Start an ecommerce business online – Lesson 1: Selecting a niche

thought-visualizationYou are all fired up and ready to take the drop shipping world by storm. Only thing is……what are you going to sell?

Most people get really excited about starting an ecommerce business online but then lose interest when they try to figure out which niche they would like to select for their store. It all gets too complicated so they go back to reading and dreaming about what could have been.

Today, I am going to teach you how to select a great niche for your ecommerce business. We will then use some tools to ensure your niche is profitable. You are here to make money after all!

Brainstorm your future success

So, let’s try a simple visualization exercise to decide a great niche for you.

1. Grab a notebook and pen.

2. Sit back and relax.

3. Now, answer this question with the first thing that comes to mind:

What am I most passionate about in my life?

4. Write down your answer as it is probably the closest thing to your perfect niche.

5. But let’s keep exploring further.

Why am I so passionate about this?

What in particular about this provides me the most joy?

What we are trying to do is drill down into potential niche ideas that may be less competitive than your first answer.fishing-river-peace-tranquility

For example, I love fishing and am very passionate about it. But, fishing is a hugely competitive market and I would be quickly overwhelmed by the big sellers. So, by looking further into why I love fishing and what it is about fishing that makes me happy, I realize that it is the peace and tranquility of sitting by a river with a fishing rod and watching the world go by.

This provides some further niche ideas for my ecommerce store; river fishing, lake fishing, freshwater fishing, fishing tackle, fishing accessories, fishing apparel, camping goods and on and on…….you get the picture.

But what if you don’t have an obvious passion?

Try answering these questions and see if something pops up.

1. What do I like to do in my spare time?

2. What do I look forward to doing when I am not doing it?

3. What online publications or magazines do I read?

4. What are the things I like to learn about?

5. What were the last 5 items I bought online?

6. What hobbies do my family and friends have?

7. What are the trends you see that affect your life or those around you?

8. What are other ecommerce stores selling successfully?

9. What are people liking the most on social shopping sites like Pinterest?

10. If I had $100 to spend right now, what would I buy?

As you answer these questions, write them down and you will start to develop a list of possible niches where your enthusiasm and knowledge can shine. Delve even deeper into each question (why…., how…., who….) and write down these answers as well. Don’t judge whether you think it will be a bestseller or not. We will do that in the next part of the lesson.

Test your niche is profitable

You should now have a list of 10 – 20 potential niches for your ecommerce business. You need to narrow it down so the list contains only the very best of your ideas.

First, let’s get some validation that people are even searching in your niche. Go to Google Search (https://www.google.com/) and type in the first idea on your list. How many results are there for your first idea? For my search on “fishing store” there are over 1.1 billion results! People obviously search for fishing stores on a regular basis.

Now, go type in each of your niche ideas (one at a time) and take note of the number of Google Search results. You might want to create a spreadsheet to record your results.

This is all well and good. There are thousands of pages of information on your niche but how many people are searching them on a regular basis? If you use Chrome or Firefox as your web browser, I have the perfect tool for you to discover this. It is called “Keywords Everywhere”.

Keywords Everywhere is a FREE browser addon for Chrome and Firefox that shows search volume (Vol), cost-per-click (CPC) and competition (Comp) information for sites you browse in Google Search. You can install it from the Keywords Everywhere website (https://keywordseverywhere.com/). Then, when you are finished, come back here and we will push on with the lesson.

Are you done? Good. Let’s keep learning.

Now that Keywords Anywhere is installed, go back through your list of niches and check out the extra information that is available in your Google Search. Add the extra information to your spreadsheet.

For example, I can see that “fishing store” has 60,500 searches per month. That is a lot of searches! We won’t talk about the CPC number yet but the Comp number is interesting. At 0.13, Competition for the keyword “fishing store” is very low. Not quite sure why yet, but we will keep digging and hopefully find an answer.


How do your potential niches look? Do people regularly search them and do any have low competition? These are the ones we are going to focus one.

