Originally published at: https://community.envato.com/the-pros-cons-of-wordpress-ecommerce-themes-for-niche-markets/
Multi-purpose themes are becoming a trend on ThemeForest. But how about not going with the flow?
This article follows on from the viewpoint established by Primož Cigler from ProteusThemes - a niche theme provider on ThemeForest. In his recent article for Envato Community, Primož stated that focusing on niche themes has helped them develop themes that solve solutions for each audience group, instead of developing multi-purpose themes with abundant features and design layouts. In this article, I’ll go into more detail about niche markets on WordPress and share whether I think it’s worth going niche or not.
What is a niche WordPress eCommerce theme?First, let’s take a minute to clarify what a niche WordPress eCommerce theme is.
Unlike multi-purpose or multi-functional themes which are made to fulfill a wide variety of needs, niche WordPress themes are made to fulfill the needs of a specific category (e.g: women’s fashion, bakery, restaurant, etc.).
In 2014, Envato has held a contest on designing niche theme named “Most Wanted: Micro Niche Themes”.
The Restaurant - #8 in WordPress eCommerce themes, with restaurant/food niche.
Niche WordPress eCommerce marketA niche WordPress eCommerce market is exactly what it sounds like, and its size can be really big (like fashion shop, beauty store), or small (hair salon, law firm), depending on how theme providers define the size of their niche.
An unique point of this type of market is that theme providers can either develop a theme for an existing niche, or design a new niche by digging into a small corner of a current niche.
Pros and Cons of going niche
PROSFocus on a specific audience group: Rather than having to develop a product for various audiences, going niche gives you the ability to focus on a specific part of the market. When you’re tailoring your product to a specific group of people you will have more time and resources to dig deeper into their minds, and make more valuable insights that may help make your item pop on ThemeForest. With a theme built with multiple audiences in mind, it’s harder to make them all completely happy.
A small amount of features that work in real sites: when eliminating unnecessary features, you have more time and resources to focus on developing only stable ones that are more practical for your chosen customer. Remember that an end-user probably won’t use all features of a multi-purpose theme that they’ve purchased. Doing research on the needs of your customer will ensure you develop only the features applicable to them.
Chance to be the top provider in your niche: Instead being one of many hundred in multi-purpose categories, being the #1 provider in your chosen niche (and that would be great if your niche is popular enough) helps you avoid other competitors, and perfectly fits with your target customer’s needs. Therefore, you will have more of a chance at staying on top of that niche and naturally get more sales rather than keep swimming in the sea of ultimate multi-purpose ones.
FitnessGYM by madza, released in February 2014, is a #1 WordPress niche theme in the “sport” category. If this heme was in the multi-purpose category, it would have to compete with 100+ items. If it was a fashion theme in the multi-purpose category it would have to compete with 200+ items. Therefore, if it weren’t aiming directly at the “sport” market, it probably wouldn’t easily reach customers seeking a sport WordPress theme.
The only competitor here of FitnessGYM is Sportexx. That means more chance for FitnessGYM to stay on top of “sport” niche market.
The number of people seeking a niche product is far fewer than those seeking a multi-purpose one. However if you carefully choose a niche that’s popular or competitive enough, you can alleviate that problem to some extent. On ThemeForest “fashion” niche is one popular category with 225 themes and templates.
You may lose a huge amount of customers
Going niche means having to miss some customers. If your niche is popular enough, you will have more chance to get more users and lose fewer ones. But if you choose the wrong niche (a niche that not many people search for), your theme may receive low sales, or even no sales at all.
