What do you have to sell online to make money?
Have you been thinking for days about what to sell online? Maybe you have never sold anything in your life and want to start doing it online for the first time. Have you heard about the advantages of the web, or are you considering what actually sells best online to launch a new product yourself and earn money while on holiday?
You are skeptical, I know, because you think it is a long and difficult thing to do, you know that e-commerce is not just a shop window but you have to follow it with the right knowledge and have a basis in digital marketing.
Do you recognize the opportunity of digital and want to establish yourself as a leader in a specific product category to turn your business around? Surely if you read the whole article, you will have a very clear idea of what to sell online and start your business right away.
I know you are ambitious and would like to sell all over the world and you absolutely do not want to choose the WRONG product without any criteria and then risk losing money.
In quarantine, many people have already tested the convenience and cheaper price of a product that arrives directly at home, certainly this is one of the consumer habits of the coming years and any future entrepreneur should take this trend of behavior into consideration and act accordingly by adapting to the change.
In this article, I thought I would give you some very useful tips and advice so that you choose the best product that people are willing to buy, without falling into the common mistakes of those who start selling online. Choosing a product that appeals to you and leads customers to buy only from you and not elsewhere is not easy, you certainly need to have a good strategy and understand what channel is right for you. You could create your own eCommerce, or learn how to sell on Amazon.
First of all, let us dispel an old myth that any product can be sold online by persuading the customer. Absolutely not: selling is not about hypnotizing the consumer into “blindly picking up the first piece of junk” on the market. To sell is to instill a real need in the customer such that the latter will think of turning to you, with the intention of buying only your product and not that of others.
So why should that potential customer choose you?
Today’s customer is not the customer of ten or twenty years ago. The consumer’s needs and problems change over time: today he is much more capricious and demanding, so we should try to adapt to him in order to satisfy his needs and keep him loyal.
Before suggesting the winning ideas to help you choose the best product to sell online, I suggest you ask yourself this question: which products are tempting to buy online?
There are products that can be a success, others can lead you to probable failure, which is why I want to guide you first to think about the right product to understand what to sell that is unique, so that your customer feels confident and believes from the outset that they are getting a good deal.
When is a product considered interesting by your audience?
The product you choose will have to meet certain conditions in order to be attractive to your audience. In fact, the product that you sell online must meet certain conditions and have certain characteristics.
Below I have listed 16 key points you need to consider when you are choosing your product to sell in your store (dropshipping or otherwise your eCommerce), especially if you are starting with a small budget.
Here are the points that will make a difference if you start from scratch to sell a product online without a big budget:
- satisfies an impulse need
- responds correctly to a niche need
- responds to a periodic need and maintains prices from 10 to 50 euros with package formulas (value for money)
- although in high demand, able to beat the competition by standing out
- whether it has useful and quality features
- if it is sold in the real world but still has no place on the web
- if it does not go against people’s cultural beliefs and values
- whether it can be customized according to the type of customer
- if it can inspire by projecting in the mind of the potential buyer, a better lifestyle than the one currently perceived
- is innovative and contains elements of originality
- is not the only choice, but it is part of a catalog and is divided into categories and there are related products
- durable and resistant
- if its very function is clear and specific
- if he can keep his promise
- if it is not a protagonist but indirectly puts the customer at the center
- if a lot of people like it
From this list, you can deduce that if you are a beginner it is better not to sell products that:
- need to be tried on such as glasses, perfumes, rings, shoes
- heavy or fragile or very articulated if you cannot afford the right packaging
- expensive that discourages consumers and leads them to compare you with others.
Most probably there are categories that you will have to pay close attention to if you are starting from scratch.
If you want to sell products or services online in sectors that are already saturated, such as books, electronics, clothing, and jewelry, you will have to be able to differentiate yourself and implement effective e-commerce strategies, and also because in Italy we get attached to one brand that we are unlikely to change to another.
If you decide to sell clothing for those 50 years and over who want to look more modern and youthful or clothing for oversizes, you will potentially have less competition and be able to compete with the giants (for example Amazon) who already do it very well.
The rule is always the same: try to differentiate yourself if you decide to sell products that are already well-positioned in the market.
