No matter how successful your shop may be, at some point you will need to find some new products for it. The flavour of the day is always changing, and what sold well at one point may start to flounder, causing you to reassess your regular inventory to add some fresh goods. I’ve recently been looking for some new products to add to my own online catalogue to sell alongside my other items.
I knew that I needed to research, but before I jumped in and started spending hours flitting around from product to product and category to category I planned out my research strategy. If you are serious about finding new and successful products to sell then this is what you must do; it will save you time on your research and will help you to find those hot little niches and products that other sellers haven’t picked up on.
I’m going to run through my research plan with you now to give you an idea of the steps needed to successfully research a new product.
Step 1 – Choose the category
Instead of jumping straight into a new category that I knew absolutely nothing about, I decided to stay within a category that I knew, but to pick a new niche within it. The advantage of this is that although the product is brand new, I do have experience within the general market area.
- eBay has a wonderfully detailed category list that you can work through to look for other options within your category area, and each of the categories and subcategories are divided still further once you click into them.
Step 2 – Research the niche
I always keep a pen and paper to hand as I’m performing this research stage so that I can jot down any keywords and popular products that keep cropping up; that way I’m not trying to remember what that useful item I saw an hour ago was called.
Research is an absolutely vital step, because in order to find a successful product to sell you must first identify the market for it. There is no point ordering hundreds of units of an item if you don’t know that people will like them or want to buy them.
Step 3 – Make a shortlist of products
The end result of my research is to be left with a shortlist of potential and popular products within my niche market. It’s good to have a few on the list rather than just one product as it’s possible you won’t find a good supplier for one item and would then have to go right back to the drawing board. If you have a list you can just move on to the next item.
Step 4 – Research suppliers
Again it would be possible to spend hours browsing around Google looking for suppliers to meet your needs, but by being more specific and methodical you will save time and find the best wholesaler to meet your needs. Rather than searching generically for a wholesaler, I find it’s best to search specifically for the name of a product that I’m looking for. Searching for a wholesale product rather than a wholesale provider means you’re more likely to get what you want.
Finding the best supplier is not always an easy job, so don’t give up if you don’t find what you’re looking for right away. Stay focussed, make sure you thoroughly research your product and your market, and any wholesalers that you’re considering, and you will see success eventually.
Step 5 – Place a test order
The vast majority of genuine wholesalers will allow you to order a small sample batch before committing to a bulk order, so make sure you don’t ignore this step. I was so impressed with the service received by the provider that I selected that I actually sent them an email to say so! My compliments were well received and that simple action immediately helped me to start building a rapport with the supplier. Never underestimate the importance of a good relationship with your supplier; there could be significant discounts waiting for you if you go the extra mile in your dealings with them.
Step 6 – Sell the test order
One of the reasons for ordering a small test batch of the product, other than to see its quality and make sure the service of the wholesaler is good, is that you can then sell that small batch online in order to determine how well it would sell. Your profit per sale may not be as high as when you place a bulk order for the products, but it will still give you an invaluable insight into selling into this new niche.
I’d never sold the product that I ordered from my new provider before, and with no sales history backing up the item I found that it appeared on page four of the search results when I used the keywords that I had previously researched. That’s not a great position, but not bad considering eBay had no reason to rank me highly due to the lack of sales history. Still, the item was snapped up within 24 hours even from page four, even though it wasn’t the cheapest product there!
A combination of my research into the niche market, keyword planning, an excellent listing description and plenty of pictures showcasing the item meant that my item sold quickly and successfully, and that I’ve now sourced a new product to add to my repertoire.
Research may not be glamorous but it is essential. Make sure you have a research plan and you’ll soon find some new stock for your online shelves.
As always wishing you the best of success