How to Find Profitable Products to Sell Online
Starting your e-commerce business is exciting and intriguing.
If you decide to sell branded products, create your own (i.e private label product – this usually applies to improving products already on the market and branding as your own) or sell white-label products, the planning and particularly deciding on a profitable product(s) can be bit tricky.
You have to research, evaluate and validate the market, find a vendor and build your inventory. There’s a lot to learn.
And trust me creative ideas don’t work if the market does not need it. You have to see it in a supply-and-demand way.
You have to use real-world data because you don’t want to rely on chance or luck for your success…
There’s firstly a choice between consumable and non-consumable products or physical and digital products. Some will provide good profits while others won’t.
A. Must Have Guidelines
These are the guidelines that you must follow:
If the product is fragile and breaks during shipping, you will receive customer complaints which will incur replacement cost and also cost you positive reviews.
Also, choose a product that has small physical dimensions. Standard market practice suggests product should be a shoebox size. That way it’ll be easier to ship and require smaller inventory storage space per item – you then reduce inventory cost.
There are many price comparison sites which compare the prices of branded products. You don’t want to be on their list.
Since other online stores are already selling these products, you will have a lot of competition and it will be hard to stay ahead in the business.
A new business, selling the same products that are already sold by established businesses, will face hardships.
Find niches and products that are hard to find in physical stores. That way, once a customer has bought from you, he will keep buying from you.
Otherwise, they will buy from you for the first time and will buy the product from a physical store near their house next time instead of your online store.
It’s because many people prefer getting the product in their hands as fast as possible. The online store needs time to deliver the product hence it can be at a disadvantage over the physical store.
Find evergreen and timeless products. You don’t want to liquidate your inventory just because there is a new design/version of the item you are selling.
This alone will save you a lot of time and free yourself from a lot of pressure. If your product is timely, you will be under a lot of pressure to sell it ASAP.
Hint: Do not sell electronics. This is a very fast moving industry and a lot of people can’t keep up.
There are new designs, software, chips etc. coming out every day in this industry. The last thing you want to do is get up in the middle of the night hoping to not face a new device the next morning.
This is a sweet spot and most of the people are comfortable purchasing products in this range. If your product is cheaper than this, your profit margins will be very low. You will have to sell in large quantities to make good money.
If your product is more expensive than this range you will need a sales team in place and you will need to convince customers that your product delivers what you are promising and it really solves their problems.
If your product costs from $15 to $200, you won’t face these problems and the potential is greater to make a lot of money. You can start in this range and work your way up.
Don’t sell products that are targeted only for New Year or Halloween or are seasonal. Because then your store’s success will depend on how much you sell for that day or period.
You will have a lot of pressure to clear the stock. Next year there will be new designs and a new range of products to sell. Also, if your products don’t sell in the season, you will have to carry the inventory all year long. Inventory management is a challenge in itself.
A lot of things can go wrong in business and you should have sufficient profit margins to cover all your expenses and make profits worth earning.
To do that you should have profit margins of at least 66%. Profit margin is the difference between Selling Price and the Cost Price divided by the Selling Price (i.e (Selling Price – Cost Price/Selling Price) X 100). For example: if your product costs $10 and you sell for $85- Profit Margin:(85-10/85) X100= 88%
B. Supplemental Guidelines
These are not hard guidelines but are best also to have:
Once someone buys from you and is happy with his purchase, he is more likely to buy from you again. So, your goal is to offer as many products, related to his previous purchase, as possible.
For example: If a customer has bought baby towels from you and is happy with his purchase, he is more likely to buy from you again. You can offer bath towels, hand towels and face towels. Then, there are cotton towels, bamboo towels, and microfiber towels. The list goes on and on.
Strive to find products that you can sell repeatedly to a single buyer and that they can buy in bulk.
When you have a product that is bought in bulk or has many people ordering more than one, you make a lot of money per customer. You don’t have to spend money to find 3 buyers, a single buyer buys 3 products.
For example: Talking about towels, a customer can buy different towels for different uses for different family members. If they are going to a party (beach or swimming pool), they can buy more than one towel. Similarly, people going to vacations in groups also buy in large quantities.
