If there’s one misconception when it comes to how to find dropshipping product ideas, it’s that you pick your products and are done with it. The truth is, consumer’s wants and needs are constantly changing so your product selection needs to change with it. The ecommerce world is constantly in flux, and if you’re not keeping an eye on the trends and adapting, you’re bound for a harsh reality check.
The truth with dropshipping products is, if you don’t swim, you’ll drown. You need to consistently check the news, trends, and your competitors to make sure that you’re always on the top of your game. You need an incredible selection of products that not only appeal to your buyer’s shopping interests but that also add value to your customer’s life again and again.
If you’re new to the game, let’s start by shining a light on a very important question: What is dropshipping?
Dropshipping is a business model that removes the need to hold inventory and bridges the gap between you and your supplier. The diagram below shows the three simple steps that make the model work.
- Your customer makes an order through your online store
- Your order is then forwarded directly to the supplier
- The supplier fulfills the order and ships the product directly to your customer
It’s simple and easy, and it removes all the upfront costs associated with starting a business and the need to hold and manage inventory.
So now that you know how it works, you’re probably asking yourself another important question: How can I find the right dropshipping products to sell?
By the end of this article, you’ll have a comprehensive understanding of what you need to do regularly to keep your product selection fresh and keep your store relevant and enticing.
Let’s get to work!
How to Find Dropshipping Product Ideas
Whether you have a general idea of what you’d like to sell or not, you’ll want to make sure you’ve covered all of your bases. As important as it is to keep an eye on the blogs promising the best dropshipping products of the year, you’ll have to rely on your research as well.
Select a Niche (That You Have Experience With)
This step is pivotal for the beginning of your dropshipping product research. Choosing something you have experience with already puts you at an advantage.
Let’s say you’re an avid outdoor hiker that knows the ins and outs of adventuring in the great outdoors. Using your knowledge and experience, you can quickly identify the type of products people like you are interested in and would buy without a second thought.
The same goes for a new mother who’s learning about the “dos and don’ts” of motherhood. With their knowledge and experience, they know exactly the type of needs they can solve with their product selection.
Starting a dropshipping business based on a lifestyle that is familiar to you makes it easier to find the right products and people for your online store. So, take advantage of your existing knowledge and passion, and get ready to do some research.
Identify Already Popular Products
Within your niche, you’ll have to keep an eye on products that are already popular for two reasons:
- Finding popular products leads you to your competitors, along with their unique selling proposition (USP) and marketing strategies
- You’ll get an idea of the ideal price range and how you can market the product better than your competitors
Trying to sell an already popular product is very difficult in most cases. Unless you have a better selling proposition, it may be a good idea to find a product that solves a similar problem or has more features/variations than the popular ones.
You can find popular products with a simple search on any major online ecommerce marketplace. Type in your respective category or niche and the popular products will find you:
Pay attention to the prices, the reviews, as well as the type of pain points these popular products are solving for your (prospective) customers. These are all key to understanding your target market better.
Identify Products That Are Starting to Trend
This is where the real heavy lifting begins. It’s one thing to research popular products amongst competitors, but what does it take to be the one that has a viral product before anyone else gets on the bandwagon?
If you’re not the type to scurry into selling an already saturated dropshipping product, then you’re in the right place.
There are tons of tools out there for you to use and get insight into products that are on the cusp of being wildly popular. You could be the one to turn an unheard-of product into a best-seller by using marketing, your experience, and a storytelling technique that captures your customers again and again.
“Niche scrapers” are tools that use AliExpress data to establish whether a product is going to be a best-seller or not. For example, if a reusable cotton pad on AliExpress goes from 7 sales to 207 sales in a week, chances are, it’s a good product with high trending potential.
But instead of having you research for hours and input data into a spreadsheet, the tools below do all of the work for you. Here’s a list of the top 5 niche scraper tools you can get started with on your search:
If you’re looking to dabble in some free product discovery platforms, then you should check out Thieve or Ecomhunt. They display already-found products that you can access right away and start selling.
