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    1. redandblu is offline

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      #1

      What are the online niches I should avoid?

      I'm trying to become a niche seller online, but am having trouble finding my niche. What are the online niches I should avoid?
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      Cartship is offline

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      #2
      It’s good that you’re asking. You don’t want to invest a lot of time, energy and money in getting your new business up and running only to find out that your product offerings are not in demand and therefore not profitable for you.

      Here are several areas you will want to avoid:

      • Bathing suits – Right off the bat I can tell you that bathing suits are among the most commonly returned items. Just about everyone tries on a swimsuit before buying it. If they aren’t comfortable in that swimsuit, they either won’t buy it to begin with, or they’ll return it to whatever store they bought it from. And, swimsuit sizes vary from one maker to the next. So, a size 8 in one brand could fit perfectly, whereas a size 8 from another maker could be too small on that same body. So, the last business you want to be in is one where your customer buys a couple of suits only to return them all because they don’t fit properly.

      • Textbooks – Everyone knows how expensive college textbooks are. And, a lot of students also know that they can get textbooks at online marketplaces such as Amazon.com for much cheaper. So, even though you think you’ll be able to sell tons of books when you consider both school and class size (not everyone shops at Amazon, right?) you still need to be very careful. You could order a ton of books, thinking they’ll sell throughout the course of the school year, and leftovers will be good for the following year. This is not always true. The textbook companies make their money by constantly putting out new editions of their books. And, you know that the new edition is going to contain additional information the student will need, thereby making the previous edition all but obsolete. You could end up with stacks of books that you were once selling for over $100 now being worth just a fraction of that price.

      • Car parts – This is truly a niche market, appealing to car enthusiasts who want to soup up their cars or to the driver who needs to replace a side-view mirror that broke off in the underground parking garage. But, there is definitely a downside to selling automobile parts. Car parts can be heavy. Or they can be big, bulky and awkward to pack. Or they can be both big and heavy. The shipping and handling costs for these items might dissuade prospective buyers, and that’s the last thing you want to do. The other downside is that you’re not going to find a lot of wholesalers or drop shippers for you to have a lot of stock available either. Rather than selling car parts, you could consider automobile accessories such as floor mats, seat covers, license plate holders, etc. You’ll probably make out better financially.

      • Electronic devices – Yes, the market is there, without a doubt. And people will buy these items online. But, if they’re looking for the quality name brand items like Dell, they won’t find them at a reseller’s website; these companies don’t wholesale or drop ship their products. Now, if you’re looking to sell knockoffs of the real thing, you will find plenty of wholesalers who will sell you a replica “Made in China” version of an iPod. The catch is that the replica won’t be compatible with ITunes, and that detail is what is going to deter potential buyers. In my experience, people will spend the money to know they’re getting the real thing rather than buy a replica that has limited functionality.

      • Restricted Product Lines – Some wholesalers and drop ship suppliers will only sell their products to a specific business or person. A good example would be beauty salon products. Some manufacturers will only allow people with a beautician license to purchase and resell their products. Another example is dental products that are only available to dentists. There are not a lot of suppliers available for these types of products, and, the flip side is that there really are not a lot of people who buy these exclusive products to begin with.
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      Snowflake (24 Jul 2012)

    4. redandblu is offline

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      #3
      Thanks…. Your comment about the bathing suit returns made me think twice. How do you stop people from constantly returning merchandise? The returns are what will drain my profits…

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      #4
      No matter what you sell, it’s always wise to have and communicate a clear, sound return policy. In some cases, depending on what you sell, you may want to make your return policy and procedure information part of your checkout process. You could insert it as a step that the buyer will need to check off as having read (and agreed to) before they can proceed with completing their online purchase. This is to protect everyone.

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      eros (20 Mar 2012), Snowflake (24 Jul 2012), madman (26 Sep 2012)

    7. redandblu is offline

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      #5
      Good advice. Thanks.

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