With so many different ecommerce brands in existence, if you want to buy a specific product, chances are there’s an ecommerce site that sells exactly what you’re looking for. Did you know there’s a pee cloth for hikers? Shavers for hairy backs? Toasters for tortillas? If you can think of it, most likely there’s a need for it!
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.
From meal replacements to beauty products, direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands focus on key differentiators that make their product stand out from their competitors. In this article, we’ll go over what it means to have an “ecommerce niche” and how it benefits business growth
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What are ecommerce niches?
An ecommerce niche is a unique segment or offering within any given market which can include anything from nutritional items designed around a health trend, to eco-friendly products.
3 reasons why your ecommerce business needs a niche
With millions of ecommerce stores selling products online, making your ecommerce business stand out from the competition can be a challenge.
Unless your ecommerce business is within a small niche that can’t be matched, you need to differentiate your product and brand so customers are more likely to find your product and make a purchase. That way, you can join the small percentage (less than a million) of online stores selling more than $1,000 worth of product a month.
For instance, ecommerce brand Hero Cosmetics sells acne and skin care products. NutriPaw is a pet supplement brand that has numerous products aimed at improving canine health and wellness. BAKblade sells men’s grooming products with a unique, easy-to-use design. These brands have found their niche within a wider market to truly stand out.
Here are more reasons why you should consider finding an ecommerce niche.
Unlike dropshipping, which has low barriers to entry but high competition, finding an ecommerce niche helps to limit the number of competitors that can attract and retain more of your customers. While it can be tough to create unique products that stand out against the competition, your long-term success can be improved by focusing on a niche and becoming the industry expert in what you sell.
For example, Sharkbanz revolutionized aquatic safety by creating a wearable shark deterrent. This technology suits the needs of a specific group of water-goers such as surfers, scuba divers, fishermen, and more.
Find an audience easier
An ecommerce niche helps potential customers understand what your business offers. Most likely, customers are searching online for a product like yours that tailors to their needs. Rather than trying to serve a mass audience, you can sell the go-to product that a specific audience is looking for. This also improves your ad spend with better targeting by spending less and attracting more sales.
Once you find the right audience, you can expand your product selection to focus on products related to your niche. FLEO Shorts, for instance, grew because of its popular Crossfit shorts, but they were able to leverage their growth to create other types of Crossfit-related apparel like sports bras, workout tops, and more.
Limit inventory and storage costs
Finding storage space to accommodate new ecommerce inventory takes time and money. And the more products you have, the more expensive it will be. Depending on the type of products you sell, you may also have to account for special storage conditions such as having a warehouse with temperature-controlled areas or FDA compliances.
Having an ecommerce niche means you can spend less on storing and managing inventory because you’re only selling specific products rather than hundreds of SKUs (stock keeping units). By focusing on a niche, you’re able to optimize your ecommerce warehousing space and keep storage costs down.
How to build a thriving ecommerce niche business in 7 steps
Want to start an ecommerce business focused on a profitable niche? Here are the seven steps to take:
1. Piggyback on the latest trends
Probiotics, specialty teas, and eco-friendly items have been high-demand products since 2019 and will continue to grow in 2022. Jumping on ecommerce trends is a simple way to find your niche and capitalize on what products are selling well. However, it’s important to make sure the trend has lasting value (e.g., fidget spinners were popular a few years ago, but quickly faded out).
The COVID-19 pandemic called for a higher demand for essential products like hand sanitizers. Touchland successfully transformed hand sanitizer from a first aid item into a beauty staple that was chic and more pleasant to use. Their high-quality, moisturizing hand sanitizers include aloe vera, essential oils, and other high-performance natural ingredients along with Denatured Ethyl Alcohol that kills germs without leaving hands dry or sticky.
“We were already growing quickly when COVID began, then we completely sold out the first week of the pandemic. In three weeks, more than 34,000 customers were waitlisted on Touchland.com. We even did pre-orders to try and meet demand. Between March and May 2020, we had up to 700 orders per day and sold 10,000 dispensers to industry-leading brands in those three months.
COVID changed the mentality of hand sanitation for most businesses, and this won’t go away after the pandemic.”Andrea Lisbona, Founder & CEO of Touchland
2. Leverage any unique connections or interests you have
Some niche ecommerce businesses started because the founders had a hobby and realized other people could benefit from their product. Or they realized they could create add-ons and accessories for popular products (like phone cases for smartphones). These are natural starting points for an ecommerce niche.
