Since the advent of the internet, many of our shopping habits have moved online, and so — unsurprisingly — have many retailers, including behemoths like Amazon. But you don’t have to own a gigantic company to succeed online. Even a single-person business can make a livelihood on the internet.
However, to join the online retail game, you must make a vitally important business decision: what product (or products) do you want to sell?
If picking your product stumps you, try these strategies to find the right product for your online venture.
Solve a Problem
We all know that hate is the flip side of love. With that in mind, then, ask yourself what really gets your blood boiling or at least annoys you enough to buy a product that would fix the problem.
Customized entry keys are an excellent example of a product that solves a problem. The creators understood the aggravation of fiddling with keys while trying to find the right one. The solution? Specially-manufactured keys with customized tops like stars, houses, or hearts. Consumers now had an easy visual cue for their keys.
Another online seller got sick of drying to dunk Oreos into a glass of milk, so he created a handle that perfectly held an Oreo during the dunking process. His invention solved a very simple problem, but people loved the solution enough to pay money for it.
Take inventory of your pet peeves and identify potential solutions. You might be able to market an invention for those simple fixes.
Find an Accessory-Heavy Niche
When shopping for a big-ticket item like a TV or laptop, consumers may spend weeks in diligent research, trying to find the perfect product that satisfies every single one of their needs. And why wouldn’t they? If they have to drop major cash on an item, it makes sense to spend the appropriate amount of time in research. However, all that scrutiny makes them careful about what they spend.
In contrast, those same consumers can drop $30 on an HDMI cord or a pair of headphones without blinking an eye. Accessories often have a much larger profit margin per product because people don’t scrutinize them as much as they would a big-ticket product.
Additionally, consumers have to replace accessories far more often than a TV or laptop, which means you’ll acquire returning customers more easily.
Capitalize on a Hobby
Consumers put their money where their passion is. This is why people spend so much on their hobbies.
Cycling enthusiasts, for example, often spend more money on a bike than they do on a car. A typical cyclist may spend hundreds of dollars on low-weight accessories if it will help them with better aerodynamics.
The point is, hobby products almost market themselves. Look into different hobbies and find out what accessories have the best profit margin.
Take Advantage of Replenishing Supplies
It’s a truism that it’s more challenging (and cost-intensive) to attract a new customer than it is to sell products to a returning customer. If you sell only super-durable items, count on trying to attract new customers all the time. Or mix in some products that require periodic replenishment.
Makeup is a perfect example of an industry/product that understands this concept. Everyone who uses makeup knows they’ll have to replace their makeup eventually. And once a consumer finds a brand or product they love, they become incredibly loyal. If a tube of mascara lasts 3 months and the customer enjoys the product, you can expect another purchase after 3 months rolls around.
Note: This only works for items that SHOULD wear out or run out. If your product wears out or stops working before the expected amount of time has passed, you run the risk of developing a bad reputation for low-quality products.
Location, Location, Location
When you shop online, you have the ability to purchase products you might normally travel to find without leaving the comfort of your own home. Therefore, online sales work best when a customer finds it simpler to get the product from you rather than driving to the store. With this in mind, don’t try to sell generic items that people could easily pick up at the local Wal-Mart.
For example, if you needed a gardening hose, you might easily stop by Wal-Mart on the way home from work. But if you want a cupcake-shaped cake pan, you’d likely start your search online.
Unique, hard-to-find items are the internet’s bread and butter. Make sure that your product is common enough for there to be a need, but unique enough that you wouldn’t find it in local stores.
Consistency Is Key
Your product should be in demand year-round. While you may enjoy raking in the dough in November and December when people want your specialized Christmas ornaments, you’ll have a rough time for the rest of the year when people don’t care as much. You need something else for them to care about.
Additionally, your product should have a long shelf life. iPhone cases, for example, will drop in value after the release of a new model, but consumers will need headphones for every model.
Picking the right product can seem like a daunting task, but if you follow the guidelines listed above, you won’t have any trouble finding the perfect product to sell. Check out online shopping sites like Etsy and eBay to get an idea of pricing and other seller hints. Happy selling!