Find products to sell online
Ecommerce is developing rapidly worldwide. Starting your own online business is an exciting opportunity to take part in this market. Before launching your online store, you will need ideas on how to find products you can sell and to know where and how you purchase them.
- Wholesalers and suppliers
- Choose products in a higher price range
- Choose a specific target audience
- Target a region
- Use current events to your advantage
Because of the ecommerce growth, there are many other entrepreneurs starting an online store. There is a lot of demand, but the competition online is fierce. Your business and the products you sell should set you apart from your competitors.
There is a lot of demand for products, but the online competition is fierce!
A first instinct might be to try and sell a wide range of products with low prices, but there are a lot of established competitors already doing this. You can also sell items you know well.
Although it helps to have expertise about your sales, another way finding products to sell online is to see what you can easily purchase, what audience you can target or what niches still have room for another online seller.
Find product ideas you want to sell online
You will need to find out where you can purchase products to stock your online store. Small, starting entrepreneurs often check out thrift stores for unique products. But if you want to fill your online business with a larger assortment, you will need to look for suppliers or wholesalers. What options are out there and what are the differences between them?
Buying products at wholesalers and suppliers
If you’re looking to buy in bulk, a wholesaler is the place to go. The prices of these products are lower than when you’d buy them in small quantities at a store yourself. But you can also choose to get your products from a brand or a supplier.
Wholesalers often have a large assortment, which means that you could fill your store with just one wholesaler. However, most online sellers try to incorporate products from several suppliers in their shop. If problems arise with one of the suppliers, product supply will still continue because they don’t rely on just one supplier.
Purchasing products from a wholesaler will take some effort
Sometimes, the minimum purchase for first-time customers is as high as tens of thousands of euros. Other wholesalers want their customers to also have a physical store. Some wholesalers also have a no-return policy on their products for first-time customers.
These requirements are often unattainable for small online businesses. It will take some effort and creativity to purchase from a wholesaler. If you can show a wholesaler that your shop is already selling some products, how much traffic your online store generates and what your monthly revenue is, the wholesaler will probably be much more interested in selling to you. Show the wholesaler or supplier that you already have some sales make sure that your first purchase is of interest to them. This will increase your chances of success.
European versus Asian suppliers
The location of your supplier is also something to keep in mind when you are doing your research. As most of the products available on today’s market are made in China, it’s not surprising that many entrepreneurs look for a supplier in China. There are some factors to keep in mind. It’s not like you can just travel to China and get to know your supplier, have a look at the products and negotiate a good price.
When retailers from Europe search for a product to sell, they often look for a supplier in China.
On average, products from these Asian suppliers are cheaper than products from a European supplier. This is why smaller online business also want to purchase products there. They usually turn to websites that make the buying process easier, such as Alibaba.
It might be easier to start selling these products than waiting for a European supplier that’s willing to sell to you. You should, however, keep in mind that the European safety standards for products are a little different from Asian ones. Some products or materials aren’t allowed on the European market, but are often sold by Asian suppliers. You will have to make sure the products you sell in Europe meet European standards. With a European supplier, you won’t have to check this, as these suppliers will make sure they meet those standards themselves.
Commonly heard complaints are different product sizes than expected, sometimes the product is very different in real life from what was pictured. This is why you should always order some sample items before you decide to buy in bulk.
Something else to keep in mind is the fact that Asian suppliers come with higher shipping costs, which can vary per supplier. You will also have to pay customs fees, and sometimes other additional costs. Buying from Asian companies such as Alibaba suppliers comes with a lot of advantages, as well as disadvantages.
Alibaba is so popular, it’s filled with hundreds of thousands of wholesalers. Read our guide for finding suppliers on Alibaba to learn how you can find your distributor!
Finding ideas for dropshipping-products
Another way to find a product you can sell is through dropshipping. With this way of doing business, the products in your online store are sent directly from your supplier to your customers. This means that you don’t stock up. You will therefore have less costs before you can actually start selling. For starting online businesses, dropshipping is an easy way to try out the online market.
There are suppliers that gear towards supplying online dropshipping stores. If you’re interested in dropshipping, always make sure to research the supplier and order sample items before adding them to your shop. Even though you’re not in charge of the shipment, you’re responsible for the product that your customer receives. This means that you will have to take care of any problems that might arise.
How to find products ideas: what to sell online
Trying to compete with the current competitors is hard for starting online sellers. Focusing on sales for a smaller range of products and target group will make your store more coherent, which helps when you try to distinguish yourself from competitors. Here are some tips for product ideas to keep in mind:
1: Choose products in a higher price range
One way to set your store apart from others is by selling items in a higher price range, like luxurious goods. There aren’t a lot of online stores selling new cars, luxurious toys or expensive office supplies. These are more expensive to purchase, but catering to a specific group of people looking for more luxurious things will make you become the expert in this area. It also means that your store will be able to fulfil a gap in the market.
2: Choose a specific target audience
Even if you do choose a product that is in a highly competitive market, there are ways to distinguish your online store from others. Setting a specific target audience is one way to do so. Don’t just launch an online electronics store, but keep a target audience in mind. You could sell electronic appliances to farmers or people living in the countryside. Make sure that your products and lay-out reflect who you are targeting.
It is hard to find a niche that is profitable. But with the right research, you can still find some!
3: Target a region
Large online businesses often buy from large factories or suppliers. If you can find small regional or national manufacturers, your products are more unique. Chances are that this way, you will also build a much better relationship with your wholesaler or supplier.
Check marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay or local platfoms
4: Use current events to your advantage
Using current events to your advantage doesn’t mean you need to closely follow the news every day, but just be aware of trends and events going on around the world. If you’re selling toys, try to find out what the trends for the holidays next year will be. Make sure to sell those products at the right time, to generate more sales.
But also keep an eye on pop culture and global events. If there’s a new superhero movie coming out, you can use that to your advantage by selling merchandising, toys or other related products. With a specific domain name, a targeted design and the right products, you can definitely compete with other major players in the field.
Frequently asked questions
Some frequently asked questions about how to find product ideas to sell online are:
How do I find products to sell online?
If you want to start your own online business you need to find products first. How you do your research is up to you. There are different ways to find the right product ideas. However, always keep in mind that you also need to find a supplier and and be able to beat the competition.
How do I find a supplier for my business?
There are many ways to find a wholesaler or other supplier online. In this article we give some examples where you can start with.
Keep in mind that the one with the lowest prices isnt’t always the best pick to start with. For example, Chinese suppliers often have very good prices but their shipping times might be a problem. Also, not all products that these wholesalers offer are suitable for the European market.
How did other shop owners find their idea for their business?
At the start of the internet many online stores were started by people that just had a hobby or expertise with a range of products. Others found their idea when they couldnt buy the product they searched for online themselves. However, the internet has matured up and the competition online has become quite fierce. Finding good product ideas is a lot harder now, but luckily still far from impossible!