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1. How to create products to sell online (Seven simple steps)

How to create products to sell online (7 simple steps)

Creating an ecommerce brand is a highly profitable business venture, thanks to the explosion of online shopping in the last decade.

Selling products online is highly lucrative; one popular product idea can single-handedly launch an online store if you take specific steps to ensure your success.

In this post, we've created a step-by-step guide for brainstorming ideas for products that are sure to sell in even the most saturated market. You need to know the steps to take in the process; don't worry, we're covering that too!

Main takeaways from this article:

  • Your target audience can help you determine what products will perform the best in your store.

  • Leveraging a print on demand supplier will lower costs and allow you to create custom products.

  • Utilizing social media marketing can build brand credibility and loyal customers.

How to create products to sell online (Seven simple steps)

As you brainstorm products to sell online for your ecommerce business, there are a few critical things to do along the way.

1. Conduct market research

market research

When determining a product to sell online, conducting market research is an important first place to start. Here are a few ways to discover trending products you can put your spin on and determine what is in demand for the ideal buyer and how you can provide something unique.

Research industry trends

Use helpful resources like Google Trends to find what consumers shop for on search engines. Google Trends measures the popularity of specific keywords and terms people may use to find products and goods to purchase online. You can use this market knowledge to carve out a few product ideas to sell in an online store.

Utilize social media

Social media is another excellent resource for discovering what's trending online in specific niches and with various demographics. Browse the Explore tab on Instagram or the FYP page on TikTok to see what like-minded individuals are sharing to get ideas for your niche product.

Follow hashtags for trends and products you are interested in selling to see what your target market is saying, what they're missing, and how you can offer something different.

Find your niche

Pursuing something you are passionate about is your best chance at having a successful product and an online store. Whether you love music and film, are a talented photographer, or enjoy finding silly memes to send to your friends, find the niche that aligns with your interests. This way, your products will become a passion project rather than just a business. Your personality and creativity will shine through in a contagious way for potential buyers.

2. Leverage print on demand (POD)

Creating custom products to sell online requires a few pivotal partners to make everything run smoothly. You'll need a print on demand provider to handle all the order fulfillment, including printing, packaging, and shipping the orders as they arrive.

Leveraging print on demand as a piece of your online business means you won't ever have to worry about inventory, shipping, or any tasks related to order fulfillment. You can focus on creating products that sell and let the POD service do the rest.

Print on demand shopping list

When researching print on demand companies to integrate with your ecommerce store, a few considerations should hold a lot of weight in your decision.

Be sure to consider each company's product selection so that you can serve specific customers and offer popular products in your online store.

You'll also want to look into the product quality; from t-shirts and custom hoodies to fine art paper quality, every detail matters when selling a product online.

Lastly, consider the sustainability practices of the print on demand provider. Do they partner with companies around the globe to decrease their carbon footprints or provide a break in shipping costs? These factors will significantly benefit your customers' shopping experience and can be a valuable offering for eco-friendly consumers.

3. Pick a product

pick a product

If you've done your research, you probably know the most popular products being sold in major online marketplaces today. Here are a few product ideas that are sure to bring in more sales and more money than you could've ever imagined possible.


Men's and women's clothing shops have seen massive growth in recent years, making them a fantastic product choice in your own online store.

From organic crewnecks to t-shirts and hoodies, apparel is a profitable product idea that will never go out of style. You can create your own designs for clothing or borrow from popular meme culture, music, or films, to name a few ideas.


Since the significant shift in interest to home decor, selling art online is an incredibly lucrative business model. Whether you paint, draw, sketch, or create digital designs, selling art online is a profitable way to run your own online business and flex your creativity. From wall posters to ready-to-hang framed prints, wall art targets a vast demographic and can cater to many interests and styles.


Sell must-have accessories like customized phone cases, coffee mugs, and tote bags in an online store that consumers will love for their individuality. If you decide to sell products online, offering your creative spin on products that people love is the best way to become profitable.

4. Design your product


Once you've decided which products offer a solid profit margin and are the best route for your online store, it's time to begin the design phase!

Start creating

If you're a designer, get to work! If design isn't your specialty, hire a graphic designer to create your designs for you. If you have a Gelato+ Subscription, you'll have access to the Gelato Design Editor, where you can easily create unique, eye-catching product designs.

Design best practices

Whether you're doing the designing or providing guidelines for a graphic designer, remember to focus on a clean, simple design that packs a punch on its own.

Avoid using too many colors or visual elements because they can appear distracting and take away from the design. Stick to complementary colors and fonts to keep your visual elements harmonious and cohesive.

Test various design ideas and experiment with color schemes, fonts, and imagery. Testing all your designs with different color families and graphics will ensure your product is unique and looks clean printed on anything.

Order samples

Once you've finalized your designs, order samples from your print on demand supplier so you can experience each product firsthand.

Samples allow you to feel each item's quality, fabric, and texture, whether a hoodie or a piece of photo paper. Pay attention to these details; you'll need them later when you list each product in your online store.

