It's easy to feel like most, if not all, industries are oversaturated. There are tons of creative ideas out there, and with the rapid way the world progresses through social media and digital communication, markets flood quickly. But this isn't a reason to abandon ship. If you've found yourself starting a business in a crowded market, it's time to determine the things that set you apart and how you can attract the right customers.
The secret to success is simple deductive reasoning: you have to look for the gaps left by established businesses and tailor your company to the percentage of consumers they don't reach. To carve out your niche, you need to find the people you want to work with, craft a unique experience, make the consumer's life easier, and give them the best ROI.
Find the forgotten consumers in your industry.
Even if your industry is oversaturated, there will always be a set of consumers who feel forgotten. Think of the nontraditional buyer or the consumer who wants to buy in but can't because the industry hasn't made room for them. Financial technology company Sandclock did this in the wealth management industry. They took the popular and trending space of cryptocurrency and blockchain and aimed to make it accessible to nontraditional consumers--those buyers who aren't operating with multi-millions of dollars in investments.
Targeting the forgotten consumer requires creativity because you have to think beyond the obvious buyers and anticipate other ways the product, service, or industry can reach people.
Create a unique experience.
The ultimate goal is to reach the consumer, so creating a unique experience could look like optimizing social platforms, re-imagining buying, or launching incentive-based initiatives.
For example, e-commerce grew rapidly in the last year and most, if not all, online shopping brands are struggling to catch up. The leaders at Switcher understood that and they determined that in order to set themselves apart in the oversaturated market of e-commerce tools, they needed to re-imagine the customer's experience. They created a platform with a live-shopping experience for brands to share their products with consumers in real-time, just like walking into a store.
Creating a unique experience can come from the actual, tangible way your product or service operates, but it can also come from the way you interact with customers. A unique customer experience could be more personal, offer more one-on-one time, or create customization options to better meet each customer's specific needs.
Draw from modern challenges or difficulties within your target market. Switcher's product was uniquely positioned to meet the needs of retailers during the pandemic when many had to shutter doors. Take a look at the challenges your customers are facing and use that information to inform the experience.
Make consumers' lives easier.
Be the best, most flexible, functional, and customizable option. Offer services that are timeless, translate across platforms and make consumers' lives easier.
Revenue.io, for example, created a platform to help B2B companies manage sales all from one tool. In the world of B2B sales tech, most companies either surface insights or provide tools to act on those insights and engage directly with buyers. Revenue.io carved out a niche by providing both. Their AI-powered platform captures data from buyer and seller conversations and provides recommendations about what will work best for each team.
Every business should serve the customer, that's a given. But when you are trying to set yourself apart in a crowded space, do like Revenue.io did and make the consumers' lives easier by going above and beyond what's currently offered. Even companies that sell consumer goods products can take the same, all-inclusive approach by offering superb customer service, a great return policy, or next-level resources about the product.
Offer the best return on investment.
You don't have to be the cheapest product on the market, but you should offer the best return on investment (ROI). Consider how you can save your customers dollars while they use your product. This could mean that you offer in-house, 24/7 technical support with high customer service ratings--so that consumers don't have to waste time (and money) on hold or waste dollars hiring tech support outside of your organization.
You can also offer the best ROI to your customers by identifying where they lose money within your market and becoming the cost-saving solution. For example, by identifying that customers lose a lot of money on IT expenses, software-as-a-service (SaaS) company brightfin built a niche in the crowded market of technology expense management. Their business model is tied directly to customer savings-- the platform integrates (a double whammy with that previous point) with ServiceNow to optimize mobile, telecom, and cloud invoices creating a clear picture of a company's IT spend instead of data fragments across systems.
There will always be a set of customers whose needs haven't been met or a way to reinvent the customer experience. Brainstorming and researching are your friends in this process. When you combine a great idea with cost-effectiveness, ease of use, customized experiences, and an understanding of your consumers' needs, you'll find your niche and stand out in your market.