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How to Choose a Profitable eCommerce Niche + Winning Niche List

[2017 UPDATE]

(Click Here to Scroll to The Transcript)

Have you ever wondered what the first 3 rules of picking the right niche for drop shipping are? If so, Anton has you covered in this video and article. Discover the 3 criteria he uses to find profitable niches that will have you making a full-time living off your eCommerce store. You may be surprised at what they are…

Profitable Niche Selection Explained

Niche Selection can make or break your business…

So, you’re ready to start an eCommerce drop ship business.  Congratulations!  The first step is the biggest one of all.  That step is not just saying that you “want to start an online business” but actually taking action and moving towards getting your first sale.  The first step of this process is called “Niche Selection”.

drop shipping blueprint step 1: niche selection

This post will cover the first step towards building a profitable eCommerce business.  Choosing your niche.  A good niche will meet three prices of criteria:  it will fall into our target price range, it will appeal to the upper-middle class, and consumers will have no brand loyalty.

Choosing your Niche

choosing your niche

When choosing a niche for a new eCommerce store I look for a set of products that meet certain criteria…

Pricing:

The products you choose to sell must be expensive. Click To Tweet

The average product price should be $200 or more.  This is because your average profit margin (when you are drop shipping and using our method) will be about 20% of the gross revenue.  The same amount of time will go into processing an order for $20 as it will for processing an order for $200 or $2,000.  If you’re going to be doing the work you might as well have a chance of making some real money on each sale.

It is important to note that although I do have websites that sell products for $999 and up, I have noticed customers placing an order that large prefer to call in to place their orders.  If you are comfortable on the phone then this will not be a problem, but if you want to run an online store where the majority of orders come in before the customer even contacts you, I would recommend selling items priced between $200 and $700.

Target Market:

I have sold products online that appeal to the wealthy, products that appeal to the middle class, and products that appeal to lower income households.  From all of my experience, I have learned that it is best to appeal to the upper middle class, meaning online shoppers who have a household income of $100,000 or more.  It’s sad to say but if you sell products that appeal to low-income households you will have a lot more work to do.

eCommerce Target Market

After over ten years of experience selling products online, I’ve realized that low-income household products require much more pre-selling, much more interaction with the customers, and more complaints/returns.  The same can be said about selling to the wealthy.  They expect more personalized service and require much more of an effort to close the sale.  We are not looking to start a business that requires a lot of individual attention to customers. Click To Tweet

We are looking to start a business that requires as little effort as possible while generating the most sales possible.  We are looking to sell to single people or families with disposable income who are used to shopping online and comfortable making large purchases over the internet.

Generic Brands:

howard shultz brand loyalty

 

What kind of computer or cell phone do you have? Is it the same kind of brand as your last one? Chances are if you own a Mac, the next computer you buy will also be a Mac. Why? Brand loyalty.

When selling online, you want to avoid selling products that customers already have brand loyalty for…

For example, I would not try to sell TVs online.  Most customers who are buying a TV do the research on which TV is best for them or purchase the same brand TV they have had in the past.

They already have researched which TV brand has the best picture quality, the best warranty, and the best reviews online.  If I wanted to sell the TVs that people are actually buying (Sonys, Panasonics, LGs, etc) there is no way I would get approved for an account with the same payment and pricing terms as Best Buy or any other big box stores.

So, what type of products do I look to sell?  Products that customers are thinking about buying but do not already know which brand they should buy and products that customers would be comfortable buying from any manufacturer.

Here are some examples of markets that I would want to target:

Let’s say I live on a lake and I decide I want to get into stand-up paddle boarding.  I know I need a paddle board and a paddle but I have no prior knowledge of this sport or what brands are well known.  I can care less what company makes the board as long as I can find some good reviews and the price is right.

This is a great example of a product to sell online.  The average cost of a stand-up paddle board and the paddle is over $700, the average customer does not care what brand they are buying, and this sport is likely to appeal to the upper middle class that would be purchased with disposable income.

paddle board niche research

 

Here is another example:

Mr. and Mrs. Smith move into a new home, there is a huge chandelier that hangs in the entryway.  Mrs. Smith hates it.  They go to the local Home Depot & Lowes but can not find a replacement that they agree on.  They know what style they are looking for but they can not find it locally.  Mrs. Smith goes online and searches for a 30” x 30” entryway chandelier.  She finds a website with hundreds of options including one that she and husband can agree upon.

This is another great example of a product to sell online.  Chandeliers are expensive, they appeal to the upper middle class, and the average customer does not care what brand they are buying as long as they like what they see.

