Selecting products for your dropshipping business is most likely one of the toughest parts of getting your store set up.
Luckily, there are two wonderful things about dropshipping:
This is a five-part guide on discovering the niche for your online store and choosing products you can dropship with a great return on your time and effort.
Making money is much more enjoyable if you’re having fun while you’re working. Dropshipping is quite hands-off when it comes to the behind-the-scenes, but you still have to spend significant time surrounded by your niche.
Because of that, you’ll want to incorporate one of these two things into your store’s focus and the products you sell:
Profitability is definitely important with dropshipping, but it’s important that you don’t get drawn into something you won’t want to deal with. Some niches are very technical, others are super geeky, fashion-driven, serious, funny, or simply very unique.
Even though you won’t ever touch a product that’s sent to your customer, you still need to be comfortable diving deep into a topic.
Let’s be realistic: you’ll have customer questions to answer, product descriptions to write or edit, social media posts to create, and if you can’t relate to your store’s niche in any way imaginable, it will make your job exponentially harder.
Be honest with yourself and start by listing and identifying all the topics and industries you’re either passionate about or interested in learning about in depth—or both.
As you progress through this post, you’ll be able to sift through your ideas and select those that make most sense for a dropshipping venture.
Another reason selling things you understand and like is important is because it makes creating additional value for your potential and existing customers easy, which can, in turn, make them raving fans of your store.
Wondering about examples? We got you covered with these two:
Offer expert advice and guidance. Many things in our lives require help in the form of practical advice or best practice tips.
Let’s say you’re selling patio furniture. Patio furniture is a great thing in the summer, but what should your customer do once the low temperatures and rainfalls come around? How do they protect and maintain their furniture? How can they store it? Is there a way to refresh it once spring comes?
You can answer these types of questions with your product descriptions, explainer videos, blog posts, and so much more—opportunities are endless.
Suggest components and important related items. Knowing a lot about the products you’re selling means you can easily upsell and cross-sell to your customer without coming across as pushy. This can be anything from suggesting accessories for an outfit to listing (and selling) light bulbs that a bedside lamp requires in order to work.
Answering questions your customers will naturally ask and whilst suggesting your own products is a recipe for success.
Creating opportunities to delight customers might be difficult when you’re only getting started, but it’s something you should be planning for now. Keep these extra value actions in mind now, so when you do have the time they’ll be faster to implement.
There’s three key pieces of information you need when it comes to the products you’ll sell, and they’re all about free shipping. Studies have shown that people:
Crazy, right? Even though we probably don’t give this much thought during the purchase process, we actually seem to be much more willing to part with our money when products are being shipped to us for free.
What does this have to do with types of products, you ask?
In many cases, features like size and weight will be the dealbreaker when it comes to getting free shipping from your supplier. In order to have the best chance of making it happen and satisfy their package restrictions, keep in mind the following:
One pound is the ideal weight. Products of this weight can be shipped quickly, easily and cheaply to your customers.
Err on the side of items that aren’t fragile. Remember that even though you’re not the one physically shipping products to your customers, you’re ultimately the one liable for any mistakes or damages in the shipping process. If a product is not easily broken, you’ll reduce the chance of things going wrong.
Smaller products are typically better. This goes along with the ideal weight, but it’s worth reiterating. Small products are easily packed and it’s much easier to offer free shipping for them as opposed to large, heavy products.
Once you have a more defined idea of the niches you’re interested in and products within them that fit the ideal size and weight, your next step is learning about the demand for these products.
Just because something interests you and those you’re close with doesn’t inherently mean it’s a popular group of products that are easy to sell.
Luckily, there are a few ways you can learn how in-demand a product really is—and they’re all easy and free.
Facebook Audience Insights is a tool that helps marketers understand their audiences better, including their demographics, geography, purchase behavior, and more.
Once you open it, you’ll see multiple options to create audiences by entering their location, age, gender, and interests.
The easiest way to get started with this for the purpose of finding about popularity of a certain niche is by typing it into the Interest section. As you start entering some key terms about the niche, you’ll start seeing:
As you can see, this is helpful not only to ensure there is a genuine interest in the niche you’re researching, but also to understand the people behind that interest. This can inform your overall strategy, including your wording, product description, social media presence, and much more.
If you have listed multiple niches in your brainstorm earlier, analyze each of them through Facebook Audience Insights and see how they compare in audience size and other details.
Amazon’s Best Sellers page is an invaluable resource for dropshippers.
The main interface immediately shows you top three products for several categories. From here, you can click into any of Amazon’s 30+ product categories and see the top 100 selling products for each. These lists are updated hourly.
Even better, within each category you can also select any of the subcategories and see the top 100 selling products for an even more specific topic.
As you dive in, you’ll notice that these products truly are the top-performing items with thousands of reviews and ratings and overwhelmingly positive feedback.
Take some time to dive into these lists and understand which products are successful on Amazon and what this means for the potential success of the niche you’re most interested in.
Another great way to easily gauge the popularity of a category or a specific product is Google’s publicly available search volume.
The simplest method for fetching this data on the go is with the help of the free Keywords Everywhere browser extension.
Once you have installed it, you can start typing in your product and category names and immediately see not only how frequent that search is, but also all the searches related to it.
Start taking notes of what you see. You can repeat this process for multiple products across a single niche and then move onto another niche you’re interested in.
You can see how these groups of products compare to each other in popularity and use this to inform your decision about your niche and products within it.
The final way to monitor the popularity of a product or category is by using Google Trends.
This method adds to the previous ones because it also offers historical data and shows you how a niche has evolved over time.
If something is obviously becoming less searched for over the past 5 years, it’s probably a sign you should stay away. However, if something seems to be on the rise, it might be an ideal time for you to get started with it!
Another brilliant thing about Google Trends is its ability to show you upticks in certain seasons of the year, which can help you predict your sales more accurately. For example, if you want to sell canoes, they are likely more in demand over the warmer months of the year.
The same logic goes for garden furniture and bathing suits and any other seasonal items.
Ideal product price for best profit margins
Finally, you’re on this journey because you want to make money—so let’s look at how the price of items you want to dropship impacts your chances for profit.
You might be tempted to fall into the trap of selling low-value products and pricing them as low as possible to stand out as an affordable place to shop from.
While this might help you in the short term, it won’t help you build a sustainable business as your profit margin might be a few cents per sale. How many sales would you have to make in order to live off that profit?
Think of it this way: it takes you the same amount of time and effort to process a low-value order as it does the $300 one, so it only makes sense to focus on the latter ones.
Most successful dropshippers suggest selling products that are at a minimum of $50 value, while some even recommend focusing on items in the $200 to $700 price range.
Here is why this works:
This process will help you build and run an online store that won’t take years to become profitable. Understanding which products sell, why they’re popular, and how they’re priced will make all the difference in your journey.