5 Rules for Building an Ecommerce Store in a Competitive Niche

Digital commerce has allowed business owners to expand into global markets and serve customers outside of their immediate geographic area.

Going online has also helped brick-and-mortar shops stay alive by broadening their market reach through local SEO and low-cost digital platforms.

In a sales environment dominated by platforms like eBay and Amazon - not to mention big corporations with deep pockets - how does the average eCommerce merchant compete?

Some business owners make the mistake of trying to be everything to every possible shopper.

Smart business owners identify a niche and use strategic planning to gain market dominance.

What is Niche Marketing?

Niche markets are distinct submarkets within a larger industry segment.

For example, there is a huge market for health and beauty aids. A niche within that market might be products that target a specific problem, like acne or aging.

Other examples of building an eCommerce platform serving niche markets include selling vegan products, pet care, and lifestyle-related merchandise or services.

Finding an underserved niche gives you the chance to help customers satisfy an unrelieved pain point or unmet demand.

If you already have a product or service, and you're trying to break into an oversaturated market, the matter becomes a little more complicated.

Knowing where the markets are and whom they serve is a start.

If you want to tap into a $4.5 trillion dollar eCommerce industry, following our five rules of building an eCommerce platform in a crowded niche will help you put on the path to success.

Rule Number One: Know Your Audience

The first rule of marketing is to know your target audience.

The old way was to spam every inbox with solicitations. Not only are those a turnoff for potential customers, but Google will also punish you in the search engine page ranks (SERPs).

Marketing professionals use analytics to identify trends and track consumer behavior, use demographic analysis to identify pain points, and construct a targeting marketing campaign based on those metrics.

Customer segmentation and outreach should always be conducted in a manner that's in line with SEO and outreach best practices.

Don't make the mistake of buying a following. Business marketing is more sustainable if you carefully segment, target, and attract your audience organically.

Rule Number Two: Put Your Customers First

Google and consumers alike place great value on customer experience (CX).

Put your customers first by providing personalized service that's tailored to enhance the buyer's journey, offering 24/7 support through a variety of methods, and engaging your audience where they live through social media and targeted email campaigns.

You should also optimize your website for speed and performance to ensure availability.

The main reasons for shopping cart abandonment and ow traffic are slow page load times, inefficiency, and a complicated checkout process.

Rule Number Three: Provide Added Value

You can lead in your marketing niche by fostering customer loyalty.

One of the simplest ways to achieve that is by providing added value to your customers.

You can serve a crowded market by offering a micro-service or product that enhances the use or enjoyment of a product in a wider segment.

Examples include motorcycle accessories and item personalization.

Other ways that you can add value are by creating customer loyalty programs, offering discounts for referrals, and flash sales or deals through mobile texting or email.

You can also entice traffic by offering a free item with purchase or giving free samples.

For instance, if your product is bakeware, you can include a recipe for something scrumptious with each purchase.

Selling shoes? Why not give each customer a free item to help keep them looking new?

Rule Number Four: Practice Proper Inventory Management

Intelligent marketing and great service won't matter if you don't have the stock on hand to satisfy your customers. This is another area where technology can help.

Using automated inventory management software and employing best practices offers several advantages that may give you an edge over competitors in a competitive niche.

If the other guy doesn't have it in stock, their customers can become yours.

Current automation software takes the guesswork out of ordering and stock rotation, but that's not where the advantages end.

It helps you follow many of the other rules by:

  • Improving customer service
  • Optimizing order fulfillment
  • Reducing costs
  • Lowering the incidences of theft, returns, and spoilage
  • Tracking lost shipments

You'll also have tangible metrics that you can use for everything from predicting consumer behavior to identifying trends and expansion opportunities.

On the cost reduction side, your team can catch shipping errors in real-time and get detailed reports on theft, waste, and stock overages.

Rule Number Five: Use Multiple Marketing Channels

One rule of investing is to diversify.

Your marketing outreach and lead generation mechanisms require an investment in time and money in order to realize a return.

You can leverage this investment by taking a multi-channel marketing approach that includes SEO, influencer marketing, social proof, and using traditional digital marketing platforms, such as creating an SEO-optimized landing page and using email.

Many of these options are free or low cost. The only require time and practice to finesse.

Final Thoughts

In a retail ecosystem that's becoming more crowded and competitive by the day, eCommerce business owners need all the help they can get.

Our goal is to provide you with information and actionable tips that are designed to help you reach your marketing and customer service objectives.

However, these rules are no use to you unless they're followed with action.

Tell us about some of your niche marketing challenges and success stories.