For example, A Year of Dates started as an idea for a unique holiday gift and became a worldwide sensation. John Greenhalgh created a jar full of creative date ideas for his wife, and after having so much fun on their adventures, the couple began selling a boxed version. What started as a bonding experience between husband and wife has grown quickly and A Year of Dates has fulfilled orders to couples all around the globe.
3. Make sure there’s an audience for your niche
By taking the time to do market and product research, you can find out if there’s enough demand for your idea and if it’s a profitable niche. For instance, there’s a sizable market for handmade furniture, but is there a market of buyers looking for handmade furniture made only out of cherry wood? A targeted, well-defined audience is key, but go too specific and you might end up limiting your potential growth.
Take it from ShipBob merchant, Hero Cosmetics:
“[Mighty Patches were] a brand new product on the market and we wanted to do some testing to see if it had traction. The marketplace is great for testing; the customers are there, the fulfillment is fast, and the reviews are a goldmine for feedback. We sold out of our initial inventory very quickly, which blew us away.”– Dwight Lee, Co-founder and COO of Hero Cosmetics
4. Do keyword research
Keyword research is a valuable SEO (search engine optimization) strategy for finding out if people are searching for the types of products you sell or want to start selling.
Not sure how to get started? Here’s how you can perform keyword research:
- Identify keywords relevant to your niche. By using tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs, you can look up what people are searching for and get an idea of the competitive market.
- Research which keywords are most relevant to your business and will help your business succeed online. By performing Google and Ahrefs searches, you can determine which keywords carry the most weight. This process will help you determine which are the most relevant keywords.
- Build a topic map where you group related keywords together into lists that all roll up under a representative topic. For example, topics for your supplement brand might be “women’s supplements” or “best supplements for children.” Under those topics would be keywords relevant to each unique topic.
5. Build out content that targets your niche
Once you’ve done keyword research, you can create guides, articles, and other types of valuable content using those specific keywords in blog posts, optimized landing pages, and more.
The more specific your niche, the easier you can get your content to rank on Google. It’s going to be tough to rank for “organic makeup” but it can be significantly easier to rank for “cruelty-free vegan makeup.” When searching for the right keywords, look for relevancy, competition, and search volume.
With advertising costs growing over time, targeting the wrong audience can be costly. By focusing on a niche, you can identify and target your audience easier and in a more cost-efficient manner using engaging content related to your product. The more targeted you get with ads, the more expensive your cost per lead may be. However, at least you will be putting your brand in front of only those who are in your potential audience.
6. Research the competition
When you’re selling products within a certain niche, you’re likely to have competitors that have a similar product. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to make your product stand out. When researching an ecommerce niche, take note of your competitors and their products, and look for ways to further differentiate your product.
For example, let’s say your competitor is a protein powder company whose reviews mention that the products only come in bland flavors. With that information, you may decide to create a tasty protein powder in a range of delicious flavors and use that as your competitive advantage.
Customers are demanding quick shipping. Fast delivery is an area where you can set yourself apart from the competition. In addition to giving your brand a competitive advantage, fast shipping can build loyalty and decrease cart abandonment.
Fortunately, launching a niche ecommerce business with 2-day shipping can be done by partnering with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider like ShipBob.
7. Optimize your pricing
Correctly pricing your products can help your ecommerce business grow and become more profitable. By focusing on a niche, finding the right price point is much easier. If you look at your competition and notice they all have similar price points, you can use this as an opportunity to create the same product at a lower cost to undercut your competition.
Or you can use it as an opportunity to create a higher-priced product that stands above the competition — which is a good strategy for high-end luxury products. With a higher margin, you can even offer free shipping.
8 best ecommerce niches from 2020
There are countless ecommerce niches today, and this will only expand as people get more creative. Here are some current examples of ecommerce niches for online businesses that offer high-demand products.
1. Personal protection
Face masks, disinfectants, and hand sanitizers were among the most popular products to be sold in 2020. Due to COVID-19, these items were in high demand. Some of the items remain very popular for ecommerce businesses.
2. Cosmetics and skincare products
The cosmetics and skincare industry is one of the most popular ecommerce verticals. From men’s makeup to vegan beauty products, there are always new brands popping up. Cosmetics and skincare tend to be very personal and must fit the specific needs of the individual, which makes this market full of small niches to launch into.
3. Meal replacements and protein powders
Meal replacement shakes and powders have become a popular option because they are typically healthy, provide a quick meal replacement, and only take a few minutes to prepare. People are busy, and having the time to cook meals every day isn’t feasible for some people. Meal replacements are also a great solution for those who actively exercise and use meal replacements for their post-workout routine.
