The Ultimate Guide to Niche Products in 2020
The Ultimate Guide to Niche Products in 2020 (How to Find Them, Market, and Sell Them)
You probably know that the internet, eCommerce, and affiliate marketing have changed the retail landscape.
But you might not understand just how significant that change is. There are more products and variations available for sale than ever before.
For example, a Walmart supercenter sells around 120,000 products, while they offer over 35 million products online.
Many of these are niche products — products with a small target customer base, which aren't profitable to carry in a brick and mortar store.
Think of a specialty golf putter for left-handed beginners. Chances of selling that randomly are a million-to-one, but when found online by people specifically searching for it, it sells itself.
From the affiliate standpoint, is there value in these niche products? Can you find success promoting them?
In this guide, we’ll cover exactly what these niche products are, where to find them, and how you can effectively sell them in your own online stores or promote them as an affiliate.
The Ultimate Guide How to Make Money in 2020
- 1. What Is A Niche Product?
- 2. Benefits of Niche Products
- 3. Niche Product Challenges
- 4. What Are The Best Niche Products?
- 5. How and Where To Find Niche Products to Promote or Sell?
- 6. How to Choose Products Within a Single Niche?
- 7. 4 Ways to Market and Monetize Niche Products as an Affiliate
- 8. The Most Popular Niche Products in Profitable Niches
- 9. Make Money Online (MMO)
- 10. When Niche Products go Mainstream
- 11. Niche Product Trends and Developments
- 12. Conclusion
- 13. Niche Products - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What Is A Niche Product? (With Real Examples)
A niche product is a product that serves the need of a very narrow target market. For example, a kayak seat with better lumbar support is only useful for kayak owners with a back problem.
Niche products are usually created for consumers who have unique needs or interests, often at the intersection of two or more mainstream markets.
Traditionally, products like these were only available in specialty stores or directly from manufacturer catalogs.
On the other hand, a mainstream product tries to serve the needs of everybody. Just think of consumer packaged goods like hand soap or toilet paper.
Benefits of Niche Products
Before we go any further, you may be wondering:
What are the benefits of promoting a niche product over a consumer product as an affiliate?
Of course, the first thing that comes to mind is less competition.
But it doesn’t end there.
Other important benefits include:
- It’s easier to reach people during the research phase of the buying journey.
- People care more about niche products and are often willing to pay more as a result.
- It’s much easier to establish brand awareness in a niche market (even if that market is small)
Think about it. People don’t tend to think twice about the everyday commodities that they purchase. They just grab the closest or cheapest product in the store, and that’s that.
Since people don’t go online researching “best brands of double-ply toilet paper” it can be hard to reach potential customers in that market.
Not so with niche products.
The most common way to find a niche product is through an online search.
When potential customers actually research things online, it’s much easier to reach your target audience.
You can promote the products you represent through SEO and organic search, or even hit them with PPC or Google Shopping ads right as they’re ready to make a purchase.
And that’s not all.
You can often promote much more expensive products which will land you a higher affiliate commission or profit margin from each sale.
Just think of furniture...
Amazon Basics or Ikea are good examples of mass consumer products in the category. They’re competing exclusively on price and convenience.
An office chair can cost as little as $50-60.
But a League of Legends-branded Secretlab gaming chair can cost $400 or more.
(via Secretlab Store)
And instead of a 3% commission on fifty bucks, you could make up to 12% on each sale for much more expensive products.
The final benefit is that it’s much easier to establish a brand in a niche market.
It’s better to be first, even if it’s a new category than it is to be second, third, or 75th in an established market. That’s an “immutable law of marketing,” just ask legendary marketers, Al Ries and Jack Trout.
For example, unboxing videos have taken YouTube and the internet by storm, and the format is perfect for affiliate marketing. People interested in the products you promote go out of their way to watch introductory videos about new products.
But the general tech unboxing market is already saturated and dominated by giants like Unbox Therapy and Marques Brownlee.
Smaller YouTubers can keep trying for years and hundreds of videos and never even consistently reach 100 views.
If you’re the first to serve a new niche, however, that friction goes away. YouTuber Nam Figures figured this out. He focuses on unboxing figurines, specifically war figurines.
In under a year and 30 unboxing videos, he is starting to average over 10,000 views per new video.
And just think of how narrow his niche is; unboxing war-themed figurines.
