3. Choose Your Product and Target Market
There are several tried-and-true strategies you can use to choose your first profitable e-commerce product. You could solve a common pain point in the marketplace, appeal to a small niche market like hobbyists, or lean into your own personal passion. Use these strategies for finding the perfect product or service to sell.
Brainstorming your products to sell
When coming up with your product, think about your personal experience. Have you worked in a certain industry that gives you insight others don’t have?
If you’re good at spotting trends, let that inform your decision as well. Is there an opening in the market for something that people will need soon based on trends in your industry? Recognizing a relevant trend can make you a leader in the market early on.
It’s important to note that trends and fads are two different things. A fad is something that experiences a momentary surge in popularity due to its novelty. Building your business around a fad will almost certainly mean demand fizzles out once the hype dies down.
A trend, on the other hand, is something that fulfills an existing need in a new way. Because they fulfill an existing need, they aren’t something people are likely to get bored with quickly. Fads can present a good marketing opportunity, but trends have more staying power.
You can spot trends by:
- Social listening. Hang out on parts of social media where others in your industry post or where your target customers spend time, and see what they say. Browsing trending hashtags or using social listening tools to gather data over time can also provide valuable insights.
- Following search trends. Google Trends is a great place to see what trending products people are searching for. It can also tell you the keywords used most commonly in search, and what problems people are commonly trying to solve.
- Browsing ecommerce websites and aggregator sites. Pages like Trend Hunter or assorted subreddits for your niche can clue you into developing trends before they get big.
Customer reviews also provide a wealth of data on what your prospective buyers expect from a product. Browse reviews of products similar to the one you have in mind and see what people say is lacking. It is a great resource to get new products ideas. If you can, incorporate that into your product or service. Addressing an unmet need is a good way to differentiate your product in a crowded market.
When researching keywords, make sure you look outside of Google. While Google is the search engine most people use, online marketplaces like Amazon and eBay have their own search functions too.
If you’re thinking about selling a product, type in the product name on these sites and see what keywords come up. Say you’re selling kitchen knives. Typing that into Amazon’s search bar turns up suggested search terms like “kitchen knives sets” and “kitchen knives with block self-sharpening.” Those results give you an idea of what people are looking for in that product.
Finding Your Target Market
As you’re gathering product information, study your target market. Who is your ideal customer? What characteristics do they have? This is where creating customer personas is useful.
Personas are fictionalized versions of your ideal customers that allow you to try and predict how they’ll behave. You can create a picture of the person you think would be best served by your product or service, then figure out how to appeal to that person.
Ask questions like:
- How old is this person?
- Where do they live?
- How much money do they make?
- What causes matter to them?
From there, you can infer where they’re likely to be online and what messages they’re likely to respond to. That information will help you market your product effectively when it’s time to launch your e-commerce store.