Revitalising by going niche

Niche e-commerce websites, in a layman's language, are typically those that primarily offerone kind of product or products within one focused category.
niche e-retail

Not only do the ways people shop change constantly, but the way they shop online is also subject to change. The change could be in anything – mode, products, taste, preferences, etc. The list of niche websites is endless – ranging from shoes, apparel, accessories to home furnishings, baby products, etc. Niche e-commerce websites are becoming popular because of the products and services they offer. The category is definitely growing because of the ease and convenience they offer in terms of bringing products to the customers’ disposal that they would otherwise find difficult. “Niche e-commerce websites

sustain and project themselves as the unique seller of the product/service attracting consumers to buy from the specialists in the category,” comments Shailen Amin, CEO, beStylish.com, which focuses on shoes as a product category.
 
An insight
 
We considered a few niche e-commerce websites to understand this business model in a better manner. Babyoye is one such venture that helps new parents with baby and maternity products delivered at their doorstep so that they are saved from the hassles of shopping outside and can spend more time with their children at home. At the same time, it offers services from specialists on pre and post natal courses, fitness classes, nutrition classes, etc.
 
A lot of popular sites have been launched with one category. Take for instance Amazon.com. They started with only books and built a loyal consumer base before getting into other categories. “One category helps in focusing on the business – from procurement to marketing, logistics to customer care. Specialisation in one category also allows us to provide customers with the widest range and the best prices,” opined Amin. “By choosing creative ways to meet niche customer needs, we offer innovation in shoe fashion through special footwear accessories like Heel Condoms, specialised shoes for diabetics and a lot more new additions from time to time,” he added.
 
We also connected with heavenandhome.com, an online home and living e-commerce portal and magazine that aims to bring the highest quality of home and lifestyle products to the Indian consumers within an exclusive environment at exciting discounted prices.
 
Nishrit Shrivastav, Co- Founder, heavenandhome.com, shared his take and said that users who want to buy home decor are different from those who want to buy electronics, and so the buying environments have to be different. The niche websites are able to provide the environment tailor made for their products and the users who want to buy those products.
 
Right TG and maintaining trust
 
Online shopping was earlier associated with uncertainty, anonymity, lack of control and potential opportunism. Therefore, trust is an important factor for buyer-seller relationships in electronic commerce. Customer satisfaction, dedicated call centre staff, offering various services like cash-on-delivery, home  delivery, etc are the regular contributors for maintaining the trust factor. We learnt them better from the e- commerce owners themselves. “Any customer grievance is taken at the highest priority and is resolved at the earliest. Apart from this, timely delivery, availability of world class brands and products, services like cash-on-delivery, home delivery, etc go a long way in building trust with the customer,” said Arunima
Singhdeo, Director & Co-Founder, Babyoye.com.
 
“Our driving force has always been our customer. All our business decisions and actions are made keeping our customer in mind, from the strict quality policy, the no-spam communication policy to the easy and convenient return and exchange policy,” shared Amin. “We build trust further with facilities like cash-on-delivery, generous return policies and enhanced product offerings. Online retailers also pass on the cost advantage in terms of savings gained via elimination of middlemen,” he further added. 
 
Why niche?
 
Singhdeo shared that they want to build a brand that is solely dedicated to baby and mother care needs. The founder, being a parent herself, understands how much it takes to get the right things for a child. “We want to help parents in spending that extra time with their baby and leave the rest of everyday worry to us. Moving into multiple categories for us would still be anything related to baby and mother care, like birthday party and baby shower organisers, etc,” she stated.
 
Amin shared his take and commented that they wanted to concentrate on a single category, dive deep into it and become a one-stop destination for the same. “Our product – shoes – is something people are very passionate about. People collect, cherish and love shoes. If you wear uncomfortable shoes, it impacts your whole day, but on the other hand, if you have the right shoes, it puts a spring in your step and makes you feel good all day,” said Amin. “We saw this as a huge opportunity for emerging as a one-stop footwear destination that caters to the needs of men, women and kids alike, across India,” he added. 
 
Shrivastav said they don’t think of themselves as just an online store, but want to become the style authority for all things related to home. 
 
What’s hot?
 
Many stores catering just to shoes, jewellery or high fashion are coming up and all seem to be doing great. However, verticals like the home and living space are still a young market and will continue to grow. Baby products are definitely a category that is doing well and holds a promising future, with many players now entering the bandwagon. “We would like to concentrate on the same fully in the coming years, by importing better and more products and brands as well as increasing the services offered,” sums up Singhdeo.
 
We feel handicrafts is one such category, which is gaining great momentum when it comes to e- commerce, however, online handicrafts has become a large enough space to be discussed and looked upon as a separate story idea! As online retail is growing, niche websites are making their mark and will continue to do so. Also, not to forget, when a person looks up a specific product, only niche e-commerce websites are likely to show up in control of the search space.
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