Fast-moving and often rewarding, the online retail space continues to grow. But if you’re reading this, you already knew that.
What you really want to know is what to sell online. And that’s a good place to start, because it means that you know how much the market has changed over time (especially in recent years), and how important it is to keep up with these changes. That’s why it’s right to be asking yourself: what are the new trends in the market and how can I put together a strategic offering?
How should you decide what to sell on the internet?
With new ways of doing business, like dropshipping, it’s very easy to keep up with changes in the market and adjust your product catalogue to meet new needs or requirements – what’s more, not having a warehouse to worry about makes everything much simpler!
Let’s be clear: it’s not enough just to look at a list of the products most sought after by consumers to know what to sell through your e-commerce operation. It’s much more complicated than that. So here we’ve broken it down for you, step by step.
You should start by doing some market research to understand what consumers’ needs are and what they search for online. Google Trends is a free tool that can help you do this: it shows you consumer trends and data on the searches that people make on the internet.
Once you’ve gathered your data, you need to know how to interpret it. Just because there are lots of searches for a particular product doesn’t automatically mean that you should add it to your offering. If you choose to sell very popular items, you need to be prepared to do battle with lots of competitors, including big ones. And if you’re not able to handle this competition, your business will have little chance of success. So, what should you do?
Find a niche market
Limit your target audience: don’t try to sell to everyone, but rather focus on a niche of consumers. An example? Instead of selling any type of jewellery, just sell jewellery made from recycled plastic. That way, you’ll have a lot less competition and, if you play your cards right, you could even become the market leader – at least until a serious competitor notices you! 😉
Research the competition
Once you’ve decided what to sell, look around you. You might realise that, for example, a competitor offers the same product as you do (perhaps of better quality) at a lower price. In such cases, it’s better to focus on something different. Studying your competitors will help you understand how to differentiate your offering and make it unique.
At this point, you’ll already have a better understanding of what could work.
What do consumers want?
The market has changed a great deal during the pandemic. Some sectors have shrunk – like tourism – while others have grown enormously – like health and well-being. And the way we shop has changed too.
According to a report by Trustpilot: “A Deloitte Digital study found that, in the UK, 3 in 5 consumers purposely chose local businesses to help out. In the US, a Zeno group survey showed that consumers are now 4 to 6 times more likely to support purpose-driven businesses as they were before the pandemic.”
Customers have become much more aware, demanding and discerning. They’re no longer content to buy the best product at the lowest price, but choose brands based on the values they embody, rewarding those that are ethical and sustainable. That’s why, before you even think about what to sell online, you should ask yourselves: what type of company do we want to be?
What sells the most online
The list of the bestselling products online is not set in stone because it’s constantly changing. That’s why we recommend looking at (and bookmarking) this really useful interactive tool from Google that tells you, in real time, the retail categories that are growing fast – broken down by country. For each category, you can also view search interests. Those shown below are for the United States, but you can change the country to suit your target market.
Now, so as not to disappoint people expecting to find a proper list in this article, here’s one from Shopify showing the 17 most sought-after products on the platform.
Just two thoughts…
Sales of products for home working are growing
As you can see, this list features various items needed for working from home, like pens and pencils, office chairs, and tablet computers… So we had a look at how much searches for office chairs had increased recently in the United States.
What it confirmed is that many people are still working remotely and living in their home differently from before.
Awareness about sustainability is increasing
One product on this list tells us about a very live issue: sustainability. A reusable water bottle is a sustainable alternative to buying single-use plastic bottles of water. The fact that it is among the most searched for products shows that more and more people are trying to reduce their environmental impact. Google Trends shows us how much interest in water bottles has grown in the United Kingdom.
In short, understanding how to meet market needs requires more than just a list: we have to study our target audience, understand what they’re looking for and what they need. And, at the same time, we have to interpret the world around us and how it’s changing, then adapt and respond with an appropriate offering.