to have a grounded idea of how the larger market operates – then slim-fit it into your niche.
Admittedly, there’s no all-size-fits-all approach to finding the right profitable niche or product, these four (4) approaches however cover all you need to do.
1. Explore your skills, hobbies, interests, passions
Well, they say passion drives business. Maybe it can work here too. Maybe all you really need to do is to ‘find yourself’ and turn it into a business. The ‘unique’ things that interest you, that set you apart, may just be what you need to explore.
Setting up a niche market requires time and energy. This means you have to be consistent in building a market base, developing content, and getting across to your target audience.
Also, since you’re marketing your ‘passion’, it’ll show in your business practice – and this authenticity will resonate with your buyers.
So, here’s how to go about it:
- Start by identifying your peculiar interests, hobbies or passions
- Find out the particular areas that you feel are largely under-represented by mainstream vendors
- Identify the profitable niche and make it your forte.
2. Find untapped areas or problems with existing mainstream products and explore them
The niche market is obviously about finding the ‘path that is less traveled’. The most successful products in the marketplace are all products that solve particular problems. The more problems or loopholes you can fix as a niche marketer, the better for your business.
In finding a niche idea, you have to explore the broader market first and identify the ‘grey areas’ or void that needs to be filled. Take samples of popular products and identify the ‘lapses’ in them.
Also, with your own passions and interests already identified, consider the products or services with lesser mainstream focus. What are some products you wished were made more available? You may also conduct a survey among your friends and acquaintances to determine their needs and the products not made ‘custom-made’ for them.
Over all, in order to carve out your own niche, you have to pay special attention to what your target market lacks – then provide solutions to those wants and needs. Once you’re able to do this, nothing else can stop you.
3. Assess the viability of your options with the use of keyword research and trends
You need a viable market that is not already saturated. One of the ways you can go about this is by assessing the viability of the potential niche market. Another way is by checking the latest vogues or trends. These will aid you in ascertaining whether a potential niche market has a viable audience or whether it is profitable. The presence of traffic or trends on the potential niche market is a green light.
But, how do you determine this viability?
Conduct a comprehensive keyword research
A comprehensive keyword research will help you realize the potential viability of a product. You can make use of keyword research tools to do this. Some of the popular free keyword research or search volume tools out there include Google’s Keyword Planner, Keywords Everywhere, KWFinder, Ahrefs, SEMrush, and Moz.
- Keyword research with Google’s Keyword Planner: Included in Google AdWords account, the Keyword Planner1 gives you the tools to view the number of searches made by users. When you input your niche market keyword, the Keyword Planner shows you information on the average monthly search volume ranges over time. Search results for related terms will also be displayed. This will further assist you in finding useful product suggestions within the range of your potential niche market.
- Keyword research with Keywords Everywhere: Keywords Everywhere2 is an add-on for browsers that shows search volume on multiple websites. This gives you access to top-level keyword data without having to use the Keyword Planner tool. Although not as comprehensive as the Keyword Planner on Google AdWords, the Keywords Everywhere tool equally gives you what you need to research the viability of the potential niche market.To use this tool, make Keywords Everywhere an add-on on your browser. Each time you conduct a search, your browser will also display results for related keywords on the right side of your screen.
- Use paid keyword research tools to identify niche market viability: In addition to the free keyword research tools, there are also some paid tools you can make use of. A couple of these tools don’t just help you with keyword search; some also offer search engine optimization options for your niche market. Popular paid keyword research tools include SEMrush, LongTailPro, KWFinder, SpyFU, Ahrefs, Keywords Surfer, and Moz.
Research online trends to find your niche market
Exploring trends will also give you an insight into what your niche market should be. What are people talking about? Is there an emerging rave of the moment? The frequency of the times people are talking about a particular niche will help you determine whether or not it is a viable or profitable market.
Common tools to check out the trends either globally or location-specific include Google Trends and other trend-spotting tools like social media, blogs, Hootsuite, BuzzSumo, and Feedly.
These may help you get information on particular niche products not covered by the mainstream market.
- Using Google Trends for niche research: Google Trends is a free tool that analyzes the popularity of top search queries in Google search across various regions or languages. The website makes use of graphs to even compare search volumes of different queries over time.You can use the Google Trend tool to check the popularity of niche market topics and products. A keyword search on the tool will reveal the consistency of the audience and the trending volume of the niche. You may also use the tool to compare various potential niche markets.
- Other ways to research trends of potential niche markets: Paying attention to what people are saying on social media is equally a great way to ascertain user preference. Some tools and apps have been designed to help you weigh trends across social media or the internet as a whole. Some of these include Twitter trends, BuzzFeed, Feedly, Social Mention, Hootsuite, BuzzSumo, and Hashtag Expert.
