Tuesday, June 05, 2007

niche products for niche customers

We often talk about making sure that our systems match the needs of expected users. That is the basis of Human Factors. But you can also go in the opposite direction - find some very unique users and customize an existing system that they currently don't use. This is the basis for some very interesting business models. This month's Trendwatching (one of my favorite sources of unique business ideas and innovations), has a good strategy for this. There are many people who want to purchase products or services made locally. This can be for environmental reasons (less gas wasted on transportation), supporting the local economy, or just because some people like to support their neighbors. Many are even willing to spend extra money for the same product if it is local. So the trick to this strategy is to create the marketing around your product promoting its local story.

And there there are the VERY unique niches. How about this one at Omlet. They have a product that enables urbanites to raise their own egg-laying chickens. People who live in city apartments can raise 2 egg-laying chickens in a nice compact "Eglu" and have fresh eggs every morning. I can't speak for the usability of the Eglu design, but if they have identified enough of a customer base to make the business profitable, all I can say is "wow."