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What are the best products to sell online?

When I started my first online store in 2012, it was a lot harder to build a great website and advertise to your target audience. Now, it is easier to do both but it is also far more competitive because the barrier to entry is lower.


The first roadblock to starting an online business is finding the right products to sell online


I prefer to do things the hard way, so when I first started my online store I didn't actually have anything to sell online. I built a website first and started posting on facebook. I focused on asking questions to my target audience that I wanted to know the answer to. One of them is what products should I sell.


I didn't go out and say what products should I sell, but I did product research by asking them what clubs they used to know and what they were thinking of buying. By having authentic conversations on social media and email I was able to build a following first before I sold them anything.


"Build a following first, then find a product to sell"


I know, that is the hard way to do it, but it is a great way to truly bring a product to market that your audience wants. Some of the biggest online stores started as influencers that already had a built-in audience to sell to. I certainly wasn't a famous influencer but I had a small and engaged following.


The first products I sold on my eCommerce store were wholesale products. I never drop shipped a product a day in my life, because I wanted to make sure whatever we were selling was a truly great product I could support and believe in. I also made these wholesale products custom which gave me something unique to offer. You don't have to do this, but I found that it gave me an advantage over other eCommerce stores all selling the same stuff.


Selling products online from easiest to hardest (Dropship, Wholesale, Design Your Own)


There are a few methods to choose from. As a general rule, the easier it is to sell it the harder it will be to be successful. The best e-commerce brands have a great product with a very specific customer in mind. Don’t try to be everything to everyone, sell to one type of customer.


I cringe saying this word - “Dropship”


In theory, you could sell products from manufacturers direct. The problem? Trademarks, inferior quality products, long ship time. More negatives than positives, this is not something I would recommend unless you are dropshipping legitimate brands - This I would call “wholesale” not drop shipping.


Once you have heard of a trending product it is already too late usually


When I hear dropshipping and trending products I think of all the Facebook ads promising you that you will get rich quickly if you find this one winning product. I call BS!


But, as someone starting out it’s obviously very difficult to design your own product and brand. But the harder it is, usually, the more opportunity you may have. I would also add print-on-demand or POD since you never touch the product and drop shipping.


This is slightly more “legit” because you're typically selling from a more reputable source in the USA but can have long lead times that lead to unhappy customers. Remember, the easier it is to do the harder it is to be successful!


Let’s go over the pros and cons of Wholesale


Pros:


1- Selling established brands can build credibility and trust


2- May not need to hold inventory


3- Good cash flow (sell the product first, then buy from the manufacturer direct)


4- Can offer a variety of brands on one website without holding lots of stock


Cons:


1- Low margin


2- No control


3- Competing with brands direct


4- Competing with other resellers


5- Competing with Amazon!


How to find wholesale products to sell online for your e-commerce store


It’s simple, products you already buy or brands you already like may already have a wholesale program. Some may not or may only sell direct themselves. For my own brand, I decided to sell 100 percent direct to consumers. This is a bold move, but the entire reason I launched my golf brand was to sell premium golfs at a great price. I couldn’t do that and have enough margin to pay a middleman wholesale.


Plus, I didn’t want to end up competing with a wholesaler. Unless they had a very specific channel I wasn’t selling in there was no value. Hence why I stayed the course and sold everything directly from my site. I mean who wants to be bidding against their own branded keyword?


The hardest but highest margin way to sell products online is to design your own product


Listen, I’m not trying to crush your dreams of making millions selling physical products online! It’s just not as easy as some make it seem. For me, I built my own brand and product line from scratch. The hardest and most expensive method by far, hence why fewer people will do it making the opportunity greater.


To be honest I was just having fun and truly doing it out of passion. I never tried to do it just for money, if you are trying to build an e-commerce business or any business for that matter for the money. It will be super difficult to stay pumped and focused for long periods of time and especially when things aren’t going well.


Asking your potential customers during the design process will help your product launch be a success

Here is my story of how I designed my own golf driver with my local college. I was crazy enough to spend a year with a grip of college students to design my own club. Because I freaking loved it!


Here is the full story :


So, unless you love it, I think selling physical products online is a tough first business to start unless you have a unique brand position or product.


Also, I have seen some craftsmen do very well making custom one-off pieces for customers. Higher-priced custom work that doesn’t require you to sell many! I had a friend making custom knives and axes and he sold them without even having an e-commerce website!

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