- How many sellers are selling this product?
- What market share to aspire to?
Take the test and find out if you have the right aptitude for what and how to sell online
What to sell: one product or several products?
A lot of companies, now also in our country, have decided to jump into the online business, selling just one product on their site with great success, so you may as well do it too. Find out what are effective best practices and how to open an online shop by selling your product the right way.
You got it right, even one is enough. One product can make you successful!
If you sell only one product, your customers will be distracted on your site much less than if you sell several products, because they will go straight to the point, don’t you think? By making sure that there is a lot of demand for a product, you may be able to get immediate purchases by curating a few pages of your site very well.
However, don’t think that simply placing an image of the product on the page and securing the interest of your audience is enough; if you do this, you risk increasing the percentage of people who abandon it, because if a page is cold, without a human story behind it, it leaves nothing behind for the user, and in fact creates mistrust. The first thing to do is to immediately create a bond between the product and users.
The storytelling you are going to create must have a sensible thread, always drawing in the needs of your potential customers. In fact, if you focus only on one product, you will have to reminisce more and more about the lifestyle and make it possible to imagine a positive change in the customer’s life with the purchase of your product alone.
To ensure that users do not leave the page or the site, you need to include more information and trivia, pictures of different stages of the product, for example explaining the entire process of making the product you want to sell online, or other insights into the product itself or your company.
You have to create trust and identification as quickly as possible, the customer must think: “Amazing! How much care and dedication goes into making this product!” or “Look how much work is put into it, it’s definitely a valuable product.” or “It looks like people who have used it before me are satisfied, it’s a very cool product, the people who use it look happy.”
It may go without saying that putting pictures, reviews, and interviews, will help you sell your product online. Once you have reached a point where business is booming, you can invest in producing new products, variants, and accessories.
Let’s take an example: Mr X is very passionate about wine, lives in the Marche region, and wanted to sell only two wine products: Visner and Prunello.
Learn best practices for telling your products/services to attract potential customers
No one would have believed that a “women’s” wine could be so successful in the territory, but the problem could be that Mr. X, is not taking advantage of all the possible window-dressing space, which an online wine sale offers today, to be able to make a higher profit margin.
His passion for wines, which has been going on for 25 years, is not told, probably many of his customers do not know his story and that is a pity.
Anyone looking for a sweet wine, unable to go to the place of sale, will land on the site without any comprehensive information, indeed the site page itself discourages purchase with the phrase “the first, inimitable sour cherry wine”.
This sentence says nothing, as it does not prove why it is inimitable. You would not know it unless you have tasted it yourself.
Probably the reason why Mr. X does not invest in online advertising is that of many: to be content. That is, he boasts of being one of the best and does not want to take risks. He does not want to really listen to what digital offers.
Mr. X’s company must be much closer to potential customers. His happy and satisfied face deserves to be seen. It is not enough to sell products and declare their uniqueness, without demonstrating their distinct value with facts.
If you set out to sell just one product, you really have to demonstrate the passion and motivation, the story that led you to invest in one thing. You should tell how the idea came about and why, what you did to develop it, the difficulties, the satisfactions, who you work with, the commitment, the process, and the quality of the product itself; including video interviews, documenting events that take place, showing reviews from real customers, happy with the product.
What if your site had bad graphics and poor, uninvolving content? What reputation do you think your online shop might have? People will ask why you are not online and it will be interpreted as a lack of transparency or a lack of service, which, increasingly with time, will be essential.
The presence you have online is itself a service. If I search for you and I am a lazy, lazy user, I demand to find you! An example of a product that is sold online and manages to create interest and traffic on the site is We Detox You.
This is a bio detox smoothie kit (speaking of ideas on what to sell online): it is six different smoothies designed for six specific times of the day, following the pre-determined order without eating anything else.
Another example is the company Defend Me, which sells only face masks to protect against contamination and avoid contagion in the event of an epidemic. It is a 100% Italian online shop of young designers and tailors who stand out for the material and variety of colors used and the possibility of customizing their own masks.
In short, simple masks have been successful even among public figures and VIPs, thanks to the careful search for quality fabrics and adherence to current fashion trends.
