In the e-commerce business, you’re going to make mistakes – it’s just a fact of life. However, if you make those mistakes when choosing a niche, it can send you right back to square one (which can be very disheartening).
Here we've listed the top ten mistakes people make when choosing a profitable niche.
Before you make the final decision on where you want to focus your attention, be sure you read through this to ensure you won't fall victim to one of these common pitfalls.
#1: Setting unrealistic goals
If you think that you’re going to make six-figures the first year selling model train sets, you’re going to be in for a long, hard road. There is more noise now than ever in the e-commerce world, and you need to set realistic goals based on the market you’re entering.
Now, that's not to say your train sets aren't going to be a hit within the market. We're just saying have a business plan in place that is realistic and based on research, not just pulled out of thin air.
#2: Not doing enough research
Speaking of research, if you're not doing enough of it, then there's a good chance you'll fall a little short in your efforts. There are tons of cases of people who've spent months designing and selecting products for their online store, only to find that the keyword research they did wasn't thorough enough, and they aren't getting the results they should.
During the investigation process, if you're ever in doubt about the industry you're entering, the audience you're targeting, and the products you're showcasing – do more research until you're confident.
#3: Assuming that if you build it – they will come
Your e-commerce store can be fast, attractive, easy to use, and full of helpful reviews. But if you aren’t fulfilling a need for your customers, they aren’t going to bite. Building the website and implementing SEO tactics will only get you so far. Ultimately, the niche you choose will determine whether you make a serious profit or have a nice hobby on your hands.
#4: Neglecting your current skill set
Even if you loathe your current job and are trying to escape it by building an e-commerce store with an amazing design, you shouldn't neglect the skills you've learned there. They can be very valuable when you're trying to amp up your level of authority in a particular niche.
Take the time to brainstorm about all of the skills you’ve developed over the years and use them to your advantage.
#5: Not balancing passion and profit
It’s kind of a catch twenty-two when it comes to choosing a profitable ecommerce niche. In your heart, you want to do one thing, but that often isn't where the money is. You also don't want to choose a niche that you're utterly miserable with.
In order to balance profit and passion, you should first make a list of the most profitable niches, and from there choose the one that intrigues you the most.
#6: Ignoring your niche audience
Your niche audience is going to be more important than the actual niche itself. Over the years, you'll promote different products, but one thing that will remain the same is that your audience looks to you to help them solve a problem – and they're willing to pay for it.
Here's an example of Parts Select catering to the niche audience and their needs. Even when dryer parts change, they’ll still be there with new videos and tutorials to help.
#7: Selecting products before a niche
When you select products before declaring your niche, you’re putting the cart before the horse. Take a look at some of the top niche sites and see how they’re doing it. They have structure and their products make sense.
Here you can see Car Covers has a strong niche in the market because they only focus on one thing, but they do it well. They learned what people wanted and they have tons of options. Basically – they found their niche, and then went full speed ahead with product selection.
#8: Not narrowing down your focus
Even if you've selected your niche, you still want to take a step back and make sure it isn't too broad. If you decided automotive is the right theme for you, you've still got some work to do. Break automotive down into sub-niches such as parts, accessories, make and models of cars, etc. In some cases, you'll then break those categories down even more.
While one day, your e-commerce shop might have every product for every automobile in it, for today it’s better to pick one thing to focus on at a time. Start with a popular area in the automotive industry such as Chevy Blazer performance parts, and work your way up the automotive niche ladder from there.
#9: Jumping into a saturated or obsolete niche
Jumping into a saturated or obsolete niche often happens when you choose your passion over profit. Many of us feel nostalgia for things like CD's and landline phones, but that doesn't mean you should start an e-commerce store based on them.
Now, you can break into a saturated niche if you want to, but be prepared for the competition and make sure you have a unique voice within the market. However, the best strategy for selecting a niche is to find a market that is untapped.
On a side note, while you do want to enter an untapped market, if there is absolutely no competition, this could be a sign that there is no niche audience to sell to. Just another reason why doing a thorough amount of research is so important.
#10: Trying to rush the process
Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither are e-commerce sites. Patience is crucial if you want to succeed. You'll continually have to adjust and change SEO and marketing strategies, reevaluate your audience and product list, and so much more.
If you want to move faster, then you’ll need to bring in some help whether you hire an outside company to take on specific tasks, or you have the resources to hire a team of your own. And even then, don’t rush. Remember, it’s a marathon – not a sprint.
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