4. Eco-friendly products
Customers are becoming more conscious of how products affect their bodies and the environment. Products like metal straws, bamboo toothbrushes, reusable feminine products, and biodegradable plastic bags are becoming increasingly popular ecommerce niches. Many new and existing ecommerce brands are beginning to highlight how their products — and their eco-friendly packaging — are good for individuals and the earth.
5. Men’s grooming products
Ecommerce businesses focused on men’s grooming products aim to make the grooming process even easier for men. They view traditional grooming options as broken or complicated, so their goals are to educate men about how to properly groom themselves and how their tools can help.
6. Nutrition and wellness
Many people are turning to nutritional and wellness products like vitamins and supplements to help improve their health. Many customers are willing to try new vitamin brands out to help improve their diets, mental health, energy levels, and more. This can also include fitness equipment and other health gadgets. Many people turned to home gyms as lockdowns affected their fitness habits.
7. Home office equipment
After the onset of COVID-19 and the following lockdowns, many people were fortunate enough to have remote work. This led to a sharp increase in demand for home office equipment that has remained high. The right niche products here would cater to making remote workers and their home offices more comfortable and functional.
8. Pet products
According to a report by the IMARC Group, subscription boxes had a global value of over 22 billion USD in 2021. This is expected to rise in 2022, and with over 40% of pet owners purchasing products online, this creates a profitable ecommerce niche for entrepreneurs in 2022 and beyond. Products like pet food, treats, and toys are all consistent purchases for pet owners, and it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
Top 2022 ecommerce niches
Niches, much like trends, change over time as people’s interests shift and as new products come on the market. Some of the top ecommerce niches in 2022 are newer phenomena while others are tried-and-true consumer favorites.
Here is a list of the current ecommerce niches in 2022:
1. Cooking and baking material and equipment
As consumers were at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, cooking and baking became a way to spend time. Since 2020, the trend has continued and kitchen supplies have remained popular for ecommerce businesses. Brands like The Caker, a gourmet cake mix business, and Food Huggers, eco-friendly produce containers, are a part of this ecommerce niche.
2. Home lighting decor
Decor is important to make a house feel like home, this is especially true of home lighting. Lighting carries ambience throughout any space. As a result, home lighting decor is a popular ecommerce niche. Lighting fixtures for kitchens and bathrooms, sconces, lamps and more add personality to a home. Many ecommerce brands offer different aesthetics so consumers can find the perfect lighting for them – no matter if it’s timeless and chic or bold and eclectic.
3. Home fitness and workout equipment
Many gyms and fitness centers closed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – some temporarily and some permanently. Since people couldn’t get out to the gym, they brought the equipment to them. In 2022, the trend is going strong and consumers are looking for ways to stay active at home. Whether it’s a set of weights, rowing machine, or stationary bike, the trend of at-home fitness equipment has staying power.
4. Home office equipment
Home office equipment was a top ecommerce niche in 2020 and has remained at the top ever since. With the rise of remote work, people are opting into creating cushy home offices. More and more people are seeking out sturdy desks, ergonomic chairs, and computer stands – let the data speak for itself!
5. Pet supplies/supplements
As mentioned earlier, pet supplies have always been popular ecommerce items but have only increased in recent years. As more and more people adopted pets during the COVID-19 pandemic, the sale of pet supplies has boomed as a result. Pet supplements, supplies, toys, treats, food, and more has become a top ecommerce niche. Nutripaw is a member of this ecommerce niche.
Combining your ecommerce niche with 2-day shipping and fulfillment
Beyond offering a unique product, the ability to offer 2-day shipping is the biggest competitive advantage for your ecommerce business. By partnering with a 3PL like ShipBob, ecommerce businesses can begin to offer an Amazon-like experience proven to increase average order value, reduce cart abandonment, and improve your customer lifetime value (LTV) to help scale their business.
ShipBob works with ecommerce niche businesses to help them scale and grow their business through fast order fulfillment, a growing network of fulfillment center locations, and distributed inventory solutions.
Here are some examples of how niche ecommerce businesses have grown quickly with ShipBob:
The Adventure Challenge: Activity book for couples and families
The Adventure Challenge is a book of adventure prompts that families or couples complete to make memories. The idea for this product became a sensation and the brand quickly grew to achieve $80 million in revenue. As a result, The Adventure Challenge needed a fulfillment partner who could help them scale.
