Ecommerce How to Find the Best Products to Sell Online: Product Research Guide
Find best selling products, how to find the best products to sell online

How to Find the Best Products to Sell Online: Product Research Guide

Finding a product to sell online can seem like an overwhelming task and many entrepreneurs find themselves lost at this stage. I have put together some strategies and research tips to help aspiring entrepreneurs find a product or niche, so they can get started with their online business.

Tips to find profitable products

When looking for a product to sell online, you want to find products that will make recover your costs and give you a comfortable profit on top, whilst still being reasonable.

Look for products that you can sell for between $10 – $40, but keep in mind that the more expensive a product is, the more it costs to produce. To start out, try looking for products that sell for around $10 whilst costing under $1.

Another good tip is to look for products that will give you at least 3x profit margin, so if you find a product that costs $2, aim to sell it for at least $6.

Remember, you need your product to cover your production, shipping, marketing and customer delivery costs, whilst still giving you enough profit to grow and expand.

When it comes to the types of products you want to sell, look for lightweight products without a lot of moving parts, there’s two reasons for this:

  1. Lightweight products cost less to ship than heavier products, you’ll save even more on shipping if the product is small too.
  2. The more simple a product is, the less chance there is for it to have a fault or defect, which means less returns and refunds. Also simpler products are cheaper to replace, allowing you to send out replacements when customers genuinely order a faulty product.

Examples of lightweight and simple products include:

  • Screen protectors for smartphones
  • Yoga pants and leggings
  • Yoga mats and blocks
  • Pet nail clippers

Some online sellers choose to avoid electronic products due to a higher risk of faults and damage, however you don’t have to do this. There are a lot of simple electronics like charging cables, charging plugs, fitness trackers etc. which won’t have a big problem with defects as long as you properly audit your suppliers, which we will look later in this guide.

Now that we have covered the basics of finding a profitable profit, lets move onto the actual product research strategies themselves.

Amazon method

The first method we are going to look at that is great for finding products to sell online is researching best selling products on Amazon. A lot of times, people come up with product ideas and try to sell those products online without validating demand for the product.

A better strategy is to find a product or niche of products that are already making a lot of sales and generating profits for the sellers, then you test that product yourself.

Using this method you’ll take profitable Amazon products and make them stand out by improving the product or through branding, different materials, styles and sizes.

Find profitable products using Amazon

To find out which products on Amazon are actually making money for their sellers, first lets go to the Amazon Best Sellers page. On this page you will see the best selling Amazon products, updated every hour.

Amazon best selling products

To refine your search, you can click on one of the product categories on the left, for this example I’m going to choose the “Pet Supplies” category. When browsing through product categories you can go into subcategories for more specific product choices.

Remember to look for products that sell for at least $10 up to around $40, you also want to pick a product that is small and lightweight.

Once you have found your product click on the product page. I chose the dog nail clippers since its priced at $12.99, it’s also small and doesn’t look heavy.

Once you are on the product page, take note of the keywords in the title, this lets you know the main advantages of the product. Next look at the number of reviews and answered questions, the dog nail clippers have over 8,000 product ratings and 100 answered questions.

Dog nail clippers I found on Amazon whilst doing product research

This shows that the dog nail clippers are in very high demand, you can also look through the questions to see what concerns customers have about the product.

If a certain feature, style, size or color has been asked about a lot of times take note of it, bonus points if the product itself does not have those highly requested features, this is a gap you can fill in yourself.

The next step checking the “Best Seller Rank” (BSR) for the product, scroll down to “Product Details” where you see this information.

Amazon best sellers rank and reviews for dog nail clipper

As you can see the number of customer reviews is just over 6,000 instead of the higher 8,000 “ratings”. This is because product reviews are different to product ratings.

Product ratings are the star ratings customers leave after purchasing a product, a review is information about the product left by the customer.

You can also see that the best seller rank for the dog clippers is #24 in the “Pet Supplies” category and #1 in “Dog Claw Care”.

These dog nail clippers must be selling extremely well to reach such a high BSR in both categories, it is Top 100 (#24) in the main category and Number 1 in the subcategory.

Having a Best Seller Rank of #24 is a clear indication that we are looking at a high performing product, however I wanted to know how many monthly sales a product of this rank would generate.

So I used Jungle Scout’s Amazon Sales Estimator, which showed me that a product with a BSR of #24 in the “Pet Supplies” category, selling in the USA gets about 15,000 sales a month (500 sales a day).

