Finding the right products to sell is vital to the success of any eCommerce business – and dropshipping is no exception. In fact, 42% of new businesses fail because of a lack of market demand.
Although with dropshipping, you don’t have to worry about wasting money purchasing inventory, trying to flog products that simply won’t sell. Without consumer interest in your products, your online store will struggle to generate revenue, and you’ll be left with the costs of running your website.
So, how do you find the ‘right’ dropshipping products?
The key to sourcing products that actually sell is to work with reliable dropshipping suppliers. The easiest way to identify reputable suppliers is to utilize a dropship product research tool like Spocket. Spocket vets all its suppliers to ensure you and your customers benefit from high-quality products and fast processing times.
But even with this baseline covered, you still need to carefully curate a product catalog brimming with items appealing to your target audience. In light of that, we’re discussing how to choose a product research tool to help you find the right dropshipping products to sell.
What’s Product Research Tool?
Conducting accurate product research manually can be a long and tedious process. When done well, yes, you’ll dig up helpful information. But there’s also a good chance you’ll miss a lot.
This is where a dropship product research tool comes in handy. The most straightforward dropshipping product research tools go hand in hand with dropshipping directories like Spocket.
These platforms offer a catalog of thousands of products from different suppliers across varying price points. Like Spocket, they might include a product category for trending items or single out bestsellers. You can browse for products and immediately add them to your store with tools like these.
Aside from this, there are more advanced product research tools that offer extra functionality, like:
- Current prices across different eCommerce platforms
- Market-favorite products based on order rates
- Profits and engagement other sellers achieved with similar products
Some product research tools can even forecast trends and sales and help you with keyword optimization. In other words, these solutions help you make the best product choices for your dropshipping store by providing you with all the data you need to make a more informed choice.
How To Use Dropship Product Research Tool?
Now that we’ve covered what a product research tool actually is, here are a few tips on how to use it to find the best products for your store:
- Make a “wishlist” of the type of products you’d like to sell and the search terms relating to them. Check the search terms for popularity in Google Trends. Does it show a consistent demand? Is interest on an upwards trajectory? If so, great! Feed these terms back into your dropship product research tool to see what products are available in this category.
- Browse the platform’s ‘Hot’ or ‘Trending’ product categories to get an impression of which products are currently selling well.
- Read reviews from other sellers to see how they rate the quality of a product. Some platforms may also tell you how many people have purchased the product for their store. High numbers are a good sign of demand and product quality.
- Narrow the search by sticking to products that align with your niche – use filters to aid with this. To avoid high shipping costs and delivery times, you may also want to limit your search to suppliers and products in the region you sell.
How To Choose The Right Products?
Picking unrelated and random items is often a common tactic. However, approaching product selection more strategically typically leads to better success. In light of that, below we’re revealing a few best practices to bear in mind as you pick products to sell in your store.
Who’s Your Ideal Customer?
Asking yourself who your potential customers are is one of the first steps to deciding which products to sell. This is where creating buyer personas come in handy. A buyer persona is essentially a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers based on customer and market research.
When creating buyer personas, consider:
- Customer demographics
- Consumer online behavior patterns
- Customer motivations and goals
- Purchasing habits, tendencies, and preferences
If you’re unsure where to find this kind of data, here are a few starting points:
- Check your website’s visitor demographics to see your potential customers and where they come from. Pro Tip: when you integrate your site with Google Analytics (or other analytics tools), you’ll be able to gather more in-depth info.
- Visit Facebook groups and online forums in your niche to get a feel for what your target audience is struggling with, who they are, and what they want from products.
- Investigate the audiences of your competitors. What are their interests? How old are they? What languages do they speak? What pain points do they have?
With this info to hand, you’re better positioned to identify which products might sell well and how to best market them.
Not All Products Are Winners
Although dropshipping makes selling a diverse range of products easy, there are some products you should think twice about. For example:
- Fragile items: As you have no control over how things are packaged or handled during transit, fragile items could break during shipping, leading to customer complaints. If you’re set on selling these items, be sure to use reputable suppliers. For instance, Spocket. This dropshipping platform is a safe choice because it requires all suppliers to offer a refund policy to replace broken items.
