How to Find the Right Product to Sell


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As a business owner, finding the right product to sell can be a daunting task. This is arguably the most important step in building a successful business, and choosing the wrong product could seriously limit your business’s potential. In the last ten years I have successfully started three different brands ranging from cat furniture to masks to suspenders (various I know). In that time I’ve made my fair share of mistakes, but I’ve also dialed into a process to choose the right product to sell, which I believe can work for anyone starting an ecommerce business .

Before we get to the steps themselves, here are the four criteria I look for when identifying a potential product for sale:

  1. The product is difficult to find on Amazon and in the US in general: As you dive into the choppy waters of e-commerce, you want to give your business a chance and avoid competing with the biggest fish in the pond.

  2. It’s easy to ship: As your business grows, shipping efficiency can make or break your business. Do yourself a favor in the beginning and focus on products that are inexpensive to ship and store.

  3. It has a retail value of $100 or more: Higher-priced items help you generate more sales as a small business compared to low-priced, low-margin items that require massive scale to be profitable.

  4. It has something special or unique: Pretty self explanatory! Your product needs to catch the attention of potential customers online. If it photographs well, you already have the edge.

A personal example is my DTC cat brand tuft + paw. When I adopted my cat in 2016, I was disappointed with the lack of quality cat furniture on the market. The offerings on Amazon and the big department stores were ugly, of poor quality and just generally lacking in inspiration. I sensed an opportunity and started researching it. Here are the steps I followed:

Related: How to Choose Your First Ecommerce Product

Step 1: Brainstorm

The first step to finding the right product is brainstorming ideas. Take some time to write down all the ideas that come to mind, no matter how wild or crazy they may seem. There are no consequences at this stage, so it’s time to get as creative as possible. This process can be done alone or with a group of friends or colleagues, as bouncing ideas from others can often lead to new and exciting concepts. Feel free to use conversational AI tools like ChatGPT to get the ball rolling.

One of my favorite (and frankly underrated) brainstorming techniques is to search Reddit for souvenirs from a specific country or region. For example, if you search “Japan Souvenir Ideas Reddit”, you might come across some unique products that are highly prized but hard to find in the US, such as: B. High-quality kimonos. Remember that you are looking good quality Souvenirs (ie products that retail for over $100), no tchotchkes or novelties.

Once you have a list of potential products, create a new Google Sheet to track all of your ideas. Initially, this document should contain the name of the product and a brief description, but as you dig deeper into your research, you can add details such as estimated production costs, potential selling price, and other relevant information.

Step 2: Narrow it down

Once you have a list of possible products, it’s time to weed out the weak ideas and identify the promising ones. At this stage, SEO tools like Ahrefs and Semrush become invaluable. By entering a product keyword, you can see other related keywords that people are searching for. This can help you identify potential niches or products with high demand but little competition.

Before deciding on a product to sell, make sure there is enough variety and search volume in the general category. Instead of focusing on a single keyword, look for broader categories that are in high demand. This will ensure that there is a market for your first product and you can continue to generate new sales as you expand your product range.

Let’s say you start in a niche (e.g. kimonos) but then expand into a broader category (e.g. Japanese-inspired clothing) as your business grows. This allows you to establish yourself in a specific market before branching out into other areas. Think of it like growing a tree – the initial planting space needs to be good, but there also needs to be space for the tree to grow as it matures.

See also: 6 important things to consider when launching a product

Step 3: Connect your ideas to your passion

Finally, it is important to choose a product category that you find interesting. Building a successful business takes time, and it’s important to enjoy the work you do. When you are passionate about the product you are selling, you will be more motivated to invest the time and effort in growing your business. Sure, the US kimono market has a lot of potential, but when fashion bores you, you risk failing.

The possibilities are out there!

The e-commerce world is competitive and absolutely gigantic. Thousands of new products are launched every day and I can guarantee that the vast majority of them are nothing special. That’s because identifying the right product to sell and targeting the right audience is really difficult—but by starting with these three steps, you can at least give your fledgling business the best possible chance of survival.

Don’t forget, it’s the year 2023 and we have so many immensely powerful tools to help us, whether it’s ChatGPT for brainstorming or using Ahrefs for keyword research. Use these tools, identify your niche and you are well on your way to building a successful business.

See also: Before you fall in love with your great idea, find out if anyone wants it

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