The science of a niche – what is a niche and how can you find one?
Pot-eh-to, pot-ah-to? Some people pronounce it in its original French pronunciation neesh, while others favor the americanized nitch. Regardless of your pronunciation, what they all have in common is that it’s essential to your online store’s success.
What is a niche?
When we talk about niches, we’re usually referring to a market niche.
A niche market is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focused.
The products to be sold are adapted to the niche, the small market segment that was defined. This means making sure that the product suits the interests, the demographic and the economic status of the target group. For example, if your target audience is youth/students, then chances are they don’t have much extra money to spare, what with just getting started in the work force with likely large student debt. For that reason your product should be reasonably priced.
The sales sweet spot will be when you’ve achieved the perfect product-fit for a specific niche. When you’ve got a specific segment that’s very interested in the specific product you’re offering.
Danger zone: If your answer to the question “who would be interested/would buy your product” is “everyone,” then your niche isn’t defined enough. By making your target so broad, you end up targeting no one as a result, and as a result your sales suffer.
A foolproof way of finding a relevant niche is by using the recently popular method of doing keyword research to identify growing trends. This lets you 1) automatically validate your business idea, because you already see that people are interested, 2) know that you’ve got a good chance at receiving organic traffic, since it’s a popular search, and 3) know that you have targeted Adwords options that you can use to drive sales.
Rather than go into a step-by-step explanation of how to implement keyword research, I’ll point you in the direction of Shopify’s guide on how to choose what product to sell. Chapter 5 is all about keyword research.
Keep in mind that by using keyword popularity as a method to define your target audience, you’re looking more at making quick sales. Since you’re based on growing keywords, you’re basing your business on a fad. And as we all know, fads fade and get replaced with new ones. If you’re ok with that, then proceed. If not, you might want to find a niche more grounded in long-term elements.
Value-based and long-term niches
My personal advice would be to focus your brand on something that has some more staying power than matcha green tea. If you focus on something more global, then your brand can stay intact as fads change, and you can change your products as time goes by.
Think about what’s important to you, that’s sellable, and that people would want on their garments.
Not just a topic
It’s important to understand that a niche is not just a topic you decide on. The more specific you get, the better results you’ll have. For example, rather than targeting “dads,” you can target “stay at home dads” or “dad bods.” For example this store has targeted “bad dads.”
The Bad Dad’s Club
115 Niche Ideas to Inspire Your Next Online Store
We’ve put together 115 topics that you can use to base your niche upon. You might consider combining two topics to create an ultra-specific niche, or building on one topic. For example, you could combine world travelers with coffee lovers to have a very specific target audience.
- Any dog breed
- Any cat breed
- Uncommon house pets (otters, hedgehogs, etc.) that people are proud to have
Fantasy & Mythology
7. Nerd Culture
10. Greek & Roman mythology
11. Egyptian mythology
11. Dying languages
12. Your heritage-based designs
14. Patriotism-based designs
15. National symbols
16. Any occupation (ex. positive dentist)
19. Medical workers (family members, etc. my daughter is a nurse)
21. Large corporation employees (ex. Walmart employees, Meijer employees, Facebook employees, McDonald’s employees)
23. Developers/ programmers
25. Startup employees
30. Mom-boss/ mom-preneurs
31. Single dads
35. Sibling love
37. Custom family trees
39. Young mothers/parents
40. Expecting parents
41. Left-handed people
42. Underrepresented sports
43. Male dancer
44. Female programmers
46. Craft brews
49. Any type of cuisine
50. Food trends
52. Junk food
56. Maps (city maps, subway maps, favorite route maps)
59. Climates (tropical, desert, mountain themes)
60. Up and coming districts/neighborhoods
61. Famous authors
62. Literary quotes
63. Inspiring quotes
64. Uninspiring quotes
65. Political affiliation
66. Presidential candidate support
68. Grassroots movements
70. Rare illnesses
71. NGO support
74. Access to clean water
76. Civil rights
77. Any sport
79. Wellness trends
80. Fad fitness classes (spinning, crossfit, barre3)
81. Self-help affirmations
82. Body-positive messaging
83. University Spirit
84. Spirit wear
85. Olympics/World Cups
89. Tech preferences (ex. Apple, Android, Linux)
90. Any hobby
91. Computer games
93. Sci-fi characters
94. TV/Netflix shows/cult series fan art
98. Rock climbing
102. Hairstyles: iconic hair cuts, beard cuts
104. Dancing (ex. ballroom, ballet, hip hop, etc.)
109. Slack line
114. Travel quotes
115. Local quirks (ex. Riga Black Balsam)
We’ve compiled all of these niche ideas into one Google Doc that can be edited by anybody. Share your own niche ideas, and together we can build a huge collection of niche market ideas for online stores!