The online retail landscape is a loud and busy one to say the least, but if you’re a niche eCommerce operator you’ve already navigated some of the challenges faced by merchants who struggle to stand out from their competition. Whether it’s a niche product or an offering that appeals to a niche group of people, there’s a strong case for businesses like yours that focus on a specific market. Reduced competitors and an easier path to finding your target market are just some of the advantages, along with reduced inventory investment and storage costs.
As stated by ShipBob, “by focusing on a specific niche, eCommerce businesses have been able to rapidly scale because of the unique product they offer, focusing on a specific gap in the market”.
So let’s look at a few tactics to get you started:
Whether you decide to go it alone or outsource to an expert, optimizing your website for search engines is obviously vital to being found by your market. Ensure product names are accurate and descriptive, and add as much content as you can in the descriptor fields. Research and use keywords throughout and make sure your site architecture is spot on.
As a niche business, you’re lucky to have a market who love what you do so regular blogs, podcasts and videos are perfect content to load on your website. Once again, sprinkle through keywords and long-tail search terms (especially relevant in a niche market) but avoid being too salesy. And in your call to action, refer them to the product that solves the problem you’ve just detailed. Last of all, share your content far and wide via social media and email marketing, creating that much needed traffic back to your website.
Social media marketing is probably even more relevant to niche eCommerce retailers than it is to the bigger brands as there’s often a more personal level of relationship between you and your customers. You’re likely to have started your business based on a passion and those that follow you will share that passion. And when you’re creating content, keep in mind your four growth objectives. Let them know about discounts on bulk purchases to help drive up your average cart value, or treat your followers to a special offer so as to encourage those repeat sales.
eBay, Amazon and the likes, can certainly play an important role in growing your business. Most online eCommerce platforms integrate easily with these marketplaces and it’s a great way to access new customers who may not find you otherwise. They’re the industry leaders after all.
But the key is to convert those marketplace customers into direct customers. Once they’ve purchased from you, add them to your email marketing database and begin communicating with them so that when they next want to purchase, they know it’s worth purchasing directly from you.
Keeping a current customer is way more cost effective than seeking out a new one, so, make sure you treat your customers with that level of importance. Loyalty programs do work if you can manage the back end tracking but if not, there are easier ways. Email marketing is ideal for this strategy and every single purchaser needs to be added to your database. Ensure they feel special by giving them previews to new products or designs, offer limited time discounts or free shipping as a thank you for being loyal. Also ensure you link them through to your website and socials at every opportunity.
Tip: After their first purchase, why not offer your new customer a discount off their next as a thank you for shopping with you. And make it transferable so they can share with a friend.
Reviews on your website, socials and marketplace listings are vital to future sales. In fact, 61% of shoppers read reviews before purchasing. And overall, reviews can translate to a boost in sales of up to 18% through both increased conversions and increased order values. Seeking reviews can be a great way to build rapport with customers too (think repeat sales at this point) so long as you listen and act on the feedback you get. Negative reviews can be great ways to improve your business and if dealt with in a thoughtful way, can actually help other potential customers get a feel for you and your business.
The great news for niche businesses is that keyword competition is less competitive so Google Adwords can actually be quite a cost effective option for marketing your business. And the same goes for Facebook and Instagram advertising - as a niche market you can really hone in on the interests and demographics of your target customer to make for some successful online conversion. It’s also worth considering niche publications, both online and print who will likely be a little cheaper to advertise with than mainstream publications.
You can do anything but not everything in your business so consider what tasks you can outsource to allow time for you to focus on growth. Whether it’s bookkeeping, social media management or back office order and inventory management, it makes sense to give transactional, repetitive tasks to a lower value resource so that your own time isn’t wasted - it’s about maximizing your efforts in a strategic direction. And if you consider an offshore resource for these types of tasks, you’ll be freeing up not just your time but budget that can then be redirected into marketing and other activities that will help grow your business.
Want to learn more about other trends you should be watching in 2020? Download our Future trends in eCommerce ebook.
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