There’s a lot that goes into opening an online store, so much that it can make your head spin. Have you determined which platform you want to use? Have you found yourself an eCommerce mentor to guide you along the way? But most importantly, do you know what you are going to sell?? Ecommerce product research is, honestly, the single most crucial step for anyone wanting to open an online store.
If you don't have the right products to sell, you can have the most excellent marketing strategies in the world and still won't see a dime of profit. Much less a sustainable, long-lasting business module.
When you are just starting off in the eCommerce industry, it’s easy to fall into the newbie trap (which is why finding a great eCommerce mentor is so helpful) and make any one of these.
So let’s dive in and see what ten mistakes you should definitely avoid in eCommerce product research.
Table of Contents:
10. Picking only the “Top Sellers”
Ecommerce product research isn't just about finding the best products; it is you knowing what you personally can sell. A vegan may not be the strongest seller of meat products because they won't have the same passion for selling them as someone who eats it.
The crucial part of eCommerce product research is finding products that will do well in the market and ones that you'll be able to sell! When you first open your online store, you're going to be the one describing the products, marketing them, and pushing them to the public.
If these aren’t products you have a passion for selling, long story short, you won’t sell anything.
9. Not doing the “Niche Research”
For sustained success, another important aspect of eCommerce product research is focusing on finding a niche. Hopefully, when you decide to open an online store, you have a general idea of what type of products you want to be selling but have you considered their product family too?
Rather than opening up an eCommerce store that sells a little bit of every category, think about what your general focus will be. Then drive into that focus and narrow it down even more.
Are you wanting to open up an eCommerce store for selling clothing? Are you going to focus on women's clothing? Or kids' clothing? If you take that focus even more in-depth, you will start to appeal to a smaller customer base. In these cases, sometimes the smaller customer bases tend to be even more involved in their shopping experiences. This can make them easier to reach and engage with through marketing efforts instead of appealing to the general population.
Meanwhile, knowing your product family ensures that you will have other options to fall back on rather than only focusing on one hot product. For example, if you see that cowboy boots fly off the store shelves, you can see that they are trending. Rather than going into business for selling only cowboy boots, broadening your horizons to other types of shoes will provide plenty of different selling options once those boots go out of style.
8. Forgetting to create a “buyer persona”
If you don’t know who you’re trying to sell to, how do you know what to sell?
Sometimes these can go hand in hand in eCommerce product research. You can either determine your target market first and then find products that will match their needs or you can decide on your products and then idealize your target market to gauge if this is who you will be able to sell your products to.
A buyer persona is a detailed description of someone who represents your target market. Creating your buyer persona during the eCommerce product research step will help determine what you can sell to them.
7. Missing upcoming trends
There is one thing to try and market a product because you wanted to get into that industry.
There is a whole other situation to jump on a trend where your product is basically doing the marketing itself.
For example, at one point in time, fidget spinners were all the rage. While they initially began as a tool for those who struggle with ADD or ADHD, they quickly became toys that every kid wanted to have.
Businesses that jumped on that industry saw the trend and found a way to use it to make sales.
When you have a hot product that is trending, you will hardly have to push it yourself. Check out mistake number 4 for how to find those trending items!
Bonus Tip: Be sure that it is a trend that will be trending for a long time or that you have a strong niche to branch out into other products when this one undoubtedly falls off everyone’s radar.
6. Not considering shipping costs
Okay, let's mention a real quick scenario, is it cheaper to ship a book or a refrigerator? A coffee cup or an espresso machine?
While you may have a great idea for starting an online business and it may be trending, have you looked forward to how much it will cost you to ship it?
Shipping costs are a notable expense for any business that doesn't have a storefront. Don't make the mistake of overlooking how much it will cost you to get the product in your customers' hands. This applies to your eCommerce product research, AND when it comes time to determine how to price them.
5. Overlooking market demands
There’s one thing for a product to be trending and one thing for your target market to NEED IT.
Market demand is when there is a need that is going unfilled.
Consider where we are right now in the world. With a global health pandemic going on, stores cannot keep sanitizer long enough for as quick as the bottles fly off the shelves. That's why many different businesses were smart enough to see that market need and have seen immense success!
In this case, businesses producing sanitizer were able to appeal to a massive audience because people worldwide were suddenly in need.
4. Not utilizing social media for eCommerce product research
Every smart entrepreneur knows how important social media is for marketing your business. Are you aware of how handy it is for eCommerce product research as well?
Instagram hashtags, Facebook searches, Pinterest pins, and trending Twitter topics are all forums you can use in eCommerce product research. These help you see what's trending by showing what potential customers are looking up and sharing every day!
3. Only using Amazon to gauge product interest
Sure Amazon is one of the largest marketplaces and stock full of ideas for eCommerce product research. However, don't forget about some of the initial big hitters such as eBay and your typical brick & mortar stores. These in-person storefronts have held their own even as shopping online has grown so profusely.
Walking into a store can show you what products seem to do well and what product categories they market, including their niche.
While doing a quick Amazon search in their best selling category can show you some products, you also need to be aware that if you can easily find the product on Amazon, what will make someone want to buy from your store instead?
2. Not noting the fulfillment process
How will you be getting the product? Will you be purchasing them wholesale? Dropshipping? Making them yourself?
Either path you choose, it's crucial that you understand the entire fulfillment process during your eCommerce product research. This includes costs, accessibility, and supply (Because you certainly want to have enough product when you're ready to scale).
1. Not hiring an eCommerce Coach
The number one mistake that many eCommerce newbies make is not hiring an eCommerce coach.
With all that you have to consider when opening an online store, it's easy to make any of these mistakes. Although practically, eCommerce product research is the single most important step in starting your business.
Your eCommerce store revolves around the products, and so if you haven't done your proper eCommerce product research, your business' fame and success will quickly fizzle out.
An eCommerce coach will make sure that you stay on track AND avoid these costly errors.
eCommerce product research is an essential step that can’t be missed when first opening an online store. Have you paid attention to what’s trending? Do you know how your orders will get fulfilled?
It's more than just deciding on what you want to sell to manage a successful eCommerce store. Although that is just as important as well! With all the factors that go into eCommerce product research, it is all too easy to make one of these common mistakes. That's why it can help you work with an eCommerce coach along the way to help you avoid them.
Justin Woll and his BeyondSixFigures eCommerce course will teach you everything you need to know to begin your own eCommerce store. PLUS, he even shares his own secret tips for eCommerce product research as well. His motivating story and instruction will equip you with the knowledge and tools to move confidently in the eCommerce industry.
So what are you waiting for? Dive in!