The following article is a guest post by Josh Cohen from WorkwithJoshCohen.com
A good e-commerce business has to begin with a good product to sell, but what makes it good?
Finding your perfect product(s) is the first step any business owner has to overcome in order to 'make it' online. The token word in that last sentence, and the one you need to focus on is 'product'. Too many people will try to find a good niche or range of products and this is often where they fail before they even begin.
The thing to do is realise you are looking for a profitable product and not a profitable niche.
The truth of the matter is that there is no such thing as a profitable niche! In my 8 years of experience selling on the internet I have never found one and almost certainly never will. An exception to this is if you are creating a brand, but even then you will want to start with one product and grow your range from there.
Don't get despondent as there are plenty of profitable products!
Now you know to look for specific products rather than niches, you should be aware of what to look for in a product and what NOT to look for.
Please take the above as guidelines only but use them to reference when deciding on what to sell. Now you know what you should be looking for we can get into researching potential products.
The first thing to do is make a spreadsheet to jot down your ideas and findings as you will be dealing with a fair amount of data. You will want to record the following metrics: product name, cost price, sale price, popularity (scale of 1-10 works for me based on your research) and a section for notes.
Remember you are looking for individual products and not categories. Products that you can double your money on and are not time sensitive.
I always start by coming up with a list of keywords that I can dive deeper into, a good way to do this is look around and write down everything you see. So for example at my desk I can see: pens, a stationary holder, a coffee mug, scissors, a lamp, a white board.
I'm sure you get the idea!
With this list of words I then start searching on the internet and digging deeper, so for scissors I will find medical scissors, crafting scissors, serrated scissors, spring loaded scissors, left handed scissors etc.
When casting my product net I always find myself on two websites. You should use these to get product ideas, gauge the demand and work out the sales price point.
After finding some popular products that meet the guidelines mentioned in the first part of this blog post, you will need to get some initial cost prices to calculate whether the items are viable for you to sell. To do this I use a selection of the sites and resources below. Remember at this stage you are just looking for guideline pricing so don't get too hung up on it if you see massive fluctuation in prices, just take the median result and use that as a gauge.
With the data you collect from the steps above you should input it all into your spreadsheet so it's clear to interoperate.
Then have a long, hard think about your line up!
Ask yourself the following questions to get a better understanding of which products are winners:
Now it's time to pick 2 or 3 products from your list to roll with. I recommend ordering a sample of each product before you fully commit, this gives you a chance to check the quality of production, packaging and get a clear idea of your import cost.
Obviously the products you pick are the backbone of your business and need to be done so with care and consideration. Following the tips in this blog post you will have a clear method to use and better chance of success. Remember that not every product you pick will be a winner so spread your bets and never put all your eggs in one basket.
After you are comfortable with the range of products on offer, it's time to expand! Just repeat this process to increase your revenue month on month.
If you have any additional tips when choosing your products please comment below, whether it's market research, product selection or supplier secrets - I'd love to hear them.
Note: The views and opinions of the author may not represent the views and opinions of SaleHoo.