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1. How to find products to sell on Shopify: Eight methods

How to find products to sell on Shopify in 2023

Dropshipping is a profitable business model that opens doors to prospective entrepreneurs who lack the financial capital or resources to invest in warehouses full of inventory. However, to establish a successful online store, it's essential that you find the right dropshipping business idea. Keep reading to learn which ideas are most likely to lead you to successfully building your own dropshipping business.

Main takeaways from this article:

  • Researching trending products, keywords, market niches, and competitor marketing helps you see what's selling.

  • Social media, online forums, and trade shows provide additional research resources.

  • Print on demand offers one of the easiest ways to find in-demand products.

  • Consider cost, size, demand, and sourcing when picking products to sell at your own online store.

How to find products to sell on Shopify: Eight methods

Online sellers use many market research methods to locate profitable products. Here are eight of the simplest methods you can use to find product ideas for your Shopify or ecommerce store:

  1. Research trending products

  2. Perform keyword research

  3. Choose a niche

  4. Look at competitors

  5. Analyze social media

  6. Turn to online forums

  7. Check out trade shows

  8. Use a print on demand (POD) service

Let's look at how to put each of these product research strategies into practice:

1. Research trending products

trending products

Analytics tools that identify trendy products let you see what online shoppers are buying now on popular shopping platforms. Google Trends lets you view trending searches over select time frames, from multi-year trends to real-time daily data, showing you what products have momentum now. You can break down trends by country or state to see the top-selling products in a region. You can gain additional information by viewing related topics, queries, and keywords.

You can do similar research on other online shopping platforms. You can research Amazon trends through various means, including keyword searches on Amazon, viewing Amazon bestseller data, and using Amazon-oriented analytics apps such as Jungle Scout.Etsy includes a Trending Now page with a link to additional Editors' Picks. Apps such as eRank provide additional insight into Etsy trends. Most major social media platforms also have tools that provide data on trending topics.

2. Perform keyword research

keyword research

Keyword research provides a powerful way to see what search queries online shoppers use to look for products. You can research relevant keywords to gain information on search volume, searcher intent, relevance, and competitive difficulty. Expand your research by adding information about autocomplete terms, related searches, and questions people also ask.

Google Ads Keyword Planner is a must-have tool for doing effective keyword research. You can find words and phrases related to a selected keyword, analyze search volume, estimate ad costs, and project conversions, clicks, and impressions.

Supplement Google's native search tools with third-party SEO apps that provide additional insight. For example, Ahrefs lets you audit keywords you're using on your website, analyze competitor keyword strategy, see what customers are searching for, identify opportunities, and track campaign progress. Semrush lets you uncover popular keywords, segment keywords by location, audit your own site's SEO performance, and analyze competitor SEO strategies.

3. Choose a niche

choosing a niche

A great way to develop in-demand products for your online store is to focus on what a particular market niche is buying. This ensures that you're identifying products your target customers really want. Choosing a particular industry niche also lets you take a deep dive into your target market's online shopping preferences. You can see exactly who's buying what and which related products they buy.

The first step is to pick a niche. You can use demographic criteria such as location, age, and language to narrow down a niche. Other categories for specifying niches include beliefs, values, hobbies, educational level, income level, and pricing (such as discount versus luxury shoppers).

Once you've identified a niche, you can research what shoppers in that niche buy. Market research reports can give you insight into significant niche groupings, or you can commission your own research for more customized insight. Product research tools such as Amazon's recommended products feature can point you toward products shoppers who buy a specific item also bought. Social media analytics tools can provide additional insights.

4. Look at competitors


Competitor research reveals what other merchants are selling successfully and what they overlook. Analyze your competitors to learn what they sell online, what they're not selling, and what gaps in their selection you could fill with your online store.

To do competitive research, first, identify who your competitors are and compile a list. Then you can see what your competitors are selling. In addition to identifying what products your competitors are selling, pay attention to their marketing and sales tactics, such as the needs, features, and benefits they highlight. This can provide you with valuable data for developing your own sales strategy for your online store.

You can use various tools to research competitors and what they sell online. The most direct method is to go straight to competitor websites, shopping platforms, and social profiles to see what they're showcasing. Tools covered earlier, including Google Trends and Google Ad Keyword Planner, can be used to research competitors.

5. Analyze social media

analysing social media

Social media platforms provide another powerful method for researching products. Look at social media platforms such as TikTok, Pinterest, and Instagram to see what products are trending and what people are talking about.

Most social media platforms have search features that let you see what's trending. Deepen your research using analytics tools offered by social media providers and third parties.

You can use social media analytics tools to research shoppers and products. For example, you can create a buyer profile and use it to find other shoppers who fall into the same target market. You then can research what shoppers with this profile are buying, giving you additional product options.

Another way to use social media is to participate in discussions with your target market. Join groups representing your target audience or competitors' target audience, and talk to customers about their product preferences and complaints.