“Because our business was growing at lightning-fast rates, we needed a solution that would provide flexibility and that we could communicate with easily to solve problems. ShipBob was that solution for us. In every sense, ShipBob has represented the word ‘partner’ really well.”– Aaron Patterson, COO of The Adventure Challenge
Ample Foods: Meal replacements and powders
Ample Foods’ meal replacement combines the latest nutrition science with real-food ingredients for a complete, on-the-go meal replacement. Ample Foods partnered with ShipBob to increase 2-day ground shipping coverage for customers by 103% by distributing their inventory.
“From expanding into a second ShipBob fulfillment center, we are excited to be able to offer 65% of our customers with 2-day shipping, up from 32% by only having a single West Coast facility. Soon, this will be 100%. Not only is this better for our customers but we also gain a 13% savings to our bottom line.”
Pablo Gabatto, Business Operations Manager at Ample Foods
Boie: Eco-friendly personal care products
Designed and manufactured in the USA, Boie offers toothbrushes and body scrubbers that are eco-friendly and antibacterial. Boie tested out their niche by launching a Kickstarter campaign with a goal to raise $10,000. Within a few weeks, they had 4,033 backers raising a total of $96,633.
With unexpected demand, they partnered with ShipBob to fulfill a large volume of orders quickly.
“ShipBob has been with us since day one of shipping our Kickstarter backer rewards and has since fulfilled nearly a quarter of a million orders for us.”– Manuel de la Cruz, CEO at Boie
Prymal: sugar-free coffee creamers
Prymal offers the first of its kind sugar-free coffee creamer that doesn’t compromise flavor. After a disappointing experience with their first 3PL, Prymal soon switched to ShipBob so they can focus on business growth.
“Last July, Prymal reached $40,000 in revenue. After switching to ShipBob just four months later in November, we are reaching $160,000 a month in revenue — that’s 300% growth. We’re also saving $8,000 per month in fulfillment costs.”Courtney Lee, founder of Prymal
TB12: Nutrition and fitness products
Co-founded by Tom Brady, TB12 is a health, wellness, and fitness brand that sells supplements, protein powders, and fitness items. Since partnering with ShipBob, they have seen an increase in conversions by offering free shipping thresholds and 2-day shipping.
“We need to deliver quickly and inexpensively. Since switching to ShipBob from our previous 3PL, our fulfillment cost on comparable orders went down by 25%.”Michael Peters, VP of E-Commerce Operations at TB12
How ShipBob can help bring your ecommerce niche idea to life
There are many benefits to working with ShipBob for your niche ecommerce business. Managing your own warehouse can be time-consuming and expensive. Additionally, labor, shipping, and other costs make in-house fulfillment and warehousing an unappealing option for many ecommerce companies.
ShipBob is a trusted partner for fast-growing niche ecommerce brands. They fulfill orders for thousands of brands across several ecommerce niches, using a growing network of fulfillment centers around the world.
By working with ShipBob, brands in ecommerce niches don’t have to worry about order fulfillment and logistics and can focus more on growing their business in the following ways:
Increase conversions with 2-day shipping
2-day shipping is a proven conversion tool that increases sales. Customers want their orders fast and may even be willing to pay a little extra for it. By leveraging a network of strategically located fulfillment centers, your customers can get products delivered quickly without you needing to build out your own network.
Better inventory management
ShipBob’s dashboard gives you the information you need to manage inventory without having to store products yourself. Inventory levels for all your products can be easily tracked throughout the fulfillment process and you can set automatic reorder point notifications to avoid stockouts.
ShipBob makes it easy to split inventory across multiple fulfillment centers to reach your customers faster. By reducing the average shipping zone your orders ship to , you can significantly reduce shipping costs. Distributed inventory is a factor that helps bring higher customer satisfaction and repeat purchases.
With real-time visibility into the entire order management process, you can keep customers up to date and also easily access order metrics and track fulfillment performance. ShipBob’s proprietary technology allows ecommerce merchants to manage orders from picking to packing to shipping and returns.
Your ecommerce niche can find success and profitability if you find the right audience that’s willing to pay for your unique products. If you want to learn more about how your ecommerce niche can grow through ShipBob, request a fulfillment quote below.
Ecommerce niches FAQs
Here are frequently asked questions about ecommerce niches.
What are the top 3 most popular niches?
Pet supplies, home decor lighting, and home fitness equipment are among the most popular niches for ecommerce brands.
How do I find my niche?
There are many ways to find your ecommerce niche. Some strategies include: capitalizing on popular trends, taking advantage of interests or connections, or seeking out products to fill a certain need.
What is the highest-paid niche right now?
There are multiple ecommerce niches with high profit margins. Home office equipment, at-home gym and fitness equipment, DIY and home improvement, entertainment, food, drink, and cooking are among the most profitable.