If you intend to start an online retail business in 2019, you are going to have to focus on an essential part of your business: what are you going to sell? Sure, having a recognizable and easy to share brand name and image is one thing to be mindful of. The crux of the entire matter, however, is deciding on what you intend to sell. Retail is a very competitive field to enter. Digital Commerce 360 mentions that online retail income in the US grew 15% in 2018. The move towards online shopping offers a lot of promise to retailers, but the most important consideration is the type of products that your e-commerce site will have on offer.
Commoditized or Niche: What Kind of Product?
Consumer products can fall into one of two categories—commoditized or niche—and each one has its specific audience. Commoditized products include most of the things you shop for both online and offline. Brand retailers such as Walmart and Amazon provide commoditized products to their clients with easy options for shipping and payment. Conversely, niche products are designer and unique type products, usually sold by individual retailers or on Etsy stores. Ad Age notes that a combination of niche products and commoditized products can make for a more adaptable brand. The best way to look at e-commerce as a retailer is to get niche brands that complement the commoditized brands that you’ll be marketing.
Marketing a Solution for a Problem
Some products sell themselves because they are useful to the general public. Viget mentions that the best way to do marketing is to sell a problem solution, not a product. For an e-commerce brand, this is essential, especially since most of the competition will be too busy optimizing their search results to sell a product. Most people who shop online these days don’t want to buy more products, but they do want to acquire something that can be useful in their everyday lives. Even if you can’t invent a product that solves a problem, there are a lot of innovators out there that have already made a product but don’t see the usefulness of that item to the general public. Finding those innovators is another way to market a niche, useful product.
Don’t Rule Anything Out
One of the most common success stories from e-commerce entrepreneurs who’ve done well using Shopify (more information here) is marketing products that they didn’t initially think would have had such a broad market appeal. Bottom Line Cents has consistently done well with products they least expected to take off. These goods are niche products that can lead to the formation of a small business for the person who initially made the item. Artisan producers especially have outstanding marketable products but find it difficult to get traction on the market. Getting a product like this into the hands of consumers means spotting the potential for selling this product on the open market. Doing so usually entails getting to know the thing you’re selling from a firsthand perspective.
Get Passionate About an Item
HuffPost mentions that many millennials prefer buying products that are marketed by brands they perceive to be authentic. Authenticity isn’t something that is easily faked. Having personal experience with a product offers a brand a better platform to market the product. That’s one of the reasons why larger brands that innovate within a space send out products to influencers so they can try them out and review them. For an e-commerce site, being personally invested in a product makes for better product descriptions and a stronger grasp of the demographic that the product should be targeting.
Touch on Guilty Pleasures
Everyone has a few things that they indulge in on occasion that they consider to be a guilty pleasure. Whether it’s cake, ice cream, or something else entirely, The Wall Street Journal makes mention of the fact that people tend to spend far more money on their guilty pleasures than they do on regular consumer goods. This is good news for e-commerce providers since it means that to sell a great product, all you’d need to get is a high-quality guilty pleasure. As humans, we need things that reward us. Even shopping tickles the pleasure centers in our brains which is why buying new things is such an addictive feeling. Giving someone a guilty pleasure to along with that acquisition feeling could be just what your e-commerce business is looking for.
Knowing Where You Stand
Combining commoditized products with niche products is only the start of the journey. There will always be niche products out there that need a home to market them. Finding those products and linking them with customers is one of the most rewarding things an e-commerce business owner can do. Not only does it offer a benefit to the producer, but it also lets the buyer know about the stuff they only suspected existing. There’s a sweet-spot in the market that exists just for your brand of marketing and e-commerce, but it’s up to you to find it and the products that your brand will be famous for. This isn’t Field of Dreams where, if you build it, they will come. Most times, you have to go out there and find them yourself.