JungleScout Amazon Sales Estimator

I wanted to find out how this tool works, so I reached out to the Jungle Scout team and they gave me a detailed rundown of how their sales estimates are produced.

Jungle Scout collect over 500 million data points everyday including:

  • Data from Amazon’s Best Seller Rank algorithm (BSR) which they reverse engineered
  • Inventory levels for each seller
  • Prices for each product
  • Number of orders per month
  • Product category & sub-category rankings
  • Amazon marketplace locations
  • Sales data from Amazon sellers who have opted in to share their information

This data is part of what makes up their AccuSales algorithm which estimates the monthly sales of tens of millions of products listed on Amazon marketplaces.

They also have a team of full time developers and data scientists who work on analyzing the acquired data and turning it into the sales estimates found in Jungle Scout software.

You can read more about how their AccuSales algorithm works here: Accurate Amazon Sales Data.

The Jungle Scout team also gave me a link to a 2018 case study which evaluated the accuracy of their sales estimates against similar tools, if you want to see the results of the study you can read it here: The 2018 Amazon Sales Estimate Accuracy Case Study.

After the very assuring conversation I had with the Jungle Scout team, I went on to estimate monthly sales for the following BSR’s in Pet Supplies, selling on Amazon USA:

  • BSR 10,000 – 480 sales a month.
  • BSR 5,000 – 900 sales a month.
  • BSR 3,000 – 1,410 sales a month.
  • BSR 2,000 – 1,920 sales a month.
  • BSR 1,000 – 3,060 sales a month.
  • BSR 500 – 4,560 sales a month.
  • BSR 250 – 6,450 sales a month.
  • BSR 100 – 9,450 sales a month.
  • BSR 50 – 12,060 sales a month.
  • BSR 25 – 14,820 sales a month.
  • BSR 10 – 18,660 sales a month.
  • BSR 5 – 21,600 sales a month.
  • BSR 2 – 25,380 sales a month.
  • BSR 1 – 28,140 sales a month.

Judging by these stats I recommend looking for products with BSR between 1-1,000, but any product with a sales rank up to 10,000 is still worth considering.

Please keep in mind that the AccuSales algorithm is regularly updated and Amazon sales volume does fluctuate daily, so the numbers might be different by the time you see this.

Also, remember that these stats are for the Pet Supplies category in the American (US) Amazon Marketplace, so you need to generate your own estimations based on the categories you choose as well as the country you plan to sell in. You can give the tool a try yourself here: Amazon Sales Estimator.

Look at similar product listings

Now that we found a potential product to sell, we need to see if the competition are profiting from this product as well. This will show us if the product has enough demand for a new seller to enter the market.

To do this, type your product name into the Amazon search bar and do an Amazon search. Next look for similar product listings and check their best seller rank, number of reviews and questions answered.

Start with listings on the first page and look and some listings on the second page too. Remember, if the best seller rank is under 10,000 then the product is doing an okay amount of sales a day, but the lower the BSR number the better.

So the product I am going to search for is “dog nail clippers”. The new listings I found contained keywords like “cat’s nail clipper” and “pet’s nail clipper”. Whilst dog owners make up the majority of the buyers (due to “dog” being the most common keyword) it is still good to look at listings which include keywords that target other suitable customers.

The first competitor listing I saw had a BSR of #246 for the “Pet Supplies” category and a BSR of #4 in the “Dog Claw Care” category. This listing also had 1,394 customer reviews.

Amazon Best Seller Rank for dog nail clippers on page 1

Running the BSR rank through the Amazon Sales Estimator gives me the following sales estimate for the main category:

  • BSR Rank 246 in Pet Supplies = 6,510 sales per month/217 sales per day
Note: The sales estimator only calculates sales for the main category. Sub-category ranks are not calculated, presumably since there are thousands so it wouldn’t be convenient for users to scroll through each one.

All together, these are very impressive results for a competing listing where the product was literally identical to the original.

There was a lot of listings to go through so I scrolled down and clicked onto page 2, I wanted to see how listings with lower visibility performed.

The next listing I chose had a BSR of #5,122 in the “Pet Supplies” category, #206 in “Dog Grooming Supplies” and #10 in the “Cat Claw Care” category. This listing also had 590 customer reviews.