Unique niche products not easily available offline are part of the reason eCommerce is booming and is predicted to reach over $374 billion in the US alone in 2020.
But of course, they don’t come without their challenges...
Niche Product Challenges
Focusing on a wide range of niche products (rather than selling a lot of a single broad consumer product) offers a unique set of challenges:
- Lower traffic and sales potential for each product and sub-niche.
- Inventory management for a wide product catalog is difficult.
Niche products have a smaller potential target market.
That’s what niche means. There’s no way around that.
So when evaluating any niche, first make sure that there’s an adequate demand to invest your time into building a platform.
Consider these questions:
- Is the search demand sufficient to drive sales consistently?
- Are there many available products? Are they selling well (with many recent reviews)?
- Are there thriving online communities focused on similar niche products?
If the answer to most of the questions above is yes, you have a winner:
Inventory management and warehousing for niche products can be a huge challenge.
Imagine having to replace thousands of products one at a time from a range of different manufacturers.
Fortunately, the solution is quite simple — choose a business model where you don’t need to carry any inventory.
If you promote these products as an affiliate or sell them through dropshipping instead, problem solved.
For first-time entrepreneurs, we recommend that you choose one of these models to start your business.
What Are The Best Niche Products?
The best niche products depend on your target market and your current online platform.
For example, if you’ve established a social media presence around paintball equipment, it wouldn’t make sense to try to sell shoe inserts for lower back pain.
If your website and social media are focused on back pain in men and women under 40, however, that would be an ideal product to promote.
Have we convinced you that niche products are a great foundation for a new online business?
Let’s dig into the nitty-gritty of exactly how to find them.
How and Where To Find Niche Products to Promote or Sell?
Picking a niche audience to target is only half the battle.
If you don’t have the right products to promote on your site, blog, or social media, you’ll never reach your passive income goals.
In this section, we’ll cover exactly how and where to find niche products to promote as an affiliate or sell directly.
Amazon Category Hopping
Home to one of the most popular affiliate networks on the planet, Amazon is also a good place to start a product search.
Though it sounds like a place you’d only find trending products, browsing Amazon Best Sellers is a great way to find niche products.
Instead of staying in top-level categories, you want to hop through departments and get as specific as possible.
For example, if you navigate your way to:
- Sports & Outdoors
- Sports & Fitness
- Boating & Sailing
- Rowing & Crew
You’ll find interesting niche products like eucalyptus tape (that protects and soothes the hands of competitive rowers).
If you’re not too familiar with the niche or sport before you choose it, chances are you’d never think to search for “rowing tape” or other relevant keywords.
An extra benefit of exploring niche products this way is that you can also gauge the viability of a niche product at the same time.
By checking the number of recent reviews and the product sale rank, you can estimate the number of monthly sales. You can even use a third-party Amazon sales estimator or calculator to get more accurate numbers.
Plus, chances are any products you find can be promoted through affiliate marketing, earning you a commission on any sale.
Another great starting place to find more niche products is to simply type a consumer product into Google (and not press enter).
Google will automatically suggest popular, more specific search terms that people often search for.
For example, if you type in face moisturizer, it’ll instantly highlight a few niche products.
In this case, you could promote specialty face moisturizer for people who:
- Have pale, easy-to-burn skin
- Have dry skin
- Have oily skin
- Have eczema
- Have acne
Many of these are also target markets that will look for other specialized beauty products.
As long as you have a few products in mind already, Google autocomplete will help you find new niche product ideas.
Explore Competitor Stores or Websites
Next, you can explore online stores, blogs, or websites that are competing for the same target audience.
If it’s a niche eCommerce store, then your task is a lot easier.
What are their bestsellers?
Check out the different products in their bestseller section to get a better idea of which niche products have promise.
A competitor’s bestseller is rarely a bad product idea unless it's a private label.
What products or services are they actively promoting?
If you can, use a service like SpyFu or SemRush to see all their search and display ads.
If not you can just Google for niche products in Google Shopping, and see which products the store promotes.
For blogs or informational websites, check out their top keywords with an SEO tool or SimilarWeb (shows 5 for free). Then identify the products they promote with affiliate links throughout the top articles.
Also, look through their social media feeds, and see which products appear repeatedly, especially if accompanied by an affiliate link.
