What to Sell: How to Find Your First Successful Product

As you’re probably aware, most startups fail after just a couple of years.  Well, if you want to get more specific, we have the research to give us more insight into startup survival rates.

While numbers vary from industry to industry, according to statistics gathered by the Small Business Administration, in general, 50% of startups fail within the first five years. If you’re a young entrepreneur, the question you’re most interested in is – why so many of them fail?

Once again, reasons vary drastically.

Some fail because they fail to realize the importance of SEO strategies and social media presence – roughly 43% of small companies don’t use a social media platform to promote their business – others fail because of inept management and poor working capital management.

But when it comes to ecommerce, the biggest problem is market saturation or simply put, too many people are trying to launch and push products nobody actually wants.

The Current State of Ecommerce

The first wave of ecommerce startups, which started with Amazon way back in 1995 inspired millions of people to enter the market. Fast-forward to present day and it seems like that every person with an Internet connection wants to start an online business.

Don’t believe us? Just take a look at this – according to estimations from Digital Commerce 360, three years ago, we had anywhere between 12 and 25 million ecommerce sites online. And it’s safe to assume that the number is even higher today.

So what does that mean for your ambitions? It means that it’s likely that the niche you want to target as a prospective startup probably already has a bunch of established competitors.

But Saturation Isn’t Necessarily a Bad Thing

For some people, the saturation may seem like a complete dead-end. However, things aren’t that bad, because a saturated market means that there’s a huge demand for a certain product. And luckily for you, high demand means lots of opportunities.

An entrepreneur who’s able to recognize these opportunities will certainly be able to get a good share of the market. For instance, since the ecommerce market is going through so many changes, new companies can capitalize on new trends.

The hottest current trend, at least in the ecommerce world, is the so-called mobile-commerce. Since more and more using their smartphones to access the Internet, they’re naturally doing more online shopping from their phones.

In fact, around 50% of ecommerce transactions now happen on mobile devices, according to IMGR research. This means if you focus mainly on mobile shoppers, you can actually establish a nice standing for yourself in the ecommerce market.

Finding Products That Sell Online

Now that we’ve done with that, there’s one more thing you need to realize before we continue – you cannot let personal preferences guide your choices, because you’ll only get stuck on a dead-end business idea.

Essentially, it doesn’t matter whether you like a certain product or not, you need to look for products that people want to buy. And in most cases, that means searching for products that are, for the lack of a better term, trendy.

So here are a couple of things you need to pay special attention to while researching potential products for your online store:

1.    Look at Google Trends

If you’re eyeing a particular product, but you’re not sure about its viability, you can easily have an insight into its popularity by typing its name into Google Trends. You’ve probably heard about the tool, but if you’re not completely familiar with it, here’s a quick rundown:

  • The tool is 100% free for you to use
  • It’s quite user-friendly, and you won’t have any problems using it
  • It will enable you to see what the search volume is for any product you wish

2.    Browse Trending Products in Online Marketplaces

In addition to looking at Google searches and getting a general indication of a product’s popularity, you can also tap into existing marketplaces and discover what products are top-sellers at the moment. And lucky for you, every major ecommerce site has tools that will allow you to see what products are currently popular. A few of them include:

  • Amazon’s bestselling list
  • EBay’s top selling products
  • Alibaba’s list of bestsellers

3.    Find out Who Are the Main Influencers in Your Niche

So who are these influencers? The name explains it all actually – these are thought leaders within your niche that have a major influence on your potential customers – they usually include YouTube personalities, social media stars, etc. Influencers can give you a great heads up on trending products on the market. Some of the tools that can help you find top influencers include:

  • Traackr– with features like influencers search engine and profiles, you’ll be able to find influencers, get social insights and even figure out how to possible connect with influencers.
  • Little Bird – this paid tool enables users to discover influencers that are validated by their parts for a number of topics as well as emerging topics.
  • Followerwonk– this free tool from Moz focuses mainly on Twitter research and allows you to see just how influential a person is on the second largest social media network in the world.

Do Your Research ASAP

When it’s all said and done, finding hot products is just a matter of doing your homework, researching as much products as possible and being proactive about discovery. Basically, if you’re not working ahead of the game, you won’t land a trending product anytime soon.

You have to find the time to find an up-and-coming product, source it and stock it before you even list it on your website. Thankfully, ecommerce platforms like Shopify have everything you need to setup an online store and start selling in a matter of hours, so you’ll have enough time to focus your marketing strategy.

And yes, all Shopify’s themes are fully responsive and fit any screen size, which means you can easily target all of those mobile shoppers. All in all, you need have a little bit of patience to find the right product for your store, but you still have to be efficient.

Just make sure to stay up-to-date on current market trends in order to capitalize on them before they hit peak popularity. While some trends don’t last that long, with enough research, you’ll be able to differentiate passing fads from long lasting products that will trend for a number of years.