A busy crowded marketplace. How do businesses attract new customers?
Recently I had the chance to go to Singapore for a visit where I was introduced to the wonder of Singaporean street food. As with the whole of South East Asia, the Singapore locals take their food very seriously, and for lunch they go to these amazing 'hawker' food markets where dozens of different food stalls compete to sell their delicious wares to the hungry workers of Singapore.
The fascinating thing about these places is that each stall specialises in a different dish, and sells only that dish. So if you are in the mood for a Malaysian Laksa everyone knew which stall makes the best one. Or if you want lobster noodles, there is only one stall anyone in the know would go to, and those are inevitably the stalls with the largest queues out front.
Specialisation, for the Singaporean traders, means they have a chance of developing a reputation that makes them stand out amongst the dozens of other traders, and which gives them a much better chance of attracting more new customers.
This principle is also incredibly important for the crowded E-Commerce market where thousands of small businesses are vying to make a name for themselves and attract new customers. In the online marketplace, it is almost impossible to establish a new brand online. The only way to make a business a success is if it becomes known for a selling a very specific type of thing, and becomes the 'go to' place for that specific thing.
But in order for your products to be a success, there has to be a demand out there for them. If you were setting up a new stall in a big Asian food market, you'd know there was no point selling the same food as four other well-established places. You need to work out what items aren't being sold widely, and figure out where there's a need in the market that isn't being met. Likewise, there's no point specialising in exactly the same products as other successful online stores. You need to find the market niches where there are needs that aren't being satisfied fully yet and specialise in selling into those niches.
Specialisation will help significantly with your marketing and reputation-building, but it will also have a very positive impact on your presence on search engines as well. If every page of your store talks about the same subject, then your entire site will be much higher on search engines results for when people search for things related to your business.
The E-Commerce marketplace is fiercely competitive, yes, but it is also a long way from saturation. There are plenty of opportunities out there for businesses able to identify needs that aren't being met, and then specialise in selling products that meet those needs.