Amazon Best Seller Rank for dog nail clippers on page 2

Running the BSR rank through the Amazon Sales Estimator gives me the following sales estimate for the main category:

  • BSR Rank 5,122 in Pet Supplies = 900 sales per month/30 sales per day

With a BSR higher than 10,000 for the main category, and a BSR of #206 and #10 for the subcategories, this shows me the product is selling good, even for sellers with lower visibility than those on the first page.

I’m happy and confident with the data I have found, the 3 listings were literally identical, down to the color. An attractive online store, an additional color option, better marketing and a free add-on will be enough to compete.

Related products

Before we look for a supplier, now is a good chance to look for related products to research or sell, this way we can build a business around the niche itself. You can also do this if you just want to discover more popular products in your niche.

When looking for products to sell, I advise you to choose one or two products to sell at first, you don’t want to spread yourself too thin, plus your first order will be a test order so you want to limit potential losses.

To discover more popular products, click on the Amazon search bar and type in the main keyword related to your product or niche. In my case I typed in the word “dog”.

When you type in your keyword you will see a drop down prediction menu with related products that customers have been searching for the most.

best selling dog products on Amazon

As you can see “dog bed” is right at the top, followed by “dog nail clippers” and dog food. I’m going to ignore the dog food since food products are more difficult to sell than non-food items.

So instead I can note down “dog nail grinder, “dog crate”, “dog gate” and “dog food storage container”. If I want to research these products later I’ll just repeat the process I used for the “dog nail clippers”.

When you type in your keyword you can use words from the category itself, for example in my case I could type in “pet” or even “cat”. If you were researching baby thermomaters for example you can type in “baby” or “toddler” (a related term).

If you were researching screen protectors (smartphone accessories) you could type in “iPhone”, “Pixel”, “Galaxy” or “Samsung”.

Finding a supplier

Now that you have a product you want to test, the next step is to find a supplier. Head to Alibaba.com and search for your product.

When searching fro your product, you should see an option to only show “Verified Suppliers”, click on the box next to that option so more trusted suppliers are shown in the results.

Ticking the verified supplier box on alibaba search page
I’ve grayed out the rest of the search page so the “verified supplier” box stands out.

When looking for a price, remember to look for a price that allows you to make at least 3x profit on your sales. You want a product that can cover it’s costs and still give you a healthy profit.

“You make your money when you buy your product, not when you sell it.” – HomeGrown Income

In my case, since the product sells for around $10-$12 I’ll need a buying price no higher than $4, at the same time I want to maximize my returns so I’ll shop around for the best deal I can find.

I found some dog nail clippers for under $1 and it looks like they come with a free dog nail file. Thats two birds killed with one stone; a low price (10x profit) and a free add-on.

Finding dog clippers to sell online using Alibaba search

The supplier is verified, has been active for 2 years and has successfully completed over $180,000 in transactions. The actual transaction amount is actually a lot higher since Alibaba only shows transactions completed through it’s Trade Assurance system, orders done by PayPal and Bank Transfer are not recorded.

Once you have found a good listing, click on it to view more detailed information. On he listing page you want to take note of the MOQ and the prices based on the quantity.

Alibaba product listing for dog nail clippers

MOQ stands for Minimum Order Quantity and for my product there is a low MOQ of 2-149 pieces which is perfect for testing. However if I want to add my logo and customize the packaging the MOQ is 1000 pieces.

Since I want to test the product I won’t need to worry about customization at this stage, I can rely on company branding and an attractive website for the mean time.

Now looking at the prices we can see that 2-149 pieces is $0.88 each. There are two colors available (red & blue) and 100 pieces would cost me $88 each, so 88 x 2 = $176 for a test order of 200 pieces.

If I sell those 200 pieces at $10 each that would earn me $880 and since a customized order of 1000 pieces only costs $650 ($0.65 a piece) I’ll have more than enough for a branded order.

Now that we have covered the Amazon method, lets look at how you can use AliExpress to find profitable products to sell.

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AliExpress method

Another great way to find profitable products to sell online is by browsing AliExpress, looking for best selling products and using the powerful dropshipping center to validate the products demand.

AliExpress is an online marketplace owned by Alibaba where suppliers can sell products to both businesses and consumers, unlike Alibaba which is purely a business-to-business (b2b) marketplace.

