Define A Niche, The Conquer
by Bob McElwain
Looking for a quality baseball cap? Hey, it's easy. Check
out the material and workmanship. Grab a color you like, and
maybe a team logo. You don't even have to try it on! Thanks to
the little strap in the back, one size fits all. A marketer's
You can still buy baseball caps that are sized. But they
cost a good deal more and you have to buy in quantity. That
little strap put a lot of cap manufactures flat out of business.
You see this happening across the spectrum of manufactured
There is need now and then for me to spend serious time in
the kitchen. Which includes washing dishes. I found a great
sponge some years back. Dark green on one side with a roughness
to it that really does a number on a pot or frying pan. The
other side is yellow, a more typical kind of manufactured sponge.
Softer and thicker, it's great for polishing off the heavy scrub.
Each lasts about a month, longer if you don't mind some frayed
The last batch I bought looked identical to what I had been
getting. But they don't last but about a week. And they do not
do nearly as good a job, which means more work. No doubt I paid
less, but in the long run, the cheaper version may cost me more.
Yet they will likely put the original manufacturer out of
Will People Pay For Quality?
My answer is a resounding, "Yes!" If I can find the original
sponge mentioned above, I will buy it without even a glance at
the price. It's a tool that simplifies a task. When it comes
to tools, I want the best, for they last longer and make the job
easier all the while. A lot of people feel the same way.
Quality tools of any kind can become the basis of a
profitable niche market. Sized baseball caps sell only on style
and comfort. Thus this is not as good a starting point. There
are not nearly as many people willing to pay twice the going rate
for comfort as there are who will do so for quality tools.
A Difficult Task
Defining a niche is tough to do. But those who intend to
succeed on the Web into the future, must find and conquer one.
They must become the dominant name within it. They must provide
great content that demonstrates expertise, over-deliver with
quality products, and provide extremely high levels of support
The best approach I've read for finding a niche was written
by Ken Evoy. I put together a digest of these notes. You can
read it at: http://sitetipsandtricks.com/art/a060600c.html>
But Where Do I Start?
The article above helps in this. But here's another
Throughout the offline world, independent merchants have been
forced to join hands with large suppliers to the extent many are
not free to stock in areas which conflict with the wishes of the
suppliers. This may be most obvious in your local hardware
store. Most of the stock comes through Ace Hardware or True
When the owner of the store you favor says, "We can't get
those any more," he usually means the supplier no longer handles
the item. And because of agreements, he is not free to go
elsewhere for it. More than likely, the supplier has replaced
what you want with a less expensive product that may or may not
measure up to its predecessor in performance.
Quality Is Available
The drill bits available in your local store are not very
expensive. But they are not great tools. Those who use bits
regularly as a part of their work, may pay twice as much as you
will pay. But the bits they buy will outperform and outlast
their less expensive cousins many, many times over.
Hardware Stores And Niche Marketing
Tools are a major item in a hardware store. But the store's
target is Mr. and Mrs. Average Consumer. Most do not need great
quality and would not pay the greater price even if the better
item was available. But some would. Therein lies the key.
While your local hardware store may find it unprofitable to
stock professional tools, may even be prevented by contracts from
doing so, many customers would like the option to buy better
The Web makes it possible to profitably offer only the best.
The few who would buy top of the line in a given shop if it were
available are collectively a target of considerable size.
Several years back I discovered bricks of fire starter cubes.
Just touch a match to one, and you can ignite a pretty good sized
chunk of firewood, provided it is split. Joy! No more kindling.
No more nursing things along. No frustrating restarts. Just
stack it, add a cube, and touch it with a lighted match.
About eight years back, the hardware store changed brands.
(Translate: Supplier changed brands.) They look the same. Cost
the same. But it usually takes several matches. (And scorched
fingers!) Further, it often takes several cubes.
Make Money Starting Fires?
I can almost hear what you are saying. "Stuff and nonsense,"
would be one of the kindlier remarks. But a successful Web
business can be built upon just such a simple tool.
If you live in a city, a fire in the evening is likely not
a necessity, only something that adds ambiance to other activity.
For those who live with the first snowfall of winter lying about
them until spring, a fire is often much more than a luxury. Most
everyone who lives in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas as I do
uses a wood stove throughout the winter. Many have no other
source of heat.
Okay, so there are a lot of people who start wood fires.
But fire starter cubes? Get serious! Where's the buck in this?
Have You Got What I Want?
If you can provide good fire starter cubes, the kind I have
not been able to find locally for many years, I will visit your
site once each year as a minimum. Think of the accessories you
can offer me when I do.
Wood boxes. All sorts of items in which wood can be stored.
Moving wood is a pain. An effective dolly or cart would be a
great help. Something that moves easily over icy snow will be in
great demand in some places.
Few would buy a stove from you for most need the support of
installation. So turn this to your advantage. Let your
expertise regarding stoves become the central core of your site.
The differences between stoves are enormous. And defining a best
choice according to needs is extremely difficult.
Along the path to expertise there are many helpful resources.
Company sales presentations and specifications are a good
beginning point. Write a good article about a particular stove,
then call the company and ask for someone to read it before you
publish. Most will jump at the opportunity. And you will
discover details of importance overlooked or not available
earlier. You may even take this first contact into a drop
shipment arrangement for an occasional sale. Do it right,
and advertising revenue can be generated.
But getting back to other products you can offer, add the
best wax for a tiled hearth. Brick bracer. And all it takes
to keep a stove looking great. And something to deal
effectively with those bugs that sneak in with the wood.
Then there are teapots to be perched on top of the stove, to
add a bit of welcome humidity. Tools to clear the ashes within
the stove. Then there's chimney cleaning gear.
Even attractive pillows for the pup. which keeps the carpet
clean. And something for the cat as well, though I've no idea
While the above notion has merit, it is flawed in that it is
seasonal. Were I to tackle this, I would probably search for
another niche that was summer based, and work this through
another site. Maybe barbecues and outdoor cooking.
Tools came to mind because I like good ones and they are not
easy to find. Since lots of people feel the same way, this is a
good starting point. Cook ware comes to mind.
Yes, I know the Web is loaded with cook ware shopping malls.
But have you looked at the products? They are virtually all the
same. There is not only an opportunity here to sell quality, but
to sell specialty items. What's out there now kind of reminds me
of baseball caps in a way. We hope you agree that a eight inch
frying pan is as small as is needed.
Since I only fry a couple eggs at a time, I'd rather have a
five inch pan. Show me one of quality and I'll pay your price.
Want to build a winning site? Improve one you already
have? Fix one that's busted? Get ANSWERS. Subscribe
to "STAT News" now! mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Web marketing and consulting since 1993
| DISCLAIMER: The content provided in this article is not warranted or guaranteed by Developer Shed, Inc. The content provided is intended for entertainment and/or educational purposes in order to introduce to the reader key ideas, concepts, and/or product reviews. As such it is incumbent upon the reader to employ real-world tactics for security and implementation of best practices. We are not liable for any negative consequences that may result from implementing any information covered in our articles or tutorials. If this is a hardware review, it is not recommended to open and/or modify your hardware. |
More Website Marketing Articles
More By Developer Shed