Mark Twain once said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
Twain makes a lot of sense, unless of course he’s talking about cheese. A lot of people like cheese, and I will never pause and reflect on my appreciation of a lovely cheese. That’s one crowd I’m more than happy to be a part of the majority.
Cheese aside, as a figure in the E-commerce industry, this quote resonates with me. In my day-to-day role, I see a real variety of sites, both in product types and business sizes. From small independent one-man retailers to large multi nationals, they all face one shared problem: remaining relevant and competitive on an increasingly busy digital high street.
In the words of Sellerdeck’s own Chris Bray, in 2000 being online set you apart from your competition. In 2016, being online puts you right alongside your direct competitors, their competition and then several others as well.
I have seen an increasing amount of e-retailers adding to their product line to try and combat this; if you sell a greater variety of products then you’re more likely to sell more in general, right?
Well, in this humble writer’s opinion, not necessarily.
This weekend, I went into ‘Wilko’ for the first time in my life. If you’ve never been, it is a huge mega-store, which stocks everything from home fittings and stationary to bikes and plants. Despite the fact that I did indeed make some purchases (3 candles and some dog treats), I found the place slightly overwhelming. Online, we have Amazon and eBay, where you can buy pretty much whatever you want, all at the click of a button. Smaller businesses just can’t compete with this; especially when it comes to stock control and delivery times.
So, how do you set yourself apart from the crowd in 2016?
The answer is to be niche. Find that small selection of products (1 product even!?) that will sell, and then specialize in it. Having a site full of products doesn’t make SEO easier or better. Many website owners think that having a high variety of differing keywords will improve their SEO. In fact, with a high variety of keywords your SEO can become cloudy, lost in the crowd, and those keywords can end up cannibalising each other and being less effective; being niche sets you apart.
A great example of ‘niche’ is ‘Trunki’, the ride on children’s suitcases. The Trunki team got turned away from the Dragon’s Den, but they have gone on to great success. If they had tried to build their business selling luggage in general, without a huge amount of funding and backing they would more than likely have failed. However, they set out with a vision to fill a niche requirement, and absolutely nailed it.
How do we ‘be’ niche?
- Do your research: Research the marketplace in general, but also your own data. Do you sell a lot of one product? If you do, maybe you already have your niche.
- Connect with your customers:Talk to them, be social (yes… use Facebook. You might not, but your customers do, so your business should) and find out what they want.
- Don’t forget margins:You might find the most niche product in the world, but unless you’re making money, what’s the point? Make sure your niche earns.
- Think outside the box:Your niche might not already be a part of your stock, but it might be just nearby.
Lastly, talk to the experts! It can be difficult to see the wood for the trees when dealing with your own site. At Sellerdeck, we can do your research, segment your customers, analyse and audit your site and competition in order to help direct your business in the right direction.