Engage with Niche Communities Online
Another way to find great niche products is to simply listen to people.
Of course, there aren’t enough hours in the day to randomly approach people in cafes until you find someone in your target market.
Instead, rely on Reddit subreddits, Facebook groups, Quora, forums, and other niche communities online.
For example, when visiting the subreddit Japanese Gardens, the very first thing that popped up was a potential niche product.
One benefit of this approach is that you may find a completely untapped niche product. If many members are complaining that it’s difficult to get a certain product, you may have struck gold.
If you can negotiate a dropshipping deal with another company, or pre-sell inventory before importing, you can start making sales with zero risk.
Another benefit is that you can start branding yourself and establishing your authority within the community, as you’re doing market research at the same time.
Combine Niche Markets to Find New Sub-Niches and Microniches
If you already have a niche idea in mind, but struggle to find enough products to populate your store or site, don’t fret.
You can expand horizontally without having to compete with major retailers and magazines.
Expand your potential to reach by combining multiple niche markets and identifying viable sub-niches or microniches.
If you can’t find new products, you can instead develop suitable product bundles for different target markets.
This will help you improve your average order value, as well as gain a foothold with an entirely new target market.
For example, you can put together the perfect hiking packages for busy professionals over 40.
Visit Farmer’s Market or Other Local Events
While chances of you finding the perfect product to promote are slim, farmer’s market and event stands are often perfect examples of niche stores.
By looking at their selection of products, all-natural, organic, vegan, or other, you can get inspired and use the ideas for your own store.
Even if you sell physical products, they tend to feature stands by local craftsmen and often local businesses as well.
How to Choose Products Within a Single Niche?
If you already have a niche site or store established, you can still expand on your product selection by using the techniques above.
A good place to start is to explore Amazon or your affiliate network’s product categories.
After that you should:
- Look for similar niche products using Google autocomplete.
- Engage with niche communities and get familiar with their problems and favorite products.
- Comb through your competitor’s stores (particularly products they’re promoting heavily on their site or through social media).
4 Ways to Market and Monetize Niche Products as an Affiliate
Of course, finding potential products in a niche market is only the first step of establishing your new business.
You then need to figure out how you are going to monetize the products. There are many ways to approach this, but the quickest option, if the manufacturer or retailer has an affiliate program, is just to promote affiliate offers.
That way, another company has to deal with the order fulfillment, cancellations, returns, and all customer service.
You get paid for sending potential customers to a store. That’s it. No follow up required.
You might worry that it’s hard to make a full-time income with this approach. But that’s not the case at all. Affiliates in the US alone are projected to make $6.8 billion (with a B) in 2020.
Want a piece of that pie?
Use one of the four methods below to start earning your first commissions.
Start a Niche Blog and Promote Affiliate Products in Your Guides and Posts
The most common way to promote niche products is to create a blog dedicated to a niche topic that you're interested in.
For example, Bearfoot Theory is a niche blog dedicated to the outdoors and especially long-distance hiking.
In their beginners guide to hiking, they dedicate a whole chapter and separate post to “what to wear when hiking,” and link to plenty of affiliate products.
Why a niche blog?
But why should you focus on a single niche?
Focusing on one topic helps people stay interested and engage with your brand after finding your site through organic search or social shares.
If someone visits your site for an article about exercise, but most of your posts are about parenting or lifestyle, they probably won’t come back.
Plus, with Google’s increased focus on authority and expertise, the best way to get organic traffic is to go deep on a single topic.
That way, as you start to attract attention and relevant links from other sites in your niche, Google starts to recognize you as an expert and a reliable source, giving you a much better chance of ranking content.
If you’re struggling to find affiliate products to promote, check out our list of the 21 best affiliate programs.
Start a Comparison/Review Site for Niche Products
Of course, if you’re not desperately interested in a topic, but you find a good opportunity for making money (high affiliate commissions and limited competition), you don’t have to blog about general advice.
Instead, you could focus on attracting people who are already interested in buying the products. People often search for “product A vs product B” when trying to decide, which gives you the perfect opportunity.
One of the top results is from Winning WP where the vast majority of content is reviews and similar comparison posts.
Create a Niche Unboxing and Product Review Channel on YouTube
Smartphones and high-tech gadgets aren’t the only niche that lends itself to the unboxing format.
