Niche Market Research: Key Tips and Helpful Resources

Nowadays, price is all that worries consumers. More and more factors affect purchasing decisions, including brand positioning, reputation, and the flexibility of return policies.

But it is difficult to read the minds of customers, and merchants also struggle to know where they stand in relation to their competitors.

This is all the more true for new e-merchants who must trust their instincts and base their initial decisions on assumptions. 

Market research can minimize these uncertainties by helping you identify your niche, your target customer, your competition, and your product. It will maximize your chances of success.

While you can hire professional marketers to help you do your market research, if you’re on a budget, there are ways you can go about it on your own.

What is market research?

In short, market research refers to the process of collecting data about consumers’ needs and preferences. But the interest in the initiative does not stop there.

Studying a niche helps you understand why consumers want to buy your items.

This information in turn allows you to create products that provide solutions, optimize your marketing, and maximize your chances of success.

It is by studying your niche that you will be able to paint a picture of your target customers on the cultural, societal, socioeconomic, geographic, and personal levels. 

You will know if there is a demand for your product, you will assess the extent of that demand, and you will know who is generating it. Studying a niche will also give you an idea of the competitive landscape.

There are two types of market research: primary and secondary. Let’s take a closer look.

Primary study

Primary market research refers to the direct study of the niche using different initiatives; focus groups, customer surveys, analysis of your own sales data, and so on. To do primary market research, you will need to research the market yourself.

Secondary education

Secondary market research refers to the study of the considered niche through third party data. 

You don’t do the research yourself – you rely on data collected by third parties to make informed decisions about your products and customers.

Secondary market research is based, among other things, on the analysis of reports, market trends, and case studies.

The importance of market research

importance market study

Market research is basically used to validate your product idea. It also gives you the information you need to maximize the appeal of your products and optimize your marketing, pricing, and brand positioning.

Without market research, you won’t have enough data to determine who your target customers are, what they buy, why they buy, when they buy, and how to sell your products to them.

It is by doing market research that you will know where and how to find your customers and determine the best way to present your product and your brand. 

By studying your competition as part of your study, you can also develop a unique selling proposition to differentiate your e-commerce site and attract more customers.

How to do market research

There are two ways to do market research: do it yourself, or hire someone to do it.

It is usually easier to do secondary market research when considering going it alone. In this case, you will need to look for reports, case studies, and reputable publications in your niche.

To do primary market research, you have to take a different approach to collect data. There are several ways to collect information:

  • Customer Surveys: These can be conducted by email, on your website through sophisticated forms or sharing comments, or through questionnaires.
  • In-depth customer interviews: telephone or videoconference interviews with customers.
  • Customer Reviews: Review what people are saying about your brand, products, competition, and similar products.
  • Focus groups: hire an agency to do extensive research through the organization of focus groups.
  • Sales Records: Review the customer information and sales data you already have.
  • Employees: Ask your employees to share their opinions, whether it’s giving you frequently asked questions from customers or remarks about customer behavior.

For both types of market research, here are some elements to consider as part of your approach:

Industry data:

  • Statistics and trends related to trade regulations in your industry.

Data relating to consumer behavior:

  • Statistics and trends relating to general consumer behavior in your industry and more specifically in retail outlets.
  • Demographics that will allow you to segment your audience into targeted groups and sell more effectively.

The positioning of your company:

  • Existing demand for your products.
  • Areas where your customers are doing well and areas where pain points may exist.

Tools and resources to study your market

Tools and Resources

There are many tools and resources that you can use to research your niche. Here are some of them:

  • AFE Projector Files (Agence France Entrepreneur) : an online bookshop that provides download access to files that bring together essential data on different sectors of activity – key figures, statistics, market studies, information on trade fairs, on regulations, advice, ways to start a business, etc.
  • Themeco: a platform that brings together files created to allow you as an entrepreneur to monitor your market, discover niche markets, and follow the competition.
  • FNPS (National Federation of Specialized Information Press): discover more than 1,592 publications dealing with specialized themes in several sectors of activity, several dozen of which are published online.
  • Press Guide: a platform that groups together all the publications, magazines, newspapers, dailies, and professional press titles on the Internet by topic.
  • FCGA (Federation of Authorized Management Centers): to access statistics and data collected from French VSEs – gross income, financial results, ratios, etc.
  • INSEE: National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies.
  • Salons Online: to follow trade fairs and professional events organized in France in different cities and different sectors of activity.
  • Facebook Audience Insights: If you manage a Facebook business page, you can use the Audience Insights tool to better understand who your fans are. 

You will have access to data such as their age, income, lifestyle category (according to Facebook), and even their consumption habits. Geographic location information is particularly useful for owners of physical stores.

  • Survey Tools: There are several free tools you can use to conduct customer surveys, such as Google Forms and  SurveyMonkey. These tools will be particularly useful if you already have an engaged audience (eg a qualified email list of engaged subscribers on social networks). To serve surveys to a larger audience, you can use a paid service like Google Surveys, which allows you to configure targeting settings to get more relevant and detailed data.
  • SEO Tools: There are several free and paid SEO tools that merchants can use to assess their potential niche. The keyword of planning tool from Google is a free tool that lets you see search volume keywords determined and discover related search terms. The tool is proving to be very useful in assessing the potential of an online niche.
  • Semrush: Semrush is a competitive analysis tool that provides important data on competing e-commerce sites in the assessed niche. You will have access, among other things, to the overall traffic of the analyzed site, the traffic generated by the most popular keywords, the paid advertisements served by your competitors, the evolution of traffic over time, and several other reports. analysis.
  • Google Trends will help you determine if certain topics are popular and see the evolution of interest in a given niche or product.

Market research: An Exercise That Never Stops

It is by understanding that the research process never stops that you can be successful in your market research. You should be continually studying your niche. As the market changes, follow-up work is needed to stay ahead of the game.

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