When it comes to selling, anytime and especially right now, you have to have a strong value proposition to be successful. You also need some sort of edge that makes your brand unique. And that can be hard! What about your product or brand makes it sought after—especially in a market as flooded with options as the bedding and mattress industry? If you look a little more closely within the sleep industry, you’ll realize that some of the biggest and smallest brands are succeeding largely because of one specific aspect of their business—in most cases, they’ve cornered some kind of niche. We’re honing in on what a niche market is, the value of finding your own and some examples of companies who have done this well.
Niche Markets - The Basics
A niche market is kind of simple: typically reaching a niche market requires offering a product or service that is needed by a specific audience. This audience or market is a smaller subset of a larger market characterized by a variety of factors like:
- The price point the audience is willing to pay (e.g. luxury, moderate, discount)
- Demographics of the audience (gender, age, income level, education level)
- Level of quality the consumer set is seeking (premium, handmade, economical)
- Psychographics (values, interests, attitudes)
- Geographics (residents of a certain country, city or even neighborhood)
Some common and semi-niche audiences within the bedding and mattress industry include: couples, hot sleepers, smart consumers looking for organic products (actually certified organic, not just “natural”) or the ultra-luxury customer. This list could go on and on.
An essential piece to cornering a niche market isn’t just creating a super unique product. It’s creating a super unique product that meets the real and urgent needs of a designated audience or market. It’s really essential that when looking for a niche product or product category to sell, you don’t forget to designate who will actually want it!
Finding a niche market that wants a niche product offers you a great chance to differentiate yourself from competitors. What can you offer the market that no one else offers? As a retailer, selling only certified organic products, for example, would set you apart from a big box store. And you’ll have a specific audience that is ready to pay a specific price for a curated collection of trusted and toxin-free products.
- Building Trust And Consumer Loyalty
It goes hand in hand with differentiation, but when you effectively meet a niche audience’s needs and preferences you’ll make that audience feel seen and understood in a new way. And if you consistently deliver on what they are looking for, you’ll build trust and loyalty with your buyers. Establishing a strong rapport with your consumer base can also allow you to get real-time feedback and continue to sharpen your selection.
- Search Optimization
When it comes to ecommerce, owning specific key words can really help accelerate business and bring your brand to the top of Google search organically or at least for less money. If you’re covering a market not very many other companies do, you’ll have a better chance of being a top hit for your keywords. The most critical piece here is to do research to really understand how consumers will describe your niche—and specifically what words they’ll use to describe it when searching. You can read more on search optimization in niche markets here.
Cornering a niche can feel daunting initially, but once you find your microcosm, it can make many aspects of business simpler. Not needing to be all things for all shoppers can really save you a lot of time and energy. When you know the character of your brand and the wants and needs of the niche you serve, it makes it easier to pinpoint the right product mix and develop the visual merchandising and marketing strategies that will resonate with them. In short, being super specific can help you build a leaner and more streamlined business.
Because an intense focus on a niche market can help you trim some of the fat, you can either create higher quality products or know the space well enough to designate the top quality to offer. For the niche market, quality and specificity reign over quantity.
Who in the sleep industry is slaying a niche market?
We’ve highlighted a few brands who have used strong marketing techniques to consistently communicate what makes them unique.
When we think “niche,” these are just a few brands that come to mind. These players are top of mind not only because they are singularly focused, but because they have clearly articulated the niche they serve and spread that message far and wide in creative ways.
- OMI – A true original in the certified organic sleep space, OMI has cornered a luxury organic niche market. When you view the brand’s website, it feels luxe but natural and airy. The value proposition is clear and specific: American-made, luxury, organic wellness products since 2003. OMI elevates its luxury positioning in a few ways: it offers free sleep consultations, maintains connections with design professionals and consistently emphasizes the purity of its products (and offers the credentials to back up its claims).
- The Pillow Bar – Personalized, beautiful and handcrafted, The Pillow Bar is a small operation offering ultra-luxury, custom sleep accessories. The down pillows by The Pillow Bar are customizable and can even be monogrammed. Using a lavender signature color on its website and touting somewhat feminine aesthetic, the Pillow Bar targets the consumer looking for an opulent sleep experience that feels like a special treat. The Pillow Bar has even been featured on Oprah’s Favorite Things.
- Posh+Lavish – Another very luxurious brand, POSH+LAVISH sets itself apart by targeting couples that want a premium sleep experience on a split head design bed. Using only the highest quality materials, POSH+LAVISH offers a less common product type made to top of the line standards. Check out our cover story on POSH+LAVISH that highlights the brand’s ability to offer a strong differentiator to retailers.
- Naturepedic – Another top player in the organic sleep space, Naturepedic touts the fact that it offers organic sleep for the whole family. Naturepedic offers a wide variety of certified organic sleep products and maintains top certification across all categories—but also specializes in organic baby and toddler sleep products. To further emphasize its focus on keeping chemicals out of the nursery, it has recently sponsored reports and studies pertaining to baby and adolescent safe sleep. These marketing efforts position the company as a thought leader in the baby and child safe sleep space further defining its niche market.