07Apr
By: Tomas Šlimas April 07, 2016 Topic: How to Sell Online

I recently did a Reddit AMA on dropshipping. The most frequently asked question was “What should I sell online?” So I decided to write a guide on how to find products to sell online and drop shipping ideas. And, I mean literally to sell, not to just have in your store. In this article, you’ll learn a few drop shipping ideas, information about Google Trends products, and how to find products to sell online. 

You can import dozens of Google Trends products from AliExpress into your store in just a few minutes. The tricky part is knowing how to find products to sell online that you should use in your marketing campaigns, or products for your store’s homepage.

These Google Trends products that you’re going to focus on are called ‘Alpha Products’. These are the products which draw lots of traffic to your store. After you know the Alpha Products, it takes no time to fill in the rest of the store with cross-sell, upsell, and related products.

I have structured this article into two to parts: Generating drop shipping ideas, and filtering products.

My goal is to provide a roadmap for brainstorming dropshipping ideas and then filter out the ones which aren’t worth testing.

This article will be useful for all eCommerce start-ups, small businesses, and medium-sized businesses who are looking for new drop shipping ideas.


Generating Dropshipping Ideas

how to find products to sell online

Brainstorm Drop shipping Ideas

You never start with a blank page. Your head is already full of good dropshipping ideas: your hobbies, products you like such as Google Trends products, and newly discovered passions.

Write everything down that comes to mind. It doesn’t matter if you think the product will be a best seller or not. Don’t skip this.

Browse Other Shops

Back in the 1980’s, Sam Walton was arrested for crawling around stores on his hands and knees. He later told a friend he was measuring the spaces between product shelves to determine how they displayed their products.

At the time, Walmart was making $400M+ in sales, but Walton knew that there was more he could learn.

When you browse other stores, look at their offerings, best selling lists, and promoted products. Many stores have a tremendous amount of data and employ entire departments to organize their sales and pick their products. Use that information to your benefit, it’ll help you come up with some great drop shipping ideas.

Browse a lot. Browse frequently.

Here is a link list that is worth spending time researching:

Add any of these drop shipping ideas which seem interesting to your list of potential products.

How to Find Products to Sell Online – Browse Social Shopping Sites

There are over 100 million products on Polyvore and 30 million on Wanelo. Add in Fancy and Pinterest, and you now have a very large number of products from around the world which can easily be sorted by popularity, trends, categories, and more.

People often overlook these sites in their research, but they are valuable.

Set up an account at each one of these websites. Subscribe to different categories and lists. Follow what people like the most and add it to your list. When you’re constantly surrounding yourself with ideas you’ll quickly come up with some ideas for the best dropshipping products.

Ask Friends for Dropshipping Ideas

The next time you have coffee with friends, ask their thoughts on some Google Trends products. Don’t limit yourself — talk with friends of all ages and backgrounds to get a wide variety of drop shipping ideas. When you’re talking about what you’re doing you’ll get new drop shipping ideas and it’ll make your ecommerce store better.

Look Around for Products to Dropship Online

Look around your house, your work, and your life. Are there any products which you can’t live without? What products would make your life easier? Is there anything that is hard to find in the supermarket?

Howard Schultz came up with his coffee shop idea on a trip to Italy and later called it Starbucks. The founder of Inkkas brought his idea from Peru, where he saw great shoes he thought that people in the US would like.

Stay alert and spot opportunities. You see hundreds of products and dropshipping ideas each day. Also, be observant, carry a notebook, and remember to write everything down.

Drop shipping ideas often come to mind while traveling. However, it’s equally possible to spot them locally, in every day life. When you’re being active with your ideation you’ll quickly come up with a list of the best dropshipping products for your store.

Sites to Avoid for Drop Shipping Ideas

I suggest you don’t look at sites like SpringWise.com or TrendHunter.com. It’s not that they are bad; they are great; but Product Trend Sites publish the ideas that are out of the majority reach. They’ll provide you with good drop shipping ideas, but they might not necessarily be the right for your store. For example, how would you get and promote Wearable Sleeves that Help Stroke Victims Recover or Herb Inspired Fragrances in your store?

