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Being an entrepreneur can be a lot of work. You have great ideas, but they need to be backed up by hard work to get these ideas to turn into products and services. Since the events of 2020, online selling has become one of the most fiercely competitive realities of any business model in the world.
Competition has never been fiercer and product markets are quickly becoming saturated. It can be easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of jumping from one new idea to another and chasing your tail. Even online business design has changed dramatically. Therefore, you will need to make lots of decisions about how you model your storefront to attract the right buyers.
Perhaps the most important factor that you will need to determine before you do any other work surrounding your brand or your storefront, is figuring out what exactly to sell online.
You will need to determine the following things surrounding this new product:
All of these items need to be linked to your product that you are trying to sell, or your brand will not generate sales for you. Here is everything you need to think about when researching products to sell online.
What Type of Products Can I Sell Online?
No matter what industry you are in, you have two different products that you can sell:
1. Commoditized Products
2. Niche Products
Commoditized products are the biggest slice of the online sales pie. You will never be able to sell anything in this space without having careful branding built up around the product itself. This might be a unique or one-of-a-kind item or maybe a handmade product.
In the case of niche products, you will be selling small batches of items that are in demand. This might be something like a custom laptop case, or a handmade jewelry item. Commoditized products are not readily marketable on large platforms like Amazon, and they are harder to make successful without careful branding support.
Large online retailers can buy large quantities of items and then make a profit off these sales. Yet a startup will struggle to reach that kind of success due to a lack of budget to cover this kind of initial buy-in.
This is where product selection can make or break your startup. You might need to think outside the box to come up with the right balance of value to you, and to your customers when you are starting out. In some cases, the combination of niche and commodity products is what is required to make sure your new business can get off the ground.
Being flexible and creative while you are brainstorming is a major factor in finding a product that will actually connect with customers. Consumers can be picky, and they can change their minds about products abruptly. The only way to protect against these kinds of ups and downs is to make sure that your product is going to stay relevant through branding and proper marketing outreach.
Selling to the wrong customers, or having a weak branding message can make your customers go looking to buy from other brands that they feel more connected to, or that they have a better understanding about. You will want to make sure that you consider the niche that a product belongs to as well as the marketing plan that would be needed to make it a success.
How to Choose What Products to Sell
Everyone wants their brand to become the next big thing. D2C brands are always focused on this level of success as their main goal. However, the market today is quite saturated, and it can be difficult to come up with brand new ideas that stand out from the crowd.
Thankfully, there are some ways to brainstorm that might help you to come up with a new product idea.
Identify Products That Can Solve a Problem
If you are stumped about what to sell online, try to think about problems that you feel need to be solved in your life. You might be able to think of many things that you wish worked better in your daily environment. Any of these items could be the next big thing!
While you might not want to try to come up with a better version of wireless headphones, or a new solution to an old problem, there are probably many products and services that you can think of that are not well-attended to by other products on the market.
You don’t have to be making or selling a complicated item, either. You might be able to execute a simple fix for people’s needs that can take off!
Other things to consider:
· Unique product positioning or marketing
· A new market that has not been worked in before
· Improve product features
There are many ways to attack this angle of brainstorming, and some of them are probably right in front of your face! The people who created the biggest products that we all know and love were often responding to needs that they felt were not met in their daily lives.
A great example of this that is also proof that small niche markets can be a big success is Pixie Faire. This store started out as a physical doll clothing store, but it grew into a huge success by offering digital doll clothing patterns to customers.
They identified a highly niched need, and they were able to react to this need by creating a product that has been very profitable for them. A good fix for a known problem is often a big success in the eCommerce space, even if the known problem is highly niche-centric. Don’t dismiss items that you think might be too niche to appeal to others.
You can always check out and research the item that you think might solve a need. You will often find out that there is a market for even the most niche creation or product. You can leverage these small niche spaces for big results.
