Establishing an online business is never easy. It brings many complex challenges, especially for new online business owners as they are not yet experienced. One such challenge is to select a product for an online business.
The product you sell online is the identity of your online brand. Many eCommerce beginners invest a lot of time wondering how to make the right decision. This article will guide you on how you can select a product for your online business.
Top Tips on How to Select a Product for Business Online
1. Always do Market Research in Terms of Demographics & Target Audiences
When you are choosing a product to sell online, perhaps the most important thing that you need to do is market research, particularly in terms of what people are buying which products. Market research includes many different important facets.
Just some of these include demographics, psychographics, location, market trends, economic shifts, customer personality types, pain points, and more. There are plenty of great market research tools out there, like Google Trends, that can provide you with all of this info and so much more, some of which don’t even cost any money to use.
Finding yourself a good market research tool is probably the first thing that we would do here, and yes, a market research tool will most likely provide you with plenty of information in regard to all of the following points that we are about to talk about.
2. Look for an Area with High Demand and Relatively Low Supply
When choosing a product to sell, a good method to use is to look for market areas or emerging niches that are seeing growing popularity and demand, yet do not have very much supply. According to the laws of supply and demand, the higher the demand and the lower the supply, the likelier you are to be successful in that specific niche.
In other words, look for a product that does not have all that much competition, or any at all if possible. Yes, those market research tools are going to come in very handy here.
However, what you can also do is to check out your local retailers and other online businesses to see how good the selection or supply of a certain good or product is. If you notice that your local hardware store is constantly sold out of this fancy new hammer that was just invented, mainly because there is only one other manufacturer, then you have a product idea. Maximum demand and minimum competition makes for a great product.
3. Find a Problem, Create a Solution
One of the best ways to land on a great product that will sell is to identify a problem that people are having, and to then provide a solution to it. This could be a problem that has no current viable solution, or one that has solutions that could be improved upon. Yes, once again, market research tools will come in handy here.
However, what you can also do to find out what problems people are having is by simply analyzing the world around you and using some common sense. Look on Amazon in the product review section or on Quora for comments people make about products. What are people always complaining about? What issues are constantly in the news? What is something that everybody hates, something that needs to be easier?
Another avenue you can travel down is that of email survey campaigns where you contact people directly and quite literally ask them their opinions. Although you will obviously get very diverse answers, if you are stuck and have no idea what to do, then it definitely makes for a good starting point.
4. Sell Things That are Easy to Brand
Ok, so this one definitely takes a bit of creativity and branding/marketing acumen, but that said, brandable products are generally easier to sell than those that are hard to brand. A big part of branding is having a good slogan for your product, so you may want to hire someone for this task (if you are not the creative type).
Some product types that are super easy to brand include things like pet gear, fishing gear, sports gear, and other such things. Select products that allow for really catchy slogans, as well as ones that speak to your business logo (or even are the logo themselves). A product that directly relates to your business name, or is even the same as your business name, always helps with branding.
5. Stay Ahead of Trends & Look to the Future
Yeah, market research tools are definitely one way to figure out what the future holds and what emerging market trends are, but there are also other ways to figure out what niches and types of products will become popular in the near future. After all, if you stay ahead of the trend, it means that you can get in on the ground floor, meaning that you will be faced with less well-established competition. Google Trends is a great free tool to assess the trend of a product or niche.
To see what the future holds, one great thing to examine is the market, by which we mean the stock market. Are there up-and-coming companies in new sectors? Are investments swinging from crude oil to solar? Are people starting to buy energy-efficient cars and appliances? Once you figure out what up-and-coming trends look like, figuring out what to sell becomes much easier.
6. Speak to People’s Ideals and Values
There are plenty of existing surveys about this exact thing, such as what Consumer Expenditure Survey offers, and define what people’s values are. People often buy products that speak to their values. You can just watch the news for a couple of hours to figure out what people value.
Referring to the above point, if surveys show that people’s values are moving away from fast and loud cars towards vehicles that won’t pollute the earth around us, then you have a good idea of what kinds of products to sell.
Another good one to focus on is privacy. With increasing government encroachment on personal life, people are growing increasingly concerned about privacy.
7. Speak to People’s Vices
Those same surveys and market research tools can also tell you about people’s vices, and yes, it is a proven fact that people spend a lot of money on their vices, although often in secret.
Of course, selling things that speak to people’s vices is not always great, especially in terms of brand reputation, but if you find a vice that is high in demand, then you know what to do. People, a vice does not have to be sex, drugs, or guns.
Something as simple as a delicious piece of chocolate can be a vice too. What are the bad things that people want?
8. See What Others are Selling & Do it Better
Another great thing to factor into choosing a product to sell on your online platform is what others are selling, and moreover, what the problems with those products are.
A great way to do this is by going onto retailer’s websites, online stores such as the best sellers pages on Amazon, and even on various niche-specific forums, and then reading the customer reviews.
Find products that are popular, yet also seem to have a good deal of complaints. If you can do what the competition is doing, but a whole lot better, then you are on the right track.
9. Sell Something You are an Expert on
Ok, so if all else fails, something you can try doing is to sell a product that you are an expert on, or a service that you know how to perform really well. For instance, if you were a mechanic for a NASCAR team, and you have an education on the matter, then you can showcase your own skills, knowledge, and experience to sell a product. People love experts, professionals, and celebrities.
How Do I Choose the Right Product?
Consider customer choice and demand for the product in the market. Then, jot down all costs associated with the production process and calculate your profit margin to make an informed decision.
How Do I Know if the Product I Chose is Doing Well?
Conduct surveys and get online feedback from customers from time to time to make any changes in the product for better quality and satisfaction.
Can I Reverse My Product Choice?
Yes, but it can be costly as you have invested in producing one product already, and if you don't sell it, you won't get any returns, and it might tarnish your brand image.
Choosing the right product for an online business is a greater challenge than one might expect. Hopefully, this guide has helped you prepare yourself.
Spend some time thinking about it. Then, put in the effort because it is a long-term decision that will build the brand identity for your online business.
Know that you don't always have to choose a product that satisfies every factor in your mind. Go for the best one and work on it! Hopefully this article has started to get you thinking about how to select a product for business.