If you haven’t approached the idea of starting your own online store already with a product in mind, then it should be obvious that one of the very first things you’ll need to do will be to figure out just what you’re going to sell through your online store.
There are basically two types of people who want to venture into the setting-up and operating of an online store, really. The first is the type who already has a certain product or service in mind, which they may, or may not, already be selling through some other means. It may be a product they, themselves, actually manufacture, or it may be a product they simply have access to obtaining as stock at below retail cost. Whatever the case, they are now looking with interest into the advantages of expanding their sales into an online market via their own online store. The second type of person does not yet have a product in mind. They merely, for whatever reason, are interested in operating a profitable online store. They may be looking for a method of earning a living from home, and doing so through the operation of an online store may seem appealing to them.
If you’re that second type of person, then this article will be of specific interest to you. But, if you’re the first type of person, you might want to read through this article as well, as the tips and advice I’m going to give regarding choosing products to sell online through your own online store may prove valuable to you as well when it comes to understanding how to best leverage the products you’re planning on, or may already be, trading in.
What are your interests and is there a related niche market?
It is of great advantage to deal in a product in which you hold an interest. And, the greater the interest you hold, the better off you’ll be. This can not be stressed enough. The more passionate you are about your product, the better you’ll be able to sell that product. If you hold a keen interest in the product you’ll be much more apt to retain precise information about it. You’ll be much more apt to develop and hold an intimate familiarity with your product. And, if you have a keen interest in your product, you’ll be excited by, and enthused about, the product. And, this sort of thing really is contagious — even in the ecommerce world. If you’re excited and enthusiastic about your product, then your customers are much more likely to become excited and enthusiastic about purchasing your product.
So, if you can, really try to pick something in which you already hold an interest. Try to stay away from anything you’re indifferent about, or you find boring. If you’re indifferent about your product, you’re much more likely to become indifferent toward marketing your product. For these reasons it’s good to approach your product and niche research from your already existing interests. Do you have hobbies? Are there things you absolutely love to do? What are they? List them. Then, begin doing product research to determine what sorts of niches exist, if any, that are related to these things. List your interests, find out if there’s a related market, then find products that people in that market would very likely be interested in purchasing.
What is your target retail price range?
There are two general plans of attack when it comes to making money through selling goods and services: (1) The sell cheap and do heavy volume model. And, (2) the sell expensive and rely less on heavy volume model. It’s important that, after you’ve found a potential niche market, you give some consideration as to which model would be more to your benefit to aim for. Are you going to try to make a lot of sales of relatively inexpensive items? Or, are you going to shoot for selling big-ticket items and not worry so much about high sales volume?
This may, at first, appear as a somewhat trivial matter, but it’s worth some consideration on your part. There can be exceedingly significant ramifications regarding how best to approach your business depending on which model you choose. With the first model your business will be primarily volume oriented. With the second it will be primarily revenue oriented. For instance, let’s say your short-term goal is to earn a revenue $100,000.00 a year through your online store. This means that you will have to, on average, make roughly $274.00 in sales each and every day in order to achieve your goal. Depending on the model you choose, that could mean that you’d need to make a total of one or two sales each day, or it could mean you would need to make a total of forty or fifty sales each and every day. Which sales need your business falls into will drastically effect how you should approach your marketing efforts.
If you’re relying on volume and selling low-priced items, it can take a long time to turn an e-commerce business into a profitable venture. Whereas, if you just need to make the odd big-ticket sale here and there, you can see your online store enter the black much more quickly. On the other hand, if you’re successful in building a profitable high-volume/low-sticker-price store, this model can be much more stable over the long term. If business slows down for a stretch you’re much more likely to be able to struggle through and come out much less unscathed. If you’re relying on sparse sales of high-priced items and you hit a rough patch, you can quickly find yourself inescapably into the red in no time at all.
Warehousing or drop-shipping your products?
If you’re planning on selling tangible goods, as opposed to services or electronically fulfillable merchandise, then you’re going to have to turn your attention to aspects of supply. Are you going to purchase stock and inventory and warehouse it yourself? Or, are you going to go the drop-shipping route and market the products of a third-party supplier who will take care of all of the associated storage and fulfillment requirements?
Both methods have advantages and disadvantages and you should spend some time and effort researching each to discover what is the best option for your business. Using drop-shippers can certainly lower your costs and greatly reduce the scope and complexity of your operations. But, there are distinct advantages to controlling the product you’re trading in yourself — something you lose when dealing with drop-shippers.
If you decide on utilizing the services of drop-shippers you’ll obviously gain the tremendous advantage of not needing to front money in order to acquire necessary stock, as well as eliminating costs associated with storing and shipping such stock. The downside is that you’ll be placing all of your trust, and your business’s reputation, into the hands of a third party over which you have very little control. The other downside to using drop-shippers is market exclusivity. Any product a drop-shipper offers will already be distributed by other retailers before you get there. In a very many cases it’ll be exceedingly difficult to locate products being offered by drop-shippers that aren’t already being sold in countless — hundreds, or even thousands — of other places on the internet, and sometimes even elsewhere. For this reason, when using the services of drop-shippers, it can be difficult to identify products in just about any given niche market that wont already be in a state of significant market over-saturation.