Finding top selling products on AliExpress

Go to AliExpress, then click on the “Categories” tab. Under “Categories” choose a category then click on a subcategory.

Note: You will need an AliExpress account to view any of their categories. You can sign up for an account or log in using a social network like Facebook, Google, Twitter or Instagram.
Looking for household products to sell via AliExpress

I chose the “Household Items” subcategory under the “Home, Pet and Appliances” main category.

After you have clicked on a category, you will see a list of products under that category, what you want to do next is sort each product by the number of orders placed. To do this go to “Sort by” and click on “Orders”.

AliExpress sort products by orders

Now the products will be shown based on the number of orders each one has, from the highest to the lowest. You want to look for a product that solves a problem, has high demand and can give you a profit margin of at least 3x the product cost.

AliExpress USB lighter with over 25,000 sales

I found a USB cigarette lighter with over 25,393 orders, judging from this I already know this product has good demand but I want to know how many units are sold everyday. To find out this information I’ll need to access the dropshipping center.

AliExpress’s dropshipping center lets you see detailed information about a product’s sales, from daily orders to product ratings and sales performance.

For some people the dropshipping center is already enabled on their AliExpress account, to access it, go to “Account” in the top right corner, then click on “My orders”.

AliExpress, go to account, then my orders.

On the next page click on the “Dropshipping center” tab.

Acess the AliExpress dropshipping center through AliExpress account

If the dropshipping center tab isn’t showing up on your account, this means you need to sign up for the service and agree to it’s terms & conditions to access it.

The sign up link is actually difficult to find by browsing AliExpress so I’ve added the direct link here for you. After agreeing to the terms you will taken straight to the AliExpress dropshipping center.

Once inside the dropshipping center you can use the service to analyze a products sales over time. To do this, click on “Product analysis” and in the “Product URL” box you need to add the URL of the product you want to analyze.

AliExpress dropshipper center, analyzing a product URL

So I am going to go back to product page for the USB cigarette lighter and copy the link in the top bar, next I go back to the dropshipping center and paste the link into the “Product URL” box. Once the link has been copied into the box, click “Analyze”.

After clicking the “Analyze” button you will see a chart showing you how many units the product has been selling everyday.

You want a product that has been selling at least 100-200 units per day. Continuous high order volume shows you that a product has consistent high demand.

If you have a product with a high number of total orders, yet the daily sales volume is low (under 100 units), this could mean the product was popular in the past and demand has died down. In this case you want to analyze similar products from different suppliers to see if this is a recurring pattern.

The USB cigarette lighter I chose is getting over 100 sales a day, peaking at 171 sales in the week before my analysis. However in the past few days before me analyzing the product, the sales have dropped slightly. Overall however, this product looks like a decent performer.

When analyzing products you’ll see a “Logistics Reliability” rating for the supplier. This information is vital if you want to dropship products from AliExpress, for example using Shopify and the free Oberlo app.

Higher Logistics Reliability ratings mean there’s a lower chance of problems with customer orders. Customers are more likely to receive products on time and less likely to receive a faulty product.

For the USB lighter, the logistics reliability is rated as “Below Average”, so if I wanted to dropship this product I would be better off looking for a supplier with a higher reliability rating.

Find profitable products via the “Hot Selling Items” section on AliExpress

Another very useful feature in the AliExpress dropshipping center is the “Hot Selling Items” section. This will suggest popular products for you to dropship from AliExpress.

To reach this section, click on “Find Products to sell” in your dropshipping center.

AliExpress hot selling products

The “Hot Selling Items” section will show you how many orders a product has, how many dropshipping orders it has and it’s product rating and sales performance. It will also give you the option to “Analyze” each product.

Sort the products by orders to find the best selling products with the highest order volume. Next, choose a product and click on the “Analyze” button.

I found a 3-in-1 magnetic charging cable with over 72,407 orders, a 4.8 product rating and “Good Performance” rating, so I’m going to analyze this product to see how many sales it get gets per day.

hot selling charging cable I found on AliExpress

On the analysis page I can see that this product is selling thousands of units everyday.

Just a few days ago it had 3,781 orders in one day.

AliExpress charging cable with thousands of orders in the past few days

A week before it had 5,323 orders in a single day.

AliExpress charging cable with a lot of orders in the past week

This is 30-50 times higher than my minimum of 100 orders per day so I know this product is generating a massive amount of money for it’s supplier.

