I see a lot of posts of confused entrepreneurs either confused on what to sell or just plain heading into the wrong direction when it comes to picking a product.
Dangerous Products You Never Want to Pick
Stay away from products that rely heavily on brand names (Swiffer)
You cannot compete with brands with a significant presence. They catch the customer’s eye every time. These brands also have 1000s of reviews. Do not private label a Cola, in efforts to try to beat Coca-Cola, trust me it will not workout.
My general rule is to avoid products that already have a top of mind presence. For instance, I wouldn’t source batteries because Duracell comes to mind. I wouldn’t source the “cola” because Coca-cola comes to mind.
Heavy items (kettle balls)
You want to alleviate shipping costs as much as possible. This is not really a dropship no-no as much as an FBA or warehousing no-no. Yes, when it comes to traditional dropshipping the customer would pay this cost. But if you are warehousing your own product or sending it to FBA that cost is coming out of your pocket, so you will want to avoid it, especially, if these items are coming from China.
Seasonal items (Christmas ornaments, small Christmas trees)
You want products to sell all year long. You do not want a business based on the season. You want what is called evergreen products for consistent cash flow.
Large Items (Furniture)
This one is similar to the heavy items in regards to shipping. This also is a problem with storage. Particularly in Amazon FBA, items as large as yoga mats will restrict you to 500 starting out. You want to higher sales velocity on these items as well. Traditionally, larger items are more expensive, and this leads to a slower sales volume.
For Aspiring Entrepreneurs Who Do Not Know What to Sell…
The hardest thing for aspiring entrepreneurs to wrap their heads around is what to sell. They either do not know how to find what to sell or are overwhelmed with the options.
The biggest factor holding them back is the inability to pull the trigger to make a decision. Sellers want to avoid a loss at all costs whether this is monetary, time, or reputation. This risk aversion puts them in a state where they feel they have to pick the “perfect product.”
The thing is…
Your Product DOES NOT Have to be Perfect…It’s all about Marketing.
Marketing is all about choosing your sales channel and your method to get traffic. What’s a sales channel? This could be Amazon or a Shopify website. This is anywhere you can take money for your product.
The next step is choosing how to draw traffic to this sales channel. Will you use affiliates, Pay per click services (Google ads, Facebook ads), contests on social media, or use of influencers like bloggers or just those with huge social media followings. You can win by doing just one of these really well. Some blogs cover each in detail.
Bonus: Marketing in Marketplaces
Traffic for your product can be taken care of with marketplaces like Amazon, Etsy, and Buy.com. Buyers come to this sites looking for products to purchase with the card in hand giving higher conversion in the long run than with PPC campaigns. The key to winning is to outdo your competitors on the very same marketplace. You have to stand out as a competitor; you want the best-looking listing. This means better or more quality reviews and photos. You can compete by having a better main image try creating a digital rendering of your photo to make it stand out; this will produce a better quality image than your competition. You can find someone who can digitally render your product photos at Upwork.com or Fiverr.com.
A wrote guide to this in particular to Amazon here: Amazon FBA for Beginners
Think about the potential of reorders and cross-sells and think about creating a brand, not just a one-off product.
You have to understand giving your customers more than one option takes stress off having to pick one perfect product. If they decide not to purchase your main product maybe they will pick a cheaper product that you offer. This cheaper product can work as a cross-sell or up-sell.
In regards, to reorders this goes along with consumables like beauty products (creams and lotions), supplemental products (Vitamin B12 and fish oil), food (coffee). The new entrepreneurial trend is subscriptions and this model works well with all the types of products I listed above. This gives you consistency in your revenue making them a bit more predictable.
Do Not Misunderstand…
You still want to set some parameters for yourself. For instance, for dropshippers you want small products that you can easily ship (for more info: Amazon for Beginners
You also may not want a long sales process, so real estate may not be your business model. We live in a unique time where you can design your life. You can also design your business as well. It’s possible to have a 7-figure business with only you and your spouse as employees.
So investigate business models and determine exactly what you are willing to do in your business.
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