Comparison: Niche WordPress eCommerce themes vs multi-purpose WordPress eCommerce themesSo what are the differences between a niche WordPress theme and a multi-purpose WordPress theme? Which one is better for your business? The below table displays characteristics of each one, including statistics from ThemeForest - top-notch marketplace for WordPress themes.
|Criteria||Niche WordPress eCommerce theme||Multi-purpose WordPress eCommerce theme|
Small but focused
(multiple niches with total items around 250/500 themes)
Big but maybe unfocused
|Best matched audience||
One theme for their specific business industry
One theme for different projects, with various industries
|Functionalities||All features are made to work for the niche||
Some features won’t be relevant to particular niche
=> maybe waste of money
|Audience interest||a single niche||various niches|
High (for only one niche)
Low (can be used for various niches)
|440 sales/item (average for all niches)||
|Time taken to construct a full website||Faster, less problems||Maybe slower and has problems|
(All statistics are calculated on Feb 18 2016)
From the above table, we can clearly see that the market size for a niche WordPress eCommerce theme is much smaller than that of a multi-purpose theme. Niche themes are best suited for end-users, who are searching for a theme that can help them build their online shop easily without much customization or design. Multi-purpose ones, therefore, are ‘too much’ for them. There might be features that they don’t actually need, or are too complicated to personalize versus niche ones.
Popular nichesHere are 4 most popular niches on WordPress eCommerce themes category.
|Niche||Number of items||Average sales|
(All statistics are calculated on February 18 2016)
Popular niche themesStaying on best-selling WordPress fashion theme list, ZORKA is known for its 11+ unique homepage layouts as well as clean and modern elements for an online fashion store. This theme has been available on ThemeForest since May 2015 by G5Theme, and up has currently received 701 sales with an average rating of 4.57/5. Soffa is a top niche WordPress theme on “furniture” category. This theme was released on June 2014 by tokopress, and still being popular on ThemeForest until now with latest update on January 2016. Soffa provides a minimal design with essential pages for an online furniture store, like pricing table, portfolio, etc. This theme has received 280 sales and average rating is 4.7/5.
Multi-purpose themes with niche designsA multi-niche theme, or a multi-purpose theme with niche designs, is an ultimate WordPress theme package, with many niche themes that can fulfill the needs of audiences from many niches. With each niche in this package, users can do instant setup and run their own online shop without having to choose design layout or customize as much as they usually have to with your average multi-purpose theme.
With this package, theme providers can get more sales both from general buyers who search for a multi-purpose theme, as well as from niche buyers who want to purchase a niche theme.
X by Themeco is a multi-purpose WordPress theme with niche designs. These niche designs have been recently developed along with updated main demos.
X by Themeco is a multi-purpose theme with various niches (total 5 niche up ‘til now)
You can view X’s expanded demos by visiting X's landing page, clicking on “demos” > “expanded demos”The downside to trying to create a package like this is that you need huge resources, budget, time, market research, and personnel to develop niche layouts.
For providers who want to dig deeper into this theme, here are 3 simple tips that should help you successfully release your product on ThemeForest:
- Clearly research the niches you are going to develop for. Do not develop for all niches on the market as it’s a waste of time, and some of them are actually pretty useless in real life.
- Build an MVP: With each niche, make sure that you include all the basic features of that niche. Advanced features and designs are for further updates.
- Include both multi-purpose-related tags (multipurpose, multi-purpose) and niche-related tags (e.g: fashion, women)
ConclusionIn a nutshell, choosing a niche theme or a multi-purpose theme is a matter of choosing your audience. On the one hand, if you want to cover a specific audience group without having to compete with too many competitors, a niche theme is the right choice for you. On the other hand, if you want to get high sales or broaden your audience size, the trending multi-purpose category is still worth considering.
Have you ever built a niche theme, or want to find a niche theme for your store? We’d love to hear your opinion on this topic.
Extra information for niche theme loversFor those who are developing niche themes, or simply want to try with these new markets, Envato is running a contest for you “Most Wanted: Business Themes We Don’t Have Yet”, with up to $10,000 in prize money. For more details on how to submit your work for this contest, please click HERE.
- Is this the year of the niche theme - Envato Community
- Envato's Insider Information on the WordPress Economy
- Mainstream or Niche - Envato Forums
- Envato’s Most Wanted: Micro Niche Themes - $10,000 - Envato Forums
- Theme, Don’t Be My Everything - Envato Forums