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The first step to starting a profitable eCommerce business is choosing the right product to sell.
If you are ready to start an online business, you might be wondering what are the best products to sell online to make money?
There certainly is a huge number of possibilities, but narrowing them down is not as difficult as you might think if you stick to key points.
Sometimes inspiration can hit from real life, like it did with Sweet & Spark when they started a very successful business selling jewelry products.
But sometimes there are just too many ideas! So what should you do when looking for a product to sell online?
The first thing you should do is research. Look into product options for selling. Brainstorm a bunch of ideas and then learn everything you can about them.
Use the product selling guide below to help you know what to look for and how to evaluate the best products to sell online.
Here is what to look for when choosing the best products to sell online and some specific examples:
You should definitely understand the profit margin on a product before you launch an online business. If the cost of goods you will have in something vs. the price you can sell it for only leaves a few cents of profit it won’t be worth your time.
As a first-time online retailer, you may feel that you want to sell a product you personally love or use. But you should approach everything from a smart business sense. Don’t just choose something that you love for the sake of that alone.
Choose a product that you are going to make several dollars on each time you sell it! Ideally, you can find a product you feel passionate about that also has a good potential profit margin.
Make it worth your while, and increase your chances of strong revenue and success. Review what wholesalers are selling products for vs. what you can charge consumers.
Find an item that has an inherently good margin so that you can pocket the most profit possible on each sale.
Here are a few top products you can sell online that are high in profitability:
- Beauty Products
- Kid’s Toys
- Phone Accessories
- Pet Care Supplies
Do some research on products to sell online before you choose one. Figure out what is popular so that you can sell a product with built-in demand.
There is a list below of some of the most popular products to sell online which we have compiled for you. But you can also do some of your own in-depth research on hot products to sell.
Online sites to help research product popularity
You should also use google to research popular products to sell online. Once you have a list of potential product options, run them through Google Trends.
This will show you how many people are searching for that product! Figuring out what products are in high demand will help set your business up for success.
You can plug in your favorite potential products to sell online and compare the search volume for each to get an idea of the available market and potential sales volume. Check out this in-depth article on how to calculate market demand.
One thing to keep in mind when researching products is customer pain points. If you can sell a product that solves a problem for your customer’s it will have some inherent value and popularity.
If you are really stuck even coming up with product ideas in the first place, read this article on 17 places to look for product ideas from Shopify.
A few of the most popular items to sell right now:
- Subscription Boxes
- Skin Care
- Fashion and Clothing (T-shirts are a hot item!)
- Yoga Mats
- Face Masks
- Water Bottles
- Exercise Bands
- Laptop skins
- Board Games
*Bonus tip: If you have found some popular products, do some research on “related products.” It will potentially expand the options for you. You may be able to find a product you love that is also profitable and popular!
Niche and Unique Items
Choosing a niche product can actually be smart for business. While the target market might be smaller, they are usually highly engaged. Plus, it makes marketing to a specific group of people more cost-efficient with better ROI.
In addition, a niche market may have less competition, making it easier for you to create a volume of product sales.
Here are 3 niche products to sell online:
A good example of a niche product is shapewear which you probably already know is tight fitting undergarments that can help slim you. Spanx is the most recognizable name in the industry.
This industry is on the rise and expected to continue to grow. According to Grandview Research, the global shapewear market size was estimated at 2.43 billion USD in 2019 and is expected to reach 2.62 billion USD in 2020. So there is plenty of room for sales!
All-natural beauty products
There has been an increase in awareness and concern over toxins in food and now in beauty products. People want to use products that are safe and healthy to use.
The nice thing about the all-natural niche, is there are a lot of available options. You can focus on skin care, or makeup, whatever you are most interested in. If you want to be really adventurous, create your very own line of all-natural beauty products or skin care!
Another niche product that is a good choice for selling right now is anything eco-friendly. With climate change becoming increasingly obvious, many consumers are trying to purchase more responsibly.
Eco-friendly water bottles, cleaning supplies or even solar powered toys are not only great niche products to sell, but are also trending in popularity.
