This is the third post in a series of articles that will detail the process of determining what to sell online and getting started in ecommerce. In the coming weeks we'll be posting further in-depth articles on other aspects of evaluating products to sell online.
With thousands of products available to sell online, narrowing down your choices to a single product can be overwhelming. In our first post in this series, we learned eight strategies for finding your first product and in our last post we discovered 10 places entrepreneurs go to find product ideas.
Since then we've gone through all of those resources ourselves and have selected 10 products – one product from each resource category that looked interesting and caught our eye. As a very quick product demand test we cross checked all of them in Google Trends. All of the 10 product ideas we selected have a strong upwards trend.
Making this list is just a starting point. In our next post in this series we're going to choose one of these products and go through a complete evaluation process to determine demand and product potential.
Let’s get started.
Disclaimer: Keep in mind, these are not suggested products to sell online, there are merely items that caught our attention and are trending upwards according to Google Trends. Before selling anything online you must first do your own due diligence to determine market demand and potential.
1. Paleo Bars
The only industry that may have more trends than nutrition, is fashion. The nutrition and health industry is always changing and there’s always opportunity for new products to cater to the latest fad or diet. One of the bigger trends in the last few years is the Paleo diet. If you don’t know, the Paleo diet is a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed diet of Paleolithic humans that lived 15,000 years ago.
Here in the Shopify office we have a handful of employees on the Paleo diet which originally sparked the idea.
Taking a look at Paleo energy bars in Google Trends, we can see a massive spike beginning at the tail end of 2010.
Check out the graph below:
Manufacturing a food product can be tricky with food laws and regulations but with a bit of searching we came across YouBars. As a protein bar manufacturer YouBar has a wide range of options for people interested in wholesale and private label protein/nutrition bars and will handle all the manufacturing and labelling required by law.
2. Bow Ties
The fashion industry thrives on ever-evolving trends and that means ever-evolving opportunities for entrepreneurs. Men’s bow ties is one item we've seen become increasingly trendy in our community, especially in mens fashion window displays.
From Google Trends we can see that we aren’t just imagining this trend. Searches for “mens bow ties” have almost tripled over the past three years. This three-fold jump illustrates a growing trend of men who are thinking about not just bow ties, but also how they dress and look in general.
The nice thing about men's fashion products is that there's also an increasing trend of men that purchase online in general. Forrester Research notes that total U.S. online retail sales are expected to hit $370 billion by 2017. This is good news for men’s retail and ecommerce as it presents a significant business opportunity for a specific audience.
3. Pocket Squares
After checking out the trend for bow ties, we got a little excited about the men's fashion accessory market and wondered if there might be other product opportunities in men's fashion products. We turned to some fashion experts we follow on Twitter to see what products they have been recently tweeting about.
It turns out that bow ties aren’t the only mens fashion accessory enjoying a strong comeback. Pocket squares are also commanding some strong attention lately.
A pocket square is always a nice finishing touch to a tailored to perfection suit. pic.twitter.com/UhEOTcdrEC— all kinds of fashion (@fashionablemind) March 15, 2014
Checking out pocket squares in Google Trends, it looks like they are garnering even more interest than bow ties over the last several years.
Pocket squares are not only great because they're trending but they're also a product that with some hard work and practice you can make yourself. With some pocket squares fetching upwards of (and even higher than) $60 from some brands, the margins can be pretty stellar as well.
Another nice thing about accessories like pocket squares and the aforementioned bow ties is that they generally don’t have sizes and fits like pants or shirts. This makes them very easy to shop for and sell online.
4. Wood Sunglasses
Who would have thought? We originally spotted wooden sunglasses on Alibaba while browsing the popular section. A search for “wooden sunglasses” in Alibaba returns 22,603 Products from 555 Suppliers. With all these suppliers, there is likely strong demand.
To verify our suspicions, we took to Google Trends. It appears that wood framed sunglasses are a fairly new product but have seen consistent growth almost every year since inception.
Keep in mind though, a product like sunglasses suffers from seasonality which you can clearly see reflected in the Google Trends graph below. Regardless, it’s an interesting product.
5. Wood Watches
After finding the wooden sunglasses on Alibaba, we thought about the trend in general for wooden accessories. We've seen many wood accessories before on Kickstarter so we started our search there and pretty quickly came across wooden watches.
Looking at the trends graph below, we can see that wood watches have been around for much longer than we realized. From Google Trends, it appears they came into existence at the end of 2004 and has recognized a slow but steady climb in interest up to 2012. However in the last two years we can see the growth has flattened a bit with the exception of a single large spike. Is there still opportunities for wood watches or has this product reached its plateau?
We've looked at a lot of men’s products and accessories but we have also come across a women’s product that has seen some tremendous growth in interest over the last few years.
Check out the screenshot below:
Except for the strong seasonality of demand for the product, the trend for leggings seems very strong, growing considerably every year.
E-Cigarettes are big business. E-Cigarettes are a self-contained electronic “vaping” device. Sometimes referred to as a personal vaporizer or digital vapor device is a battery-powered device which simulates tobacco smoking.
E-Cigarettes are everywhere these days. We have seen it in the news and our community but it really jumped out to us as a potential product idea when we read the article Why Electronic Cigarettes Are About to Explode on Forbes.
While E-Cigarettes are an interesting product, it’s a pretty new market and it’s just starting to get the attention of regulators. A market like this may become more difficult to enter and restrictive in the coming years.
The Google Trends graph matched our other thoughts for this trend exactly.
8. E-Liquid (Refill for E-Cigarettes)
While looking at more information on e-cigarettes we decided to head to Reddit to see what people were saying about them. To our surprise, we found a subreddit dedicated specifically to the creation of your own unique blends of the liquid refills in e-cigarettes.
As we imagined, the growth in the trend for e-liquid matches the growth for e-cigarettes closely. Overall strong growth and what appears to be a great potential business opportunity.
9. Coconut Oil
While browsing Pinterest, Coconut Oil images kept popping up. Apparently coconut oil is a great all-in-one healthy oil that can be used for cooking, as a lip balm, moisturizer, shaving cream, deep treatment conditioner, makeup remover, body scrub, bug bites and the list goes on.
Looking at the trend graph, the upwards trend is undeniable since 2011.
Coconut oil is an interesting product because because it appears to have a multitude of uses. Each one of these uses could be a niche opportunity to explore on it's own.
10. Matcha Powder
While browsing through our Instagram feed we came across an image someone posted of matcha powder. Matcha is finely milled powder green tea and has become increasing popular along with the tea category in general. Supermarket tea sections have exploded from carrying Red Rose and Tetley to a variety of hundreds of brands in recent years.
There you have it. We used our resources list to scour our thoughts, community and the internet in a strategic way to come up with 10 initial ideas that may make for interesting products to sell online. In next week's post, we're going to choose one of these products for a full evaluation to determine potential demand and viability.
What products or trends have you noticed lately? What would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments below.
About The Author
Richard Lazazzera is an ecommerce entrepreneur and Content Strategist at Shopify. Get more from Richard on Twitter.