How to find more products to sell online
Online retail is a challenge – if you’ve been in the eCommerce space for any time at all, you’ll already be well aware of this. To say competition is fierce would be the understatement of the century, and retailers are forced to squeeze their margins even thinner in order to make sales. But reducing prices isn’t the only tactic that you can use to attract more customers. Having more products available in your inventory means that your customers will keep your store in mind when they are buying other goods, so extending your product offering is always going to be a good move. In this post, we’re going to have a quick look at the different ways to identify opportunities for products that customers want, before looking at ways to source those products.
Ways to identify trending products
There are so many trending products – and you can make sales from them, but because demand is high, there’s often a race to the cheapest price on marketplaces, leading to your margins being super thin. However, adding some trending products to your inventory can lead to additional sales, so it can be well worth your time doing research – and if you can hit on a trend early enough, you might end up being the preferred seller. Places that can offer insight into current trends can include:
Social media – look at the current trending hashtags on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest, and depending on the age of your target customer, TikTok. You can also check out product curation accounts, and if the social media accounts for your business has enough followers, you may be able to hit on ideas from your audience insights, and you can use your Story posts to ask your followers what they’d love to see too. If you’re thinking bigger and longer term, then a social listening tool can be a useful way to identify trends over time.
Search engines – they know what customers are searching for! Dig into Google Trends, then use the ‘People also ask’ suggestions to find related terms. If you’re using Google Ads, you can find niche, lower volume search terms in there, but don’t forget Google isn’t the only search engine, and useful information can be found in Bing – although there is a much, much lower usage in the UK.
SEO tools – you’re almost certainly using some of these tools for your business already. In addition to Google Trends and Google Ads, the Google Keyword Planner, and Google Analytics are both useful. Outside of Google, there are some incredible free SEO tools that you can make use of – we love Moz, and Ahrefs, but there is a list of other amazing tools here.
Dig into social forums – Reddit and Quora are the best known social forums, and there are millions of threads and posts that you can get stuck into and find what people are looking for. If you’re looking for a niche idea for your business, this is likely to be a source of inspiration – but be warned, if you’re interested in some of the discussions, it can be very easy to get sucked in and lose a lot of time reading on these websites!
Marketplace searches – go right to the source! Amazon, eBay and OnBuy all share the currently trending products, and OnBuy even have a popular products newsletter to sign up for – so you’ll get that valuable information straight in your inbox, no searching required. Don’t forget, you can check B2B marketplaces like Alibaba, AliExpress, and supplier websites too.
Check out your competitors – as well as the businesses you hope to compete with in the future. They are likely to have already done a huge amount of market research, especially those that are household name brands. Simply copying them isn’t likely to get you the results you want, but you might be able to identify an opportunity that they have missed.
DropShipping marketplaces – the suppliers that list their products on DropShipping marketplaces – and indeed, the DropShipping marketplaces themselves – have done their research too, so get signed up and take a look. Not only will you be able to find the products you’re looking for, you’ll be able to source them, and list them on your sales channels all in the same place.
Industry blog posts – similar to checking out competitors, writers in the industry are using keyword tools and have done loads of research before they put their posts together, so make use of the information they have to offer. Of course, their predictions might not end up being 100% accurate, but bear in mind that they don’t have a crystal ball any more than you do. We’re often found reading up on the BigCommerce blog, Tamebay, and many of the other retail blogs from trade organisations.
Sourcing products for your business
When you’ve identified which products you want to get your hands on to sell to your customers, you need to decide the best way to source those products. The circumstances of your business will dictate which way of sourcing is best, but using a mix of all of these methods can be a great way forward – particularly for untested, or seasonal products.
Procuring stock for your warehouse
Buying products in and selling those items from your warehouse is one option – but as you know, that comes with significant risk, especially for lines that you haven’t tested. You’re investing capital that might end up being tied up for a long time to come, and eventually lose your business money if it ends up as dead stock that you can’t shift. You’ll have accounted for some dead stock when you’ve done your calculations, but you want to keep that figure as low as possible.
But buying stock in is only possible if you have the capital, and you can actually source the stock you need. With all the recent interruptions to the supply chain, it isn’t always possible to buy the products, or the number of products that your customers want.
Buy from other sellers
This approach can work, but if you’re buying from sellers that are also selling online, it is likely you’ll end up making a loss on each product – or you’ll need to increase the price of those items to maintain your profit margins.
However, don’t discount the idea of buying from other sellers if you have to. It is possible for you to order from other sellers to be sent directly to your customer’s address, but be careful with this approach, as most marketplaces have rules about retail arbitrage – you don’t need your account suspended.
If you’re prepared to invest some stock, you can take the approach of buying products from other businesses at a good price – whether you do that online or offline – and dispatch them yourself. That’s an approach one of our suppliers took when starting his business, and you can see more in the clip below.
DropShip from verified suppliers
We wouldn’t complete a post like this without telling you about DropShipping once again – and considering the convenience, and number of retailers that are now benefiting from increased sales, there’s little wonder we keep talking about it.
In the age of eCommerce, DropShipping has been disregarded by retailers that buy stock – it has had a bit of a reputation as being purely a method of building a side hustle, or a somehow it was a less valid type of retail model. But retailers were using the DropShipping model for quite literally decades before the first online stores came online, as it gave them the opportunity to offer their customers more from their location, without needing to buy stock, or to hold that stock in their store. When the customer requested an item from the retailer, they placed the order with their supplier, who then delivered to the store, or to the customer’s home address.
DropShipping today is pretty much the exact same thing, except the customer doesn’t have to come into a store – they simply visit the retailer’s website, or one of their listings on a marketplace. When the retailer receives the order from the customer, they buy from their supplier, who then sends the order directly to the customer. This means that the retailer doesn’t need any space to store stock, and they can keep their cash in the bank, since they only pay the supplier once they have received payment from the customer.
Finding UK-based suppliers that work this way, without requiring complicated setups – especially if you want to work with multiple suppliers – has traditionally been tricky. Not only is it finding them, but you don’t want to rely on manual DropShipping methods, since there are just way too many chances for things to go wrong, and you probably don’t want to have to employ a developer to create an automated solution, since that can work out expensive – especially if one of the suppliers changes their setup without telling you. Manual methods, and relying on custom automated setups can lead to errors, which can lead to customers being dissatisfied – and you definitely don’t want that.
We knew this was a problem, which was why we developed one of the easiest ways to work with multiple UK DropShipping suppliers, without needing those complicated setups. Our DropShipping marketplace allows retailers to source from multiple suppliers, and to sell on multiple marketplaces without the need for manual configurations, so if you’ve thought about DropShipping but don’t want the hassle, now is the time to get started. Sign up for your account here – it is free until you’re making more than 10 orders each month.
Searching for product ideas can be challenging, especially when you think about how much competition there is out there already. But you can definitely still find products that will sell well, and if you’ve nailed the combination of a great website and marketplaces that your customers are shopping on, then you have everything you need to continue to grow your business.
When it comes to product sourcing, we live and breathe DropShipping, but we know there are businesses that are making the most of each of these methods – and that’s absolutely brilliant. If you’ve never added products to your inventory from UK DropShipping suppliers before, why not give it a go today? If you’ve got questions about how Avasam will work with your existing setup, get in touch, or book a call with our experts – we’re happy to talk you through it.