Every small town used to have a “general store” where you could buy a broad selection of merchandise to handle almost all of your needs. These days that general store is often a Wal-Mart.
The problem with a general store is that if you’re interested in a particular product, you’ll only find a limited selection of it. They can’t afford to use their limited shelf space to provide a huge variety. It only makes sense for them to fill that limited shelf space with those products that sell the best. Those products aren’t necessarily the best, but are likely the best marketed products.
Limited shelf-space is a problem online ecommerce stores don’t have. Virtual “shelf-space” is only limited by the storage space on a web server. An ecommerce store could have hundreds of models of a particular item and the storage space on a hard drive would be negligible. With same-day drop shipping from suppliers, the store wouldn’t even have to carry stock on all items so no warehouse shelf space is required either.
Since virtual shelf space is so cheap and plentiful, that means an ecommerce business that caters to a specific niche is possible. Take the online niche ecommerce store IntercomsOnline.com as an example. It sells nothing but intercom systems, wireless intercoms, video intercoms, and even wireless baby monitor systems.
Opening a purely brick and mortar store to sell just intercom system products even in the largest city would be asking for a dismal failure. While it would certainly make some intercom and baby monitor sales, these sales wouldn’t cover all the overhead expenses a brick-and-mortar store has.
That’s where an online store differs. A website is incredibly cheap to build as compared to an actual building. And unlike the building, the website is accessible to the entire world!
These ecommerce stores are creating markets of infinite choice where consumers can get exactly what they want. The bottle-necks of the old supply and demand model are disappearing so everything is becoming available to everyone. When shelf-space doesn’t cost anything, you can cater to everyone.
The world is also far less dominated by any of the traditional media where people used to watch just a few television stations and listen to just a few radio stations. Old broadcast radio and TV delivered one show to millions of people. While it isn’t happening quite yet, the Internet is capable of distributing millions of shows to just one person. But what is happening now is that more people are diverting their attention away from traditional media to websites on the Internet.
So no longer can big companies dominate all of the available advertising channels as they did in the past. Therefore, even a small niche ecommerce site can compete with the big players and win customers.
Consumers win because they have a larger selection of products. Ecommerce sites win because they get profits from the sales. Even the large companies win because they produce the products being sold and they don’t have to spend marketing dollars to get the sale.
There are millions of little mini-markets to be served and these markets have always existed. But now with niche ecommerce sites on the Internet, it is finally possible to give consumers exactly what they want.