Make Sure Your Product is One That People Are Passionate About
Invested customers are loyal customers. If you are going to market something, you need to make sure that people will feel strongly motivated to buy or have the item. Otherwise, there is no need to bother with a complex marketing plan.
Items that people feel strongly about do not have to be luxury items or things that most people cannot afford. Even certain brands of headphones or clothing mean so much to people that they will scrimp and save to be able to buy them.
Your branding message is what will influence this emotional reaction in your audience. You will want to make sure that your message is authentic, relatable, and that you make it clear what your brand stands for.
People connect emotionally with products that they believe in. Think about the many clothing or shoe brands that create normal clothes and shoes, but draw in customers with their promise to take a percentage of each sale and contribute to charities or other causes. This loyalty that their customers are feeling is due to the cause more than the product.
A great example of this kind of product being leveraged successfully is Huckberry. This clever business offers ambassador programs and other kinds of marketing connections to make sure that their brand is associated with the right people who will have the right emotions about the brand.
Being able to create a partnership with the right other entities can drive traffic to people who will feel an emotional bond with the products. Being able to introduce people to a brand that offers a community to belong to is a huge part of the success of Huckberry.
You can make this kind of scenario work for you, or you can bring forward your charitable connections and other values to make sure that your customers know what you stand for. Being able to connect your values with your customer’s values is paramount in this model.
Make Sure Your Products Have Branding Potential
If you have come up with a product that you think solves a problem or will be in high demand, that is a great first step. Now, how do you convince people to be invested in buying it? This is where branding comes in.
Crafting a brand presence that communicates who you are and what you are about right away is essential to any business. Your branding message creates an instant emotional response and hopefully also instant brand loyalty, with customers.
· How does your target audience want to be addressed?
· Does your website communicate the right message to visitors about your brand?
· Have you positioned your products properly?
You should always have a plan for ways to connect your products to a lifestyle, an emotion, or a cause. This will make it matter to people to be invested in your brand. Loyal customers are connected customers, and you need to be doing outreach on your end to make them feel welcomed into the club that is your brand.
Brands that create a sense of community and affiliation with their customer base will stand the test of time.
Take Advantage of Trends
It might seem like bad advice to jump on the trend bandwagon, but sometimes trends can be helpful to your overall marketing position. Being able to stay at the forefront of the trending spaces inside your niche can make you seem hip, forward-thinking, and smart.
You will also be able to create new bonds with new customers if you are able to do outreach and sales related to trending items. While it might seem like these trending items are just a flash in the pan, sometimes they are not, and frequently your new customers will stick with your brand even after the trend has ended.
This can be an important item to leverage if you are selling luxury brands. Luxury brands make up 25% of the market at this point and they are slated to continue to take up more space. Luxury brands have traditionally leaned on word of mouth and other marketing tactics to push their products forward. This will change as they become a larger part of the overall market.
Word of mouth will no longer support your marketing needs adequately for luxury products, so you will need to make sure that you are not missing out on opportunities to leverage trends to get your brand in front of new consumers.
Guilty Pleasures Can Pay Dividends
People often feel passionate about things that they look at as treats or indulgences. This is a great space to attract buyers to your brand because people will be willing to seek out brands that offer them these items, even if they would not normally have discovered your products.
A great example of this kind of marketing is a food product that defines itself as a must-have decadent treat. Connecting a product that is already viewed as a treat with a sense of special personal spoiling can make people eager to buy that product. Lingerie and other designer clothing brands also leverage this guilty pleasure strategy to sell their goods.
Being able to find a way to speak to people’s need to spoil themselves can be a great way to market your item successfully.
In the case of Morgen Newman and Casey Elsass, their success story was built on this nature of decadence. Their honey infused with chili flakes has generated $170,000 in the first 10 months of the company being open for business. This is the kind of item that is connected with a sense of decadence that can become very successful because they are bonded to a sense of indulgence.
Serve Niche Groupings
Niche markets can be some of the most successful spaces to market your items. Niche segments are almost always underserved, and they tend to dovetail with other groups that are more mainstream. Serving the niche clients will also expose you to other groups of customers that you would not otherwise have had access to.
