My prediction for the future of eCommerce is that we’ll be shopping at more niche-specific sites that concentrate on certain smaller markets. This is bad news for sites like Amazon, which try and sell everything and anything. I think all of it comes down to product experience and knowledge.
In the real world, it’s difficult to have a storefront for lets say a shop that specifically deals with only Honda dirt bikes. In a local market, there is more than likely not anywhere near enough of a market to sustain and keep a business afloat.
From a customer-perspective, I have a Honda CRF230 dirtbike that I need some parts for. I don’t know too much about the bike, and what’s out there. It’s not so easy to just go on Amazon and search for parts, I really don’t know what I need, what’s out there, what’s the best, etc. My local Honda dirt bike shop specializes in my bike, and knows exactly what I need for it. I have a much better experience, and I continue to be a loyal customer to that shop.
Enter eCommerce, where 10 years ago somebody who wanted a storefront to specialize in Honda dirt bikes would not last a month…they can now open up shop, have the entire world be their “local” market, and do so on a much cheaper budget.
This works out great from both a business and a customer level. The business knows the complete ins and outs of the products that they sell. This can better help them sell, market, and up sell their products. A customer can now go to the business and get the answers and solutions they are looking for, and not get bombarded with a billion other products that they could care less about.
When I was first launching ActiveTuning with my business partner, we talked very many times about the type of market we wanted to develop products for. We could have just done parts for any manufacturer, but we really wanted to know as much as we could about specific cars, and use that information to better sell our products. We decided to stick with just parts for Nissan and Infiniti vehicles. Even more sub-classified, we wanted to put an emphasis on some of the cars that were generally neglected by the aftermarket (Ex: Nissan Altima, Nissan Maxima) and become the company to deal with for those cars.
We chose our niche, and I feel we’ve definitely been successful in it, and made the right choice to stay so targeted. As time goes, I think we’ll see more and more of the super-niche sites that specialize in something very specific. With that in mind, a company can one-up on me and specialize in just the Nissan Altima for example, but the market may be too narrow. One has to identify how “low-level” they can go and still be successful.
This same concept can also be used for blogging successfully. Pick your niche and stick with it.