Keep in mind that the items you find are more of an idea in which direction to head. Reusable cotton pads can be produced in the US too, and there are tons of suppliers out there for you to dropship from. You can find dropshipping platforms that have US suppliers to mitigate risk and diversify your product selection. Not every dropshipping product has to be imported from China!
Focus on Products that Appeal to a Small but Dedicated Target Market
By now, you probably have a good idea of the products you’d like to sell, and you have some tools you need to find them. The next step is defining your target market.
Targeting a large market that has greater purchasing power feels like the instinctive thing to do, however, there are smaller segments that you shouldn’t ignore. These smaller segments are a market of very specific, highly dedicated people that are extremely committed to a niche.
Adding to our previous example, there is a portion of the population that adores camping. They’re always on the lookout for cool high-quality gear and interesting gadgets that can make their adventures into the woods more comfortable. Why not be the go-to expert in this area? By using your knowledge and storytelling techniques, you can attract campers and convince them that your product selection is made for the true outdoors-person.
Another example are enamel pin lovers. The true lovers and collectors of novelty enamel pins are highly dedicated and committed to finding cool and unique enamel pins. Take a look at the Google Trends data for it:
If you like enamel pins, why not be the go-to enamel pin store for people in this niche? There are tons of incredible US suppliers that create unique artisanal work, but don’t care for the marketing side of things.
Measuring Demand for Your Dropshipping Products
Like any successful business, you’ll want to drive your strategy and choices based on data and facts. As far as your passion and knowledge can take you, you need legitimate data to show you the right dropshipping product choice.
For that, there are two tools you need to use:
Google is the Goliath of search on the internet, so it’s only natural that you rely on their data to gauge what your (prospective) customers are interested in and actively looking for. Just like we did with the enamel pin example before, we can use Google Trends to gauge if it’s a fad or evergreen product.
As an additional example, we’ll use “multilayer necklaces” to showcase the power of these two tools.
Make an account on Google Ads and use their Keyword Planner to find out the search volume of the product you have in mind. They may ask you to create a paid campaign, but there is a secret way of doing this for free. I typed in the keywords “layered necklace” and “layered jewelry trend.”
As you can see, the “layered necklace” keyword has 1K to 10K monthly searches. This means that there are thousands of people searching for this kind of jewelry style. So far, layered jewelry looks like a winning product.
The next step is to go to Google Trends and type in the same keyword—“layered necklace.”
As you can see, it has grown in popularity over the years and looks like it’s going to continue to do so. Selling layered necklaces in this day and age would be a safe bet!
You can use this two-step process to discover the demand for any product and make your choices based on the information available to you.
Find the Right Price Range
Finding the right price range is more difficult than it seems. You’ll need to start off by looking at the similar products your competitors are selling and taking note of the prices.
You usually don’t want to go higher than your competitors, so keep the lowest and higher price ranges in mind. Even if you can’t have a largely different price point, you have the power to use your marketing, customer service, and guarantees to encourage customers to buy from you instead.
The Ideal Profit Margin
Ideally, you’ll want a profit margin of 30%. This usually adds up to a reasonable price that consumers are willing to purchase, and that covers your costs and still results in a decent overall profit.
Don’t make the mistake of inflating prices to make more profit, you want your customers to come back and purchase more, not be a one-time buyer.
Factor-In Shipping Costs
Based on a survey of US adults, 50% of shopping cart abandonments occur because of high shipping costs and fees. That’s a devastating number for someone who spent time and money getting customers through their sales funnel, only to be abandoned at the last step.
There are two simple and effective ways of solving this problem. Remove the element of surprise, and get rid of surprise fees in general by implementing:
- Uniform Shipping For All Items: As an example: Free shipping for all orders over $50! This method is a great way to upsell as well as entice customers with free shipping.
- Free Shipping in the US: This is a method that involves lumping in the price of shipping into the cost of the item. It’s a bit more time-consuming, and you’ll need to be cautious, as you still want to maintain a reasonable and competitive price point on your products.
Analyzing Your Competition
In the words of infamous military strategist Sun Tzu himself, “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” You have to consistently strategize how you’re going to be better than your competitors. This task is ongoing, but it keeps you afoot with everything your competitors are doing—and most importantly, if it’s working or not.
