The first step to setting up an online store is determining what product(s) you’re going to sell. There are various approaches to this decision. Here are some great strategies to find a product/product line:
1. Start with what you know
Is there a product you love? Could you somehow market and distribute it online? Is there a wider audience for it?
Are there related products or niche versions you could sell?
What are your passions and interests? What do you buy a lot of or find yourself browsing for online?
2. Look local
Check out storefronts in your local area. Are there unique products you could distribute to a wider audience?
Are there trends you notice when out shopping or products that attract you?
Taking location-specific products online can be a great idea. Maybe there are unique local products that aren’t available in other areas. People who have moved away from the area might be love being able to “get a taste of home”.
3. Solve a consumer problem
The most successful products and services solve a consumer pain point. Think of things you often hear people complaining about or daily inconveniences you encounter. What products could make your routine easier or make an existing product better?
4. Cater to a passion
What are you and your friends passionate about? What niche interests and passions could you serve?
Ecommerce is especially good at offering products for niche hobbies and passions, where an online source can meet an unmet need. Products related to a passion tend to attract loyal customers who provide repeat business and higher levels of interaction.
5. Build/extend your brand
Perhaps you already have a business or a following on social media. Do you do a podcast or write a blog? Are you involved in online communities and special interest forums? You might naturally extend your personal or company brand with related products.
Or, you can build a unique brand, by choosing a product or business you can position in a unique way. You can provide a product that stands out from its competitors with some specialization or through the community you build and the way you market the product.
6. Do keyword research
Search some product categories you are thinking about and find out what shows up. Look at different keyword variations to find out if there might be a way to get specific to lessen the competitive field.
7. Explore the trends
Read consumer trend publications, such as Trend Watching and Trend Hunter. Based on your interests, subscribe to industry publications or follow leaders on social media to get an idea about the products and companies they are talking about. Getting an idea of the latest trends can help you dream up new products and services or discover products you could bring to a new audience.
Product review and discovery sites can also be a fantastic source of ideas and inspiration. Sites like Uncrate, Outblush and GearMoose show new curated product trends daily. Checking out these sites is a great way to get inspired!
Social curation sites and social media are another great way to spot trends. Pinterest is a great way to see what people are passionate about and the products they’re enjoying. This may inspire you, or even introduce you to a new product you could offer. Look at what people are talking about on social media and the types of items that are popular on crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter.
8. Check out online marketplaces
The big wholesale marketplaces offer a massive variety of products. This is a popular but sometimes overwhelming method. If you have some general ideas, this can be a good way to see what’s out there and even get inspiration. Alibaba remains the largest wholesale site online, connecting consumers all over the world with manufacturers and wholesalers in Asia and offering various ancillary services (credit, inspection, assurance/verification). Other sites include: Tradekey and Global Sources.
Once you have a product in mind, you will need to evaluate the market for the product and explore logistics, as well as of course setting up how you will obtain the product (or if it is something that you make personally: determine how quickly you can produce the product, output level and costs for materials). We’ll talk more about these topics as well as an array or ecommerce marketing tips in future articles so stay tuned!
Miiduu makes it easy to build, manage and promote your online store. Sign up for your Miiduu store today!