The Three Stages of Niche E-Commerce
It’s daunting to go up against the might of Amazon. Yet, despite their e-commerce dominance, there are opportunities even the shopping giant cannot take hold. A niche market is highly focused and when we’re talking about billions of dollars at play in the general market – Amazon won’t waste its time chasing a percentage of a percentage.
For you and me, however, a niche market earning a couple thousand a month is appealing. It’s more than enough to warrant starting an e-commerce business.
Point being: don’t be afraid to launch.
Let me take you through the three main stages of a niche e-commerce business.
Laying the Groundwork
The “groundwork” of a niche business is relatively simple to build given there is enough time and resources available. This groundwork will dictate nearly all other actions taken after launch so it’s particularly important to get it right before pulling the trigger on launching.
Here’s what I would do to lay the groundwork:
1. Research the niche by using analytic tools, industry reports, and small sales campaigns
2. Create a launch strategy for product promotion, content, social, and advertising
3. Develop the website, claim social spaces, gather feedback, and customer service channels
4. Launch and grow by connecting with influencers and advertisers; stay focused
From there it’s a matter of growth and sustaining business operations. It leads into…
Reinforcing the Foundation
The “foundation” would be the day-to-day operations that require adaptive leadership. E-commerce is a tricky vehicle of business because of the volatile nature of the market. One day everything goes smoothly while in the next customers are bailing in droves.
Here’s what I would do for reinforcing the foundation:
· Lock down both digital and physical by using encryption and anti-virus software along with home security packages to protect your place of business from theft
· Invest in growth strategies by exploring advertising and marketing channels proven to be successful for competitors; use their campaigns (and resources) to create a better campaign
· Work diligently on branding to differentiate your business from competitors; cut costs to expenses through better deals with logistics, investing in SaaS, and working with suppliers
· Attract talent by presenting generous options (pay, environment, flexibility); seek talent from all over the globe that specializes in the areas that need improvement or give the business an angle to be a strong leader in the market
Now you’re at a point where (hopefully) business is running smoothly. It then makes you consider…
Creating a Legacy
The “legacy” of the e-commerce business will reach a pivotal moment in its success. One voice tells you to keep going and scale the business while another part wants to explore new ideas. It’s a conflict that ultimately decides the fate of the business and entrepreneur.
Here’s what I would do for creating a legacy:
A. Keep pushing forward
B. Sell and explore
To keep pushing forward you will need to constantly revitalize your passion for the niche (and business) so you’re willing to keep up-to-date with industry changes and adapt when needed. This is a moment in which you may want to pass the day-to-day to trusted individuals.
To sell and explore you will unload your stake in the business and (hopefully) reinvest into new projects. This is ideal since you’re able to leverage your personal brand and experience to develop strong relationships while finding excitement for a new project.
If you’ve managed to get this far then you’ve done more than the other 99%. Congratulation yourself on the persistence but stay sharp. In some ways, it’s you that has become the Amazon of the niche. There are always new competitors vying to take your place as a leader in the niche market.
What advice would you add to help others during the three stages of niche e-commerce?