Next Steps for How to Find Products to Sell Online

Once your list is full and there is nothing left you can add to it at the moment* — continue to the second part of this article. There, you’ll narrow down your dropshipping ideas list so it only contains the very best dropshipping products.

*Your dropshipping ideas list will never be full! Keep making additions!

Filtering Google Trends Products

dropshipping ideas

Drop Shipping Ideas – Niche Filter

With the rise of dropshipping, niche shops have become the trend.

It quickly turned from an eCommerce novelty to a proven, successful strategy.

Don’t fight the big stores. Avoid categories which are too broad or general. The masses are already exposed to thousands of offers daily.

Look to supply niche products that are underserved by larger players. For example, there is no specific interest group for a normal belt, but you can easily tell that cycling gear will resonate well with cycling enthusiasts. Find your niche. If you can come up with a niche drop shipping idea you’ll have a good chance for finding successful products.

Drop Shipping Ideas – Stay Away Categories Filter

It may overlap with Niche Filter, but it’s essential to narrow down your product selection by excluding the ‘stay away’ categories.

Some product categories have grown significantly over the last decade and there are already many strong players and smaller shops out there supplying these products.

Just look at the eCommerce growth rates: books sales are flat and the jewelry market is shrinking. 80% of Americans say they’ve bought electronics or apparel online in the past three months, which means they already have their choice of trusted store.

Cross off the following general categories from your idea list: books, jewelry, electronics, and clothing — you’ll need to be more specific and find a niche.

Please note: I don’t suggest crossing out these categories entirely. You could sell plus size women’s clothing, men’s clothing, custom hiking/cycling electronics gear, or jewelry hidden in candles. I suggest you pay more attention to finding an interesting subcategory that will make your store unique. Don’t fall into the trap of selling in general categories.

Dropshipping Ideas – Price Sweet Spot Filter

Andrew from eCommerceFuel says the perfect eCommerce product price is from $100 to $200. Richard from ABLS argues that it’s $75 to $150.

In my experience, my sweet spot price is $40 to $60 (at a 200% mark-up).

There are a few general rules to remember: the lower the price, the better the conversion rate. The higher the price, the more support you’ll need to provide.

With a $40 to $60 price range, the profits are relatively high and you can still cover the marketing costs of up to $20 per sale. The conversion rate is usually higher because the purchase requires less consideration on the part of the buyer. There is also less support.

You increase the odds of the success of your store in the developing markets. With Chinese dropshipping, you can sell everywhere in the world. Although $30 may not be much to people living in the US, but it could be a lot for someone in South America or Eastern/Central Europe.

Bonus Secret: You should definitely try selling in developing/neglected markets. Lower advertising costs and competition equals a higher ROI. Don’t worry about the language barriers.

Look over your list and cross out dropshipping ideas that are more than $60.

Marketing Channels Filter

After you learn how to find products to sell online, you have to think about your marketing strategy before you even launch your store. You must have a plan for the products you sell online dropship.

To put it simply, different marketing channels are great for different Google Trends products. Once you pick the product, you have to figure out which marketing channel will be best for it.

Advertising an $800 hoverboard on Facebook might not be the best idea, but you might succeed in advertising it on Google Adwords. A hoverboard is not a spontaneous purchase, in most cases people will Google it to learn more about it and find which stores sell it.

I spent many hours looking at how other people pick their marketing strategies and didn’t find anything that would meet my needs.

I liked Rand from Moz’s tables representing the ROI, effort and cost of each marketing channel, but it seems to be outdated (published in 2009). There are also a lot of explicit guides and lists of all marketing channels, but none of them position marketing from an inventory standpoint.

