Being able to identify profitable products to sell online is a skill that all online sellers should strive to possess.
While there is no denying that finding these products takes both time and extensive research, if done correctly it can certainly make a huge difference to the success of your business.
Fortunately, there are a number of tools available to help you not only find out which products are in high demand, but also to help you identify gaps in the market that you can in turn capitalize on.
How to find out which products are in demand
If you’re selling on an online marketplace, for example Amazon or eBay, there is actually a whole load of product data available at your fingertips, you will just need to effectively mine this data to identify which products are in demand.
One of the best places to start in obtaining this data is the search bar. Specifically, most marketplaces will deliver item suggestions as soon as you begin typing in a search query, something that provides great insight into what items users are searching for on that specific site.
Which brings me onto eBay Suggested Products.
eBay Suggested Products
One of the great things about eBay is that as soon as you type a word into the search bar, you will actually be provided with a list of related keywords based on the frequency in which buyers are searching for them.
To give you an idea of how this simple feature works, we have used the search term Christmas.
As shown in the example below, Christmas decorations are clearly the most popular type of Christmas related searches, followed by Christmas Eve box and Christmas tree.
It also shows that the two most popular product categories for products associated with the keyword ‘Christmas’ are Celebration & Occasion Suppliers, as well as TV & Movie Character Toys.
With regards to your own business, you should start by brainstorming topics and product areas that you are interested in. From here, you can start researching these keywords to assess which products are in demand.
Where relevant, you should also try different combinations of keywords, so for example you may want to try “Xmas” as well as “Christmas”, as this may deliver slightly different results.
This is also a great activity to try on your existing product listings, as it can help you to identify which keywords you should be using in your titles and product descriptions, to help optimise your page for better conversions.
Just to backtrack slightly, if you are wondering how you can come up with new product ideas to research, here are a few ideas:
- Read through consumer trend publications for inspiration, such as Trend Watching, Trend Hunter and Springwise.
- Take a look at Alibaba’s product categories page, as they cover almost every type of product you can think of.
- Head to social forum communities such as Reddit, to get an inspiration for new product ideas.
Marketplace best sellers
Most online marketplaces will provide you with a list of best selling or trending products, to give you an idea of what’s currently in demand on the individual site.
What’s even better is that these pages tend to be updated on a regular basis, meaning the data is almost always up-to-date and accurate. A couple of places to get started include:
Amazon Bestsellers – Updated on an hourly basis, Amazon Bestsellers list shows the marketplace’s most popular items based on number of sales.
Amazon Movers and Shakers – Also updated hourly, the Amazon Movers and Shakers list displays the biggest gainers in sales rankings. We would recommend keeping an eye on this page as it can provide invaluable insight into new trends, enabling you to potentially act fast.
eBay Top Products– Like with Amazon, eBay also provide insight into their top selling products, helping you to understand what’s in demand.
Etsy Trending Items– While Etsy is a more niche marketplace, if you sell handmade or vintage goods, this is certainly something you will want to monitor.
Terapeak is another great tool which can help you to find profitable niches on eBay, and while this service incurs a fee, as of yet there really isn’t anything similar out there so it is certainly worth looking into if you sell on eBay.
Specifically, Terapeak can show you the most popular eBay categories and sub-categories based on their sell-through rate, popular keyword searches, best-selling products (based on sell-through rate, average price and the number of items sold) and even best-selling titles. To learn more about Terapeak, visit the site here.
Other tools to help you understand product demand
eBay Watch Count
Once you have some product ideas, another great tool you can use to gauge product interest on eBay is watchcount.com. Simply enter your search terms, select a category and discover which eBay items have attracted the most interest and have the most watchers.
Google Keyword Planner
While this isn’t marketplace specific, you can get an idea of how many people are searching for a product on Google by using their free Keyword Planner tool.
This will give you an idea of monthly search volume, as well as some suggestions for related searches. For this research to be effective, however, you should try and think of variations on searches for your product.
Capitalize on trends
Some of the best ideas for profitable products come from new trends. In fact, if you can be one of the first to identify and capitalise on emerging trends, you can actually generate significant sales for your business.
Realistically, however, trends don’t last forever and it is for this reason why you should try and have some stable product lines as well, i.e. products that generates sales for your business continuously.
Identify gaps in the market
Now that you have got an understanding of which products are in high demand on eBay and other marketplaces, you can start to look deeper into where the opportunities lie.
One of the most effective ways to generate this insight is by reviewing sold items through the advanced search feature on eBay.
By comparing these results with the products that are being searched for, you can identify gaps in the market. Specifically, you can assess whether there are products that have high search volumes, but aren’t actually being met by another merchant on the marketplace, or perhaps aren’t available at the right price.
This won’t always be the case, however, as there is a big chance your identified product will already be available.
For this reason, you will need to a competitor analysis to try and work out how many different merchants are selling similar items, and compare it with the overall demand.
In other words, if a product is in high demand and there aren’t too many merchants selling it, it could still be a great opportunity for your business. By using the eBay Competition Analysis and Pricing Application, you can also get quick insight into competitor listings.
You should also go one step further and think about if your product has multiple purposes or can be marketed in different ways. Take coconut oil for example. This can be used for anything from cooking right through to health and beauty.
Do keep in mind that if nobody is selling a certain type of product, there could be a reason, so make sure you do your research and check the marketplace’s rules and regulations.
Evaluate your product ideas
Once you have identified some products that you think may have potential, you will also need to assess just how viable those ideas are.
Start by asking yourself how likely the product is to be refunded, how expensive it will be to ship and whether or not it will be popular throughout the year, or during a specific time-frame only.
You should also always keep in mind your branding when it comes to finding new products to sell online. Selling something that is very different to your core product offering can confuse customers, and may negatively impact your brand.
Ultimately, the most important thing to understand is your markup.
If the cost of the product (cost per unit, packaging, import charges, shipping rates and other incurred fees) outweigh the price you can realistically sell it for, then it’s unlikely to be a good business decision.
Finally, once your sales start sailing in, consider an inventory management system to analyse your data and identify your most popular products and selling channels. Use this insight to make business decisions and anticipate stockouts with reliable stock replenishment.