21 eCommerce Niche Sites That Got Me Surprised
Niche eCommerce sites have always existed and proved to be viable business models, despite the challenges of Amazon taking over various niches and Google making it harder. For a niche to be successful, it has to have the product market fit with enough demand to sustain over time and enough room/gaps in getting the specific products from the buyer perspective. For a niche to work, you have to have either control over the product price (manufacturing yourself or getting it at a significant discount as a wholesaler) or own the distribution (to enjoy lower drop shipping fees) and most importantly, having the ability to capture the target audience, searching for your product selection well. Your product assortment should also be either unique to help you stand out from the competition and for general public to be hard to buy elsewhere. You have to offer some value to the users while they discover that what your site offers is what they need.
In other words, when you are thinking about a specialty, a niche site to launch, try to think from a position of – “Can I add value with that store to shoppers?”. You want to make sure you are making something easy (relieving pain) or offer a luxury (selling pleasure) that is hard to find elsewhere. Specifically, you can add value via:
- Saving time for pre-purchase decisions with unique (quality, different, well-describing the outcomes, not from the manufacturer) content and product curation
- Great pictures and descriptions
- Positioning yourself as an expert in the niche (leveraging the knowledge of the market well)
- Selecting products from some other sub-niches that are:
- Confusing (assisted living tech as an example)
- Require multiple components
- Require complex installations
- Rare or not existent on the common eCommerce sites like Amazon (stuff from Kickstarter for example)
- Getting a bundle of related products to solve 2-3 similar issues at once
- Speaking the language of the target market (fits 2-3 key personas). For example, if you are playing in the aging at home tech
- If those are female caregivers, moms that you target, they can be price-sensitive, yet time deprived and energy deprived
- If those are male caregivers, that buy other gadgets, the style, experience and language would be different
This post was inspired by a recent client who I worked with on doing the niche assessment for demand and revenue potential. Before you launch, check out the volume of traffic for your specific category and select products and competition available to make an assessment. Run a P&L estimate to assess if you can sustain the business and make a decision.
As I was working on it, my brain picked up a few sites that got me curious and surprised, unrelated to the niche I was investigating. Yet, later on, I was curious what niche sites are worth checking out to learn something from their operations. Below is a list of 21 niche eCommerce sites, anyone considering the venture should look into as a brainstorming exercise. The order of the sites is random as I was stumbling upon them.
is all about gadgets. I love its categories that bring out freshness to what we normally see on any eCommerce site. It is similar to ProductHunt but zeroing on gadgets. The site curates unique products from Kickstarter campaigns, new device startups and either sells direct or acts as an affiliate. Tons of traffic due to leveraging WordPress platform, with unique product descriptions that are funny at times. The site operates as an affiliate mostly and is growing in traffic all due to its high quality of user experience.
is hard to pronounce, yet is a known name in the language community. I was looking really hard last year for a good product to learn English for my mom and pick up some French myself. If you ever tried to learn a foreign language, you know that free youtube lessons can go so far and books also have no interactivity. I used to love LiveMocha platform years ago, yet after the acquisition by Rosetta Stone, the product died and Rosetta Stone is suspect to me. I tried to buy it, yet was not sure what am I buying and I hate wasting money. Fortunately, I ran into Pimsleur free audiobook on Audible and shared with mom. She loved the experience and I got a whole set of lessons. Then, a few days later I learned more about the Pimsleur method, tried it myself with French and Hebrew and rejoiced at the option to learn the languages with products that deliver. The site offers various combinations and could use a refresher in the design, yet it does let you experience what you get prior you invest into a full product and offers enough information to become comfortable to buy while Rosetta Stone left me puzzled.
(Side note 2/1/2016, lately discovered Duolingo app, great for beginners and is free, great for children and seniors, learning the language)
I must say, a unique name, and the assortment is quite premium. Too much of white space in terms of design, with spotty traffic. I wonder who has the money to buy all of that for this much. Designer furniture and decor available online.
is a UK site that sells truly unique gifts, which is a lucrative niche market that always delivers.
sells premium office accessories that make your working ambiance less techy, more natural.
offers buying new technology and gadgets with personal delivery and assistance on how to use it. You place an order and someone who is gadget savvy delivers to you within hours. Same products, just delivery and education service. Not sure if that will take off.
if you want to throw a good party or a few, there is a site or a few for that, Shindigz including with all party supplies you will need.
sells custom signage, magnets, and decals, and is one of the top 500 retailers, cashing about $60M in revenue.
helps companies with ID systems and devices, pretty cool niche, I’d say.
sells gadgets for nomads and online entrepreneurs. I absolutely love the experience and the products it offers. Plus, one can buy directly or locally via Amazon site so that you can enjoy free shipping. Love the brand and its truly unique products.
never knew this could exist, police doing eCommerce, selling off confiscated, unclaimed goods, yet it is doing quite well with over $50M in annual revenue.
is an online retailer of dance clothing and accessories, enjoys pretty high conversion rate of 7.5% and half a million of unique visitors monthly.
sells electronic cigarettes for men and women, apparently it is a fashion thing too to match your foundation.
sells medical compression legwear that are effective and fashionable, a solid need filled with a product hard to get anywhere else.
sells electronics parts for all DYI fun with your kids.
is a site a direct marketer will love to do all the print campaigns.
is all about hair and professional hair care products, possibly sells to salons.
sells fashionable scrubs and coats to doctors. If I were in a medical field and had to look good, that would be the place to go.
is getting very popular with caregivers. You can buy gadgets, and products that make staying home comfortable for aging family, grandparents, moms and pops.
I love the website and the merchandising that is all about love for dogs. The site sells to mostly consumers, yet has a healthy line of wholesale business as well. I recall I saw stuff like that in a different store. They guys behind it truly have built a brand behind the movement and you would think dog owners market is too fragmented? Not so, with the right assortment. Stunning website too.
Love nuts as a healthy snack, there is a site that can feed your dietary choice of nuts and dried fruit for a long time.