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How to Choose Products

Chapter 2 by Amanda Gaid & Adeel Qayum

Choosing dropshipping products can be daunting. In fact, it’s one of the top obstacles that keep new dropshippers from ever starting in the first place.

How can you be sure you’re choosing the best dropshipping products? What if you waste thousands of dollars with no returns?

At the end of the day, you’re going to have to take a risk. The best you can do is make it a balanced and strategic risk.

This balance should include your due diligence of research on trends, markets, audiences, and finances – but it should also include resilience, openness to learning as you go, and applying what you learn along the way.

Let’s look at some tips from our Dropshipping Masters on how to choose products to sell.

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Observe your surroundings

A great method of product research is to just go outside and observe people. Go to a park, mall, restaurant, event, or other public spaces with heavy foot traffic.

What are those people wearing, carrying, and using? Can you spot any trends or patterns? Are there things that went under your radar before you really started paying attention?

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This is how Ashley Banks stumbled across the most popular item on his coffee store.

ashley banks dropshipper

Ashley Banks says, 

“I just stumbled across added extras like the thermo mugs. Because every time I got on a train or bus, I’d always see people with these thermo flasks. So I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll add one of these products to the site.’ And lo and behold, that became the most successful thing.”

Explore items you’re personally interested in

This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, but if you see demand and viability in a niche that you’re interested in or passionate about, go for it!

The logic is simple: if you like it, you’re essentially one of your own customers. This can save lots of market research time spent trying to understand your audience and how to cater to their wants and needs.

Karolis Rimkus used his running expertise to find success selling running gear.

Karolis Rimkus

Karolis Rimkus says,

“I’m an avid runner. I’ve run marathons and races and trained five times a week. I knew if did this that I could source really good quality products from AliExpress, because I know first-hand what a good quality product is in that category. I can usually tell from the pictures.”

Start with inexpensive items

One of the secrets to successful dropshipping is to start with lower-priced items. There are two main reasons for this philosophy:

  1. It’s easier to return or refund without losing too much money.
  2. Customers are much more likely to make “impulse buys” on stuff that doesn’t break the bank.

Tim Vangsness advice

Tim Vangsness says, 

“Try to sell a product that is fairly cheap to start with. Just in case you have returns. If the customer gets the product and they’re unhappy with it, it’s much easier for you to be able to refund something which didn’t cost you too much in the first place. Their expectations are set a bit lower.”

Use Oberlo to source products

All of our Dropshipping Masters use Oberlo to help manage their dropshipping businesses.

If you’re sourcing product ideas through Oberlo, you’ll be able to use the exclusive stats to get an idea of high potential products. From there, it’s just a few clicks to add items to your store, manage your product listings and fulfill orders.

In our interview, Jenny Lei was sure to let us know how much she loves it.

Jenny Lei

Jenny Lei says, 

“I used Oberlo with my necklaces and it’s so much easier. If I were a new person doing this again… Step 1: Get your product from Oberlo. Then everything is on one platform.”

Use AliExpress reviews to gauge opportunity

Yuanda Wang shared a clever strategy with us. He looks at a supplier’s order history to determine if the supplier is dropshipping, or if the recent demand is organic from individual customers.

He then uses this intel to see if there’s a solid opportunity to capitalize on.

Yuanda Wang dropshipping product advice

Yuanda Wang says,

“Before I started my store, I searched up the product on AliExpress, found a supplier, and I realized that there were a lot of organic purchases from people who actually are buying the product for themselves.

They weren’t just one-off purchases, because in the order history, you can usually tell if someone is dropshipping. If there’s string of names, they’re probably dropshipping, especially if it’s to the United States.

And that’s one of the biggest criteria now that I look for in products: organic sales from people who use AliExpress as consumers and not dropshippers. Because that shows that there is a demand for the product, and in that exact moment, that supplier is not dropshipping heavily, so you have an opportunity to come in and get a slice of the pie.”

Consider a general store first

This may be a controversial opinion in the eyes of some dropshippers, but Harry Coleman and duo Andreas Koenig and Alexander Pecka suggest that dropshipping newbies take a general approach to finding a successful niche.

Harry coleman choosing a product to dropship

Harry Coleman says, 

“If you’ve got experience like I have now, start a niche store and you’re good to go. But if you’re just getting up and running with things, and you want to test quickly and not waste time, start a general branded store and learn what’s working. Then start your niche or one-product store.”

Master bonus: Check Harry out as he talks about five hot dropshipping products to sell.

Andreas and Alexander used this technique to test a few niches at a time.

This helped them three-fold: they could identify the best things to sell, get insight into the audiences who loved them, and learn as they go.

Andreas Koenig says,

“We decided to make a general store to test products and find a winning product. If we have only one product in our store, we can’t tell if it’s a winning product. In a general store, we had the possibility to test five or six niches. Kitchen, beauty, baby, pets.

“We were able to test different audiences on different products. Then you can see if a product is doing well, and you can build a niche store with it. That’s the key: if you start with a general store, you can test and build your own skills. But, it’s hard to get very profitable and big with a general store.”

Master bonus: If you’re interested in learning more from Andreas and Alexander, check out this video. They share five dropshipping product recommendations, explain how much money they spend on ads before cutting them, and show their own process for making video ads.

Know your marketing channel

Another approach to choosing dropshipping products is to cater to your medium. For example, Matt Riley is a master of Facebook ads and Google Shopping Ads.

Naturally, being a master means that he knows which types of products tend to perform well on each channel. He also knows which marketing tactics can help optimize that performance.

Matt riley dropshipper marketing advice

Matt Riley says,

“If I’m looking for a full force in Google Shopping Ads, then I’m looking for products based on the search volume. For Facebook, it has to be a little bit different. It has to be unique, and it has to have viral potential through video marketing.”

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You’ll never know until you try

It’s easy to fall into the trap of over-researching and over-thinking your product choice. While you should always do your research to get a general idea of demand and outlook, you’ll never really know how a certain item will perform until you try.

That’s why Mandie and Aubrey have a Nike-esque “just try it” philosophy.

Aubrey of Mandie and Aubrey says,

“It’s surprising sometimes what does and doesn’t do well. Our joke is, ‘Hey, do you think this will sell well?’ And it’s like, ‘Just try it, I don’t know.’ I thought last week that a product was going to be a killer and it didn’t sell any… and I thought another product was totally stupid and we sold 400. So I just don’t know anymore, which is funny.”

Now that you have some tips on finding the best dropshipping products, let’s see what our Masters have to say about the rollercoaster ride that is Facebook advertising.

next: Chapter 3

How to Run Facebook Ads

Many dropshippers – and most of our Dropshipping Masters – use Facebook ads as the primary revenue-driver for their b...