With such a high number of orders this definitely a product worth testing. Next I’m going to do a quick search on Amazon to see how much it sells for.

Note: Amazon is a fast and easy way to check a products selling price. The price on Amazon is also sometimes the cheapest you can sell a product for, since Amazon customers prefer cheaper pricing. When you sell a product on your own store you can usually sell it for more than it would sell on Amazon.
3-in-1 charging cable on Amazon

As you can see, the 3-in-1 magnetic charging cable sells for $13.99 – $19.99 on Amazon. Compared to it’s buying price of $1.19 – $2.33 I could make 9-12x profit (rounded off from 8.57x and 11.75x). Now that’s how you find a winning product!

Once you have your winning product the next step is to choose a sourcing and fulfillment method. In the next section we’ll look at three different options in detail.

Buy wholesale, manufacture or dropship?

Now you should have some products that you want to test, the next time is choosing how to source them.

Buy your product wholesale

Buying your products wholesale is a very simple process. You buy your product directly from the manufacturers (or suppliers who act as middlemen) at a discounted rate, you then resell the product for profit at a higher price.

Buying wholesale has a lower barrier to entry than manufacturing since you are able to buy lower quantities of a product without being locked into a high MOQ (minimum order quantity).

When buying wholesale it’s always good to get samples to check the product quality, you can also ask your supplier to take pictures of the product before packing and shipping to ensure the wholesale order matches the quality of the sample.

Who’s It For:

Purchasing your products wholesale is a good option if you want to get started quickly, test new products or test a variety of different products.

However if you want to customize your products you will to have them manufactured instead, if you are dealing with a manufacturer and not a middleman this should be very simple to do when the time comes.

Manufacture your product

This is similar to the wholesale method, except in this case you are ordering large quantities or making changes to the product which require new batches to be manufactured.

When looking for a manufacturer you can source them domestically (in your own country) or internationally. Domestic manufacturers in general are more expensive, especially if you live in a western country like the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom.

More affordable manufacturers are usually found in countries like China, Taiwan or India. If you are looking to source an international manufacturer you’ll most likely use a service like Alibaba or AliExpress to get in touch with them directly.

Whilst owned by the same company, the biggest difference between Alibaba and AliExpress is that Alibaba is mainly intended for B2B transactions (business-to-business) whilst AliExpress also offers B2C transactions (business-to-consumer) as well as B2B transactions.

This is why you are more likely to find products with a MOQ of 1 unit on AliExpress, since overseas re-sellers sometimes use that platform to sell directly to consumers.

AliExpress is also useful for dropshipping, offering a dropshipping center and easily integrating with online dropshipping applications like Oberlo.

Manufacturing gives you the most freedom, at a higher cost

Manufacturing your product offers the most flexibility when it comes to branding and customization, most suppliers will add your logo to a product and it’s packaging for no extra charge as long as your order meets a certain MOQ. This MOQ could vary from 1,000 pieces to 20,000 pieces depending on the manufacturer so don’t be afraid to shop around.

If you want to make major changes to a product, for example change it’s shape, use a your own colors, custom materials etc. there will usually be what is called a “machine fee” or “open mould fee”. This is a fee you pay to create a new mould for the product design or a fee charged to use new settings on the machine used for making the products.

Depending on the complexity of the product this fee can vary from as low as $50 for leather wallets, $2,000 – $5,000 for phone cases and over $10,000 for more complex products. If you want to use a custom color for a product there isn’t always a fee, a lot of the time you just need to meet the MOQ requirements.

When manufacturing your own products you are free to source your own packaging supplier and even source different components and materials from other manufacturers if you are feeling ambitious.

Who’s it For:

Manufacturing is mainly for the business owners who want to sell their own unique products or modified versions of popular existing ones.

If you have a unique product idea this your best option, it’s also a good option for people who have market tested a product idea and want to start placing large orders.

It is important to have a good relationship with a manufacturer you plan to work with long term, some business owners even fly out to visit the factory and meet the manufacturers themselves. Whilst this is not necessary, it’s a good step towards building a working relationship.

For those who cannot travel, always be polite, patient and understanding when dealing with manufacturers, a little respect goes a long way.

Dropshipping your product

Dropshipping is where you sell products that do not actually own or keep in stock. When you work with a dropshipping partner this takes care of two processes at once: product acquisition and product fulfillment.