If Competition is high for all of your niches, don’t despair. I will show you some tools at the end of the lesson that can help you drill down further and find your own low-competition niche.

What’s that, you are already despairing? OK, click here and it will take you to the tools. Use them and when you have found a niche that suits you, is regularly searched and has low competition, come back here and we can continue on.

Where to next?

Hopefully, you have narrowed your list down to 2 – 3 niche ideas which you are passionate about and which have the makings of a great niche for your online ecommerce business. Let’s take those niches and see how they stack up with the kings of ecommerce; eBay, Amazon and AliExpress.

1. eBay

First, go to eBay (https://www.ebay.com/) and search for each of your niche ideas. Try searching your niche ideas under Daily Deals or any other deals which are currently running. You can also take a look at Trending on eBay, Featured Sales & Events and Editor’s Picks. Look for products with high ratings, lots of orders, and lots of good reviews to get an idea of how successful your niche might be. Write down any great products on your spreadsheet.

2. Amazon

Next, search for each of your niche ideas on Amazon. Check out the Amazon Best Sellers, Amazon Movers & Shakers and Amazon Most Wished For pages. Look at the products’ ratings and what people are saying about them in their reviews. This will provide you some insight into what people love or wish could be better. Add any products you like to your spreadsheet and note the loves and dislikes.

3. AliExpress

Finally, go to AliExpress and search for your niches there. AliExpress can be a valuable tool for you, because it can provide good product ideas and you can actually sell those items in your store.

If you go to the AliExpress homepage, you can search your specific ideas, or you can use the ‘Categories’ tab on the left sidebar. From the Categories tab, you can also access Flash Deals and any other current sales.

You can type in your niche idea using the search bar. Then, on the results page, go to ‘Sort by’ and click ‘Orders’ in the dropdown menu. This will show you the most-ordered products.


AliExpress also shows you suggestions for related searches under the Search bar. This can be a great way to get more ideas and validation.

You’re almost there!

By now, your short list of potential niches should be pointing towards one particular niche that you know in your heart is right for you. Follow your instinct and make a firm decision to go with this niche. Keep researching this niche and products that relate to it. Build up your spreadsheet of product ideas as this will form the basis of your inventory that we will learn about in Lesson 3.

Well, that’s all for this lesson. I hope you got something useful from it! Let me know and send in your comments below.

Catch you in Lesson 2 when we look at the process for setting up your ecommerce store in Shopify. Bye for now.

Oh, you are still waiting for the other tools that can help you drill down and find your ideal low-competition niche!

Click here and it will take you to a page showing the tools I use to help select the perfect niche.

Was this helpful? Share it with your friends. After all, they also deserve the fine things that life has to offer.



  1. Thank you for this great post I find it really interesting and lovely.

    You have really put in a lot of energy in writing this and I really appreciate that. You have provided great insights into how to start blogging and how to start e commerce online  for beginners, am very sure newbies  will find it really inspiring. thanks for sharing

    • Hi Ola,

      Thank you for your comments on my article. There are so many people writing about starting an ecommerce business but they all tend to skip over the importance of selecting a great niche. If you think about it, your choice of niche is more important than the store. For example, if you build the greatest store in the world but nobody wants your products because you chose an unpopular niche, you won’t get any sales. But if you build a mediocre store in a popular niche where people want to buy your product, you will most likely get some sales.

      This series of lessons is focused on beginners but I will look at expanding it later to cover intermediate and advanced ecommerce strategies.

      Best wishes for 2019 and beyond,


  2. I consider ecommerce to be a very lucrative online business. It is pretty easy to maintain as long as you know what you are doing. The problem would arise if you don’t know what you are doing and this can arise from the selection of your niche. Some people do overcomplicate this and find it difficult to pick a niche if they are not passionate about anything.

    They just overcomplicate things and might end up choosing something that they are not interested in. It does not have to be something that you are passionate about. It can be something that you are interested in and might want to know more about. I think that would work before I have done that before.

    One of the places I get ideas from is through aliexpress and it is also where I get products to sell on my online store.