You can also choose to sell more products for example Stylish which sells swimwear, clothing, shoes, and accessories, or Westwing which sells furniture and home accessories.
Selling more products online is possible if you can organize a good catalog and suggest an interesting path for your user to explore the different categories, leading them to explore other products as well. You must make them believe that you have everything they need, even the superfluous: you have thought of everything and must be knowledgeable about all products, even related or seasonal ones.
Golf’us is an example of a site where all golf products for veterans and novices are sold. You often enter to buy for example a wedge or a putter and end up buying a ball catcher or tee markers.
You will have to take very good care of your online company catalog. You will enjoy setting up your online shop window to display everything you have to offer and you will need patience because each page will have its own product to be modified each time if there are changes.
What are you waiting for to set up an online shop and display a wide range of products?
Think of your user who will enjoy scrolling through your webpage and guided by you will be inclined to purchase, without you having to be present or having to hire staff. There are sites that immediately put the user at ease, have customer support, and carefully follow the buyer’s action step by step. Of course, whether you decide to sell a single product or several products online, you will need to create very user-experience-oriented pages.
You need advice because you are a beginner and don’t know what you should sell: are you undecided about whether to sell one product or several? Think of just one product and make yourself perceived as a leader in that sector, go into everything about the product, without forgetting that the protagonist of any story is your customer and you have to enhance him, you have to make him feel important through your product.
If you succeed with one product, there will always be time to expand the product range of your store. As in all things, better to do one thing well, than a hundred superficially!
What are the characteristics of an interesting product?
Around the product, you should visualize a story, an environment, and a specific world that manages to make the customer feel in a particular status.
Remember that you are not selling an object, but a symbol that is of interest to the customer because of its value. You, therefore, have to sell something that has value to consumers, so you have to invest in an e-commerce product that has these characteristics:
Surprising: it is like a treasure that the user can find and is surprised that there might be a solution to his or her specific need, feels lucky, and believes he or she is living in the best era where all kinds of needs are met.
Exciting: it must be beautiful, well-made, and have eye-catching colors. It must lead the potential buyer to create an imaginary world inside his head, lead him to remember certain rich and exciting moments in his life, he must think himself happy after buying your product, even before paying for it.
Impressive: it must be a product that does not run out but refers to other solutions, the user must perceive it as useful in the long term and therefore durable and with a resource that can be spent on several occasions in the future.
Reassuring: it must not be harmful, it must not release colors or substances, it must be compact and solid, it must be able to transmit security and resistance and therefore the user must be able to be assured of its functionality, reliability, and ease to use.
Educational: it has to give something extra, the consumer has to feel better when using it, it has to give him a sense of importance, it has to place him in a status considered positive by others.
Efficient: performing its function without defect.
What to sell online abroad?
Have you ever thought of selling online by extending your geographical area, even outside Italy? Today, online allows you to expand your borders and puts you in the center of the world.
Made-in-Italy products can be a real asset in a communication strategy. In fact, foreigners pay a lot of attention to a product with an Italian brand name, which is certainly tempting as a guarantee of quality. And it is precisely in an intangible world like the online world that a brand awareness strategy is needed.
You can sell modern or antique furniture online, quality food, different recipes, and sweets, focusing on the style and taste of your audience. If you go to Google and search for Atmosfera Italiana you will see how this company, offering food and wine specialties, has created an online store of only food made in Italy. And guess who visits their page a lot? Of the 9000 visitors per month, most are foreigners.
Lanieri, on the other hand, is the first e-commerce completely made in Italy of dinner jackets and formal wear dedicated to men’s clothing. It is based on an omnichannel measuring system and an algorithm that can accurately analyze anatomical measurements. As a result, ten million different combinations of jackets, trousers, and shirts can be made with high-quality Italian fabrics.
Are you an entrepreneur and have you thought about starting a business selling products in third-world countries? Online has now also taken hold in these territories, which years ago were perceived as very remote.
The new generations want to shop more and more like Westerners. With a click, they can reach you and learn about your products. In Africa and the Middle East, for example, many young people begin through social media to appreciate American, and European styles and customs and work to satisfy a few vices and elevate their status, even going so far as to save money on food, by virtue of a life as they say in Amman “high class”.