Niche markets are often easy to do outreach to because they are so well-defined. You will know by definition what the needs of this space as because niche markets are so targeted. This can save a lot of time and research when planning ad strategies, and it can make it a lot easier to connect with your customers with each ad you run.
An added advantage of niche markets is that they are usually fiercely loyal and they are a great source of word-of-mouth advertising. This can be a very organic space to sell to as your audience will often grow itself, so to speak.
Some great niche products to Sell in 2022:
· Subscription services like box services
· Craft beverages
· CBD items
· Health-conscious foods and drinks
· Pet foods
· Notebooks and planners
· Rings and jewelry
· Camera and photo accessories
· Beauty products
Be Aware of Business Opportunities Everywhere
Entrepreneurs should never take an imagination break. Some of the biggest ideas that people have had were discovered doing daily tasks. Being able to improve an item, or invent a new product is often due to a passing thought that happens during daily tasks.
Being open to these ideas and letting them get the attention they deserve to potentially become big new products or services is key when you work in the eCommerce space. You will be able to think up more of these items if you stay on top of what is going on in the world.
You can also come across new ideas if you look at your strengths and your interests. You might realize that you have the skill set needed to market items, but not develop them, or maybe you want to create new products but you don’t know if you have all the skills to create them.
Sometimes business opportunities are all about collaboration and admitting that you need a helping hand to make something a success.
How do I get Started Selling Online?
So, you have a new product to sell. That is great news! Now you need to figure out how to market it online. There are some markets that can only be reached through specific planning processes, but any online sales plan will need to have all of the moving parts in place before you make your store go live.
You will need to set up your online store, but you should do these steps first. All of these steps are needed to make for a successful launch. It can be time-consuming to go back and fix issues that you did not notice when you were first planning your online store. Making sure that you are prepared is a huge benefit related to opening a successful online store.
Here are the basic steps that you should undertake before you even consider making your store go live:
1. Market research
2. Finalize your product
3. Define and examine your audience and customer base
4. Research the eCommerce platforms you plan to sell on
5. Create some high-quality content to market your brand successfully
6. Work out your marketing strategy that is tailored to your target audience.
Launching your store will not be easy at first. There are many moving parts to figure out and identify before you can really get on a roll selling products. Careful planning can make your launch day easy and your follow-up planning much more straightforward.
Utilize all of the information in this guide to prepare your store and your marketing plan before you go live with your store.
Resources to Use to Start Selling Online
There are lots of resources that you can use to plan out the steps of your online launch and the process of developing your brand. You will want to look into all of them, as well as commit the time to do research about the various platforms you are planning to use for your marketing and your product sales.
You will always be happier with your eCommerce experience if you are prepared before you jump in with both feet. Being able to leverage the experience and training that are offered by other experts in the eCommerce space can mean the difference between an easy launch, and one that is tough for you and your brand.
Think about your online resource usage as the same kind of process as reaching out to others for mentoring guidance and help. It might add some time to your process, but it is well worth the benefits that you will gain. Being able to skip over problems and large errors can save you headaches and lost business when you first launch your store.
Imagine if you could work with the marketing experts that you admire every day. That is what you will be doing, only in a different format, if you are willing to use their guides about tips and tricks to structure your online store and your marketing plan! Ecommerce is a complicated space and you will want to be sure that you take advantage of every single benefit that you can bring to the table to help you out.
What to Do Next
Now that you have figured out what you are going to sell and what niche you want to sell in, you are ready to start planning the next steps. You will want to check out Chapter Two: How to do Market Research and Market Analysis. This chapter will get your marketing plan on point and help you to develop a continuing protocol for your marketing plan.
Following the chapter guides in order will help you to develop the perfect niche product to sell online and then to market it successfully for years to come. Your brand can grow and develop through the use of this overall marketing plan.
The success of your business is all about self-education and preparation, and this guide will give you all the tools that you need to succeed!