The dropship process works by you taking orders from your online store and passing it to your dropship partner. Your dropship partner then ships the product to your customer on your behalf. Throughout this process the supplier is never revealed to your customer.

A big benefit of dropshipping is that it allows you to offer a large selection of products without buying or managing any inventory. This also makes it great for testing new products since your product cost is basically zero.

If you decide to dropship your products, you can either work directly with manufacturers who offer dropshipping or you can use a dropship aggregator like Oberlo. A dropship aggreagator works with hundreds of manufacturers and makes it’s easy for business owners to sell products without having to maintain a relationship with each individual manufacturer.

For example if you wanted to dropship AliExpress products, you simply add the Oberlo app app to your Shopify store, then you install the Oberlo Chrome extension. Now you can search AliExpress for products you want to dropship and instantly add them to your store.

You can also use the Oberlo app itself to source products and dropship partners, there are thousands of products available and the app is free to use for up to 500 products with unlimited monthly orders.

Who’s It For:

Dropshipping is the cheapest option to get started selling online, if you want to keep startup costs as low as possible and you don’t want to store or manage inventory then this is a good option for you.

However if you want to use your own branded packaging, or you want to brand, modify or create your own products, then manufacturing or buying wholesale would be a better choice.

Inventory management

When you have decided on a product and supplier, the next step is inventory management and order fulfillment. You can choose to either stock and ship the products yourself or outsource the whole process by dropshipping or using a fulfillment center.

Fulfill your own orders

Self fulfillment is a good way to familiarize yourself with running an online business. You keep stock of the products yourself and once an order is placed on your online store, you package the product, print a shipping label and send it off to the customer.

You can fulfill orders by yourself or as part of a team and it important that you have enough space to store your inventory. You can use a spare room, a pantry or even empty space in any of the rooms in your house.

If you plan to dispatch orders yourself, here is a list of tools you’ll need:

  • A printer for printing the postage labels
  • Postal scales
  • Boxes or large mailer bags for packing your product
  • 2 pairs of scissors (a pair and a spare)
  • Lots of clear packaging tape
  • Tape dispenser for applying the tape
  • Self adhesive paper so the postage labels stick by themselves

Tips:

Find out the last delivery collection time for your local post office or courier, once you know this time you can bulk package your orders and drop them off in one go.

In the USA, final post collection times range from 4pm – 6pm for items shipped with USPS, so if you wanted to shipp all your orders in one go you should aim to get to your post office by 3:30pm to be safe.

In the UK, Royal Mail does its last post collection at 5:30pm from Monday – Friday for most parts of the UK. In major cities collections can be as late as 6:30pm but it’s better to aim for 5pm to be safe. On Saturdays Royal Mail does it last post collection at 1:30pm.

You don’t always have to aim for the latest collection, choose a a time that suits you and allows you to drop off as many orders as possible with the least amount of trips.

You can also arrange for your local post service or a courier company like FedEx or UPS to collect customer orders from your house every day. However this method is more profitable once you are selling a large number of products a day.

Pros:

  • Simple and straightforward
  • It’s a good way to become familiar with how an ecommerce business works
  • Physically seeing the number of orders can satisfying and motivating

Cons:

There are 2 main cons that come with this fulfillment method:

1. Space

Once you are selling hundreds to thousands of products per month, you will soon see yourself running out of space to store your inventory. To continue expanding your inventory you will need to either purchase warehouse space, use a fulfillment center or consider dropshipping some of your newer products.

2. Time

Packing and shipping customer orders yourself can take up valuable time that could have been used to expand your business. The time you spend preparing customer orders could of been spent researching new products, testing adverts or reaching out to retailers and influencers.

Outsource your shipping with a fulfillment center

If you don’t want to store and ship your products yourself you can use a fulfillment center to help you manage your inventory. Fulfilment centers are warehouses that can accept delivery either from you or directly from your supplier, they will then store and ship your products to customers for a fee.

Pricing depends on the fulfilment center itself, some of them charge per product shipped whilst others charge a monthly fee.

Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) for example will charge you a fee per order shipped. If you want to use FBA to fufill orders on a website other than Amazon you can access it through their Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) program, you can view a list of their fulfillment fees here.

A simple way to use MCF with Shopify is through the Auto Multi‑channel Fulfillment app.

If you want to learn more about using a fulfillment center for your online business, you can read Shopify’s guide on outsourcing fulfillment here.

