When it comes to choosing the most profitable products to sell online, you want to find products that fit your website’s niche, are easy to sell, have existing demand, and represent a market that you can easily access.
Find Your Niche
When designing an online store be sure that all your products focus on a specific category of products. Don’t try to be Walmart or Target and sell products in multiple product categories. Find a niche and make sure all your products are related in some way. A site focused on camping gear may be okay, however, a site focused on small and lightweight motorcycle camping gear is even better. It is far better to have several sites, each with only a few products with a single focus than one larger site with a bunch of less related products.
Easy to Sell Products
Products that are easy to sell online must fix a problem, can be demonstrated in a video of just a few seconds, are affordable, and relatively small to avoid the high costs of shipping products from China to the US and from your business to the customer.
Fix a Problem in a Unique Way
The most profitable products to sell online are the ones that address a common problem but offer solutions in a slightly unique way. For example, when it came to the Coronavirus pandemic, many sites sprang up selling common products that we were all familiar with such as face shields, masks, and sanitizers. However, some sites focused on the use of ultraviolet lights to kill the Covid-19 virus. They sold boxes equipped with lights to sanitize keys and phones using UV light instead of chemicals. When you have a product that solves a problem in a unique way, it takes you out of the realm of a commodity and into a new space. Moreover, products that solve a problem, and are AC or battery-powered, sell at higher margins.
Easy to Demonstrate and Promote with Video
Before a customer buys a product that addresses a solution in a unique way, they often need to understand how it works. Video is the best way to demonstrate how a product solves a particular problem. Many of these videos can be produced in a simple and inexpensive way and have no narration. The total length of these videos should be less than 45 seconds and include a call to action.
Here is an example that demonstrates not only how UV light can kill germs but also provides some clues into the vast array of items that you can use the device on, in less than 30 seconds.
When it comes to an ad suitable for social media, a quick and dirty way to create a compelling video ad is to use Lumen5. You can create a promotional video in literally seconds. The best promotional videos show a problem and a solution in a series of 5-second clips.
Must be Affordable
The more expensive an item the more research the buyer will do to justify the expenditure. Women and men have different online buying habits. Women tend to buy more products online than men; however, men spend on average more on each product than women. The sweet spot price-wise for women are products that sell for under $50. Products that sell for under $150 are the sweet spot for men.
Small Size and Weight
Amazon Prime changed the expectation of online product orders. Free and fast delivery is now expected on all online orders. When you are a large shipper like Amazon, you have the power to negotiate very low shipping costs. One of the biggest advantages of an online Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) store is the ability to take advantage of Amazon’s fast and low-cost shipping options. However, as a small online store, your shipping rates will be much more expensive. When it comes to the most profitable products to sell online, you have to be able to control your shipping costs which are often more than the product itself. To keep your shipping costs down, you need to select items that you can ship in padded envelopes or small lightweight boxes.
With a general understanding of what makes items the most profitable products to sell online, you need to conduct a bit of research to find a product niche with trending products.
Google “Trending products” search
One simple way to search for trending products is to type “trending products” in Google. Many sites have regularly updated lists of trending products. Keep in mind that some sites listed in the results are designed to get you to click on their link to Amazon so the page owner gets a commission when you buy a product.
Best Seller Search
There are two primary sites that you can use to search for bestsellers, Amazon and AliExpress.
Amazon Best Sellers
Most of us simply use the search field to find a product or category when we are on Amazon.com. If you search by keyword and scroll through the list of results, you will see items that are best sellers.
However, there is a way to search directly for bestsellers based on categories.
For example, if we had an online store dedicated to runners and you were looking for best seller hydration packs, we could drill down to the category of hydration packs and see which products are best sellers by ranking.
The process is pretty simple:
1. Select “Best Sellers” from under the search field.
2. Select the Category and Subcategory you want under the “Amazon Best Seller” menu on the left side of the page.
3. Finally, read the reviews of the product.
AliExpress Best Sellers
AliExpress is an online retailer based in China that is made of small businesses that sell products online, very similar to Amazon in the US. To find the best sellers on AliExpress:
- Enter the product description you are looking for.
- Select the Sort by “Orders” to see which products have the most sales.
- Look at the number of items sold which are listed under the price to see if the sales volume is sufficient.
Since the products come from China, shipping costs must be considered when selecting the most profitable products to sell online. Often, shipping costs will exceed the price of the actual item. To get an idea of the shipping costs, you will want to select the item and look at the available shipping options.
The lowest cost shipping option is always listed but usually, you can see other shipping options that will get you the product faster.
Finally, you will want to scroll down to the “Customer Review” section, select “Only from your country” and read the product reviews.
