Tuesday 31 January 2023

Getting Ahead in Costa Rican eCommerce by Embracing Your Niche

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31 January 2023 - At The Banks - BCCR

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The world of eCommerce may appear rather daunting with an all-devouring entity like Amazon being such a go-to source for just about any product on the market – let alone music, eBooks, video, and fast delivery. Still, it’s important for small and micro businesses to make themselves present and competitive to ensure that major companies can’t rest on their laurels or take the market for granted.

In 2019, a continued increase in the number of small businesses across Costa Rica was noted by the INEC (Nacional de Estadistica y Censos). The institute saw growth from 361,404 reported small businesses across the country at the end of 2018 to 396,796 by the same time in 2019, marking a ten percent uptick. Naturally, 2022 was more about recovering to those figures rather than improving on them.

With such a bustling small business scene, and internet penetration eclipsing 82 percent in 2021, eCommerce is certainly a place where owners can get ahead and increase their customer reach. The best way to do this, contrary to what the massive US brands would have many think, is to double down and go all-in on your niche. This is especially true if you plan to set up shop online.

Costa Rica seeing eCommerce grow swiftly

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By next year, Costa Rican eCommerce is set to hit $1.98 billion. Looking ahead another five years from now, the market volume is projected to eclipse $3.2 billion. That’s a lot of growth in a relatively short period of time, and it’s all because more and more businesses are opening up their offerings to the nation via their own websites. Small and micro businesses will be key to the projected growth rate of 12.91 percent CAGR.

Already, stats from AMI are showing large concentrations of eCommerce buyers in the San José and Alajuela provinces. The key demographic is people aged 18 to 34 years old, who account for 44 percent of the eCommerce public in Costa Rica. One in two Costa Ricans has already made an online purchase. These figures will only grow, especially if online businesses adhere to being mobile-friendly, as 62 percent of purchases are made via cell phones.

Dealing via the internet can be very tricky, though, especially with the range of advertising and marketing that’s available through browsers and social media platforms. Ethical businesses and the social responsibility angle are good ways to succeed in fashion marketing, QCostaRica has found, but to do this effectively, it’s best to home in on a niche. As we’ll discuss, this doesn’t mean shrinking but offering in-depth expertise around a particular product or angle to your customers.

Making the most of your niche

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Having a niche doesn’t mean that you won’t have the chance to grow your business. Your niche can range from a specific type of product, a method of creating products, or even the speed of deliveries. The key is to pick an area you already know well, and then use what you learn to innovate.

For Maison de Mode, that niche came in the form of stylish-yet-sustainable clothing. On their website, the Sustainability page gets the same prominence as Just In, Designers, or Clothing. It details how they go about making luxury ethical fashion. With the fashion industry repeatedly drilled for not being eco-friendly – which is greatly down to the rise of “fast fashion” and the use of plastics – going all-in on the ethical approach makes the products of Maison de Mode stand out.

Finding success from a small number of products, Maison de Mode grew with its eco-friendly niche and now offers a vast range of clothes, accessories, and home items. Being able to expand a single niche as far as you can is best for business, which is why the section of slots at Betway has become so vast. Specializing in premium online casino products, the platform homed in on slots as the main selling point. They collaborated with several world-class studios to create an expansive library of hundreds of online slots. They then did the same for table games such as blackjack and baccarat.

Good reasons to niche down

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If you’re already a business owner and got into the habit of expanding your selection wherever you could see an opening, consider a “niche down.” Should you do this, you’ll find targeting and reaching potential customers much easier, even through platforms like Instagram. This is because it’s easier to know your more specific customer needs and who would be interested in your products.

It’s better to think of a “niche down” as a way of specializing your approach, as explained by Forbes. This will help to cut out the competition, make much more valuable connections, have more impactful marketing, and get yourself the aura of an expert. With so many different and even unheard-of products within your niche, people will see your online store as the best place to go for selection and quality.

Having a niche approach to business has become far more viable thanks to the reach of the internet. With eCommerce picking up quickly in Costa Rica, it makes sense to prepare your niche to become the go-to place in that area as more locals choose to shop online.

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Carter Maddoxhttp://carterjonmaddox@gmail.com
Carter is self-described as thirty-three-and-a-half years old and his thirty-three-and-a-half years birthday is always on March 3. Carter characteristically avoids pronouns, referring to himself in the third person (e.g. "Carter has a question" rather than, "I have a question"). One day [in 1984], Carter, raised himself up and from that day forward we could all read what Carter writes.

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