Choosing products is at the heart of your online store. And with so many options, how do you find the best items to sell online?
In this article, we’ll help you come up with loads of product ideas, look at what makes products suitable to sell online, and share some examples from our favorite online sellers. We’ll use data from different places to help you make smart product decisions.
Let’s dive in and help you find out what to sell online!
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Sell products you like
Before we dive into the business side of things: do yourself a favor and choose products you like.
If you just want to make money online, you could sell anything—even products you have no interest in. But if you’re a small business owner, that’s probably not your only goal. You’ll handle these products every day. You’ll write about them and answer questions about them. And you probably care about your end customers having that “Wow!” moment. Choose a product you’d use yourself or at least believe in, and you’ll enjoy your life as an online business owner that much more.
How to get product ideas
Maybe you’re inspired already. If not, here are some good ways to find ideas for what to sell online.
Use other platforms for market research
Big online marketplaces make it easy to find their most purchased products.
- Amazon has a large bestsellers section, sorted by category.
- AliExpress has an option to sort products by most orders.
- Ebay’s bestsellers category is sortable by product range.
- Etsy has a bestsellers category, sortable by country and price range.
Most of these bestseller lists offer the option to sort by country. Use those to view results only for the countries you want to sell in.
Once you’ve found some interesting product ideas in these lists, you can dig a bit deeper.
- See what styles or variations people like to show off on Instagram or Pinterest or TikTok.
- Check Etsy to see styles that people are crafting to sell them online.
- Search for your potential products on social media to see what’s popular there. It’s easy to sync your Jimdo store with Facebook and Instagram Shops, so these sellers will be your direct competition. This is your chance to see which products are working for them!
Keep in mind that different marketplaces have different audiences. Amazon offers a wide range of prices, AliExpress is more focused on bargain deals. Pinterest and Etsy have a large focus on handcrafted items. Try to combine information from all marketplaces where your target audience likes to shop.
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Look at seasonal and upcoming events
Is there a big sporting event coming up? Or a public holiday? What do tourists want in this year’s most popular travel destinations? You can get ideas for what to sell online by looking at where there will be a high demand. Get in at the right time, and there is profit to be made.
Products that are connected to special events have a short selling window: once the event is over, demand disappears. If you decide to go down this route, you’ll need to act fast to negotiate with a supplier, set up an online store, and start marketing it aggressively.
alert]You can mitigate some risk by not choosing products with dates on them. Leftover Christmas sweaters can be sold next year, as long as they don’t say “Christmas 2021.”
For more seasonal selling tips, read How to Get Your Online Store Ready for the Holidays.
How to recognize products that will sell
You’ve got some great ideas for products to sell online. But which one is the right fit for your business?
Check the trends
Google Trends shows you how regularly your product (or other keyword) is searched for on Google. When you type your product type or name into Trends, you’ll see a graph showing how the volume of searches has changed over time.
In general, products that sell reliably will show a stable trend over the last few years. Ideally, you want to look for a growing trend, so that your store can grow along with the demand.
For seasonal products, the highs and lows in the trend line give you an indication when and how fast the demand usually changes throughout the year.
How to use Google Trends
- Go to Google Trends.
- Enter the name of your product in the search bar.
Google will show you how interest has changed in the last 12 months. You can use the ‘compare’ field to also look for alternative names for your product. This helps you find out if the same product is popular under a different name.
To get the best results:
- Select the country you want to sell in.
- Select a time frame of 5 years or more.
Search for industry data
Look at market reports from trade organizations in your industry to see what’s been selling. Some trade fairs also publish white papers and producers of various products can give you great information.
Just do a Google or Bing search for “market report your product” to find sites with industry trends and forecasts.
If you have access to people from your target audience or other sellers, ask them about products. That can be as simple as chatting to the staff at your local toy store about how popular fidget spinners really are these days. It helps you understand what direction a trend is moving in.
TIP 1: Unique products are easier to sell than commodities
A commodity product is a basic product that can be exchanged for another product of the same type. Think of products like sugar, ballpoint pens or toothbrushes. It’s generally easy to find a supplier, but high competition makes these products harder to sell online.
Unique, custom products are the complete opposite. Products like artworks or handcrafted jewelry can’t easily be replaced. They are easier to market, but you’ll need to find a reliable way to keep supplying your store with new products.
Most successful online stores use products that are somewhere in between: unique enough to stand out, but common enough to supply in large numbers.
That’s why stores selling novelty t-shirts online are so successful. These businesses turn commodity products like plain t-shirts into special products by printing a unique design on them.
TIP 2: Repeat customers are more lucrative than new ones
A customer coming back to your store for a second purchase is good business. Convince the customer once, get paid twice. The best way to achieve this is to connect the second purchase naturally to your product.
- Sell your product on a subscription plan. This works well with anything people use regularly, like cosmetics, toiletries or and household cleaning products. Your customers never run out of their essentials, and they build loyalty with your brand.
- Selling add-ons or followups is another good option, like expansion sets for board games or sequels to popular books. If you did a good job on the first order, customers will happily follow their habit and order from you again.
Pick the right price point for online sales
High-priced products bring you more profit per sale. Customers feel safer when they buy low-priced products. The sweet spot for most online stores is somewhere in between.
We cover much more in our article about calculating prices for your online store. For now, you can work with this price indication: prices between 40 and 200 dollars seem to work well for most online stores. Customers feel confident enough to spend that amount online. At the same time, the profit margins in this price range are usually enough to earn you a decent profit.
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Top 3 products to sell online in 2021
Here are three surefire winners to get you started this year.
Even in a post-pandemic world, people will continue to travel. Short business trips, visits to friends and family, or those postponed honeymoons will all create demand for travel and everyday items. Especially those customers who didn’t buy any new luggage during the pandemic are the first to look for new items online.
Another great aspect is the option to naturally add more products once your store gets going, like toiletry bags, luggage locks, and packing organizers. Customers will often add such lower cost items to their order, helping you make more from each sale.
- Belt bags
2. Kitchen Appliances
Cooking and baking were popular hobbies even before sourdough became a worldwide pandemic trend. Add in the rise of fitness and healthy eating, and you can see why kitchen appliances are a great product. There will always be new models, new trends and old appliances that need replacing.
When your store is up and running, you can look at your sales to see what other items you could add, like fitness bottles, bread knives or ice cream scoops.
- Ice cream makers
3. Phone accessories
We take our phones everywhere. And we use them to create and share more and more content. You can even use your phone to take professional product photos. Phones have become an everyday necessity, which has created a huge market for accessories to sell online.
Phone cases might not be original, but they’ve become one of the most successful products out there since we all started using mobile phones. With the rise of social media influencers, phone stands, tripods, and especially ring lights have become very popular products too.
You can expand in different directions, offering everything for the budding influencer, the mobile photographer, or the fashion-conscious phone user.
- Phone cases
- Ring lights