Online retail niches ripe for the taking

Omnichannel Commerce

Retailers can have the perfect website, the right eCommerce software, great marketing and responsive customer service, but if they aren’t selling the right products, these other factors won’t matter. Merchants selling in online retail niches have enjoyed particular success as of late, with many online retailers discovering new audiences by selling in-demand items to specific audiences.

So, what are some of the most popular online retail niches? Practical eCommerce recently noted a few of the more popular ones:

1. Automotive parts and accessories

The recession is drawing to close and unemployment figures are declining, so many consumers have more money to spend. Many can afford to buy cars, and those who already have one may be buying accessories and parts for it. As Practical eCommerce noted, there are more than 250 million automobiles on American roads, which makes this niche an interesting prospect for savvy online retailers.

“The segment is also full of tiny nooks, niches and sub-categories in which an eCommerce business might find a significant amount of opportunity and thrive,” Practical eCommerce added. “As a few examples, an online retailer might specialize around a particular make or model, offering hard-to-find or unique accessories for Chevrolet Corvettes, Volkswagen Beetles or even the far more rare Pinzgauer 712.”

2. Rare consumer electronics and accessories

In today’s world of gadgets such as smartphones and tablets, being a nerd has never been more hip. Rare consumer electronics and other hard-to-find technology, ranging from typewriters to old video games, can be sold for a high price.

“As a few examples, an online retailer might specialize around a particular make or model, offering hard-to-find or unique accessories for Chevrolet Corvettes, Volkswagen Beetles or even the far more rare Pinzgauer 712.”

For example, Price Charting reported that one Nintendo game sold for as much as $23,000 on Ebay.

Consumer electronics is an incredibly competitive sector, but selling rare or hard-to-find accessories and gadgets could be a big opportunity that hasn’t been fully explored yet among online retail niches.

“The bottom line is that this large category has more than enough room for new online retailers selling everything from the aforementioned steampunk mobile phone cases to GPS-enabled dog collars or vacuum tube clocks made from salvaged Soviet-era parts,” Practical eCommerce added. “In short, consumer electronics and accessories go beyond a big box store’s inventory.”

3. Child care products

The millennial generation, which grew up with the Internet and using consumer electronics, is now getting to the age where they may be having children. Practical eCommerce noted that conventional sources of wisdom and child care accessories may not be as relevant to this generation of consumers, which may open the door for savvy online retailers.

The Small Business Chronicle has also pointed out Diapers.com as an example of the growing baby products niche. The company sells diapers and other similar child care products through third-party marketplaces and Amazon.

4. Apparel and accessories
Much like consumer electronics, apparel is a huge category of retail products and is tremendously competitive. However, online retailers can find specific products and specialize in them to gain access to a new audience. Retailers should focus on selling items that aren’t already available at dozens of other merchants or at least aren’t usually sold together.

Some popular apparel niches could include socks (selling unique or fancy socks for affordable prices) or ties (selling a variety of ties, from classy to weird or novelty pieces).

The Web has expanded the scope of online retail niches . In the past, online retailers had to sell to local customers to pay the bills, which limited their ability to reach obscure niches. Now, with the right eCommerce software and some ingenious thinking, retailers can use the Web to engage a broad, untapped market.

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