- Dangerous items: Combustibles, flammables, cutlery, and knives, are all potentially problematic and hazardous items to sell. You could encounter several issues with products like this. Products like this could damage other goods or, worse, cause harm to delivery workers and/or customers if the packaging doesn’t offer adequate protection. This can have disastrous consequences for your business, as you may be held liable. So you may want to steer clear of dangerous goods.
- Heavy goods: Though this may be unavoidable, consider whether this will impact your shipping costs, especially international shipments. Again, this is where supplier research is invaluable. At this point, it’s worth noting that Spocket’s suppliers are primarily based in the US and EU to help keep shipping costs affordable.
- Electronics: Selling electronics like game consoles, drones, smartphones, laptops, etc., can be tricky because you can’t confirm the products are in working order before shipping. Also, unless you’re a specialist in that field, you’re unlikely to be able to offer your customers in-depth technical support if a product doesn’t function as it should. You also have to be very careful in assuring that items are safe and comply with EU and US electrical standards.
- Copyrighted images: Items plastered with logos, brand names, or manufacturer names could raise copyright and trademark-related concerns. This is riskier when sourcing products from China because copyright laws there aren’t as strict. For instance, while it might be normal to sell reproductions of Marvel characters in China, stores registered in the US or EU may get shut down.
To Trend Or Not To Trend?
What does it mean for a product to be ‘trending’? A trending product is popular and has lots of hype surrounding it. It’s a product that usually experiences a sudden spike in interest. However, it can also refer to a more gradual or a seasonal spike, resulting in increased sales.
Here’s an example:
At the time of writing (March 2022), portable blenders are enjoying immense popularity. You can see on Google Trends that this search term is predicted to achieve its peak popularity this month.
If you want to sell trending items, research is imperative. Dropshipping companies will often help you understand trending products through product data and blog posts. For instance, Spocket has a whole category dedicated to trending items, making it easy for sellers to pinpoint things enjoying lots of consumer attention.
You can also use Google Trends to verify the demand for products over set periods. Search for product-related keywords over the last few years within the region you’re selling to. This should provide a more unambiguous indication of the trend’s stability and whether seasonality impacts this product.
Understanding the different types of trending products is important too, i.e., whether the trend is short-term, mid-term, long-term, or seasonal.
A short-term fad is where a product suddenly becomes very popular, has a lot of hype about it, but then quickly dies off and becomes forgotten about.
For example, Bratz Dolls became popular in 2001, and interest soon faded. Likewise, lava Lamps were hot in 1970 and enjoyed a resurgence in 1990, and again, people’s fascination with them soon declined. Even plastic shoes like Crocs had their moment in the spotlight in 2009 and quickly dropped in popularity.
Dropshipping is perfect if you’re looking to sell fad trends. Namely, once you’ve found a reputable supplier, you can start selling very quickly. Also, you don’t have to worry about wasting money on surplus stock when the interest dies off.
However, to really capitalize on short-term fads, you need to identify the trend quickly and act accordingly. Here are a few tips for identifying and capitalizing on a fad trend:
- Regularly check trade publications, blogs, and news outlets to see if they mention new trends.
- When observing keywords on Google trends, fads will rise in popularity quickly and suddenly. Long-term trends will build over months or years.
- You won’t be the only one to see a trend, so seek a competitive advantage.
- Be quick in capitalizing on best sellers and trending products when they’re proposed by drop shipping platforms like Spocket.
Mid & Long-Term Trends
Products that enjoy more extended periods of popularity could qualify as mid or long-term fads. However, the main difference between this and mid and long-term trends is that popularity tends to build more gradually than a fad.
Often the demand for mid and long-term trends can develop over several years before reaching its peak. Likewise, they also tend to remain popular for a few years before fading away, enabling you plenty of time to profit from the trend.
The earlier you can spot a gradually trending product, the better. Clothing trends are generally excellent examples of developing mid or long-term trends. For instance, fashion is slowly moving away from the skinny jeans that have been popular for many years. Instead, Gen Z is pushing towards comfort and body positivity. Likewise, the nostalgia circle is coming back around to revive more retro-fitted fashions with baggier silhouettes.