How to Validate a Product
The goal when looking for the most profitable product to sell online is two-fold. There should be sufficient margin and affordable keywords to use for advertising your product.
When selecting a product to sell on your online store, it either has to be really easy to sell or it must have enough margin to cover your carrying and marketing expenses, and still return a profit. Since not all products will be winners, you need to have enough margin in the winners to cover the losses from the loser products.
A rule of thumb to find the most profitable products to sell online is that your cost of goods sold (COGS), or what you pay for the product, should be marked up 8-10 times and still be close to similar products on the market. To be more specific, if you can buy a wholesale product for $2 in China, then it needs to be sold at retail on your online store for $16 to $20.
You can get an idea of the retail price history for anything selling on Amazon by using the website CamelCamelCamel.
To find the pricing history of a product, you simply find the product on Amazon and copy the product’s ASIN number.
Then paste the ASIN number into CamelCamelCamel. The report will show the price range for the product in the last 12 months on both Amazon and 3rd party sites.
Keyword Cost Research
When it comes to keyword research, three free tools will help shed some light on volumes, competitiveness, and demographic information. When it comes to keyword research, we are looking for trending keywords. When we find a trending keyword, we then want to find alternative keywords and learn a bit more about those who are using them in searches so we can better target our ads.
To start your keyword research, go to Ubersuggest and enter the best keyword you think would describe how a person would try to find your product with a Google search.
As you can see, Ubersuggest gives a lot of information. Here are a few things to consider as you review the report.
- Look at the graph for growing interest in the keyword. Some items have a degree of seasonality. For example, if you were looking at keywords related to outdoor activities, you would expect to see a rise in search volumes during the summer when the weather was better and a decline in the winter when the weather is more inclement. You will want to take note of the different search volumes done by mobile and desktop.
- Look at the overall search volume. You will find a breakdown of the search volume by SEO organic or paid, as well as some demographic information related to the age of the searcher so you can better home in on your ad target.
- Look at the keyword ideas. You will want to take note of the average cost per click (CPC) for the various keyword alternatives to get a sense of the competitive nature of the keywords as you will be using paid ads to drive traffic to your online store. By default, Ubersuggest only displays six additional keyword ideas, however, below the list, is the ability to view all keyword alternatives. By selecting the down and out arrow, you can view the ranking of the most trafficked website for that keyword.
Google trends is a free tool that allows you to see how searches trend over a variety of time frames. Rather than provide absolute search volumes, Google Trends uses an index where 100 represents the day with the highest search volume. What you are looking for are upward trends or seasonal fluctuations. Additionally, Google Trends allows you to compare multiple keywords.
If you had an online store selling mini drones and you were considering selling the Parrot Bebot 2 Mini but you wanted to compare search volumes of your current bestseller the DJI Spark Mini, you could use Google Trends to compare the search volumes of the two products.
As you can see the search volume for the DJI Spark Mini is trending downward while the Parrot Bebop 2 Mini is holding steady overall, outperforming the DJI Spark Mini during the last 12 months. It is also pretty clear that there are no major seasonal fluctuations.
Google Ads Keyword Planner
As we discussed in 20 Steps to Find Powerful Keywords Google will Rank High, you will want to find out how much it will cost to advertise your product on Google. By entering the product name, you can see an estimate of what it will cost to get clicks and/or impressions.
If we planned to use Google ads to drive traffic to the product page of our online store, with a $20 ad spend, we would get an estimated 22 click-throughs to our product page or about 3k impressions. This will give you some idea of the cost of a keyword but in most cases, you will use Facebook for your initial ads.
Finally, you will want to enter your product name into Google and look at who else is selling the product. You will not only want to see who is selling the same or similar product but also want to read the user reviews of the product. As a general rule, you only want to list products that are not sold in department stores.
How will you find the most profitable products to sell online?
More posts in the series:
- Becoming an Online Seller – What You Need to Know to Sell Online
- The 11 Most Important Questions to Find the Best Products to Sell Online
- How To Find The Most Profitable Products To Sell Online
- How to Find and Validate Quality Chinese Online Store Vendors
- How to Create a New Online Store Website to Sell Your Products
- How to Find Customers That Will Buy from You Using Facebook Ads
- What You Need to Know About Online Store Sales
Special thanks to Michael Beck for his review of this post. Michael is a SCORE colleague and a maven when it comes to selling online products. Michael is the CEO of BeckTan and Groupe Beck, two businesses that provide consulting services for entrepreneurs with online stores. He is a serial entrepreneur with a wealth of business experience having built more than a dozen successful businesses.
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