Let’s look at it from another angle. Towels don’t last longer and you need to replace them periodically. So, once a customer buys from you and is happy with the towel, he will keep buying from you. Now, you have a great repeat customer and you have recurring revenue.
So, choose consumable products if possible as they bring in repeat customers and people buy consumable products in bulk.
By choosing enthusiastic or hobby focused products, you will have a lot easier time to market the products. You will easily be able to find dedicated forums, blogs, Facebook fan pages and communities to market your products.
Your advertising will be highly targeted and as a result, the ads will convert a lot bringing in more profits. For example: Suppose you are manufacturing a knife. The survival community is a great opportunity for you to market.
You will easily find dedicated blogs, communities, fan pages and Facebook groups to market the knife. You can easily get testimonials and stories of your clients where they used your knife to survive in a situation. Stories sell a lot and you can blog one story a week as a guest post to build your brand.
The previous point brings me to this point. You should choose products that allow you to create content. A lot of people are not searching for products, they are searching for problems and ways to solve those problems.
You can find questions and create content to solve the problems using your products. This strategy is working very well for a lot of e-commerce stores and they are pumping out content regularly. And why shouldn’t they?
Content get backlinks. No one in this world wants to link products. They want to link engaging stories, helpful case studies and content that solve problems. That’s why I said earlier that you should ask your customers to share their story with you.
Invite them to write for your site (guest post). This has another benefit: Google ranks only those stores higher that help customers. Right content and backlinks can make your store successful in the long run.
Macdonald’s have mastered this concept. Their burger doesn’t cost much but their additional items like beverages, French fries etc. make their most of money. Low-cost burger gets the customer in and additional items make a lot of money. Most of the customers buy more than one burger and at least one additional item.
Another example is WordPress. Their core product is free of cost. But premium themes, plugins, hosting etc., which are additional items, make a lot of money. WordPress powers 27% of entire internet and is a source of revenue for thousands of businesses.
This strategy is also used by Fiverr, a digital marketplace. Their $5 pricing gets the customer in and gig extras contribute the most in the revenues. Apply similar concept in your business and you will reap its rewards too.
Amazon uses a similar concept by offering related products to those you view or purchase.
Apply this strategy to your business and you will reap its rewards too.
You can personalize products and charge a premium for it.
For example, you can sell white T-Shirts with good profit margins and yet print names, images on it for personalization and charge premium for it. You will be surprised to find out that many people are willing to pay more in order to get personalized products.
Shopify offers several options such as: Printify, Print Aura, Pillow Profits, Teelaunch. These customization services also offer direct shipping to customers and you pay only when an order is placed by a customer.
Product Research Guide
Whether you want to sell branded products, create your own products or sell White-label products; you first need to find products that are already selling in your niche and model them.
You may be thinking by now “Where do I research products that meet these guidelines?”
✓ Use Amazon Data:
Amazon has become the go-to place for people to buy everything they need. People even bypass Google and directly go to Amazon.
As a result, Amazon has collected a lot of sales data. Amazon Bestsellers is a great starting point to access high traffic products. Amazon has a metric called “BSR or Best Sellers Rank”. You can find it in product description per item.
This ranking tells how good a product is selling and products under #10,000 BSR are selling very well. With this metric, you can predict how much money a product is making.
Or you can use Jungle Scout to determine profitable products with high accuracy. Jungle Scout puts guesswork out of the equation so that you can get real and accurate data of products.
It analyses Amazon data and allows you to search products based on their Price, Estimated Sales, Estimated Revenue, Number of Reviews, Product Categories, Weight etc.
Input your search criteria in this tool and it will list out every amazon product that meets your criteria. The results are then presented in seconds.
If you are looking for new products that are selling well – search for products that have estimated sales of $5000 and have less than 100 reviews.
This will show products that are relatively new and still are making a lot of money. Write down the products that look interesting and closely related to your niche.
N.B A great way to outsell competitors, is to analyze the reviews for the 4 & 5 star review products (you can also review 3 stars) and review the negative feedback. From this, you can then request manufacturers to improve the products.
✓ Use eBay Data:
Just like Amazon eBay too is a very large marketplace. To search profitable products, just type in your product category and choose “Sold Listings” filter.
