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How to find the best products to sell online

The modern digital seller is spoilt for choice when it comes to starting an online business. While there’s a lot to choose from, figuring out what to sell is the tricky part. If you’ve come here hoping to see a list of things you can to purchase, you may be disappointed. Instead, we’re going to take you through how you yourself can find a product that’s right for you and the audience you want. 

So…what to sell online?

Let’s be clear, being an e-commerce entrepreneur isn’t always easy. The online market is already saturated, and a lot of the products out there aren’t high in quality but are low in price. 

The top-selling products on eBay are usually electronics. The top-selling products on Amazon are usually cheap clothes. The best products to sell online are already being sold online. If you can’t re-invent what’s already out there, you’ll need to think of something else. The more in demand a product is, the harder it is to stand out. 

 That being said, you’ll need to execute a little creativity. Let’s start by thinking small… 


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Finding your niche 

With masses of competition out there, the best thing to do is find a niche. While targeting a smaller demographic may seem counterproductive, it isn’t. Not only will your marketing efforts be easier, but they’ll also pay off more, and you’ll be attracting a potentially loyal customer base. Think about it…

It’s a lot easier to establish market dominance and to have a top-seller if you’re the go-to for a particular product. Being a niche seller makes you a master of one thing, as opposed to an “ok” seller of at lots of things. Selling the best possible product will help you to create a long-lasting and reputable online brand.

Spend some time thinking about what exactly your niche could be, and once you’ve found it, you’ll find it significantly easier to start making a profit and scaling your business.

Sell something durable, lightweight and small

Shipping and handling is a nightmare as it is. By selling a product that’s simple to ship, you’ll save yourself headaches in the form of returns.

A few things to consider: 

  • If you decide to sell a product that can easily be damaged, make sure that your T&C’s and returns policy is clear. 

  • Aim for a uniform shape. If your product is shaped irregularly, postage will become more difficult. If your product can fit into a square or rectangular box, you’ll eliminate extra postage costs.

  • Size does matter. Selling furniture or large pieces of art? Delivery will be difficult whether it’s the other side of town or the other side of the country.

  • Think free postage. If your product is small, postage will be cheap. Customers love free shipping.If you can factor postage costs into the sale price, you’ll likely increase their average cart spend.

  • Storage can be expensive. If you plan on having large quantities of a product on hand before you sell them, make sure that you have the physical space to store them. 

Be tempting 

We’ve all fallen victim to an online shopping spiral, so if there’s one thing everybody knows, it’s that not everything we purchase is a ‘need.’ 

Buying online comes with a certain level of anonymity. Being anonymous removes the guilt from impulse buying and may even justify it. It makes things easier, and faster. That’s why the best product to sell online is one that a customer considers an affordable luxury.

Take ice cream, for instance. Not often is ice cream portrayed as something healthy or necessary. Instead, it’s marketed as a ‘luxury’, a temptation or even an obsession. By understanding the temptations and obsessions of certain demographics, you can sell a product that people find satisfaction and validation by indulging in it. 

Be more than a product…

Sell a service.

By offering a service as well as a product, your brand becomes more valuable to your target consumer. If there’s some kind of maintenance or repair required for what you sell, offer that service. This enables you to make money from your time and not just a product. This approach also opens a lot of doors. People that already own a product similar to yours become your target customer, whether they got it from your store or your competitors. 

Here are some example: 

  • Sell kitchen knives and offer a knife sharpening service

  • Sell antiques and offer a price evaluation service

  • Sell decorative prints and offer an interior design service

  • Sell headphones and offer a cable replacement service

If the product you sell is something people usually only own one of, offer a service that disposes of the old one. Or, if you want to keep things simple and online, start advertising audits or consulting. 

Some takeaways 

  • Be original. Doing the same thing someone else already does, doesn’t make sense. 

  • Become the ‘go-to’ product in an industry, not just a Jack of all trades.

  • Don’t copy other sellers, you’ll just be setting yourself up for immediate competition.

  • Be more than a product. Find a way to offer a service that revolves around your product.

  • Use psychology and emotion. Sell things that people like to splurge, indulge in or spontaneously buy.

  • Sell a product that can be shipped easily and at a low cost. 

Finding the best products to sell online isn’t an easy task. It may take time, but it’s certainly worth the payoff. For more information, tips and tricks on how to improve your online presence, visit the SumUp blog.

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Anna Marie Allgaier