Today, more and more people are interested in starting an online business, and for aspiring business owners, e-commerce is one of the most obvious options. If you are one of them or one of those changing routes based on the current climate, you might be wondering what to sell. In this article, we’ll look into important aspects to start a profitable business and a few inspiring niches you could pivot into.
In 2020, retail eCommerce sales worldwide amounted to $ US 4.28 trillion US dollars. By 2024, this figure is expected to rise to $US 6.38 trillion! The onset of the pandemic propelled more businesses to invest in eCommerce platforms and more consumers to shop online. As more and more consumers embrace online shopping, there's a big, big opportunity for those looking to launch new businesses and market unique products.
eCommerce is the backbone of the online shopping revolution, and it's only set to keep growing. So, if you're looking to start or expand your business, eCommerce is a great vehicle to accelerate this journey.
You can get started and turn your entrepreneurship dreams into reality with ease.
You can launch and seamlessly manage your online store by leveraging tech-enabled platforms. For instance, you can set up your brand's online store and sell on Shopify within a time frame of fewer than 24 hours. Whether you want to market your grandma's pickles, a unique blend of coffee or edgy home fitness products, this level of agility is helping empower independent business owners around the world as they build businesses and grow faster. If the prospect of launching your eCommerce business excites you, then your next question might be - what do I sell?
It's best to think long-term when starting a business. Here are some aspects to consider when choosing what to sell:
Traditionally, consumers were bifurcated by age, education, income, geography, and product pricing.
While the eCommerce domain is flooded with several categories, the number is growing every day. However, as more and more consumers shop online, they're looking for a more specific value and unique products that meet their lifestyle requirements. This has given rise to the growth of eCommerce niches, which cater to emerging consumer needs.
For instance, growing consumer segments include conscious customers (those who tend to value all-round sustainability), consumers who identify as non-binary, and digital nomads. Brands and small businesses alike are catering to these segments and mapping products to aspects such as interests, attitudes, and lifestyle choices.
This trend has given rise to the growth of eCommerce niches. However, many remain underserved. Hence, there's a real opportunity to fill in those gaps with some imagination, resourcefulness, and harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit.
We explore five such eCommerce niches that'll be around for a long time to come.
1. Natural and organic personal care
This is one of the fastest-growing eCommerce niches in the beauty and personal care space. Consumer awareness and consciousness are driving customers to seek out products that are safer to use and more sustainable for the planet. With this category, you have further segmentations such as vegan, cruelty-free and halal products, which cater to a wide range of lifestyle choices.
You also have a wide range of products, from soaps and hair care products to skincare, dental hygiene products, and menstrual wellness products. The rising demand presents a lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs to build businesses that cater to this niche.
You could be the creator of handcrafted soaps, a D2C brand selling a line of unique products, or a marketplace offering a range of brands, under one roof. Another interesting niche within this one is the natural men's personal care segment, which is also growing in demand.
However, this is not a crowded space yet.
2. High-nutrition foods
With more and more consumers becoming conscious about their health and wellness, the demand for high-nutrition foods has shot up. While calorie counts have been a key focus in past decades, with the onset of the pandemic, nutrition goals have shifted to areas like immunity, balancing the vitals, and boosting stamina. This means that more consumers are reading what's on a label than ever before.
With mainstream products still using lots of sugar and chemical preservatives, there was a lacuna in the foods category. This has given rise to many new brands offering higher quality, nutrition-rich food alternatives. But this is just a drop in the ocean.
There's a lot more scope for players in this niche, especially as consumers with unique needs seek products that are currently just not available. So, if you have a product you have been experimenting with or are looking to build your own food business, this is a great niche to consider.
3. Sustainable product marketplaces
As more and more consumers become cognizant of their environmental footprint, they're looking to make the shift to sustainable products. These can range from bamboo toothbrushes and yoga mats to natural home cleaners and handbags made from tires.
The product categories span a wide spectrum, and the makers of these products - often small business owners, artists, and fledgling brands - tend to be widespread and not easy to discover. Their offerings often tend to get lost in traditional marketplaces, even though the demand and supply do exist. Sustainable product marketplaces are where the two meet.
Today, there are few such curated marketplaces, and there's a lot more value to be created by entering this niche.
4. Pre-loved products
Another emerging vertical is one where used, but well-kept products ranging from books, clothes, and furniture to shoes, bags, and antiques can be marketed. Why would such products be in demand? For a variety of reasons. Great books are timeless, but fresh buys come at a significant cost. A pre-loved book, however, offers the same value but comes at a significantly lower cost.
Similarly, limited edition designer branded clothes and shoes or a timeless style from another decade have a significant resale value in line with the adage "old is gold." When curated well with a great story, consumers flock to buy something of great value at a lower cost. The curators also benefit through significant margins. If you have an eye for unique pre-loved products, this could be the niche for you.
5. Handcrafted products
The world is teeming with home-based creators and professional artisans gifted at making handcrafted products. The demand for handcrafted products has, especially, seen a surge in the last decade, with more consumers looking for something unique and personalized. This segment also doubles up as a great gifting opportunity, as it comes with such a personal touch.
If you're a crafter or are passionate about handcrafted products, then this is an evergreen niche to dabble in. The range of crafts is wide - from crochet and paintings to woodwork and handmade toys. Every country, town, and villages also have its signature crafts. So, there's a wide range of elements to play with. Plus, platforms like Shopify empower you to showcase products well and grow your customer base.
With such a wide range of products, it can be confusing to decide which niche will best suit you. Here are a few guidelines to support you in making the right decision:
If you have an entrepreneurial mindset and are thinking bigger - perhaps a line of products that fill a gap in the market - a great way to launch it is through your eCommerce marketplace. It's more cost-effective, and you can launch your shop overnight!
Once you set up your eCommerce business, you can leverage all the various tools that come with platforms like Shopify - from shop analytics and branding collateral to email marketing and business chat. Strategically nurturing your business can help turn even a small passion project into a wildly successful business!