Selling products online can be a reliable way of adding an extra string to your bow and, of course, more money in your pocket. However, what exactly you stock in your ecommerce store can be a big factor in your success. You can’t always expect a “popular” product to sell as it theoretically should.
That’s because, naturally, other online stores are eager to sell such items, meaning that the market can too easily become saturated. Here’s how to be more strategic with your product selections.
Ask your customers what they want
It’s an obvious point, so it’s getting mentioned first on this list: what better way to learn what shoppers want to buy than simply asking them? You can do this with a survey once you’ve built up a base of customers who have swapped not just money, but also their contact details, for your goods.
Perhaps one product on which you had lavished a lot of marketing money isn’t generating nearly as much excitement as another item you had previously relegated to the store’s “bargain bin” section.
Look for what’s “up and coming” in the market
One risk of getting too hung up on survey findings is that, by the time you’ve learnt what shoppers want, and readied those products for sale, those shoppers may have… moved on. They are no longer interested. That’s why you should pounce on a product just as it’s starting to become fashionable.
The Balance Small Business notes: “Learning to pick a hot product before it becomes hot is a valuable skill that comes from knowing your market.”
Choose items that look especially profitable
Of course, you want to rake in more money on products than what you’re spending on them. That means accounting for the costs you incur on not only the products themselves but also your overheads, which could ultimately slash or entirely wipe out your profit margin.
If your store is Amazon-based, consider using the intelligent search tool Source Mogul to filter thousands of products and discern the profit you could make on them.
Test-market a product before launching it
As only your most dedicated customers might be inclined to participate in surveys you send them, quite a few, more cursory shoppers could slip through the net, their voices left unheard.
You might, however, be able to capture their curiosity by using Photoshop to make a test market product and then putting it on beta test back order status, as Practical Ecommerce suggests. If many people click the “back order” button, that’s your cue to launch the product.
Team up with another retail store complementary to yours
Let’s assume that you sell swimming gear. Your small business might have a specialist interest in swimming shorts, but what about the goggles? You could run a promotion jointly with another small business that sells just the goggles and so can help, but will not compete with, your company.
Mixing up your product range can lessen your reliance on specific markets, as the GOV.UK site points out.