How To Market Research Your Audience Before Launching An E-commerce Store
Looking to launch an E-commerce store? Great. But before starting to wonder whether to use Shopify or WooCommerce, you need to research you market.
Conducting market research is critical before launching an ecommerce store. From research, you will uncover whether there is demand and a market around your business idea.
You do not want to order 1000 units of a product or sign a contract before evaluating market demand.
In this guide, you’ll learn 9 ways of conducting market research to determine whether there is a healthy demand for your product.
Let’s get started.
- Google Trends
This is a free oldie many people do not use. The fun tool by Google provides data about any keyword or search phrase you enter. For instance, if you want to sell ice cream machines, you can see how interest in the topic has been growing or waning over time.
Simply enter the keyword or term you are interested in, which can be a product, service or another term, and set the time to “Past 5 years”. The resulting data will indicate whether:
- The term is seasonal i.e. goes up or down over certain months
- The term has been going up, down or has been fairly constant over the years
Peaks over certain periods may be prompted by a variety of factors e.g. holidays, celebrity endorsements, a trend, etc.
Google Trends also provides data about the countries and cities where the term is searched the most. You can use this data in your marketing campaign. For example, you can target Facebook ads to people in specific cities based on the data you get.
If you want to know what’s ticking in a specific niche, check the discussions at Reddit. The social network provides in-depth commentary on different niches through its groups known as “subreddits”.
One of the best things about Reddit is that if the audience loves your offer, it will buy right away. However, before introducing your offers to Reddit, join the relevant subreddits. Apart from this, pay attention to the content that is shared. You want to be helpful in the communities before sharing the link to your store.
- Amazon Wish List
The Amazon Most Wished-For list is a great resource for your next niche idea or researching a market. The tool helps you know what people would like at any time based on the aggregate data collected from Wish List. You can use the data to perform granular research into what you are looking to sell.
For example, if you are looking to start drop shipping dresses, you can know what kind of dresses are in demand. Vintage dresses? Dinner dresses? Little black dresses?
- Google Keyword Planner
This free tool is also great for doing keyword research. Most marketers use the tool for keyword research for SEO purposes. However you can also get an idea of how large your market is based on the data it provides.
To use the Google Keyword Planner, enter a term that your audience is likely to be searching for when looking for your products. For example, if you want to sell vintage clothing, you can search the term “vintage clothing”.
The keyword tool will provide the number of searches the keyword, and other related terms, get per month. This will help you know whether the market is large enough for you to serve.
- Use Facebook
With over 1 billion active members, Facebook is a goldmine for doing product market research. You can carry out market research on Facebook in two ways:
- Find a market for your product
- Determine what products to sell
If you already have a product in mind, search Facebook for Pages, Groups and posts about the product. For example, if you are selling horse accessories, check how many Facebook Pages are dedicated to horses. Apart from this, find out how big the pages are. The same also goes with Facebook Groups.
The rule of thumb is: if there is a large Facebook Page or Group dedicated to a topic related to your product, there is a potential market for you to serve.
Carrying out Facebook research is killing multiple birds with the same stone. For example, you can leverage the audience you find on Facebook for your marketing campaigns. You can also get ideas on the content to provide based on discussions people in the niche Groups have.
- Q&A Sites
To be successful in any business, you need to solve the problems of your audience. One of the ways you can identify the problems your audience has is by checking Question & Answer forums like Quora, Yahoo Answers, Answers.com and so on.
Go through the sites and check the questions asked in the specific market you want to serve. For instance, if you are in the health market, check the questions people are asking that are related to what you want to sell.
For example, if you want to sell standing desks, check what people are looking for in the desks. The answers provided to specific questions can give you hints on the upsides and downsides of the standing desks currently available in the market. If you decide to stock the desks, you will know which ones are more preferred in the market.
- Etsy’s Trending Items
If you are into arts and crafts, Etsy is a great place to carry out market research. The Trending Items list will help you know what is popular or in demand in your niche.
While the list is not as comprehensive as Amazon’s Wish List, you can identify the trending ecommerce stores and see their best selling items.
One thing you should know about Etsy is that its audience is quite savvy. Therefore, if you are looking for a product that will take over in your market, the platform provides better research than Amazon.
- Use Traditional Magazines
This is one of the traditional rules of niche research: if there is a magazine for it, there is a niche.
Check the local stores and identify the various categories of magazines available. If you wish, select a few that you like. Alternatively, search online for a list of niche magazines.
Browse the magazines and check their features products. Are there any products you can offer? For example, the Home & Away magazine will be great for doing niche research for bathroom accessories.
Same thing goes for niche TV channels. For example, if you are watching a morning workout, check the products that the fitness experts are using. You can bet that there is an audience for those products.
- Search at Forums
Forums are another goldmine for researching your audience. With forums, you will not only get a ready market for your product, but will also know their exact problems. Therefore, you can come up with a product that addresses the exact problems your audience has.
To find forums in your niche, type this search string on Google: “forum+target keyword”. For example, if I wanted to find forums where rock climbers congregate, I would search for “forum+rock climbing”.
Go through the results that pop up and note the forums with a lot of recent discussions. This means the forums are frequented by rock climbers, some of whom can be your customers. Join the forums and check the discussions. In particular, go through the discussions related to what you want to sell.
If you are still at the niche research phase, simply go through the questions climbers are asking. For example, are people frustrated with the boots they have? What are they saying about the rope buckles? Every question asked at a forum is an opportunity for you to provide a solution.
Granted, not all questions will be related to your ecommerce idea. But the few that will be related can give you a heads up on what your market wants.
Success in ecommerce requires you to serve an audience that is ready to give you money to solve their problems or help them live their passions. Before starting an ecommerce store, use some of the strategies above to research how big your market is and whether there is demand for the product you want to sell.