    • Hi Jay,

      Thank you for getting back to me with your comments on my article. Ecommerce is a very lucrative online business if you do it the right way. Too many people open a store with little or no knowledge about how ecommerce and dropshipping works. They don’t understand the customer-focus that is required to succeed. Then, when they don’t make any sales, they say it is too hard or it is a scam and they walk away. If they had taken the time to better understand the business model, they could have succeeded beyond their wildest expectations.

      I know that you can start in a niche that you are not passionate about but it makes it that much harder a beginner. Not only do they have to understand ecommerce and dropshipping, but they have to also build knowledge about product. So, I have kept it as simple as possible to increase the chances of a successful first store.

      Hey, my favourite products to promote are those trending on Facebook and Pinterest. You know you have an audience, you know what they want and you know they are ready to buy. If you can get product quickly, sales can be phenomenal.

      AliExpress is a great place to get ideas and source products for your ecommerce store. Another place worth considering is Oberlo. Have you tried them? Oberlo sources from AliExpress as well as numerous other suppliers that they have vetted to ensure quality and timely delivery. It is worth checking out.

      Best wishes for your ecommerce business,



  3. Very good and thorough post. Even though you provide a lot of details and information you wrote the article in such a way that it’s easy to understand what needs to be done even from someone that has no knowledge of the subject. Hopefully your training will help a lot of people that are just starting. Thanks for the share.

    • Hi and thank you for your comments on the article.

      There are a lot of websites to tell you how to start an ecommerce business online but they all seem to glance over selecting a niche. I think that for a beginner, this is an essential step. This is why I provided as much detail as I could. I hope that a lot of newcomers see this post and take action on choosing a niche that they can write about with passion. This will put them ahead of many people who start an estore just to make money.


  4. I most a wonderful write-up you post there on how to select the right  niche .

    this post is so informative and educative for mostly newbie.many find it difficult to make the right choice of niche because of lack of experience and choosing the right niche goes a long way in other to be profitable at the long run 

    • Thank you for taking the time to send my your comments. It is appreciated.

      Selecting the right niche for YOU is probably the most important step in setting up an ecommerce business. Your writing style and the passion it conveys can make or break an estore.

      Wishing you every success with your online business,


  5. Hi Gary! Thank you very much for these great ideas about how to make up our mind concerning a niche. Brainstorming always works. And I’ll also do it for this purpose.

    Answering the questions you have laid out here constitutes a great help.

    And determining if the niche we select is profitable seemed difficult to me at first. But now, after reading your post, I’m more relaxed. Thank you so much!

    • Hi Henry,

      Thank you for your comments on my article. I hope it will help you determine a profitable niche and allow you to create a successful ecommerce business. Let me know how your business is going (and growing) and I would be happy to answer any further questions you may have.


  6. This is a lovely post and I learnt alot from this incredible article. I believe selecting a niche is most crucial and very important  in starting an e commerce online business. I have learnt that my passion is my niche. The keyword everywhere browser addon is an eye opener which would make e commerce very easy to go by

    • Thank you for spending your valuable time in responding to my article.

      Selecting a low-competition niche that you feel passionate about is a fundamental step in setting up a successful ecommerce business.

      Glad you like the Keywords Everywhere browser addon. It makes your Google Searches so much more effective.

      Wishing you every success with your online endeavours,


  7. Awesome! You’re really good at breaking down an information. I wish I found this article a year ago, perhaps I wouldn’t have gone through much struggle. E-commerce/Dropshipping is not easy if one doesn’t find a proper guide. Many newbies will find this helpful. I should bookmark this page right away. Good write up

    • Thank you for your comments on my article.

      Many people starting an online business go through the struggles of having not enough quality information or too much misinformation. There is rarely a website that just gives you what you need to succeed. I try to make the information available on my website as open and honest as I can without bogging you down with things that aren’t important.

      We all wish at times that the information we have now was available earlier, but we have to live with what we have so no point beating yourself up. Use the information to improve what you are already doing and create success for yourself in the future.

      Best wishes for your online business,


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