6. Turn to online forums

Online forms give you a glimpse into candid conversations about products and brands. Use online forums to look for conversations in your niche to see what people are discussing and their pain points.

One of the most beneficial online forums is Reddit. Reddit's editorial rules prioritize authenticity, making it a great place to see what shoppers genuinely think about products. Read Reddit conversations to see what products people like and don't like and why they feel the way they do. This can give you valuable insights into what products to offer and what sales points to emphasize. You also can look for conversations that reveal what needs aren't being met by products currently on the market, suggesting what you might offer to stand out from the competition.

Reddit is a popular general forum, but you can use many other general and niched forums for research. Forum-oriented search engines such as Boardreader can help you identify forums in your target market.

7. Check out trade shows

Trade shows give you a hands-on opportunity to see what's going on in your market. Attend trade shows to see what products other companies offer, what people buy, and what they wish to buy.

One way to leverage trade shows is to set up your own booth. You can sell your own products, test sales, and pricing strategies, track sales, and talk to customers about their needs and preferences.

Another method is to attend as a shopper. Visit merchants' booths, see what they're selling, and see what people are buying. Collect competitor sales literature for additional insight into product offerings and marketing strategies.

While attending, you can talk to other attendees to gain insight into your market. Interact with attendees informally, or you can conduct formal surveys for deeper research.

There are thousands of trade shows conducted annually. Use trade show directories to find shows relevant to your target market, or get in touch with trade associations and professional organizations that can provide you with information. If your target market is geographically specific, look for trade shows in the appropriate location. Also, consider virtual trade shows you can attend online.

8. Use a print on demand (POD) service

Print on demand services provides an easy and effective way to diversify your product offerings by combining in-demand products with customized design options. POD services let you offer shoppers the option of putting their own customized designs on products they purchase. Print on demand uses digital technology to customize designs, allowing you to let customers buy in any quantity from a single unit up.

POD services also handle order fulfillment for you, eliminating your need to manage inventory and shipping. This provides you with an adaptable sales model that lets you capitalize on emerging trends without minimum purchase requirements and the risk of unsold inventory.

Gelato's print on demand service lets you offer customized in-demand products ranging from apparel and tote bags to calendars and wall art. Gelato handles order fulfillment, using local suppliers for more eco-friendly shipping.

How to vet product ideas for your Shopify store

If you apply the above strategies, you should find a wide range of products to sell. But successfully selling is about quality and not just quantity, so it's essential to vet the products you sell on Shopify. Some of the most important criteria you should use to select products are:

  • Cost

  • Size

  • Demand

  • Sourcing

Here are some guidelines to follow when applying these criteria:

Consider product cost

Very inexpensive products will have lower profit margins, while more expensive products may deter potential customers and leave you dependent on each sale. As a rule of thumb, choose products with a mid-range price point. However, price your products accordingly if targeting a discount or luxury market.

Be mindful of product size

Product size has a direct bearing on pricing and profit margins. Heavier and larger items are more difficult and costly to package and ship. Smaller and lighter items are easier and cheaper to package and ship. Factor this in when selecting products to ensure your shipping costs are sustainable.

Understand product demand

Be sure to choose a product category that has consistent demand. Consider if the product has any seasonality that would cause it to be in less demand at certain times of the year, making sales inconsistent. For example, a product that sells well for Valentine's Day can boost your sales in February, but it isn't going to sustain you the whole year. If you opt to sell seasonal products, consider ways you could keep sales up during other times of the year by selling other products.

Consider the ease of sourcing

To succeed on Shopify, you'll need a reliable supplier to provide the appropriate number of products at reasonable prices. Products that are more difficult to source can result in supply chain issues and shipping delays. For example, highly expensive products in short supply may pose sourcing challenges. Make sure to find suppliers you can rely on.

Start selling custom print on demand products in your Shopify store

Knowing how to find products to sell on Shopify lays the foundation for a successful online store. Research trending products, relevant keywords, market niches, and competitor marketing to see what's selling. Use social media, online forums, and trade shows for additional ideas. Diversify your product selection by using print on demand services to offer custom products your target audience would love to buy.

After identifying potential items to sell, narrow your selection by focusing on high-quality products. Consider cost, size, demand, and sourcing when vetting products. Look for sources that can supply you with in-demand products at a price point and size that sustain a profitable online business model.

Gelato's print on demand services makes it easy for you to offer customers in-demand, customized POD products. The Gelato platform gives ecommerce merchants access to customizable clothing, phone cases, mugs, wall art, wallpaper, photo books, calendars, cards, stationery, and tote bags. Gelato hosts the world's largest POD network, with local suppliers in 32 countries to cut carbon emissions and keep costs down. Sign up with Gelato today to create a Shopify ecommerce business selling custom and high-quality print on demand products.


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