Thinking of starting an eCommerce business? But don’t know how to find a profitable product to sell online? Choosing the right product will go a long way in deciding the success of your eCommerce business. This is why you should take your time in researching and evaluating the profitability of a product.
Before I started affiliate marketing,I started an eCommerce business by selling on Amazon. However,that was a big failure, I failed for a variety of reasons,but the biggest one was not having the right product to sell online.
I spent a long time researching, but I didn’t follow the advice I was getting, I only researched stuff that I was interested in and stuff I thought would make me rich quick.
Despite my initial failure, I do intend to start an eCommerce business again and that is the reason why I regularly research products to sell online.
My ongoing research has taught me a lot of lessons and provided me with a process that lets me find potential products that I could start selling.
It’s really important to have a good process in place,otherwise just randomly surfing the depths of the worldwide web for a great idea will take forever.
One of the biggest lessons I learned is to keep things simple and this is true when searching for a product to sell.
After reading countless guides and attending a lot of webinars,I keep it very simple and research via the methods outlined below.
- Keyword Research
- Amazon Best Seller Rank
- eBay most watched products
- Online gift shops
- Consumer trends
Research requires a lot of time and effort and you will find that many of your original ideas are not worth pursuing.
Whether that is because there is no market for it, or the competition may be too tough, you will have to brainstorm several ideas before you come across your golden goose.
Before I list the several methods to come up with good ideas, it should be mentioned that there are successful entrepreneurs that are selling things that would never have come across research.
For instance, storegecko listed a collection of successful eCommerce stores that are selling weird stuff that would never have been thought of during research.
Many times it’s just an epiphany that occurs to people and an idea starts brewing from there.
Take for example potatoparcel, this company which was founded by 24-year-old Alex Craig from Dallas, Texas, sold potatoes with personalised messages on them. Weird? Definitely and he sold it four months later for $40000.
Or Petrock that sells rocks as your personal pets!! Hm weird but the website gets 20000 monthly hits, so there is a market for it.
So even though research is important and plays a vital role in your success, sometimes thinking outside the box will be more rewarding.
So one of the most popular ways of finding products to sell online and ones that have market demand is through keyword research. This is basically figuring out what people are searching for on the popular search engines like Google and Bing.
I mentioned that I wanted to open an e-commerce store when I first looked into running an online business. Well in my research phase I started looking into sports equipment/products as one of my favourite hobbies is watching sports.
So I started looking into golf equipment, I did a lot of keyword research in this area.
As it turned out, there were decent search volumes for different golf equipment.
The great thing about golfing equipment is that they are not seasonal,this means they are popular all year round and would make a great product selection to sell online.
These are the keywords I found. They total over 50,000 monthly searches and these keywords have related keywords that will reveal further search volumes.
By the way, this is a great niche to start an affiliate marketing business too, golfing equipment is expensive and so the commission will be good.
This is why keyword research is so important and not just for e-commerce but affiliate marketing too. I’ll give you one more example of a sporting niche that has a pretty high search volume and low competition.
The results below, as you can see are for search terms related to basketball, specifically Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Lebron James and their clothing line.
Although the competition is weak, buying these expensive products to sell would not be viable if you don’t have much capital, to begin with.
However, for items like popular branded shoes or clothing, affiliate marketing or dropshipping would the be the best option.
Of course, knowing that these items have a large search volume,you can always produce your own line of accessories and clothing with the names or images of these sporting legends.
This is called print on demand and works best with dropshipping.
One of the best tools for keyword research used to be Googles own keyword planner, however, you will have to have an active AdWords account to use it now.
There are alternatives that will provide the same data and more.
I use Wealthy Affiliates own keyword research tool but there are other really good tools that are free or relatively cheap.
Keywordshitter is a free tool that gives you monthly search volume and a score of how competitive the keyword is.
Jaaxy is the best value for money keyword research tool, they have a free trial and two paid options.
One other keyword tool that is cheaper than most is kwfinder, it’s pretty fast and gives a lot of data to analyse which keywords will be easy to rank.
So keyword research is just one method to uncover potential products you can source to start an e-commerce business. It is probably the most comprehensive and the one that can provide you with a lot of data to assess your options.
However, there are other ways that will allow you to uncover potential products you can sell.
2.Amazons BSR ( Best Seller Rank)
If you’re going to start an e-commerce business, you will do well to see what is selling really well on the biggest e-commerce platform.
And if you are going to be using Amazon’s platform to sell, then analysing what is selling well on Amazon is a no-brainer.
One of the best ways to find out what is selling well on Amazon is analysing their best seller rank. Every department has a list of the top 100 selling items and it gets updated hourly.
Before I go on and show you how to analyse Amazons best selling products list,you should be aware of what kind of products to avoid selling on Amazon.
If you are thinking of selling on Amazon, try and avoid the following products,as my research tells me they are tough to crack because of fierce competition and Amazons own policies.
- Electronic/mechanical products
- Branded Products
- Fragile products
- Products with large number of reviews
Just a side note,I am not saying you cannot make money from these products,you most probably can.However, if you are starting as a new seller on Amazon,it will be best to stay away from these products for a greater chance of success.