One example is Jumia, a marketplace founded by four courageous and enterprising young men who realized that opportunities are there where the big problems are, proving that Africa opens the way to more and more exciting business scenarios. Technological products, watches, bags, and clothing are very popular. Massimiliano Spallazzi is the co-CEO for e-commerce at Jumia and has managed to make it the biggest website by aiming to become the Amazon of Africa.
Spallazzi admits that the online market in Africa is growing because it is now indispensable, as there is one shopping center for every 60,000 inhabitants.
It has always been said, after all: Ex Africa semper aliquid novi.
What to sell online without opening e-commerce?
In sales, you always have to test, try and continually straighten up. The same applies to online sales, also because there are many online sales strategies if you don’t really want to open e-commerce.
Below I propose online sales solutions. There are companies that have managed to sell successfully without resorting to e-commerce:
Sell by e-mail: for example, you can sell belts and write e-mails with prescriptions that put urgency in the customer’s mind, guaranteeing an exceptional open rate. You can highlight the expiry date so that it attracts attention because the user is inclined to read the whole e-mail to know what they are missing. Werby Parker has succeeded with e-mail marketing in increasing clicks and conversions.
Selling with WhatsApp: you can create a sense of fear of missing out.
Selling with Messenger: conversations can be initiated to sell products to establish personal relationships and customer loyalty.
Video call sales: it is a very personalized and sensory experience, after setting up the appointment with the customer, you take him/her through the shelves of your products or show him/her the products by describing them in detail. For example, you can use this method to sell your wines as the TOSO wine shop does.
Selling on Facebook: create your company’s Facebook page and you can invest in sponsorship campaigns to increase visitor traffic, as Viel Gelati does with its highly engaging showcase.
Selling on Instagram: one of the best social networks of the moment for intercepting customers. See for example the Instagram page of M.A.C. cosmetics.
Selling on Amazon: it’s not free, but you will save on logistics and payment systems
Selling on eBay: you can sell any product through the auction system and “buy it”.
Selling on Blomming: allows you to sell your products via social media.
Selling with WordPress: the website is one of the main showcases to consider if you want to increase the visibility of your product and tell your story.
What to sell if you have no idea what to sell?
Probably the first issue is to find a way to get the right idea in your head, otherwise, you risk selling a product unsuitable for the context and people’s demand.
Below are some tips on how to stimulate your mind and come up with your own brilliant idea:
- do not discard crazy ideas because if they are not feasible they may stimulate other ideas, perhaps the winning ones for a successful product
- don’t get too obsessed with finding the right idea, distract yourself and think about something else. Lateral thinking and creativity come to those who do not stay focused on one thing but are able to diversify their activities so that they have unpredictable correlations
- don’t stop at the first idea that comes into your head
- share your ideas with someone
- browse through trade magazines from the niche: you will find a product that will excite hobbyists
- give consideration to neglected communities and listen to them carefully, understand what they want and what they lack to feel valued
- visit shopping centers and get an insight into the problems of the salespeople, ask them questions, understand what gaps there are and what is best to invest in over the long term
- Watch films and read because those who sell online must know why they are navigating in a sea of information and the basis of selling is correct information. Keeping up to date is essential and training is useful to be clear on the entire marketing strategy that will push your product
Are you convinced of your idea?
Furthermore, your opinion of the product also has value and you will really be able to monetize through it. If you think you are selling something you are not interested in, the customer feels it, and your perception of the product affects the whole strategy.
You need motivation, and a push: you must be the first to believe that there is a problem that is still not solved well and you must care about solving it.
That is why I suggest you think of a congenial idea with your passions and interests. For example, if you don’t like animals, you’ve never had one, and you’re unlikely to be involved in selling dog accessories.
Remember that you will not decide on the right product in a day unless you have divine inspiration or it is something you have been thinking about for a long time, it is a very delicate phase that should not be underestimated. And it will never be completely finished because your list of ideas of what to sell online, will always have to update it.
To come up with brilliant ideas you have to identify a need of many people or a niche and think outside the box, get out of your comfort zone, and listen to people.
Let me give you an example of how ideas come when you least expect them.
