Diversity is Great. But, Is Niche Really The Future of E-Commerce?
Generic markets typically contain groups of consumers that share a broad need which can be met by a wide variety of products or services. In the past two years, Facebook has been struggling to stay relevant and has reported a first-time decline in monthly user growth in the last quarter, where as Instagram and LinkedIn have been galloping at a pace of 2x and 5x respectively.
Why are people moving from social networks like Facebook to Instagram/LinkedIn? The phenomenon is called content collapse, a failure that Facebook has identified a long time ago and is trying to resolve.
Agreeably, Facebook is intended to meet our social needs, interacting with friends and family, which revolves more around our daily consumption, as opposed to LinkedIn which focuses more on business and corporate networking.
This implies the base of FB users and their needs are way too different from those of LinkedIn and the comparison may sound a little unreasonable to some.
"Generic" social networks like Facebook are turning out to be everything for nobody. When you are talking to all, you actually end up effectively talking to none. Several brands have used this generic social media platform intelligently, by the endless segmentation that it has to offer.
However, as the internet reaches more users and smartphone penetration increases, platforms targeting specific groups or a "niche" will become more useful. "Specific" social networks like LinkedIn and Instagram are serving the needs for a more specific target group.
Filtering through all the noise and information can be quite a hassle for a consumer. Nykaa was quick to discern that beauty was an untapped market in India and would soon explode.
Finding a product of a certain category and hunting for it in a sea of a generic site like Amazon or Flipkart can be a complex experience which can be overcome by using the right tools and filters in a dedicated website/app.
In my opinion, Generic & Specific/Niche will continue to co-exist for some more time, because of the needs that they cater to and the purpose behind them as destinations are mutually exclusive. A lot of people tend to use multiple platforms for their different shopping purposes and no one is loyal to just one platform.
Besides, creating accounts on all different sites would mean having to disclose this data to that many sites/apps. Moreover, these niche firms will demand their own space on your phone in the form of a different app and such different apps for different product categories tend to make your shopping experience more arduous when you can simply shop for everything under one roof!
The only way to get through to the other end of the tunnel is to keep up with the new-age demands and avoid the risk of becoming discovery platforms for purchases.
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