It’s easy to become trapped in a bubble (no, not like that). After all – you know what to expect, and everyone uses your product the same way, right?

Not so much.

I’m fortunate enough to be able to interact with our customers often, either through social media, in user research calls, or even in-person at the few events I’m able to get to each year.

I’m almost always surprised and excited to see how these folks have built themselves a sustainable, unique business in ways that I haven’t seen before. I have my own preconceived notions of the types of business using WooCommerce, yet I’m pleasantly surprised at how often different use cases emerge.

Niche products and businesses are more common than you may think. One of the best features of open source software like WordPress and WooCommerce is that it is so customizable. I’ve seen people take our software and tweak it to reflect their personalities and achieve their own unique goals.

Take for instance the typeface design project drawing attention to the plight of endangered species in the Amazon, the mobile store using motorbike delivery to make sure that women have access to feminine hygiene products in Rwanda, or the sustainable food brand aiming to revolutionize Western food culture by introducing insects as a staple part of it.

There’s even a store selling stock photography of pineapples. Yes, you read that correctly. Pineapples – nothing else. How incredible is that? I would never have dreamed that such a thing would (or should) exist, yet I’ve proved wrong by this successful niche business.

It’s remarkably easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you know everything about the product you’ve created or work with every single day. Truth is, people are extremely resourceful and creative, and you can always learn more by taking a peek at how they’re shipping their idea.

Talk to the people who use the products you create, be they digital or physical. Your understanding of how better to serve their real needs (and not their perceived ones) will be all the richer for paying attention.

 

Posted by Gareth Allison