Any niche where there’s an audience of highly engaged consumers that are always waiting with bated breath for new releases is a good match.
For example, there are several large channels dedicated to just Hot Wheels miniature model cars, like Lamley Group.
You could also combine your unboxing channel with a review and comparison site, reaching a wider audience across multiple channels.
Create a Platform for User Generated Content
A more unique approach is to leverage the users who visit your site to create the main content for you.
PC Parts Picker is a site dedicated to letting people create and share (brag) about their computer builds to a community of like-minded individuals.
And don’t think that PC builds are the only thing people are interested in saving and sharing.
You could also focus on:
- Daily fashion
- Hiking kits
- Interior designs
- Garden layouts
The options are endless.
These are just four of the approaches you could take to monetize niche products as an affiliate.
Of course, there are other options like dropshipping, reselling, and establishing your own white label brand, but they’re much harder to get started.
The Most Popular Niche Products in Profitable Niches
Let’s take a look at what a niche product selection might look like within a few profitable niches that many affiliates love.
Sports - Golf Niche Product Examples
Within the sports and outdoors industry, there’s probably no niche more loved by affiliates than golf.
Expensive products, tons of unique niche affiliate programs, and decent commission rates make it a very profitable niche.
If you wanted to start a golf niche business, you could pick and choose from a multitude of different categories and sub-niches:
Regular golf gear for beginners
If you wanted to target the largest audience, you could promote products that no golfer at any level could live without.
- Golf balls
- Golf bags
- Golf clubs
- Golf gloves
What about the golfers that care more about looking good in the very latest setup?
- Golf shoes
- Golf hats
- Golf pants
- Golf shorts
- Golf visors
- Golf sunglasses
Then there are specific accessories that will help a beginner golfer get started. If you’re new to the game yourself, this might be a perfect sub-niche to start out with.
- Putt trainer
- Golf video courses
- Practice mat
Practice golf balls
- Golf swing training aid
Some of the most expensive equipment is geared towards advanced players that will stop at nothing to improve their game.
- Range finders
- Game-improvement irons
- Practice net
- Golf simulator
Then there are golf accessories that anyone from a beginner to a professional might find useful.
- Golf ball washer pouch
- Groove sharpener
- Iron headcovers
- Golf trunk organizer
- Golfing app
Golfers who follow the sport are willing to pay extra in a big way for gear designed with or promoted by their favorite player.
- Players irons
- Players golf balls
- Players apparel
Golf is a great example of a niche where you can create natural sub-niches based on the experience level of your target audience.
Of course, it’s easy to follow along with the niche products in an industry where physical products are the norm.
But what about a niche where most of the promoted niche products are digital, or even ongoing services?
Let’s take a closer look
Make Money Online (MMO)
When googling “niche products”, you probably had obscure physical products like a rangefinder for golf in mind. But there are many niche products and services that are 100% digital.
MMO is considered one of the most profitable niches for affiliate marketers, because commissions can be extremely high, or even recurring from month to month.
Most related products and companies follow a SaaS (software as a service) model. That means they charge a monthly subscription fee for providing access to and support for a piece of software, like Salesforce.
The ongoing monthly revenue and high-profit margins allow them to pay high one-time (up to hundreds of dollars) or even recurring commissions month after month.
Let’s take a look at the digital products in some of MMO’s sub-niches:
Any serious blogger at the very least needs a domain and a web hosting company. Prominent affiliate programs are available for both options. Plus, there’s a wide range of other services a blogger might invest in.
- Web hosting services
- The domain name (DNS)
- Content Management Systems (CMS)
- Web design services
- Templates (WordPress Themes)
- Web content writing services
- Analytics applications
- Marketing applications
- SEO courses and services
Setting up an eCommerce store is similar to a blog, but instead of a general CMS, most opt for an eCommerce platform like Shopify. There are also many other SaaS services you can promote as an affiliate.
- eCommerce platforms
- Marketing SaaS applications
- eCommerce courses
- Fulfillment services
- Dropshipping services
- Payment processors
- Subscription services
- SEO courses and services
You can’t succeed as a freelancer in 2020 without an active web presence. You can monetize a site in the freelance niche with some unique, and many similar products as above.
- Freelance platforms (Fiverr)
- Freelancing courses (Udemy)
- Accounting software
- Invoicing software
- Payment processors
- Web hosting services
- Content Management Systems (CMS)
And this is just scratching the surface when it comes to potential products for each niche.