So I decided to do a product evaluation / marketing table myself. Its design is similar the one from Moz’s blog but based totally on personal experience and random thoughts from the internet.

drop shipping ideas

There are dozens of other marketing channels out there, but I doubt that PR Stunts, co-branding opportunities, or video marketing will be the right channel for anyone just starting their business. However, you might want to consider affiliate marketing in the future, so it’s something to keep in mind.

Remember, think about your resources (time, money, knowledge). Select one or two marketing channels. Next, cross out all drop shipping ideas that don’t suit those channels.

Google Trends Products and Keyword Tools are a must if you’re going to use Google Adwords or if you’re trying to grow organic traffic. It helps you see what Google Trends products are trending. Also, you can check the demand of your product drop shipping ideas.

Keyword Tool

Go through your product ideas. Next, enter each product name and variations into the Google Keywords Analysis tool.

Then, select then Keywords Ideas method and look at how many searches each Low Competition Keyword receives.
Google Trends Products
Let’s say you could get all of that traffic and 2% of them would buy at your store. Would this demand be enough?

Google Trends Products

Go to trends.google.com and do the same. Enter each of your product ideas into the search and determine what the trend is. Is the trend increasing or decreasing? Are there any patterns? Do you see any spikes?

What Does It All Mean?

In general, you should avoid product categories that have little or no search traffic (less than 500 monthly searches). If you are planning to grow organically, you should dismiss all product ideas that have high competition according to the Google Keyword Analysis Tool.

How to Find Products to Sell Online – Seasonality Filter

Avoid seasonal Google Trends products like Christmas decorations. Furthermore, you can check product seasonality trends at Google Trends.

Unfortunately, by focusing on seasonal items, you’re reducing your sales cycle. Most Christmas decoration sales take place in autumn and winter. These are likely some of best drop shipping products for this time of year, but you’ll need core products in your store which will sell all year long.  Take some time to think of drop shipping ideas for your store which aren’t seasonal.

How to Find Products to Sell Online – Copyrights Filter

Be careful when you’re sourcing branded products for your store. It isn’t easy to find suppliers which sell copyrighted products. If you’re sourcing copyrighted products from little-known suppliers, there is a chance that you’ll be selling fake products. Build your own brand instead, it’s more sustainable in the long run.

 

How to Find Products to Sell Online – Competition Filter

By crossing out broad categories, you avoid giant retailer competition. However, don’t think there are only a few shops out there who sell niche products.

Evaluating your competition is an endless task. However, you need to check whether the product you’re about to start advertising is already widespread among other websites.

Here’s a simple trick:

Google a product and try doing a product image search. Look at how many shops have similar products.

If you’re dropshipping, most store owners will likely have the same images.

Find your competitors. Then, check their pricing strategy, popularity/traffic (on sites like Alexa.org or SpyFu.com), and what marketing channels they are using. Finally, cross out all products ideas that already have huge competition.

How to Find Products to Sell Online – Conclusion

As an ecommerce entrepreneur, you need a clear product selection process in place  to get the best results. Unfortunately, people often pick drop shipping ideas on a whim which wastes a lot of time and effort and yields no positive results. Take the time to properly research which are the best drop shipping ideas for your ecommerce store, and test them out. We know you’ll do well.

 

When learning how to find products to sell online which Google Trends products and drop shipping ideas did you use? Let us know in the comments below!

  • Emeks Xavi

    Great insight. In summary, research is key. Effective research would make execution much easier

  • You’re right. But on the other hand it’s important you don’t spend weeks looking for a perfect product idea, because probably you’ll choose one of the first ones you thought of.

  • vincent

    very good post!

  • Better Start

    how do you know if a particular vendor Dropships? Is there a tag on the account profile? I am not seeing it.

  • Hey,

    Technically, if you’re using Obelro, all AliExpress suppliers dropship. If you want to double check that, you could write your supplier a message.

    P.S. A great read on how to select AliExpress suppliers: https://www.oberlo.com/blog/how-to-select-dropshipping-suppliers-on-aliexpress/

  • Sulaiman Zakaria

    I started the ecommerce website and used oberlo to integrate with aliexpress products for dropshipping. While I’m in process of attracting traffic, I’m worried about shipping times the chinese products take to reach at the doors. Why people will buy. Can you shed some light on this issue based on your experience?