Good Product to Sell Online Example

Take some time now to think about other products that meet these criteria.  Write a list of as many product types as you can think of.

If you’re crunched for time, let us help you by providing you with some niche ideas. Click here to get the niches.

 

Video Transcript

The Importance Of Niche Selection

Anton here from Drop Ship Lifestyle, and in this video, I want to talk about niche selection. More specifically, how to do it profitably. How to choose profitable niches and how it can actually be easy.

Niche selection is obviously the first step that everyone takes whenever you build an eCommerce store. There are definitely ways to do it right and there are ways to do it wrong. Now, the problem is you can still make money if you do it the wrong way. Except it will be a lot harder to get to your desired outcome. Which I guess is making a full-time living, right? Making a lot of money with eCommerce.

Criteria #1: Price

I am going to share with you 3 tips for profitable niche selection, how to pick niches that will actually make money. Now, here are a few pieces of criteria I look for. The first thing is always the price. That means product’s price, what you’re going to sell this product for.

When we are doing our niche selection, we always look for niches that are $200 or more on average. What does that mean in practice? Well, if you sold something like a water bottle, that’s not at least $200. So that is not going to be a niche that I get involved with. Now, on the other hand, if it is something like a cell phone, that’s more than $200. That would pass the price test, but it would not pass the third test that you’ll hear about later. Something like the office chair I am sitting in, again it’s over $200, that would be a good product. It passes the first test when it comes to niche selection.

Criteria #2: Target Market

Once we make sure our price is above $200, we look towards our target market. Now, if you are involved with marketing at all (if you ever studied marketing) you’re familiar with demographics. And the truth is you could break up the world into probably a billion different demographics. But the purpose of this nice selection video is to learn how to find profitable niches, so I am only going to talk about 3 of those demographics.

Now the first will be the lower income people. The second will be the upper middle class. And the third will be the wealthy. When we are looking into products and trying to find our profitable niches, we stay right in the middle. We want to sell to the upper middle class.

There are a few reasons why. If you sell to people who don’t have money or to people that have too much money, what you’ll find is the amount of customer service that you (or your employee) have to put into your business is going to skyrocket.

When people don’t have enough money or spend their last dollar to buy your products, you better believe they are going to have more questions. They are going to be inspecting the items more carefully. If anything is wrong or even if they think anything is wrong, you are going to hear about it non-stop.

With the wealthy, it’s the same thing. When they are investing money or buying products, they expect a certain level of customer service that requires really a different type of business owner. And there is nothing wrong with that. But, just expect that if you’re going to go that route, you are going to be more of a concierge rather than someone that makes money online.

Again, that is why when we are looking at demographics. Remember, stick with the upper middle class. I define that as having a combined household income of above $100,000 U.S. dollars. When people have that kind of money, they are very comfortable with spending online. They are used to buying items that are $200 or more. They are not going to be calling or emailing you as much. They are going to be comfortable with the order process. And from what I have experienced, they are generally happier with the products. You are going to deal with fewer returns.

So again, this demographic makes niche selection a lot easier. It makes your business run a lot smoother. It makes it a lot more profitable if you choose niches that fall into that target demographic. If that’s who the products appeal to.

Criteria #3: Brand Loyalty

Now, finally the last tip I want to give you out of these 3 tips. Remember, it was price, then it was the target demographic. Now, I want to talk about brand loyalty. I mentioned earlier that while cell phones fall into the price range criteria, they don’t meet one of my other criteria and that is because of the brand loyalty.

When someone is going to buy a cell phone, in general, they are going to buy an iPhone or they are going to buy Galaxy or another Android phone, Right? But they already have a brand in their head of what product they want.

Same thing with people that are going to buy headphones. There is probably four or five big headphone companies. Right? There is Sony, there is Bose, there are Beats, and there is Sennheiser. There are all these big companies and people already know what they are going to buy.

So the third thing that you are going to look for when trying to choose a profitable niche is to pick an industry that has no brand loyalty. It’s going to make a big difference. That’s because if you try to sell in a niche where people already know what company they want to buy from, it’s going to make it that much harder for you to get suppliers. Harder for you to actually be able to sell these products, for you to be able to compete in terms of price. It’s impossible.

Conclusion:

I hope you guys got value from that. I know it was a quick video, but remember my 3 rules for niche selection: the target price, the target demographic, and brand loyalty cannot exist – because if it does it’s going to make your life a lot harder. If you want to do things the easy way, you want to do things the right way, and you want to start making money early on with Drop Shipping then definitely check out Drop Ship Lifestyle. Join version 5.0 of our program, and I will see you in the member’s area. Thank you, everybody.