Pros:

  • You don’t physically manage or ship any inventory, freeing up time to work on other parts of your business.
  • If you ship a lot of products per month this option could be cheaper than self-fulfillment.
  • The best fulfillment centers come with software which integrates with major ecommerce platforms.

Cons:

  • Some fulfillment centers may require a minimum amount of revenue or orders per month before you can sign up.
  • Depending on your fulfillment partner, on top of shipping your fees could include a monthly charge, picking, packaging and storage.

Dropship your orders

Another fulfilment option is one that has been mentioned a few times already in this post, dropshipping. When using the dropshipping method to fulfill orders, your supplier ships the product directly to your customer when they place an order on your site.

When you use Oberlo to dropship orders, you can send a note to your dropship suppliers every time an order is placed, for example you could write:

“I’m dropshipping. Please DO NOT put any invoices, promotions, your brand name or logo in the shipments. Please ship as soon as possible for repeat business. Thank you”

You add a note to your orders by going to Oberlo > Settings > Suppliers and scrolling down to the “Custom note” section and adding your note in the box.

Oberlo, add a custom note to your orders

Pros:

  • Very simple to get started
  • Low startup costs, free when you use Oberlo and list less than 500 products
  • Saves you time and money having to import, store and ship inventory
  • Easy and low cost way to test new products

Cons:

  • You have less control over customer deliveries, some suppliers can have longer delivery times or could make mistakes, which is why you should check for reliable suppliers using the AliExpress Dropshipping Center
  • You have no control over the suppliers inventory, if a product becomes popular overnight you could be subject to sudden stock shortages
  • No bulk pricing. When you buy wholesale or manufacture products you get a discount for buying large amounts of stock, but with dropshipping customers are buying individual pieces so you cannot get a bulk discount.

Create an online store

To sell your online product you’ll need an online store. To create an online shop you have a couple options:

Build an online store with Shopify – (or let us do that for you)

Requirements: Sign up for Shopify and start creating your store, if you need a step-by-step guide, read our tutorial here.

Build an online store with WordPress & WooCommerce – (or let us do that for you)

Requirements (This is for our more technical readers):

  • Sign up for managed web hosting with Kinsta (to handle your ecommerce store).
  • Get a domain name from Namecheap then transfer your domain to your Kinsta account.
  • Install WordPress, then install the free WooCommerce plugin and start building your store.
Note: You can get WordPress online shop themes from Template Monster and Theme Forest.

Dropship with Shopify and Oberlo

Requirements: Sign up for Shopify, install the Oberlo app and start importing products. If you want to import products directly from AliExpress, add the Oberlo Chrome extension to your browser too.

Add pages and products to your store

Once you’ve created and customized your store, you simply need to add or import your products. You should also add the following pages to your store:

  • About us
  • Contact us
  • Shipping policy

If you need a free template for an “about us” and “shipping policy” page, subscribe to our newsletter below to get instant access to these templates and future resources.

Market your product

Once you have built your online store, you want to get your product (or products) in front of the right faces. Below are some marketing strategies to promote your online store.

Facebook Ads & Facebook Business Page

Facebook Ads let you target potential customers based on their age, gender, location, behaviors, interests, liked pages and more options. To run Facebook Ads you need to create a Facebook Business Page for your store then use the Ad Center to create your ads.

When creating your adverts you have an option to create an audience, this where you get to define your target audience based on their age, behaviors, location and other criteria.

Once you’ve created an ad, you can choose to run your ads continuously or for a set period of time. You can also set a daily budget for your ad, which will give you an estimation of how many impressions or visitors you’ll receive based on your audience size and daily budget.

I recommend running two adverts, one to advertise your Facebook and another one to drive visitors to your online store. If you are working with a small budget, for your adverts, set a daily budget $10 – $30 with a maximum budget of $300 – $1,200.

For those of you working with a larger budget, I recommend spending $1 a day for every 1,000 people in your audience. So if your audience size is 3 Million you would spend $3,000 a day, if your audience size is 300,000 you would spend $300 a day and so on.

This might look like a lot, but online businesses actually spend a lot more than that everyday on advertising.

To attract Facebook users to your FB Page it’s best to create a page based around your niche. For example if you are selling baby clothes, most of your posts should be funny baby videos, tips for new parents or baby memes.