  • gemnify start

    Hi Tomas
    Awesome stuff you’ve shared.
    Just wondering as i am residing in Malaysian, am I able to target US market or other markets for drop shipping?

  • Sure. Most of our users use Facebook (or other advertising platforms) which technically allow you to show your ads to anyone in the world. You can read more about Facebook Ads here: https://www.oberlo.com/blog/the-beginners-guide-to-facebook-advertising/

  • Thanks a lot

  • Glad you liked it! Let me know if you have any questions 🙂

  • Jay Iflee

    a rise in fitness leggings means a decrease in boner pills

  • Helen Bellart

    If you have an online shop or you are an internet reseller in ebay, amazon or other ecommerce platforms then you could be interested in our DropShipping program. We offer very hight profit for every reseller!
    To be Helen Bellart dropshipper, you will enjoy extra high discount on all our items.
    Here are the benefits to be our dropshipper:
    1.High dropship discount;
    2. High profit for seller
    3.No any joining fee
    4.No Minimum Order Restriction

    Here is the link to read more about our dropshipping offer: http://www.helenbellart.com/distributors-area
    Here is the link that you can refer to our website:
    http://www.helenbellart.com/

  • Hi Thomas,

    Is it possible to make an example of a product with huge competition?

  • Demsy

    hi TOMAS,
    First i want to say that your article is awesome and this really give me the idea how to start.
    now, there’s something i need to ask you.
    what if i decide to use facebook as my marketing strategy? do i still need to use the Google Keywords Analysis tool and google trend product and also keyword tool? or i just only use facebook insight as my market research?

    thanks for your time

    best regard,
    Demsy

  • Les Abbott

    Great article. I made mistakes in the past choosing website names, business models and never covered my costs, and this time I don’t have time to waste. I have to get it right or I have to get another slave job! Any ideas? I am frustrated by all the endless research and not coming up with good ideas. By the time I go to the various sites back and forth I get information overload. Is there an inexpensive way to pay someone to set me up with the right verifiable idea for dropshipping without doing FBA for now?

  • Matt Romero

    ^^^This is exactly what is turning out to happen to me.

  • Anthony Velez

    amazing article. Thank you sir…

  • mike

    great post! but i still find it frustrating to find the perfect niche as everything you research for is done….this is the most difficult part of starting by far

  • mk store

    Great article man, it answered some major questions i had in mind ..

  • Shanelle

    Hello, I would like to sell candles but I don’t see the product

  • Chris

    So I can add any product(s) to my store…from random suppliers, how do I ensure my customers have the right return address for any product(s)? Cuz when choosing products it’s not like you search & choose from one store at a time.

  • Rowel Tancio

    one thing you need to know there’s no such thing as a “perfect niche” but you can find ideas that have a market but not overly saturated.

  • Bill Kay

    what you think of a creating a domain name,selling mens fashion and beauty?

  • Girija Mohanty

    Dear Thomas, I’ve poor knowledge of online trading. I want sale few old Indian currency. Please guide me.

  • Mark Lewis

    Informative article, but I’m struggling with the basics. Are we having to pay Facebook, Twitter, Adwords, etc every time and for every product that we want to sell? That seems terribly risky to me. Starting from ground zero paying to promote someone else’s product with no guarantee of a sale scares me a lot.

  • jael diaz

    amazing!!!!!! Thank u. 🙂

  • Billmart

    Wonderful article Tomas! … very informative, Thanks !

  • Susan

    Nice good post!

  • Mary Green

    Thanks for the great advice. Good read!

  • Márcio

    Very good post! Thank you.

  • Gregory Dwight McNair

    Great artical really got the creative juices flowing.

  • Richard Reid

    Any advice for supplying into the African market?

