While no two businesses are identical, most start in the same way: with a powerful and creative idea. Entrepreneurs often begin with a moment of inspiration where they notice a problem that needed solving, or a potential gap in the market. However, you might find that your journey as an entrepreneur doesn’t begin with inspiration for a product, but a simple desire to life a different kind of lifestyle.
If you know that you want to start an eCommerce business, but you don’t know what to sell – that doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to give up on your dreams. Instead, it simply suggests that you need to start evaluating your options carefully. Here, we’ll give you a few simple tips to help you decide where you should get started with your online business.
1. Choosing the Type of Business
Selecting the type of business, you want to run means deciding whether you’d rather focus on “unique” or “commodity” products – although most companies choose a combination of both. Commodity products are the things that everyone needs, from toilet paper to toothpaste, while unique products include things like one-of-kind jewellery or pieces of art.
Often, people assume that selling commodities is easier than selling unique items. However, if you do choose to sell commodities, you’ll need to compete against bigger marketplaces like Walmart and Amazon for business. That’s why it’s often a better idea to sell a combination of unique, and essential products.
2. Selecting Popular Products
Once you’ve decided on the kind of product that you want to sell, you’ll be able to start thinking about the items that you want to focus on in your chosen niche. A lot of big-name marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, and Etsy showcase some of their top-selling or most popular items, so you can spend a little time checking out these lists to give yourself an idea of what some of the biggest trends are today.
Once you’ve started to build your understanding of what customers are currently looking for in your industry, you’ll be able to evaluate which options offer the best profit margin, and do a competitive analysis to determine how you should market yourself to your audience.
3. Becoming a Trend-Setter
Of course, if you’d rather avoid what’s “currently” selling fast, and look for something that’s poised to perform well in the future, then you could have a great chance of success. Becoming the next big trendsetter by releasing a product that’s ahead of your time could mean that you earn a huge amount of money. Make sure that you follow the latest technology and eCommerce blogs for more information on the latest products, and try to keep tabs anything that has the potential to change the market.
Google Trends is a good place to go for the information you’ll need here. Just like a stock-market ticker, this solution will show you the search query volume for trending topics. Toggle to Google shopping to make sure that you’re looking at the queries that are most often made by customers in search of a new eCommerce solution.
On the other hand, you could move away from the standard product options entirely and sell “humanitarian” products designed to make the world a better place.
4. Choosing a Niche
Shoppers can buy anything and everything they want from the internet within a couple of clicks. That means today’s consumers are more powerful than ever. If you want to get their attention, you need to find something that you can offer your target market that isn’t already being offered by someone else in your space.
Competition in today’s marketplace is rampant, so think carefully about how you can carve a space for yourself by catering to a specific niche. If you focus on selling your products to a unique segment of the population, then you’ll have a better opportunity for long-term success. Tell help you choose your perfect niche, think about your personal passions, hobbies, and skills. It’s always best to pursue an eCommerce area that responds to your passions as an individual, as this will help to keep you motivated through the more difficult parts of running your own business.
5. Try Reviving Old Items
If you’re looking for a simpler way to start an eCommerce business without having to learn a new skill or produce a new product, you might try reviving or re-inventing old items. For instance, you could give fresh life to vintage products by buying and selling retro clothing and furniture. Today, a lot of people are looking for retro products again, and most trends that used to be in fashion will once again find a place in the spotlight at some point in the future.
Another option to revitalize an old product is to take an overlooked or old idea, and think about how you can make it better by upgrading it. For instance, you might have seen people on eBay or Etsy selling “upcycled” furniture. This simply means taking old used pieces of furniture and redecorating them in a specific style so that they look better than ever.
6. Become an Impulse Buy
One final option that you might consider when you’re deciding which kind of products you should sell online, is the world of “impulse buy items”. The convenience of online shopping means that today’s consumers can easily buy something new without thinking about the cost of their purchase. The ability for stores like Amazon to save payment information and shipping details means that you can check out in one or two clicks.
Although the inherent opportunities for impulse buying online today might not be great for the bank accounts of the modern consumer, they do present a great opportunity for eCommerce retailers who want to cater to impulse purchases. Since people love spending money on unique items, try thinking of a way that you can make your products appealing to those who simply don’t mind splashing a little cash. Remember, if you want to be an effective impulse buy, you’ll have to keep prices relatively low.