A succesful online store needs a good range of products. Choosing these products is an essential step in establishing your E-Commerce Income!
What is a good range of products? And which products are suitable to sell online? Finding the right products is one of the biggest challenges for an e-commerce business.
E-commerce is growing rapidly
It was common knowledge for a long time that no one would ever buy shoes online. You need to try them on first, see how your feet fit in them, and see how they look on you. Zappos (US) and Zalando (Europe), however, had a huge impact on the shoes industry. They proved that it is possible to sell shoes online and to establish a turnover of milions with it within a couple of years.
The same is applicable for furniture. You want to see furniture before you buy it, right? Wrong! Look for furniture on the internet and you will find dozens of online stores with furniture which provide a full income for their owners.
It will not take long and e-commerce will also penetrate more conservative industries. Offline stores which will not modernize will miss the boat and will pay significant costs. This transitory period offers good opportunities for new entrepreneurs. One thing is sure: We will not be buying less stuff online!
I usually do not work out a business plan into the smallest details. A little research into supply and demand would be wise, however.
The demand on the internet for shoes is great but the competition is likewise fierce. I have started an online store selling shoes myself, and I can tell you it is not a niche you should move into without enormous investments. 😉
Search Volume Research
By using Google’s Keyword Planner you can discover how many monthly searches are made for any product.
Do keep in mind that the internet is developing contantly – think of the current multi-million online shoe business that I wrote about in the introduction. What wasn’t sold yesterday can be a booming business tomorrow. Do you see such opportunities? Then this may be very lucrative. When you are one of the first to be active in such a new niche you can relatively easily become the market leader!
A good way of researching how many competitors are active within a certain product group is by looking at how many ads there are. Just enter the search term in Google and check the amount of ads.
What kind of companies is advertising? Do you see big online stores and/or beautifully built online stores that were crafted with a lot of time and attention? In that case it is probably a very competitive niche and you better look for a more suitable product.
A broad or deep range of products
With a broad range you will have many different groups of products and of each of them a few. So for example a few photo cameras, video cameras, telephones, alarm clocks and baby monitors. The advantage is that you can sell something to one customer more than once.
With a deep range you will only sell photo cameras. In this product group you have all sorts of camera’s and brands in stock. You specialize in a niche.
By choosing for a deep range of products you are able to sell yourself way better as a “specialist”. People are inclined to remember your online store as the “specialist in photo cameras”. For SEO (Search Engine Optimization) purposes it is also better to choose a deep range.
When I look at starting e-commerce businesses, then I conclude that it is the entrepreneurs with a specialized online store who are most successful. Choose a niche!
Be unique with your product range
Try to offer a range of products that makes you stand out from the crowd. A few examples that may put you on the right track:
- One brand
- Only big, well-known brands
- Only cheaper brands
- Environmentally friendly
- Impossible to break/wear/scratch
You may have already noticed that in every of the above examples another audience is targeted. By choosing a unique selling point it becomes easier to reach your target group.
Important for every online store: Profit Margin!
Make sure that in composing your range of products you keep the profit margin in mind. When selling products with a profit margin of only 5 EUR it is hard to develop a good marketing effort.
Having a product with a 50 EUR profit margin of course allows you to do more marketing!
Don’t forget to reserve a marketing share in your starting budget for your online store. Don’t spend everything on the e-commerce software and the products only!