Aside from the obviously popular products, are “the next big thing” products. Find products that are just starting to trend. If you feel like something is on the rise, starting to sell it before it completely blows up means less competition and more sales for you.
Plus, if you were one of the first people to sell a trending product, you can easily become a brand associated with that product and a leader. (Like the aforementioned Spanx!)
For instance when KETO was first hitting the scene, that would have been an ideal time to start selling KETO friendly snacks. Actually, it’s still a good time to sell KETO products!
There is a lot of search volume for KETO and healthy food products in general. So selling items such as health bars and powders is a smart choice.
For 2021, some trending products include fitness equipment and supplies, skin care and hobbies and crafts. Check out this list of trending products to sell in 2021!
Here are a few trending products you can sell online:
- Blue tooth speakers
- Facial Cleansers
- Nail Polish
- Temporary Tattoos
- Portable Projectors
- Neck Massagers
- Plush blankets
- Touchscreen Gloves
And don’t forget in this new day and age that the demand for virtual can create lucrative service-based products. In the trending arena of fitness for example, you can offer online fitness classes for a fee.
With little overhead and cost-of-goods required, you just need to focus on marketing and promotion to bring in money for your time. Any type of service or on-going subscription is a powerful product to sell because it will generate recurring revenue.
Size and Weight
This is an easy factor to overlook when choosing a product to sell, but an important one. The size of the product you are selling will affect your shipping costs, and your cost of goods.
Which in turn can affect your profit! Not to mention it also determines how much space you need to accommodate your supply stock. And that affects your warehouse, or rent costs. (Unless you are choosing a drop shipping business!)
It is ideal to offer customers free shipping. Most of your competitors will likely be doing that, and it creates more incentive for people to purchase from you. It has actually become a key factor in driving purchase with consumers today.
So choosing an item that is lightweight, will make free shipping easier to offer, and less of a price point issue.
Competition for product sales
So this factor can kind of be at odds with the popularity factor. Because, if a product is really in demand, there may already be a lot of competitors out there selling it and doing well.
If one of your product ideas has a huge number of competitors already out there, and some heavy hitters that already have a lion’s share of the market, it may not be a good choice.
Breaking into an already saturated market can be challenging to say the least. Unless you have a ton of money for heavy advertising which you likely don’t when first starting out.
This can be another reason to choose a niche market. With smaller niches, there may not be as much competition. Which will leave more potential sales for you.
For any product you choose to sell, there’s likely already competition. But find one that doesn’t have quite as much competition.
And one that doesn’t have competitors with an already established, huge market share for that product.
What Steps Should you Take when Choosing a product to sell?
If you aren’t sure where, or how to start choosing something to sell online, here are a few important first steps you can take.
Brainstorm product ideas
Just write down a list of ideas of products to sell online! The first step in choosing something to sell online is knowing what the options are.
Brainstorming a list of ideas can give you a good starting point.
Once you have written down a list of ideas, the next and probably most important step is to do your research.
You should be researching all the factors listed above as it relates to your list of possible products to sell. So popularity, profit margin, and shipping costs to name a few.
Doing the proper research ahead of time can directly affect the success of your eCommerce business.
Evaluate the Market
Really this is still part of the research phase. Evaluating the market is crucial for choosing what product to sell. You need to know how much competition there is, how much potential volume of sales, and what type of buyer would want your products.
Understand supply options
Once you have chosen a product you think you want to sell, you need to understand where you can get that product!
Is it something you can make yourself? Or will you need a product supplier? If you need a supplier, research the possible product manufacturers out there. You can even get product samples from relevant companies.
There are many product suppliers to choose from, but here are a couple of the more well-known options:
Once you have established some success selling your product, you can even look at product line extensions to expand your business.
Once you’ve finally figured out what you want to sell, you have to start selling!
I highly recommend this guide from Shopify on How to Build, Launch and Grow A Profitable Online Store to help with launching your eCommerce business. Or, if you are ready to skip to straight to opening your Shopify store follow these steps!
Starting your own online business is an exciting venture! Take the time to research products for all of the key points above like profitability and popularity to make sure you are laying the groundwork for success.
*Post updated September 2021