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Sure, everyone is always recommending you to do market research before you pick a niche for your online dropshipping business.
But what exactly does market research constitute?
In this article, we will discuss certain spaces on the internet that you must browse through before deciding on a niche. Your online store should not be left to chance- and choosing a niche should be a deliberate, well-thought decision.
First off, Why should you have a niche-based store, rather than a general store?
1. The ROI for general stores is usually way lower than for niche centred. This is because when you target a niche market, the quality of leads that you get will be better than when you target a broad audience. This means more conversions, more sales.
2. Niche ecommerce websites are easier to rank and work better with SEO. People are more likely to search highly focussed terms when hunting for a product to meet their requirement rather than vague general terms. If you have a niche store, you will be able to pop up in google and social searches that pertain to your area of expertise easily.
3. Lesser competition. When you have a store about say ‘wooden tea coasters’, you only need to compete with other stores selling wooden tea coasters. But once you have a general store, you are competing for every product you sell online with other stores. Additionally, Walmart, Target and other local biggies all have a head start.
While it may be a little difficult to start selling products that are tailored to a niche audience, it is simply better in the long run!
Now, moving on to ‘How to select a dropshipping niche!’ Outlined below are a few channels that will aid you in understanding the market, trends and profitability of potential niches.
1. Your interests and passions
The first step is to analyze your own passions and interests: What products do you purchase online and what are your motivations for doing the same? What is one product idea that you often find yourself going back to often- while showering, while lying in bed?
What are some products that you friends and family appreciate?
A product that you are passionate about will make significant difference in the image of your brand.
Make a list of 7 of your interests that would be useful to you from the perspective of an ecommerce entrepreneur.
No successful company- whether we speak about Apple or Amazon- was created in the absence of passion. A deep interest in the product preceded the enormous success of these companies.
For example, have a look at the website of this ecommerce website: Only/Once- which sells vintage pieces of home-decor and timeless electronic items and lamps.Their passion is not just visible through their product descriptions, but also through their About Page.
2. Product Review Blogs
Now that you have a few ideas floating around in your head about the niche you might select, one has to decide if the ideas are viable.
One valuable resource that will help you decide this is product review blogs. These exist for all sorts of categories from tech blogs to mommy blogs- along with general product review blogs.
The Awesomer : Lamps, fidget spinners, playing cards, luxury items- all are regularly featured on this blog along with articles and informational posts. With a wide number of products, and catering to a broad audience, this blog is perfect to narrow down a niche for your own store.
Werd : A very clean site that reviews everything from dog kennels to motorbikes- sure to give you a few ideas.
The WiC Project : With a number of low ticket home-centred items reviewed here, this site will help you find products that can be dropshipped with ease.
You can easily check for the traffic these sites receive,the products they feature, the comments and likes on their posts to understand what the audience likes.
The best route would be to find a product review blog that falls in the same niches as the ones you have shortlisted, and then proceed to check the size and potential of the market through the product review blogs.
3. Product Curation Sites
Curated online shopping experiences refer to sites that bring together products from various manufacturers and sellers on one single platform. Usually curation sites are focussed on a certain type of customer persona, which can definitely help an online retailer with a hazy idea about the niche they want to delve into further understand the profit margins on the products in a particular niche, the kind of products that attract buyers and check out new and interesting products!
Some of these sites are:
Thieve : With the best of Aliexpress found here, you can sort out what appeals to you, and the masses with the number of likes a product gets.
Lyst : Fashion products, right from shoes to clothing to help you figure which products sell the best, and what margins you could employ on your store.
Repick : The best of home decor, along with guidebooks and editorials to get you on track if you have the home decor niche in mind.
Firebox : Unique, artsy products that are insanely popular can be found here. Inspiration available in plenty.
4. Industry leaders
If you know the industry or niche you would like to be in you can use various tools to discover the influencers in the industry. Following the right people on social media can help inspire new ideas through a constant stream of carefully curated content from the people in the know. It’s up to you to uncover the opportunities.
There are several online tools you can use to discover the influencers online for a particular industry or niche:
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5. Product and trend discovery sites
Product review and discovery sites can also be a fantastic source for product and internet business ideas. Sites like Uncrate (men’s products) and AHALife (luxury products) are great ways to see new curated product trends daily. What better way to get inspired than to get a daily glimpse into the new and interesting products other entrepreneurs are bringing to the market.
Here are just a few examples of popular consumer product blogs to get you started:
6. Social curation sites
Polyvore and other similar image curation sites can be a goldmine for product and niche ideas. Many of the images contain interesting, new and trending businesses and consumer products. Using the built in social signals you can sometimes get a sense almost immediately of their popularity. This could be your first clue if there is a market for the product or niche.
Several of the larger social curations sites that may inspire niche business ideas are:
- Fancy: Fancy describes themselves as part store, magazine and wish list. Use Fancy to find a gift for any occasion and share your favorite discoveries with all your friends.
- Wanelo: Wanelo (Want – Need – Love) describes itself as a community for all of the worlds shopping, bringing together products and stores in a Pinterest-like product posting format. You can start by checking out out trending people.
- Wishlistr: Wishlistr is a way to collect, organize and track products you want, as well as share that list with others. More than 9 million “wishes” have been listed to date.
7. B2B wholesale marketplaces
What better way to get product ideas than right from the source? This has been a popular option amongst ecommerce entrepreneurs for a while, and this list wouldn’t be complete without it. Wholesale and manufacturer sourcing sites expose you to thousands of potential products ideas. It can be easy to get overwhelmed with the sheer amount of products available, so take it slow.
Alibaba: Alibaba is one of the biggest ecommerce companies in the world, up there with Amazon and eBay. The platform connects consumers all over the world with wholesalers and manufacturers from Asia. With hundreds of thousands of products, there’s not much you can’t find on Alibaba.
Although it’s generally accepted that Alibaba is the largest online wholesale and manufacturer database, there are many other sites similar to Alibaba you can use for inspiration and to find product ideas.
Oberlo: is a marketplace owned by Shopify where you can purchase products to sell on Shopify from suppliers. These suppliers provide automated order fulfillment services, so it’s a popular turnkey option for many entrepreneurs deciding what to sell on Shopify. Browse what’s available and review Oberlo’s trending products to help come up with your own ideas.
8. Trend Publications
If you want to keep a tab on the current changes in ecommerce that have a significant impact on how your business will perform- you have to keep an eye out for trend publications. What niches are the most likely to perform consistently over the next few years and what products show increasing popularity- these are important questions, and definitely need answering before you select a niche. You can find the answers in such publications!
Here are some of our personal favourites:
Trend Watching: This global publication keeps tabs on trends worldwide with regards to consumer products and insights about them. It is a great place to gain exposure on the new products that are being introduced over the world, and how they are fairing.
Cool Material : If your potential niches involve men’s products, this blog can help you keep up with the latest happenings in the market. This should give you a fair idea on what products to use and how to get the attention of your target audience.
Trend Hunter : A very concise database of the top trends in multiple industries- a minefield of ideas for online businesses.
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