Where to find fresh (and profitable) product ideas
Good product ideas are a dime a dozen.
After all, there's an endless list of things you could sell online, plus various ways to source products. But deciding what, exactly, makes sense for you to sell takes careful research, planning, and some trial and error.
In this post, we'll define what it means to have a good product idea in your hands, including the most important factors to consider. We'll also list some resources for where and how to research new products.
The definition of a good product idea
The distinction between a good and bad (or subpar) product idea often comes down to a few things. These factors include:
01. Product-market fit
Just because something is a trending product doesn’t mean it’s a great fit for your customers.
Hence why it’s important to thoroughly define and understand your target buyers. To this end, it's helpful to create buyer personas that represent the various types of customers you’ll be selling to. This exercise will get you into the habit of thinking from your customer’s shoes and seeking information like:
Values and motivations
Short-term and long-term needs
The biggest mistake merchants make at this stage is operating from assumptions or personal biases. Take care to consult other sources outside of yourself, including your customer support team, existing customers, or any data that you have on hand.
02. Sourcing and manufacturing method
A product idea is only viable if you can source it at a low enough cost to make a profit from each sale.
If you're looking at products that are manufactured overseas, remember to weigh shipping costs, duties, and other potential fees. If sourcing locally or manufacturing the product yourself, be mindful of how price can impact product quality and materials.
Consider minimum order quantities (MOQs) too, i.e., the smallest amount of product you can order from a manufacturer. The last thing you want is to be stuck with a product you can't sell because you've ordered too much or too little of it.
You can search for suppliers on wholesale directories like Wholesale Central and Faire. You can also reach out directly to manufacturers, makers, and local creators to see what their wholesale policy is.
As another option, explore dropshipping marketplaces to locate potential suppliers. Note that dropshipping is a unique fulfillment method, whereby your supplier ships finished goods directly to your customers. Dropshipping can be integrated within your existing business or serve as the main fulfillment method for your products.
The definition of a healthy margin will vary from product to product. For example, hygiene products may be sold at a low 15% markup, with the expectation that these items will sell fast and often. By contrast, fine jewelry may be marked up 250%, with the expectation that they will sell less frequently but be valued highly.
In any case, you’ll want to project your eCommerce profit margin before investing fully into new items. Look beyond the wholesale cost and sales price of these products—anticipate any costs associated with marketing, packaging, and delivering them to your customers as well.
Your competition can’t (and shouldn’t) go ignored.
A good product idea will often have some competition around it already. This is a sign that the demand for your product exists, and that there are people shopping for it online.
At the same time, you’ll want to avoid entering an arena that’s saturated with competition. Similarly, if there is a clear brand already controlling the space, then you’ll likely have your work cut out for you. (Just imagine selling a smartphone and trying to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung.)
That said, there’s a lot you can learn from your competition. Evaluate sellers who currently offer your product-of-choice and see if there's anything you can do better than them. If you can differentiate your brand or product well, you could potentially steal some market share for yourself.
A word of warning: do not rely on pricing as your differentiator. Many early sellers use this as a hook to attract new customers, only to fall victim to price wars that eat away at their profits.
05. Storage and shipping
Consider how you’ll store, package, and fulfill your products. Some items will need to be specially stored and transported in ways that minimize damage and preserve their integrity, e.g., fragile items will require special handling and packaging.
Another consideration: if you plan on tapping a third-party service like Amazon FBA to fulfill online orders, you’ll need to ensure that your product and packaging are compliant with their standards.
Double check that you can afford these additional costs and steps in your operations before introducing a new product.
06. Other considerations
There are other important factors to consider when evaluating product ideas. Among them: how will you market your product? Where do you plan to sell them (e.g., in your online store, an online marketplace, a brick-and-mortar store—all three)? How will you handle customer service and/or returns?
Pro tip: Keep the product life cycle in mind. For example, if a product is relatively new to the market, it may require more education to convince consumers to buy it. On the contrary, if it has hit market saturation, you’ll likely face stiff competition and need to focus your energy on differentiating your brand. In another instance, a product could be in the “decline” phase and face waning demand.
How and where to find good product ideas
Once you’re ready to research new products, here are a few places to look for inspiration.
Your existing customers - You can learn a lot from your existing customers and from any product reviews or frequently asked questions that they’ve left (e.g., a question like “Do you offer this specific case design for my specific smartphone?" can inspire a new line of an existing product). Alternatively, launch a poll or survey on your online store by integrating an app from the Wix App Market. Gather feedback on a product idea or collect recommendations on how to improve upon an item that’s already sold on your site.
Trend reports - Trend reports, news sites, and tools—like Trendwatching, Google Trends, and Trend Hunter—can help you keep a pulse on consumer trends. Discover current and emerging trends, informed by a deep analysis of consumer behaviors across various regions, product categories, and industries.
Keyword tools - Keyword research tools like Semrush, Jungle Scout, and Google Keyword Planner can point you to product-related searches (Jungle Scout even lets you track the performance of products on online marketplaces). If you’re a Wix eCommerce user, you can easily look up keywords from inside your Wix Dashboard via the widget powered by Semrush.
Social media and forums - Follow relevant hashtags on social media (e.g., #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt) or browse forums like Quora and Reddit, where consumers already talk about their favorite brands and purchases. You could even start your own threads or social polls to receive relevant feedback.
Competitive sites - Keeping tabs on your competitors is a good way to learn what's selling well in your niche. Avoid copying your competition, but see what you can glean from scanning their top-selling products, reviews, and on-sale section. Consider subscribing to their newsletters to stay ahead of new product releases and their marketing tactics.
Local stores - Local boutiques, big box stores, and malls are great fodder for product research. Large chains like Target and Walmart have endless data on customer shopping behaviors, so they tend to be trendsetters in the product space. Check end caps, specialty aisles, and merchandising strategies (e.g., how products are presented in store) for clues on which products are catching fire. And don’t forget about local community sales events like craft fairs, markets, and garage sales.
Third-party marketplaces - Marketplaces like Amazon and eBay are a goldmine for inspiration. Take a look at the best sellers' lists on each marketplace, or see which products earn the most reviews in certain product categories. Take some time to look through reviews and understand what people love most about these items.
Your current product line - A new product doesn’t necessarily have to be brand new. In other words, if a product is already selling well in your store, look for ways to improve or expand on it. This could mean coming up with new ideas that complement your current offerings or adding new color options to an existing product. You can consider bundling products together, too, in order to serve a new niche.
Start capitalizing on your product ideas
Product ideas are everywhere. Finding the right product is a matter of using your best judgment and performing thorough research into each trend.
Take your time picking the right products for your business. Then, set up your free eCommerce website and upgrade once you’re ready to start selling.
Editor, Wix eCommerce
Allison is the editor for the Wix eCommerce blog, with several years of experience reporting on eCommerce news, strategies, and founder stories.