A LUCRATIVE NICHE MARKET

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For consumers, the Internet is a wonderful invention where you can shop around the clock from the comfort of your favourite armchair.  We can get practically anything our heart desires without the hassle of travelling to the shops, parking the car or grappling with the crowds.  For consumers, it's brilliant, but for Internet sellers it can mean that you are constantly trying to beat the competition by coming up with better or cheaper products and a superior service.

However there is one class of product that most entrepreneurs generally overlook, yet they are guaranteed to sell to a lucrative niche market...

When you think about it, one of the great things about buying on the Internet is it's anonymity for customers. Anonymous products practically sell themselves and could form the basis of a solid, reliable and repeatable business for years to come.

So all those embarrassing problems that human beings suffer with - being overweight, being too short or too tall, perspiring too much, personal itching – well, you get the picture...

The Internet is a godsend people who want solutions to these problems without the embarrassment of having to go into a shop and ask for a very personal and embarrassing item.

Your niche market

When you think about your prospective customers, and where they could be found, you have to think laterally and outside the box.  For example, while you have plenty of slimming products available on the Internet -- and plenty of competition too for slimming products -- there may be little competition for something like nice underwear or swimwear for people who are very overweight.  The market for these types of products could be huge (pardon the pun) and very lucrative.

There are also plenty of problems not catered for by the usual high street shops.  Think about people who are very tall or very short, people with bigger than average feet or a big beer belly that can't fit into a normal sized shirt or jacket.  Not everyone fits into the mainstream shapes and sizes and there are plenty of opportunities to sell discretely via the Internet to these customers.

Often they are people who have been disappointed or embarrassed when trying to buy the products they want from high street shops.  The Internet can provide solutions to those problems and be completely anonymous.  What's more, once a customer is satisfied with your service and confident buying from you, he is likely to come back again and again for items he can't get elsewhere.

Confidentiality

If people buy and sell on the Internet to avoid embarrassment, they will not want a package arriving through the post emblazoned with your telltale company logos or anything remotely suggesting what could be in the package!  They will want anonymity and a confidential service -- therefore you have to make confidentiality a USP for your business and make sure that your potential customers are aware that whenever they buy from you, their purchase is completely confidential.

It is also worth choosing a name that is fairly ambiguous and does not cause embarrassment in itself.  It is better to call yourself ‘Joe Blogs and Co’ than ‘The Fat Clothing Specialists’.  You know what I mean!

Specialize

So how do you go about providing for this niche market when there are so many diverse issues and opportunities to solve the many embarrassing problems associated with the human condition!

You could create a website that specializes in providing a variety of solutions for embarrassing problems generally -- you'd have to think of a catchy name that could include all sorts of diverse products.

Perhaps you could include a diverse array of products for things like smelly feet, balding heads, excess hair, beer bellies, those regretted tattoos and so on...

However, this may be too generalized to enable you to reach a specific niche market.  You could sell a variety of diverse products and market them separately, or you could specialize in one or two specific areas.

For example, with obesity becoming a growing problem in the Western world, there is an ever-increasing need for products for people who are overweight -- things that are embarrassing to ask for, or simply not available in a high street shop.  Think about underwear and swimwear particularly, but there must also be a huge market for occasion clothes, like wedding dresses, party dresses, formal suits and so on.

If you were to go down this line and cater for clothing for people who are overweight, you could also offer an advice service on the best sort of clothes to suit a person's shape, or you could even do makeovers for your customers in return for letting you feature them on your website.

Offering more

Talking of makeovers, in this example, you could even offer a makeover service, including a total style revamp (Trinny and Susanna style), as well as make-up, hairstyle and so on.  Anything that boosts confidence will keep customers coming back again and again for more of your products -- and they will recommend you to others.  It’s all about adding value to your business and offering more than your competitors.

You could take this approach with all sorts of embarrassing products.  Think about how you can provide help and information as well as an immediate solution to their problems, and you will create a list of long-term -- and very grateful customers build on customer service trust.