You can also take high-quality photographs of each product you decide to sell so you can include photos in product listings and use them to promote your store on social media

5. Set up your online store

setup online store

It's time to set up your online store, but first, you'll need to choose a sales channel to use for listing your products.

The leading platforms for selling online are ecommerce platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce, online marketplaces like Etsy or eBay, or creating a store through your own website.

Ecommerce platforms

Ecommerce platforms are beneficial for several reasons, mainly due to the customization opportunities they provide for sellers. You'll have total brand control over your online store, from the templates you use to the look and feel of your store. If brand image and identity are essential to you, an ecommerce platform may be the right direction.

Ecommerce platforms also create unique marketing opportunities through custom tools and features that support product promotion. It's not all butterflies and rainbows, though. Ecommerce platforms charge high upfront costs and require technical expertise to set up shop.

Online marketplaces

An online marketplace like Etsy or eBay is a great place to start an online business. Marketplaces offer a massive customer base worldwide, increasing your potential reach. Marketplaces also require minimal upfront investment and are relatively easy to set up and get started, mainly if you aren't tech-savvy and want to start listing products.

However, marketplaces have some drawbacks as well. You won't have nearly the customization freedom you do on an ecommerce platform, nor will you be able to showcase your brand's identity to the same level. Marketplaces also typically charge fees for listing products and when you make a sale. If you have a small number of items to sell in your online store, this may eat into your profit more than you're comfortable with.

Your own website

Hosting your own website is another excellent option for running an online store, where you'll have total control over every aspect of the customer experience, customization, and branding. You'll never have to worry about paying transaction fees or upfront costs (aside from setting up your website with a host).

The downfall of running your own ecommerce website is the technical aspect of it all. You'll need a domain, a hosting provider, and significant coding knowledge to get your shop off the ground.

Set up your store

Once you've decided on the platform, it's game on to get your store up and running! Here are a few essential steps you'll need to take:

  1. Brainstorm a store name and create a logo that is eye-catching and memorable.

  2. Customize your store to fit your brand with colors, fonts, messaging, and other elements.

  3. Add your products to your store.

    • Upload the high-resolution images you took from the sample order from your print on demand partner.

    • Add detailed product descriptions and include helpful details about each product's fabric, materials, sizing, fit, and any other info that may help potential buyers as they shop

    • When listing your products, use relevant keywords for all titles and descriptions. This search engine optimization strategy will help you rank higher and gain visibility with a broader audience.

  4. Enable different payment options in your shop for your customers.

  5. Select desirable shipping rate options for customers

6. Price your product

Product pricing is next on your To-Do list and is pretty essential. When pricing a product, consider the following:

  • How much does the item cost to produce? (both designing and printing)

  • What do other brands charge for similar products?

  • What is your desired profit margin?

Once you've determined these factors, adjust your pricing as necessary for a reasonable, optimal price that your target market is comfortable paying.

Consider offering discounts and promotions on digital products to attract potential customers to your store effectively. Discounts are an effective sales strategy because they increase visibility and visitors to your site, even if they don't make a purchase right away.

7. Promote your product

product promotion

Now is the fun part... it's time to market your online store! Social media marketing and email are two of the most significant drivers of sales and visibility in the digital landscape.

Social media

Create your store's social media pages (if you haven't already) so potential customers can follow along. You can promote products, run paid advertising campaigns to increase visibility, and give your audience a behind-the-scenes look at your brand.

Reach out to influencers in your niche and see if you can partner with them. Send a free tote bag or framed poster that they can promote to their audience.

Email marketing

Collect email addresses on your website or through your social media profiles to create an email list. When it's time for a product launch, send a curated email that promotes new products, offers discounts, and engages with your audience in unique ways.

How do you create a product that sells? Three best practices

Creating a product that sells requires establishing a few core business values you never let fall by the wayside.

1. Focus on product quality

If you sell online, product quality should be your number one priority. Make an effort to find a reliable manufacturer or supplier who offers a product catalog with the items you want to sell with the quality you stand behind. Anything less will lose you customers after the first order, and you can be sure they won't return for a second purchase.

2. Create a robust brand

In the online world, branding is king. A memorable brand helps you to connect with potential customers and build rapport based on shared interests and passions. If consumers feel connected to your brand, they will become loyal, life-long customers.

3. Leverage customer feedback

Through email and social media, encourage customer feedback so you can understand their pain points and make critical improvements to your products and customer experience.

Ask for reviews on your website or social media pages to build social proof and maintain your brand's credibility.

Design and sell custom products with print on demand

Not only is selling products online a highly profitable business venture, but it also doesn't take much heavy lifting to get started.

This step-by-step guide provides everything you need to create a lucrative online store with unique products that customers can't wait to purchase.

Ready to create custom products and sell them online? UtilizeGelato's sustainable, reliable print on demand services as you launch your online business.


Next steps

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