Imagine you are drafting product ideas to sell online, you are in your office or at home. You are tired and go out.
You decide to take a twenty-minute break and go to the bar for a drink.
You meet a friend who has had her nails done and can’t open her Coke can. It doesn’t even occur to you to open e-commerce where you sell items that help you open various things (bottle opener, can opener, box opener, etc.).
It is hilarious :) but it is just an example of how ‘chance’ can also come to your aid.
Ideas can come to you at any time, make sure you write them down, then over the weeks you will be able to identify the best one for you!
What are the tools that help you understand what to sell?
In order to find out which product to sell on the market and check which of the ideas you had in mind is the right one for your target audience, you need to do an analysis of the desires and questions your potential customers are asking through free tools that provide you with indications as to whether you are launching a successful product on the market or going off the rails.
I have listed some very useful tools that will surely help you understand what is best to sell online.
These are indispensable tools if you wan to understand which product is best to sell and understand how your competitors managed to sell the same or similar products. There are so many tools today, but I have listed the most used ones:
- Google Search Engine is useful to study the competition and you only need to analyze the sites on the first Google pages, the most trusted ones, and guess the strategies they used to get traffic. You can also make queries and guess what users usually ask for. Let’s take an example and assume that we have chosen to sell quality hair extensions and we are going to do a lot of searches for “extension prices”, “virgin hair extensions”, “quality hair extensions”, and “do hair extensions ruin hair”? and so on.
- Google Trends provide more precise details indicating the traffic each keyword would generate, you will have to specify the category, time period, and geographical area well.
- Keyword Tool to plan advertising campaigns and find all related words see monthly searches and study competition between advertisers.
- Kickstarter is one of the best-known crowdfunding platforms for supporting innovative ideas and finding inspiration from ambitious people.
- Crowdfunding for Shopify to test new product ideas and launch limited edition products.
Social selling is held up by the advice friends give to friends about buying something.
Social shopping, (Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram), are good showcases to sell anything and everything and usually go for products that people buy on impulse, which they would do without, but by dint of seeing them advertised, they create a high expectation of them in their brains, perceiving them as cool and fashionable.
Clothing, home accessories, and items such as a circular light for selfies or a manicure set, skin care products, suits, and trousers for indoors and for sport, minimal clocks, LED lights, lettering lights for bedrooms, neck protection pillows, posture correctors to avoid text neck, costumes, pet beds and so on, and I can assure you that items such as these have been very popular.
Today on social media, if you know how to build effective advertising campaigns, you can really make your product visible and desirable.
So if you can engage users, you are likely to sell. The more attentive you are to your community, the more your product will resemble the product of their desires and you will make money.
A discourse, a discussion, a dialogue, or an exchange of opinions must already revolve around your product. If this does not happen, your product does not exist.
Is your goal to sell products online on social media? Find out how to acquire the best training
Right suppliers for the right products
The supplier you choose determines the quality of the product you choose.
Suppliers themselves can recommend the most popular products, so avoid ordering products from several suppliers, so you can also keep shipping costs down.
It may happen that through consultations with suppliers, you discover that trade requires different tools, machinery, and materials that are usually purchased from several sources. You can make them more readily available in one store that contains them all.
Find helpful, attentive, and knowledgeable suppliers with many years of experience and you are more likely to choose the right product. Talking to suppliers will help you find and realize the right ideas on what to sell online.
Both Alibaba and AliExpress can help you understand what types of products to sell. Before you make a decision on what to sell, it is good to take a tour of these wonderful web marketplaces. You will be able to get a good look at what the products are like and get detailed information on suppliers as well.
So what to sell online in the next few years?
And now you have come to the part that interests you most, the list of product categories that will be most successful in the next few years and that will make you take the leap, thanks to the e-commerce and dropshipping opportunity, by starting a scalable business that will bring you a lot of luck.
At last, you have come to the point of choice, you can finally understand your sales pitch and set out without fear because loving the product you sell is one of the secrets to successful sales.
Surely you will find your niche and if you start today you will be able to find your slice of the market before your competitors and you are still in time, as in Italy we are still at the beginning.