If you take the time to explore niche sites and well-established affiliates, you can go much deeper. You might even find a longer list of products than you can ever imagine yourself promoting.
Going Big: When Niche Products go Mainstream
Of course, just because a product has a small target market initially, doesn’t mean it’ll stay that way forever.
But what’s the big deal?
It’s simple. Brands that established themselves early on typically remain market leaders even as the market grows.
Eventually, a consumer giant may move in or purchase these upstarts, but by that time the original niche marketers have already cashed out big time.
Let’s take a look at some examples.
Bamboo Toothbrush and Sustainable Beauty Products
The bamboo toothbrush and sustainable beauty products are great examples of products that started out super niche.
Five years ago, the concept of a bamboo toothbrush was only known by core environmentalists and those interested in natural living.
The Google trend shows just how much that has changed over the past few years.
You can now find bamboo toothbrushes in most supermarkets not just in the US, but in many countries around the world.
And an Amazon search will reveal hundreds of different competing brands:
The Humble Co. was founded in 2013, way before bamboo toothbrushes became a mainstream trend.
It’s not a famous startup funded by world-class venture capitalists. It was a small online-first niche business that the likes of Colgate completely ignored.
Now over 40,000 stores around the world stock The Humble Co. products on their shelves.
Fitness Watch and Training Accessories
Another decidedly niche product that’s gone mainstream for real is the fitness watch.
Again the Google trends tell the story:
But that’s only half of it.
The other half of the story is how tech giants missed the mark with their wearables by going after every consumer. But mass-market consumer demand for smartwatches never exploded like expected.
Instead, a niche player slowly established a lead in a niche market: fitness freaks.
You probably already guessed which company we’re talking about; Fitbit. If you don’t have one yourself, you probably know at least a few friends who have Fitbits.
Of course, in the end, Apple pivoted and added more fitness features. After years of good competition, it looks like its brand loyalty and marketing machine are starting to take over the market.
But Fitbit’s founders already made millions of dollars from targeting a small niche market before it went mainstream.
To capitalize on growing products, look for Google Trends that are growing slowly, at a steady pace, but have yet to hit a big growth spike.
Niche Product Trends and Developments
Of course, the continued growth of eCommerce and mobile eCommerce is an essential trend for niche products.
As more and more consumers do their shopping online, the internet becomes a more effective tool for promoting products.
But that’s not all.
The transition from brick and mortar to distributed online retailing has also changed consumer habits.
They’re diving deeper into the deep end of niche markets.
The “Long Tail” in 2020
Over 15 years ago the idea of the “long tail” of retail on the internet first made headlines (and had an entire book written about it).
The gist of it is that obscure niche products (only available online) make up a significant chunk of the products eCommerce stores were able to sell.
This idea came about when Netflix was still renting out movies by mail, but it still holds true to this day.
And if anything, the tail is longer than ever.
In 2019, 92.42% of searches had a total monthly volume of 0-10, and 39.33% of total searches came from keywords with a search volume of under 1,000.
Online, you have access to a wider range of products than ever before (Walmart alone offers millions of products).
And that’s not all. Consumers can even create their own customized products, buying a batch of as little as one single product.
This has made it possible, for example, to print and sell T-shirts for bands with less than 50 fans and actually turn a profit.
- Niche products are perfect for marketing online because that’s where most consumers search for them.
- Find niche products to promote by exploring product categories, competing sites, and Google autocomplete.
- Focusing on a single niche allows you to build a brand, authority, and an engaged audience.
- Affiliate marketing is the easiest way to make money with niche products.
- Look beyond the standard affiliate networks and find niche suppliers with higher-priced products and premium commission rates.
- Always check for existing consumer demand before investing time and money into a niche store for products you find. Be careful of too low competition.
Niche products and markets might sound complicated at first, but when you get down to it, it’s a simple concept.
Every human being on earth is an individual with their own unique experiences, problems, and desires. A niche product is just more relevant to a small group of people than others.
So just like with finding, developing, and marketing regular products, understanding your target market is half the battle.
Find a product that suits their needs, promote it where they spend time online, and you’ll find success.
Have you ever promoted, manufactured, or sold a niche product before? Share your experience in the comments below.