It will show you all the products in the category that were sold and the final selling price. You can easily gauge the demand and price of a lot of products in your category.
Or you can also use a tool called Terapeak. With Terapeak you can easily find out which products are selling a lot on eBay and how much revenue the products generated last month.
✓ Use Google Data:
Google is the largest search engine in the world and we will use its data to determine profitable products for us.
Still be aware of information and product related keywords. Information keywords are those for which people are only searching for information.
Product keywords are those for which people are looking to buy the product. For example: In bowling niche, there are two keywords “Bowling Tips” and “Bowling Shoes”.
For “Bowling Tips” the searcher wants to find information, he is not looking to buy anything. For “Bowling Shoes” the searcher is looking to buy the shoes.
We are looking for product related keywords as they convert very well and once you sell your product to these searchers you can potentially sell them again and again.
Another great research tool is Google Trends which will provide information related to the popularity of a keyword/product over years. This information can also be used to determine if a product is seasonal.
Choose 20-30 products that you think can really sell well so you can further evaluate them.
Find Your Own Angle
In order to succeed online, you need to have products that are superior in quality than your competitors. Now, look at your search results by your competitors. Ask yourself “How can I make it better?”
You can add features, change the design, offer additional colours etc. Now, look at various negative reviews of your competitor’s products. What do the buyers want?
List out things that you can improve. Once you have read these reviews and know what to improve, it’s time to determine your product strategy, i.e sell branded products, create your own or use white label products.
Choose Your Product Type
1. Sell Branded Products:
This section is for those people who want to buy bulk (wholesale) branded products at low cost and want to re-sell at a higher price.
For this, you want to choose products that sell a lot already and has a recognizable big brand. All you will do is offer a better deal and boom you get the market’s sales share.
This strategy has a lot of advantages as you are dealing with established brands and products. You already know that people are buying the products.
Once you have a list of profitable products from the method shown above, find out your suppliers or vendors for bulk buying. Search for wholesalers and get a good deal.
In this method, what you are doing is enhancing the brand image of someone else’s brand. Though it is the easiest option but you won’t get much profit share.
And there will be more people competing with you with the same products. You will find it hard to differentiate yourself and there will always be people who offer same products at low price.
2. Create Your Own Products:
This section is for those people who are already experts, want to create their own products, want to get better profit share and want to establish their own brand.
This is the hardest strategy and being a new brand you may face some challenges at first. Start small and learn about your market first, keep learning and growing smoothly.
Once you have found profitable products from above-shown methods, check out the products and see if you can add value to it by improving the design, adding more features and colors or by adding more functions.
Hire a designer and get your design ready. Once you have the design find out a manufacturer. Manufacturing can be done in the USA or in Asia.
If you have decided digital products like video training or an eBook, then find someone to record or write them for you. Or you can write on your own.
This strategy is the best when you know your market well and yourself are an expert. Set high standards and never compromise with the quality of your products.
What if you are not an expert but still want to create your own brand? You can find people who have products and can license you to sell them as your own. Enter the world of White Label Products…
3. Sell White Label Products:
This section is for those who wish to establish their own brand but don’t want to create products themselves or don’t have the time and money it requires.
Once you have found profitable products from above methods. Go to Alibaba.com and search your products in its search form.
You will find out that a lot of suppliers are already manufacturing a lot of products (similar to the one you are looking for) at a cheap price.
Look at various suppliers and find out a product that you would like to private label. Contact the supplier, ask them if they can add more features, colors, functions, your logo and request a price for 500 items.
You will find out that a lot of products that are already selling on Amazon or eBay were actually bought from some of these suppliers at a low price and are now sold at high price.
This is a great opportunity but you don’t want to get scammed, so always select an “Assessed Supplier” and “Gold Supplier”. They are the ones who are trusted and verified by Alibaba.com.
That’s it! This guide has everything you need to find profitable products. It’s not as hard as it sounds.
There is enough data available in organized form. Just follow the advice and you will soon uncover excellent profitable product opportunities that meet your business goals.
Online stores have left brick and mortar stores behind in terms of product selection, price, sales and variety. Your online store is your ticket to life-long freedom as fast as possible.
Choose Shopify and start your own online store. You will soon be generating more money than you can count.
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