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Shopify Tutorial: Picking An Ecommerce Niche

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So you have chosen a niche for your Shopify Store, now what?

I get this question all the time and today I’m going to layout exactly what you need to do in order to effectively enter your niche and become a competitive player right off-the-bat.

This is the perfect post to read if you are ready to get serious and take your ecom game to the next level, put in the hard work necessary and reap the benefits.

As you should know we always start with picking a niche, and that niche should be a passion niche where people are head-over-heels in love with whatever the niche is.

In fact, your potential customers should be so passionate that they would wear the niche on their chest like a badge of honour.

This concept is directly applicable to the print on demand t-shirt business of course (which you know I love!).

Design around your niche

Step number one after picking your niche is to design around your niche in such a way that it is “on-brand”.

What does this mean?

Let’s use the firefighter niche as an example.

Say you’re selling firefighter t-shirts, this means you want your site on-brand with that niche in every way possible.

Your color scheme needs to be on-brand. In the firefighter niche this would probably include colors like red, orange, and yellow…..not purple or pink (go figure!).

This sounds so simple but this is a very important step that you cannot afford to miss!

You also need a logo designed around your niche, a logo that speaks to and resonates with the people inside the firefighter niche.

This is where the research comes in.

Make sure you’re doing deep research on what’s going on within your niche! This is why it’s helpful when you have a strong personal connection with your niche.

In my case, as you know I love cats. I have 36 at home.

Kidding. Just a couple, but you get my point.

Thus, opening and designing my online cat store was quite easy for me because I am part of the cat niche.

You’re not always going to be included in the niche you sell to, but it certainly is a huge advantage when you are.

Thus, I suggest that newbies chose a niche which you are personally very passionate about.

The main branding aspects to pay attention to when doing research include:

  • Logo
  • Color scheme
  • Typography
  • Domain name
  • Messaging
  • Tone

These are all things that need to align with your niche.

Living inside your niche

What do I mean by living inside your niche? Let’s use the cat niche as an example.

I know for a fact that most of the messaging is not really pushy.

How do I know this?

I live inside the cat niche…and you need to know what makes your brand match and echo successful competitors in your own niche – so that you fit nicely into the entire niche ecosystem.

Having an in-depth knowledge of your niche will give you a really good opportunity to build a trusted and established brand, which is the long term goal.

You need to be able to make sense and essentially slide into the conversation (of your niche) nice and smoothly.

How do you do that?

Simple. Act like a potential customer.

More specifically, like one of YOUR potential customers, put yourself in their shoes (if you aren’t already in their shoes)!

It is imperative that you see what your customers see. This is more than just competition research, and way more than just other products.

Both are important but what’s more important is the organic side of things.

Go on Facebook and look at some of the big communities in your niche, look at the fan pages, the celebrities within your niche, and see what kind of messaging is going and and see what people are already seeing.

You have to be able to talk the talk. Every niche has its own lingo and you want to know it so well that you know the inside jokes in that niche!

Facebook is just one place to do your research. Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Reddit, and Wanelo are all great sources to see what people are sharing and what products are the most popular.

Searching these different social media sites will give you plenty of inside knowledge and let you craft your brand in such a way that will allow you to have an instant connection with your customers.

Once you have done this research, design your brand to seamlessly fit into the niche.

Competition and product research

Living inside the niche includes competition and product research and a great place to do this is on a social network for products called

On this site you can see what products are really resonating with your customers and what better way to figure that out than by seeing what products are popular right now?

To get an idea of what your competition is doing use our old buddy; Google.

Type in the name of your niche and add “store” after it. Voila, you can instantly see what other online stores are selling, the type of branding they use, etc.

The world is your oyster….and so are Google and Google Images. Use them.

Build products that resonate

You must check your assumptions about products at the door.

Let’s say your assumption is that firefighter t-shirts will only sell to women.

Then you google other stores and see that all the themes are angled towards men and you also see that the products which are popular on Wanelo, Pinterest and Facebook, are angled towards men. Thus, a women’s t-shirt probably wouldn’t sell well.

By checking your assumptions at the door you can find the best products and ensure that you know who your target audience should be.

In the print on demand business, which you know I love, you can build your products based on who you know you can reach.

Facebook is a HUGE resource with an advertising ecosystem that can reach thousands of people a day.

There is 40 million people in the cat niche…but why not figure out who you can reach the most efficiently, and then build products that resonate with them?

If you’re not using print on demand services – no problem, just source products that resonate with people who you know you can reach via Facebook advertising.

As a final note

After picking a niche it’s all about creating a seamless entry for YOU to enter the marketplace and sell products to people who definitely DO want your products, and want to show off their passion, whether it be a t-shirt, mug, jewelry, etc.

The tools you’ll develop by living deep inside of a niche will go a LONG way towards your success.

If you put in the effort and follow the steps above you will succeed.

Now go out and research!

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Justin Cener is a lifelong entrepreneur and proud "crazy cat guy." After launching Crowd Seats, a Groupon-inspired technology startup, Cener sold the business to a venture-backed competitor in Hollywood, CA and moved onto Shopify. On top of running numerous successful stores, Justin mentors countless students and runs a handful of high profile celebrity Shopify stores using the same strategies he teaches in his Bootcamp Coaching Programs.