I was trying to buy clothes for my one year old son in india, and I was going to through various online portal for kids. As usual i started my search with google and i was hoping to find some kid only store. Here is what google threw at me
None of the these are kids only destinations. firstcry, which is kids only store, showed at number 5 position in google search results. Increasingly Google has started showing strong preference for big brands, and even for niche categories such as kids clothing google is showing results from amazon and flipkart. What does this mean for small retailers such as firstcry, hoppos, babyoye or any other similar service? First cry and babyoye are reasonably well funded and still they don’t show in google search for their category related keywords. This means building online niche business is going to be increasingly difficult. Then what are your options if you want to setup a niche online kids clothing store. First of all you have to decide your marketing channel, this can’t be google. if you are setting up an online store then you can’t rely on organic traffic initially because showing up in organic searches will take time. You will have to give up on adwords model as well because you would find Amazon and flipkart there as well. With their deep pockets they are going to jack up the keyword prices. If I were owner of one such venture here is what i would do?
1) Explore offline routes- can we open offline store? Lenskart has already gone that route Amazon and flipkart are definitely not interested in offline stores at least for the time being.
2) Promote through online affiliate channels. Can you tie up discount sites such as retailmenot or couponsmonk and offer great deal through them? Discount sites have lots of traffic, audience which has low loyalty and therefore will be willing to try your site as well. But you will have to offer very good deal.
3) You could also look at the catalog’s of big e-tailers and offer products which they don’t offer right now. This is a short term strategy because ultimately big retailer are going to start selling those products as well.
4) Can you create you own branded products? Zovi in india is following this strategy but building an brand is not easy. It requires lots of upfront investment.
Competing with big e-tailer is not easy. You have think through your strategy very carefully.