4. Conduct competitive research to evaluate the profit potential of the niche market
After exploring your passion, finding untapped market spots, and researching potential products for viability, what next? The next and final stop is where you conduct thorough competitive research.
This relates to researching the quantity of demand for your potential niche market and getting to know the existing competition. There are only very few products that have no competition already. With a comprehensive research, you’ll be able to further tap into the niche and improve on the practices of your competitors.
There are a handful of ways you can go about the research. Here are the popular ones:
Research best-seller lists of online marketplaces
Start by hopping on the websites of popular online marketplaces. Take Alibaba.com for instance. Its best-sellers list can be a wonderful tool for you to realize the profitability of any niche market.
Research the top-selling products – and “related products”. Find out the various ways you can further make the product more specific for target users. Also, pay great attention to the reviews given by users.
These may help you get information on particular niche products not covered by the mainstream market.
Research Affiliate marketing best-seller lists
Affiliate marketing has come to stay. It’s not just about using it to make money. You can also use affiliate marketing tools to find out the profit potential of niche markets. With the tools, you can conduct a search of the potential products and get detailed information on their popularity. You can also use the tools to ‘spy’ on your competitors in the niche market – then improve on the business.
Some popular affiliate marketing tools useful for you include ShareASale, Affbank, ClickBank, Rakuten, and CJ Affiliates.
Niche market examples (and niche products you can sell)
The guide above has given you an idea of what a niche market entails. Finding a niche market you can specialize in shouldn’t be a problem. All you have to do is narrow down popular mainstream markets and find a target audience left out of the loop.
In case you’re still wondering what it is, here are a couple of niche market ideas wholesalers and retailers are considering in 2021. These samples only offer you an insight. There are thousands – if not millions – of niche ideas out there. The ones we’ll be checking out are the:
- Conscious consumers
- Health and wellness
- Pet owners
- The LGBTQ+ community
- Remote workers
1. Conscious consumers
A study conducted reveals that more than 70% of consumers surveyed globally intend to change their consumption habits3. This may be due to various personal reasons. Vegan, eco-friendly, cruelty-free, and halal consumptions are some of the popular ‘trends’ among conscious consumers. The rise of conscious consumers also means more and more people will be getting interested in buying sustainable products. This equals an increase in the demand for products not otherwise available in mainstream markets.
If you’re looking for a niche market for conscious consumers, you may turn your attention to marketing:
- Vegan, natural or unmodified foods
- Halal foods
- Products that solve the plastic problem (like reusable drinking straws)
- Cruelty-free products.
2. Health and wellness industry
The health industry is always a booming business. People all over the world are conscious of their health and finding the right products. Quite unsurprisingly, the range of product opportunities in this niche are limitless. Beauty and personal care, food and beverages, recipes, and even digital products like eBooks, are some of the genres you can look into.
Examples of sub-niche markets in the health and wellness industry include:
- Gluten-free products
- Anti-aging or weight-loss products
- Food supplements like Cannabidiol, or Kombucha
- Wearable wellness technology like heart rate monitors and fitness bands
- Melatonin gummies.
3. Pet owners
The increasing number of pet owners and the emergence of new pets translates to more markets for the pet industry. Asides popular pets like fish, dogs, or cats, other pets like lizards, goats, turtles, foxes, and even chickens are now gaining fast popularity. And of course, pet owners are known to be big spenders.
For sub-niche marketing ideas, you can look into selling organic pet food and treats, flea and tick repellants, outdoor gear, pet cameras and GPS pet trackers, pet accessories and clothing, or toys and beds for the ‘emerging’ pets.
4. The LGBTQIA+ community
LGBTQIA+ is a massive movement across the world with unlimited market potential. In the LGBTQIA+ community are several sub-niche or mini-niche products ideas that are yet untapped. Pride brands, designs, clothings, and merchandise are some of the ideas you can consider if you’re looking to go into the market.
The gaming industry alone is expected to surpass $180 billion dollars in revenue in 2021. The term “gamers” covers all forms, from PC gamers to mobile gamers, console gamers, and tabletop gamers. The population of gamers across the world is now being flooded with newer demographics like the aged and more women. Surely, the potential of the market has a lot of sub-niches to explore.
Niche ideas for you include:
- Game accessories and ergonomic products for long gaming sessions (controllers, chairs, blue-light blocking glasses)
- Decals or designs to personalize consoles, controllers, or even game rooms
- Merchandise referencing popular games or gaming culture.
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