Now that you have the 3 criteria you can start tracking down your own profitable niche. To help you absolutely nail niche selection download our 187 niche ideas. With this idea-packed resource, you’ll find the perfect niche for your store and start your journey to a better life through drop shipping.

DOWNLOAD: 187 Profitable Niches
Anton Kraly
 

Anton is a the Founder & CEO of Drop Ship Lifestyle – an online coaching program for eCommerce entrepreneurs. He began selling online in 2007 and has built and sold multiple seven-figure businesses while leveraging the power of drop shipping.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 26 comments
Anton Kraly

Hey Everyone,

As many of you already know I created Drop Ship Lifestyle after selling a network of eCommerce stores and then trying to find a community of other store owners to network with… What I found was a bunch of scammers who promised newbies they would get rich quick by following their push button systems!

This lead me create a new community along with online training that shares how to build a REAL online business.

I’d love to hear what you think… it’s 10 video training modules designed to help you drop ship profitably… all for free.

Be sure to click here to check it out and send me your feedback 🙂

If you go through the “What Is Drop Shipping?” mini-course and still have questions just contact me and I will help you out.

Reply
lusekelo

Hi Antony
you say that we should target items from $200 and higher i assume this is for physical stuffs,i’m in info products,what is your price range for this?

Reply
Anton Kraly

Hey Everyone,

As many of you already know I created Drop Ship Lifestyle after selling a network of eCommerce stores and then trying to find a community of other store owners to network with… What I found was a bunch of scammers who promised newbies they would get rich quick by following their push button systems!

This lead me create a new community along with online training that shares how to build a REAL online business.

I’d love to hear what you think… it’s 10 video training modules designed to help you drop ship profitably… all for free.

Be sure to click here to check it out and send me your feedback 🙂

If you go through the “What Is Drop Shipping?” mini-course and still have questions just contact me and I will help you out.

Reply
Heather

Hi Anton: I’ve recently launched a site for affiliate products which will also link to my own ecommerce dropshipping sites but have had quite a challenge getting any companies I’ve contacted to even contact me back. I’ve had some disappointments along the way: now having 2 great ideas for a niche and having every rock I turn over to find a supplier say they don’t do dropshipping and have exhausted my entire list of contacts. (I’m in Canada)

My question in relation to your article is this: yiu mentioned paddle board and chandelier as examples. I’ve had some good ideas but I keep asking myself which products someone is more apt to buy online than in store. I know myself, if I was buying a paddle board or chandelier I’d be going to a brick and mortar store, not shopping online.

I’ve done all kinds of research on trends, age groups, gender, dollars spent online, yiu get the picture. How can I be confident I’m choosing a niche that a) people will buy online b)be confident i’ll find a supplier? (I spent so much time choosing these niches and contacting suppliers/manufacturers and came up empty handed and now have to start from scratch again doing more research to choose a niche and then start contacting companies again. Any help would be appreciated!

P.S. When you say you’ve been financially successful at dropshipping are you sure your success isn’t more from the funds you make selling your tips and tricks to us newbies?

Reply
    Anton Kraly

    Hi Heather,

    It’s hard for me to say why everyone is denying you without seeing your online store and without knowing your approach to contacting them.

    We have a very specific approach that we use when doing our market research, when finding our suppliers, when building our websites, when reaching out to these suppliers, and then when following up with these suppliers.

    There are typically a lot of things that you have to do right before getting approved… I’m not saying this is why you are getting denied, but if your website looks unprofessional and all you’re doing is calling suppliers and asking if they drop ship I would assume that they would just say no.

    and yes, I am sure my eCommerce success comes from eCommerce (strange question!)… I’ve been doing this for almost 10 years. I should also note that I am not the only one who is doing this successfully. We have hundreds of success stories. Here are a few: https://www.dropshiplifestyle.com/testimonials/ We also have dozens of members with 6-figure/year stores and many doing over 7-figures in annual sales as well 🙂

    Best of luck on your venture!

    Reply
E.R.

Thanks for the blog. So far I can say that the modules from Anton Kraly have been very informative. I paid for the 47,00 advanced modules, and I’m not disappointed. lot,s of info. Hope this helps Heather 🙂

Elisabeth

Reply
Marie

Hi Anton, I noticed in the above example in the Google search engine there is an extension/tool that comes up with every search result that shows statistics… it looks very handy, what is that and how can I get it?

Reply
    Anton Kraly

    Hi Marie,

    It’s called SEOQUAKE. I wouldn’t recommend it though. We have uninstalled it since recording that .gif.