Knowing what’s going on in the world is also imperative for identifying mid to long-term trends. Take COVID-19, for instance, and its impact on physical and online retailers.
Trending items suddenly changed, and many became “steady sellers” (which we’ll discuss below). For example, hand sanitizers and face masks quickly became a necessity and the norm.
Not to mention, more and more of us are now working from home. As a result, self-care products have grown exponentially, with 81% of Americans regularly practicing self-care after the pandemic.
These are just a few examples of real-world events and changes that have impacted consumer demand. But, the point is clear: staying on top of current events is essential when running a dropshipping business.
As we’ve already discussed, closely following blogs and news outlets will help you keep your finger on the pulse.
As its name aptly suggests, seasonal trends are items with recurring popularity with peaks and troughs depending on the time of the year. As such, popularity tends to spike quickly, followed by a rapid decline within a relatively short space of time.
We all know that Easter, Halloween, and Christmas are examples of popular seasonal events. For example, Halloween costumes are likely to be very popular during October and then cease to be of interest. The same goes for Christmas trees in December and Easter chicks in April.
Selling seasonal items can really pay off, so Spocket provides a seasonal trending category and a product category dedicated to festivals and parties.
However, you have to remember you’ll be competing with stores and brands worldwide, so there’s lots of competition to tackle. That said, here are some pointers for making the most out of seasonal sales:
- Talk to suppliers to prepare for higher-order numbers of seasonal products to avoid delays.
- Review your returns and refunds policies and ensure they’re clearly outlined on your website. Any needless hassle with returns and questions will slow you down during the holiday season.
- Develop an advertising plan and budget ahead of time. There will be lots of competition during the holidays, so get the word out to ensure customers are awaiting your sale to go live.
- Give your website a holiday overhaul to lean into the seasonal excitement.
Steady sellers refer to products that generate consistent sales and enjoy enduring popularity. Typically, these tend to be ‘staple’ products that your customers will want or need.
The best way to find recurring, steady sellers is to think about your customer’s needs. For example, stationery items eventually need replenishing and are something people always need. Other staples include products that naturally wear over time and will need purchasing again. For instance, socks, toiletries, makeup, cleaning supplies, etc. These are all great examples of products that inspire recurring sales.
Conduct competitor research to get a better feel for steady sellers in your niche. You want to pay attention to what competitors always have in stock. Often, this is a good indicator that it’s a steady seller. You can also turn to Google Trends to see which products are consistently in demand across the months and years.
Choose The Right Products Using Dropship Product Research Tool
As you can see, picking the ‘right’ products to sell primarily comes down to market research. With the right dropshipping research tools, you can achieve insightful results in little time to enable you to find products most suited to your niche.
While selling trending items is often a wise move, it isn’t the only way to go. Unfortunately, with fads, what goes up must come down. As such, quickly discerning trending products is key to generating maximum profits, as is discerning when popularity is waning, and it’s time to move on.
In light of that, selling a mix of trending items and steady sellers is a popular business decision as you enjoy the best of both worlds. High spikes in revenue and traffic when a trend comes along and a reliable income stream with steady sellers.
The key takeaway is that research is imperative to find the ‘right’ products for your online store. So, use high-quality dropshipping product research tools to get to know your customers, what they want, which dropshipping products are popular, and why this is the case. It’s also wise to keep an eye on what’s going on in the world to cater to consumer needs arising from this.
Alternative options to Spocket are SaleSource and Sell The Trend. And if you need tool to automate your dropshipping tasks from start to finish, then DSers, Easync, CJdropshipping, dropshippingXL, and Sellvia are excellent options.
Rosie Greaves is a professional content strategist specializing in all things digital marketing, B2B, and lifestyle. In addition to Spocket, you can find her published on Reader’s Digest, E-commerce Platforms, and Judicious Inc. Check out her website Blog with Rosie for more information.
DISCLOSURE: Posts may contain affiliate links. If you buy something through one of those links, I might get a small commission, without any extra cost to you. Read more about it here.