Ecomm Challenge Day 4 — Validating the right niche

Photo by Redd Angelo

So today is about validating the product category ideas I have had so far and to start compiling a list of products that I will start promoting. The key product groups that I want to explore are:

  • Backpacks
  • DSLR Backpacks
  • Outdoor Accessories
  • Outdoor Cooking Equipment
  • Tea & Coffee Equipment
  • Reuse Water Bottle

To validate whether these niches are good ones to focus on for sales potential I first looked at Google Trends to see where these products are in their life cycle.

Once I have done this I then want to determine what the exact search potential might be, as well as finding out whether I can find social communities that would find use for the products. Finally, I then want to start looking at individual products an look at user reviews to determine whether they are worth listing.

Google Trends

I looked at both longer term trends as well as trends over the 12 months to get an idea of demand and seasonality. Bike accessories instance looks like it is in decline, but it peaks every Summer which makes sense:

The looks like there is high demand for coffee makers in the lead up to Christmas, and the general trend is slightly upwards:

I was surprised by portable speakers, I would have thought that there would be high demand with new bluetooth and wifi speakers.

When I saw this I started to get excited, I have definitely stumbled onto a category that is enjoying growth that is predicted to continue in 2017.

As per my original hunch, Water Bottles are definitely something that I should concentrate on.

I decided that I would focus on Coffee Tech later in the year and focus on backpacks and water bottles. To give an element of relativity, I also included bluetooth speakers which looked more promising, as well as pizza oven and bike bags.

Google Keyword Tool

I then looked at the exact match search volume for the UK on Google Keyword Tool:

To be able to use this tool you now need to have an active Ad Words account. Although mine is active I couldn’t get the granular month to month data I’m used to getting and the competition data was limited.

However, it looks as though water bottles are still the category to focus on, although total search volume is lower than backpacks or speakers, the suggested bid is much lower, which is usually a good indicator.

I also expanded out each category and got keyword ideas from the initial keyword. This gives me an idea of intent from the types of keywords people are using:

Social Media Research

My next stage was then to find out what conversations people are having around water bottles on Social Media as well as trying to find out what information people need to make their buying choices. I headed over to Keyhole (a hashtag tracking portal), there are many others out there.

I looked for the term water bottle and then looked at the hashtags associated with these types of posts in the last two weeks:

So I headed over to Instagram to look at related hashtags and found:

But most importantly, it appeared I was on the right tracks with my original hunch about fitness, particularly yoga and water bottles:

Keyhole — Associated Keywords

I then started a list of influencers using these keywords:

Keyhole Influencers


Using these keywords as a base I then trawled through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook to find relevant Influencers who talk about hydration and fitness. I also found whilst doing this many of the people I found also had quite a deep interest in nutrition.

I decided to find 50 in total (I don’t know why it seemed a good number), to then approach with my water bottle proposition.

Ecommerce Validation

I noted all the different brands of water bottles I had seen whilst I was looking at influencers and started to try and find these brands on Amazon to see what the reviews were like:

S’well Women’s 17oz Mother Of Pearl Water Bottle Multi Coloured (Affiliate Link)

Black + Blum Charcoal Filter Water Bottle (Affiliate Link)

As I am working my way through the products I am noting no just the overall star rating, but the issues that people are having with the products so I can address these later.

At the end of this process, I have 8 products that I am happy with that could be the beginning of my shop. I have validated there is demand for this product, I know who is using and talking about these products, and I now know how much they cost and how people rate them on Amazon.

Tools used in this article

Google Trends — Topic and category trends

Keyhole — Free limited hashtag tracking

Google Keyword Tool — Search volumes

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