Don’t take it too easy though, that the digital race will be faster and faster, unstoppable even in our country and we have already seen this during the last crisis.
Finding out how and what to sell online without having a warehouse
Here, below, you can finally choose to start your online business!
- Toys offer children all over the world toys, sell board games but also soft toys that also serve to decorate the room, e.g. giant soft toys of all kinds, soft toys to help children sleep, more and more mothers are working and soft toys for toddlers will be a substitute for cuddles and affection. Try selling intelligence games that teach something about the world of grown-ups in an exemplified way, coding games and smart toys, robots, and interactive books will be very popular.
- Dropshipping is the digital product that will be increasingly sold and also in Italy will lead to the development of very profitable businesses. If you are competent in a field and you are a psychologist, doctor, professor, or any qualification you can make it useful to the public online through Ebooks, interactive audio and video courses, and webinars. You can sell fitness lessons for a diet program or sell a complete course that teaches the main digital skills, any solution you can package and make it a perceived useful product for your niche.
In the years to come, there will be a lot of information missing and people will pay money to get hold of expertise. Most of the time, however, many people do not have time to find a way to do it themselves and will ask others to fill their gaps.
We should find the most appropriate way to transmit our knowledge, depending on the specific case, let’s take an example, if you are an electrician maybe making an e-book is not the best solution. Be careful to produce quality and valuable content. Develop lots of free articles to intrigue your audience and give them a taste of the topics you cover and become a good blogger to turn your readers into customers ready to buy your products and complete the training you sell. To make it more engaging, include diagrams, examples, exercises, and summaries for each explanation.
- Accessories for furnishing the home are small details that make your home space more cozy and distinctive, such as special cushions to add to the sofa or to place on the floor or on the chair to serve as decorative elements, lamps with fashionable designs that are used to decorate rather than illuminate rooms, small rugs to put in a corner warm up the living room, it is very popular to put plants and so the green home is more breathable.
- Accessories and products and services for pets which for many years now, the golden phase for animals has begun because they have a privileged life and will be pampered more and more, they will be just like real children and will need their own hotels, playgrounds, events and parties and objects that make them feel loved and special. Many people have started to open Instagram pages for their dogs, cats, and birds and have managed to invest. Dog influencers are emerging and in the coming years, our dogs will talk to us in a very clear way because their language will be translated to us. Think that many pet owners are convinced that their pets can do human things and that is why you should bring the two worlds as close as possible. You can sell organic food for dogs, ice cream for dogs, and cakes for dogs and cats, you are paying a lot of attention to their diet so don’t worry about raising the price of the product because their health is really at heart.
- Home automation products allow the consumer to have control over every object in the home, from lights to the oven to locks and security systems, to heating and more, thus simplifying daily life and transforming the home into a place of true relaxation and entertainment. The keywords are control and programming.
- Products for improving sleep and relaxation in a society increasingly rich in information and stimuli, there is a need to rest and detach the mind, to avoid a kind of nervous breakdown. This is why in the future it will be a priority to increase the quality of our sleep through neck pillows, silk sheets, perfumes, and aromas for meditation and preparation for rest, in short, a real market for disconnection and detox from social and work.
- Home fitness and sporting accessories may have thought it was a passing business because so many people will go back to the gym, but for the very reason of the social detox earlier, we would like to detach ourselves from the sea of information, the noise of others, to focus on ourselves and take care of our bodies, so if you are into this you could sell weights, mats, six pack kits, total crunch equipment, benches, workout bands, exercise bikes and more.
- Online consulting on the web allows you to reach a much larger number of customers, you finally find a way to monetize your knowledge and what you really like. You might confuse them with info products, but they are part of those active earning strategies, so they are based on a method to make a profit right away.
You have to make yourself known and demonstrate through articles, webinars, and online videos that you are competent in your field. You must be able to bring organic traffic and also through advertisements and inbound marketing strategies to your site.
More and more people will pay for guidance, advice, and information that will help them achieve certain goals. You will analyze the problem the customer is facing, listen to the customer’s perspective and wishes, and finally suggest the way forward through advice and solutions.
The world of consultancy is really expanding!
Want to start selling online, but don’t know where to start? Request a free consultation from one of our experts!