For new entrepreneurs, deciding to start an online business is exciting but it’s also new terrain that can be intimidating and difficult to navigate. One of the biggest challenges aspiring ecommerce entrepreneurs face is figuring out what to sell online – whether it’s a single product or multiple products that occupy a niche in a market.

Coming up with product ideas can be tough and it often feels like everything has already been done. Not to mention there’s a lot of competition online these days. Consumers are just a click away from online giants like Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal who also happen to be extremely difficult to outrank in the search engines.

But, there are still golden opportunities out there and new, successful products are being launched all the time.

So, how can you get in on the action? I’ve put together a list of eight strategies and opportunities that you can use to help you start generating product ideas.

Product and Niche Opportunity Types

Below is list of eight potential opportunities to help you find your own product or niche. Each involves a different mindset and approach.

  1. Find Opportunities in Keywords
  2. Build an Interesting/Captivating Brand
  3. Identify a Customer Pain Point
  4. Identify Customer Passions
  5. Go With Your Passion
  6. Look for an Opportunity Gap
  7. Consider Your Experience
  8. Capitalize on Trends Early

Let’s take a look at each opportunity in more detail:

1. Find Opportunities in Keywords

It’s no secret that organic search traffic is a massive marketing channel. Looking for keyword opportunities involves strategically looking for a product or niche online based on the search queries people are using, volume and competition for those searches. This approach is fairly technical and involves a strong understanding of keyword research as well as SEO. Finding opportunities in keyword searches can be an effective strategy for capturing consistent organic traffic from Google.

2. Build an Interesting and Unique Brand

Taking a brand building opportunity approach is very different from an SEO approach. This involves developing a superior understanding of your customers, crafting a unique brand and carving out a unique place in your customer’s mind. A brand building approach can be particularly effective at setting you apart if margins are slim or competition is fierce.

A big part of building a successful brand is choosing a product or business that you can position in a new or unique way.

3. Identify a Customer Pain Point

Solving a customer pain point has always been a great way to get sales. Anacin wouldn’t be in business if a headache didn’t hurt. A customer pain doesn’t always have to be physical pain though, it also accounts for frustrating or poor experiences.

Taking a minute to think about pain points and little annoyances in your own everyday life could be just what you need to come up with the next great product idea.

4. Identify Customer Passions

Almost as good, maybe even better than solving a customer pain point is catering to a customer passion. When consumers are passionate about something they will often spend more money. Additional benefits can include deeper interaction and loyalty with your brand as passionate consumers are generally more involved in the industry and the buying process.

5. Go With Your Passion

Some people consider choosing a niche based on your own personal passion to be a recipe for disaster but that’s not always the case, and can prove to be extremely profitable. Building an ecommerce business is a lot of hard work and you’ll likely hit some bumps in the road on your journey. Passion tends to be one thing that always helps to carry you through the hard times. For some people the passion of building a business alone can be enough to drive them but for others to succeed they need to be passionate about what they are selling and their industry. Staying motivated is key to building and carrying a business through the difficult periods. They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life

6. Look For an Opportunity Gap

Finding an opportunity gap involves looking at a particular product, niche or industry and identifying a problem or deficiency that can be capitalized on. What can you do different or better from what everyone else is currently doing? An opportunity gap may exist in the form of an improved product feature, an unrealized market by your competitors, or even in your marketing capability.

7. Consider Your Experience

Have you worked in a particular industry and know the in’s and out’s? Maybe you have a skill or a particular set of experiences that makes you an expert on a particular topic. Turning your expertise into your own online business is a great way to enter the market with a leg up that may not be so easy for others to duplicate.

8. Capitalize on Trends Early

Capitalizing on a trend early enough can be massive for a new business. It allows you to carve out a place in consumers minds and establish yourself as a leader before others have a chance to. Jumping on a trend early can also have some big impact on your SEO and allow you to climb to the top of search rankings easier and quicker.

Which Opportunity Do You See?

Keep in mind that because of heavy competition in the most common and popular product categories, choosing the right niche can be instrumental to your success. Don’t be afraid to look at smaller product categories and niches. Even though a niche is a smaller subset of a larger category with less potential customers, it makes up for that by way of less competitors and a more targeted audience. Less competition makes it easier to get to the top of Google, and usually is more cost effective and efficient to advertise to your customers.

The niche and products you choose will shape your entire business, the activities you do, and the difficulty you’ll face. Selling food related products is very different from selling products like smartphone cases and there will be unique challenges involved in each.

Understanding each of the eight opportunities above should get the gears turning and help you find the perfect first product or niche. Do send in your comments if you have any other ideas or if I have missed out on something.