    Thanks!

    Reply
Jason Mitchell

For clarity, does the niche have to be entirely expensive, or are we just offering the more expensive products within the niche?

Thanks!

Reply
    Anton Kraly

    Great question, Jason. The answer is more expensive products within the niche. Take snowboards for example… you can get a cheap one for $100 but most cost $400+

    Reply
dancome

Hello ~ Awesome article ~ Thank You

Reply
hussein said

Hi Anton, thanks for this great article I am actually on your course already and have been trying to connect with you with regard to my niche ? I am almost done with my choice and wanted to double check with you but could not reach yu on your email and then realised you are answering here so thought maybe i can connect with you here 🙂

Reply
Petra

Hi Anton,

I have passion about Jewelry, but look like the price range is not above $200 or even $100. How should I go then?

How can we know which group of audience have income above 200K?

Thanks,

Reply
    Anton Kraly

    Hi Petra,

    My advice would be to move on to another niche. With drop shipping it’s not about passion, it’s about profitability 🙂

    Reply
Joseph Saienni

Anton,

I love your material. You seem like you genuinely care about people, and want to help. But im confused, your “competitor” says to sell products between $15-$85, for impulse buying. Both of you are very knowledgeable, can you provide insight on both target markets?

Reply
    Anton Kraly

    Hi Joseph,

    We focus on selling expensive items so we can make more money every time we get a sale. It’s just as easy to sell as a $850 item as it is to sell a $85 item. In one scenario you’d NET around $210… in the other you’d NET about $20 bucks.

    Some people are OK with making a few bucks per sale… I am not 😉

    Reply
amir

Thanks for all the info,But I was wondering,I’m not from the states, and I’m limited to epacket shipments ,How can I sell high price products?
Do you have a system for low priced products too?

Reply
Stuart Joseph

Hi, Anton,
Very interesting article, howeverI have some questions and I am hoping you would answerthem:

1. I am going to be selling musical instruments which can be very expensive within an especially within the guidelines that you have given in the article. How does one sell expensive articles and automate the process within Shopify?
2. I know that you do not like dropshipping to AliExpress, however most of their items can be sold and automated through oberlo, what do you think about selling lesser priced items that way?
3. How do you feel about selling T-shirts when there are number of Print on demand companies that will integrate with Shopify and automate the process from order to shipment? It seems that the only thing that would be necessary and time-consuming would be to design the shirts and upload them to one of the companies. I have been thinking about doing this as I have her number of ideas for shirts and it seemed that it would be a pretty painless way to do it.

I would appreciate it if you would give us your opinion about my questions and ideas.

From a satisfied customer and participant in the Drop SHIP Lifestyle,

Thank you,
Stuart Joseph
Celtic Cultures
Purveyors of items Celtic, Historical, Musical, & Eclectic
13 Central Ave.
Pocomoke MD 21851 USA
443.859.2754
call 10 am-5pm Eastern Time text anytime
email: [email protected],gmail.com
website: http://www.celticculturesglobal.com

Reply
    Anton Kraly

    Hi Stuart,

    Glad to hear you’re loving Drop Ship Lifestyle!

    You can see my answers to your questions below:

    1. I am going to be selling musical instruments which can be very expensive within an especially within the guidelines that you have given in the article. How does one sell expensive articles and automate the process within Shopify?

    The process of selling expensive items is the same as selling cheap items. You just make more money 🙂 Regarding automation, you should use the Drop Ship Lifestyle Shopify app which forwards orders direct to your supplier(s).

    2. I know that you do not like dropshipping to AliExpress, however most of their items can be sold and automated through oberlo, what do you think about selling lesser priced items that way?

    I think it’s not worth it! Check out this video / blog post on drop shipping from China for more info: https://blog.dropshiplifestyle.com/drop-shipping-from-china/

    3. How do you feel about selling T-shirts when there are number of Print on demand companies that will integrate with Shopify and automate the process from order to shipment? It seems that the only thing that would be necessary and time-consuming would be to design the shirts and upload them to one of the companies. I have been thinking about doing this as I have her number of ideas for shirts and it seemed that it would be a pretty painless way to do it.

    Once you build a brand it makes sense to add products like print on demand T-Shirts. However, I’d focus on selling expensive products until you’re making money 🙂 You can then expand on your business from there.

    Reply
Nicole

I’m wanting to start dropshipping. CAn you point me to where or how I start?

Reply
Gustavo

Thanks for make sense out of this! I”ve been struggling with niche selection for way too long and this blog post really resonated with me.

Reply

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