So,how do you analyse Amazons best seller rank and try and find profitable products to sell?
Well,there is a fantastic free tool by the creators of Jungle Scout that will provide you with an estimate of a products potential sales per month based on its BSR rank.
For anyone not familiar with Jungle Scout,it is a brilliant piece of software that will let you research the best selling products on the Amazon marketplace.
It is a paid product,however, they do provide lots of free resources and one of them is a tool that will generate a monthly sales estimate from Amazons bestseller rank.
For example,below is the sales rank data for a mini golf putting set.
The BSR on this product is 7740,now if I go over to the free monthly sales generator tool provided by Jungle Scout and enter this number under the category of toys & games, I get the following monthly sales estimate;
456 sales per month on a simple mini golf game is pretty good,the price of the product is $14.89,multiply that by the number of sales per month and the gross revenue is $6789.84.
To get an estimate of the net revenue,I went and searched on Alibaba for a similar product and actually found one that cost $2 per set.
After Amazon fees,the net revenue is $10.66,that is over 70% profit. Although I didn’t account for shipping costs from China,however even after these costs and maybe a bit of advertising,you are looking at a 50% profit margin.
Using this process you can start getting an idea if your product has potential or not.
This process is much easier if you have the Jungle Scout App,with it you get far more sales data including competitor analysis.
If you are thinking of selling on Amazon,it will greatly help you choose a product to sell.
3.eBay Market Research
eBay is another platform where you can start an e-commerce business, it is the world’s biggest auction site. Finding profitable niches isn’t as straightforward as finding one on Amazon.
They don’t have a best seller list like Amazon, you can look through products and see how many items they have sold or how many people are watching an item.
Finding a product this way would take forever.However, there is a software that makes it easier to research products on eBay.
There is an eBay market research tool that will provide you with a lot of information about products that are selling well. Terapeak is officially endorsed by eBay but not created by them.
I have actually used it and it is a really powerful tool, amongst other metrics, it provides you with what search items are getting the most conversions, how to advertise and how to increase your conversions.
It’s a paid tool but there is a free trial and if you are thinking of selling on eBay, it is a tool that will increase your chances of finding a profitable niche.
You can read my full review of Terapeak and see what other features it offers.
Watchcount is a really popular website where you can research the most popular items on eBay. As the name suggests,you can see how many people are keeping an eye on a product.
This will give you an idea of what sells well on eBay or what kind of items consumers are showing an interest in and help you in finding a profitable product to sell.
4.Online Gift Shops
I actually came across these sites whilst doing keyword research on the search term ‘golfing gifts’ (a term that gets searched over 22,000 times a month).
Products on these sites cannot be found in major online retailers and they are a great resource for product research.
One of the sites I came across that gave me plenty of product ideas is notonthehighstreet.com,it is full of unique product ideas,many of which get a decent amount of search volume every month.
For example, they have a personalised gift section in which you can purchase gifts based on interests and personalise them.
I found a few product ideas from this section alone.
For example, I found these great golfing gift ideas;
- Personalised golf gifts
- Personalised golf balls
- Personalised tees
- Personalised golf towel
- Personalised golf ball markers
I am sure if I searched other areas other sports,I would find even more product ideas,here are a few other stores you can research for unique product ideas.
Other ways to find products is to follow websites that analyse consumer product trends. These can give you ideas of where consumer trends are heading and what products are starting to trend.
Armed with data of what’s trending in the consumer world can provide insights into new products that you may not have thought of before. Also getting an early start in promoting new product lines means a greater chance of success because of the low competition.
These are so e of the websites that follow trends in the consumer market.
Of course, you should also keep a keen eye on the major social networks and see if any products are trending on those platforms.
Sourcing the products.
Whether you are going to stock inventory or dropship, you will need to find suppliers to source your products from.
Finding a reputable wholesaler/manufacturer is probably one of the most time-consuming tasks. As I came to realise, most of the trusted wholesalers do not have good functioning websites.
The websites you do find on Google search are sites that charge you for access to their database of wholesalers and manufacturers. And many of them are not very trustworthy.
There are some trustworthy sites I came across and I have listed them below,I will update the list if I find others.
Salehoo.com (Mainly US)
Worldwidebrands.com (Mainly US)
Of course, many eCommerce store owners find it cheaper to source from China. Alibaba is the premier place most people go to find and source their products.
However, there are alternatives like those listed below.
Sourcing products can be time-consuming and many times quite stressful, I didn’t even contact any suppliers but just looking for the right products was tiresome.
It’s why you should always seek help from those who have walked that path, there is a wealth of information and guidance to start an eCommerce business.
I have listed my method of researching products to sell online,there are plenty of other ways which I have not mentioned.
However, I am sure you will find potential product ideas by following what I have laid out in this guide.
If you are looking to start an eCommerce business,I would advise you to find a proven training program that shows you the how to start one.
There are other resources and training programmes. Some of these cost quite a sum, however there many websites which provide a lot of information regarding niche research, sourcing products and other
The website below are the ones I used to go visit regularly when I was thinking of opening up an eCommerce business,
I hope they help you.