  • Sergio Maceda

    Great article about dropshipping. I’d like to start my business but I need to know about new courses or ebooks please

  • Ida Temple

    The price shown on any given product is that the price I pay? If so then do I change that price once I put it into my store? How do I do that?

  • Ruta Ganusauskaite

    Hi there Ida,

    You’re right, that’s the price that you will pay. You will have to determine and set your retail prices. Learn how to do it here: http://support.oberlo.com/article/25-setting-up-global-pricing-rules

    Good luck!

  • Hey Sergio,

    I suggest you check out this eBook that explains how to successfully start your eCommerce store: https://www.oberlo.com/start-your-ecommerce-business/

    In case you need help with Oberlo specifically, our Help Center should come in handy: http://support.oberlo.com/

    Good luck!

  • Sergio Maceda

    Thank you Tomas!

  • josh ray

    hey tomas slimas is their a way for us to talk cause im having a problem with my website and i would appreciate the opportunity for u to help me change my web store around to a profitable store.. the website of my store is josuaa.shop

  • Hey Josh!

    Send us an email at hello@oberlo.com and we’ll see what we can do! 🙂

  • Carole ABRAHIM

    Bonjour Tomas,
    merci beaucoup pour vos précieux et utiles informations.
    Cordialement.
    Carole.

  • Carole ABRAHIM

    Comment créer des catégories dans ma collections Femmes par ex sur ma boutique Shopify?, comment je créer la catégorie tee-shirt, jupe, robe, pantalon etc.?
    Merci d’avance.
    Carole.

  • Glad you find it helpful, Carole!

  • Hey there!

    You can find a detailed tutorial on how to create a collection (category) here: http://support.oberlo.com/article/99-how-can-i-create-collections-and-assign-products-to-them

    Hope this will help!

  • Nice one on how to find products!
    Have been shying away from Ecom biz. But deep inside me ,I have this interest in drop shipping business.

    What always come into my mind is: how long would it take for me to make my first sale. The fear for store subscription when I’m not yet making sales.

    By God’s grace I’m going to stick to Oberlo.
    Thanks!

  • Glad you find the article helpful!

    Can’t wait to see your store grow 🙂

  • Thilmant Mireille

    Who can help me because brand new and didn’t understand how it works ; must i buy a certain quantity with my own money ; i’m lost and frenchspeaking the I can understand all of what is written…………HELP !

  • Taoufik Ghazali

    There is more interesting information in your article Sir…But the best for me is to not try with product take more time to be changed (jewerley.clothes.etc.)…
    Anyway..i have question : what must dropshipper consider to fixe the price ?

  • Hey,

    When setting your prices, you need to consider a number of factors: costs, competition in the market, market demand, target audience, marketing, etc.

  • Johnny Cramer

    I`ve since a year and a half done my research about watches. I`ve even looked into some criminal Stores in US (exist even in China but are hunted down,as China want to come clean now as they are since many years producing for Cellphones, Computers, Sportshoes a.s.o. and that is because some big Companies outsourced to Chinese industry..
    the Chinese state are paying exporter sometimes as 90% of the price, and still those exporters making “Promotion” once a while. For me China and Aliexpress are splendid, never failed me to deliver what I pay For, and just to emphasice, I have done about one thousand orders so far, but I don`t want to have this Huge store at my home so I`m gliding slowly over to Shopify and Drop-shipping have A nice evening

  • Hey there Johnny,

    Good to hear your store is doing well! Keep it up! 🙂

  • Mark Alan Wilson

    Tomas, I don’t see how it’s possible to have a 200% mark-up with $40-$60 products in AliExpress/Oberlo AND make a sale because every store I look at selling AliExpress/Oberlo products only have a 15-20% mark-up!!! Please help me with this because if I can’t make at least 100% GP it’s just not worth the trouble. Thank you in advance.
    Mark Wilson
    W: http://SunCoast-Shop.myshopify.com
    E: markw@mawenterprisesusa.com
    E: suncoastshop@mawenterprisesusa.com