For every promotional post you make, I recommend making at least 3-5 non-promotional posts, this way you are providing your followers with a lot of value instead of just spamming them with constant promotions.

You can compare this to the ads you see on TV. For a 30 minute TV show you get 24-27 minutes of content and the remaining minutes are used for advertising.

The aim of your Facebook page is to attract engaged followers who could go on to share and promote your page to other Facebook users. Stick with engaging, interesting and even funny content with some promotional content sprinkled in between your regular posts.

YouTube marketing

There are many ways you can use YouTube to promote your product, you can use product reviews, sponsored videos and YouTube ads. Product reviews are the easiest and least expensive method to promote your product.

Look for reviewers who get at least 100,000 views to make it worth your time, once you’ve found a YouTuber, get their email address from the “About” section of their profile and send an email. In your email offer to send in your product for review and offer a fee of $100 – $250 depending on the number of views they get on average.

When sending payment to a reviewer always use PayPal and never mark the transaction as a gift so you are covered by PayPal’s buyer protection.

The next method is sponsored videos which are usually more expensive, especially when dealing with YouTuber’s who get millions of views per video. When looking for YouTuber’s to sponsor, look for up-and-coming YouTuber’s who are more likely to accept a sponsorship fee in the range of a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

YouTube video ads are another way to promote your product to YouTube viewers. Using YouTube video campaigns you can target viewers based on the following options:

  • Demographics – Target users based on age, gender, location or more detailed demographics like homeowners or new parents.
  • Interests – Choose from different audience categories to reach people interested in certain topics.
  • Video remarketing – Target viewers based on previous interactions with your videos, ads or YouTube channel.
  • Placements – Target channels, videos, apps, websites or placements within websites.
  • Topics – Target topics when creating video ads, for example if you target the “Automotive” topic, then your ad will be shown to people on YouTube watching videos about cars.
  • Keywords – Use keywords or phrases to target viewers.
  • Devices – Target users based on the devices they’re using i.e. smartphones, PC’s or TV screens.

Influencer marketing

Finding popular social media influencers and getting them to promote your products is a good way to gain new customers for your online store. Fashion Nova and Boohoo are well known for using Instagram influencers to promote their clothing lines.

To succeed using this strategy you need to find social media users with a large and engaged following. Once you have found your chosen influencer, send them a DM (Direct Message/Private Message) and offer them a fee for them to promote your product.

Instagram promotions for example can cost you $25-$50 for an influencer with 100,000 followers. You can buy an all-day story promo, an all-day post promo or a combination of both. Get negotiating using this example’s pricing as a reference.

Every time your fee gets rejected, ask for a counter offer and make a note of all the prices you receive, add them all up and divide the answer by the number of quotes you have. This will give you the a rough average price for you to refine your pitch.

For example, lets say you got 6 Counter offers:

60 + 70 + 90 + 60 + 60 + 55 = 395. 395/6 = 65.8

$66 is the average so you can round it off to $65 or $70 and use that as your new offer when approaching influencers if your current offer isn’t as successful.

When scouting for influencers, you want to use social networking sites that attract the kind of users who would buy your product. To help you with this I have listed some social media sites and the best niches for each one.

Instagram:

  • Health & fitness
  • Fashion & clothing
  • Beauty products
  • Animal & pet products
  • Lifestyle & travel products

Facebook:

  • Technology & electronics
  • Smartphone & tablet accessories
  • Health & fitness
  • Fashion & clothing
  • Animal & pet products
  • Lifestyle & travel products
  • Beauty products

Pinterest:

  • Food
  • Home and bedroom products
  • Kitchen products
  • Handmade goods
  • Travel goods and accessories
  • Diet & fitness

As you have noticed, I haven’t included Twitter in the list. The best social media sites for promoting physical products are the ones which are highly visual.

This is why I have listed Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest. Twitter is a more text focused website, plus memes and news make up the majority of images and videos posted on there.

Conclusion

Product research doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult, with the strategies outlined in this guide you should be able to find and test winning products for your online store.

Taking already successful products, testing and then improving them is a method that many successful businesses, from small to large, still use to bring new products to market. If you can innovate on an existing product or add a new color, shape or style to it, this gives you access to a bigger slice of the market pie.

I hope you found this guide helpful, if you did, share it with anyone you know who could benefit from these lessons. If you have any questions leave us a comment.

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Founder @ HomeGrown Income. I create educational resources and provide startup services for business owners.

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