You’ve decided you want to build an online marketplace, but don’t really know where to go from there?  You are not the first entrepreneurs to ask “Now what?” and finding that answer can sometimes be very difficult.

When it comes to online retail shops, some of the most profitable startups will be niche related.  Take Amazon for example, that started as an online bookstore, selling books out of the founders garage.  As it has grown, it has scaled to sell pretty much everything you can think of, and 1,000 things you haven’t.  But, that is not where they started, they started with books.

The same can be said for many of the most popular online marketplaces.  Their humble beginnings started in one niche area, and as they grew, they expanded to become what they are today.  The trick then becomes finding your niche, and not just any niche, but a profitable one.  There are a few things you can do to help identify the perfect niche for you:

  • Start with what you know – Take the things you are passionate about, and then think about the products and services that facilitate those things.  Try and identify areas, or markets, that exist within those activities.  Not only will this give you a solid foundation of knowledge, it will also make it easier to identify potential vendors, and quickly verify their products are up to any quality standards you might want for your marketplace.
  • Do some market research – Does this niche seem to be crowded already?  What is the size of the customer base, and how receptive are they to new “players.”  Is there much profit in the products/services in this sector? Are there many vendors who would be willing to sell on a 3rd party marketplace, or do they all have solid web presences already?  These are all things to consider when looking at a new market.
  • Test your niche – Before jumping in, try to conduct some pre-marketing.  Contact potential vendors, and see if they would be interested in selling via a 3rd party site.  Create a blog about your niche area, and see if your content can generate much organic traffic.  Getting a general feel for consumer behavior in the area, and if the market seems receptive, will give you a good idea if the niche is open to the idea of a new marketplace.

Finding the right market niche will have a major impact on the success or failure of your online endeavor.  Spending time researching and vetting out your selected niche will pay dividends in the end, either in profits or time.  Our goal at The Plugin Pros is to provide a user friendly, simple solutions, so you can spend your time finding the right niche, and not worrying about your website.  You go be the rock star, and we can handle the back up vocals!

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