Do a quick search on the online selling platforms we mentioned earlier along with a Google search to see who’s selling similar products. Make a list and keep it updated at all times.
Keep an Eye on What Your Competitors are Selling
When analyzing your competition, always have this question in mind: “How can I do this better?” Take a look at their product selection. What products do they have that are doing really well? How can you sell these types of products better?
Keep an eye out for their product descriptions and their upsell strategies, too. Good copy and a storytelling technique could be just the trick to get those customers sold on what you’re selling.
Your competitors are working around the clock to be better and make more sales so it’s imperative that you watch them and take notes on how you can improve your store consistently. Get into the habit of the Kaizen art of continuous improvement: If you get 1% better every day, you’ll end up 365% better in just a year. Small wins add up to large ones over time.
Read the Customer Reviews
An imperative technique in learning about the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors is to look at the reviews customers leave behind.
Happy customers will outline their strengths, while unhappy ones will point out the mistakes your competitors are making. Keep note of the pain points these customers experience and strategize how you can make them a strong point in your store.
Sometimes knowing what’s working and what isn’t is already given to you. Keep your eyes peeled for these reviews and take action on as many as you can.
Keep an Eye on their Social Media Following
Identifying product trends in the dropshipping world is something that you should always have cooking in the background.
Through social media, you have access to people’s lifestyles, their pain points, trends in the world, as well as the power to connect with people who may be interested in your store.
You now have the ability to sell on Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook so make sure that you follow your competitors, your prospective customers, and all the accounts that revolve around your niche. You can even engage with different people and pages to get a better insight into their passions and lifestyles!
Dealing with Shipping Times
Dropshipping can give you the freedom to become an entrepreneur and run a successful online business, however, shipping from foreign countries can result in longer shipping times, upset customers, and/or unforeseen delays.
Many dropshippers rely on Chinese suppliers for their products. Due to their large production capacity, there’s always tons of inventory and innovative products at hand. However, to your customer, waiting 3 or more weeks for their order can result in frustration, anger, and loss of orders.
In the days of Amazon, dropshippers, and suppliers with fast delivery times have the upper hand.
You can deal with long shipping times by integrating items into your store that have faster shipping times to your customers’ locations. If you’re targeting the US or Canadian population, it could be useful to have US-based products in your store. US-based products give you the perks of:
- Faster shipping
- Oftentimes, unique handmade products
- Usually, better return and refund policies
Therefore, having a rich array of products is critical to your business in terms of providing a selection that mitigates business risk as well as gives your customers faster shipping options.
Find the Right Supplier
It is important to find a supplier that is reliable, professional, and trustworthy. When looking for the right supplier, there are three main questions that you need to ask:
Where are they Shipping From?
Where they are shipping their products from is a direct contributor to their shipping times. US suppliers shipping within the country generally have faster shipping and fewer hurdles to jump over.
Chinese suppliers usually need a substantial amount of time to get their products to the US or Canada, so be ready for long shipping times and possible delays due to logistics and quality control. Another factor to keep in mind is the fragility of the products you wish to dropship. If you specialize in glassware or delicate items, get ready for some disappointed customers and a chance that products might not make it to their destination in one piece.
Are they Producing High-Quality Products?
Although it isn’t always possible, try and get your supplier to send you a test order of your products. This will not only give you insight into the full experience of your sales funnel, but you’ll be able to see the product for yourself and decide if it’s the right one for you.
Testing products also gives you insight into the packaging, the shipping times, and many other important factors that are worth noting when dropshipping products. If you’re looking for US and EU suppliers, Spocket (Spocket Review) has a well-developed cohort of US suppliers in all niches.
What is their Return Policy?
A return policy is something that dropshippers struggle with from time to time. When working with suppliers from China, return policies are usually non-existent since the process of returning something is costly and time-consuming.
Having a supplier with a generous return policy is paramount in making sure that you and your customer are both covered in the case of defects, damages, or simply a change of mind, so keep it in mind as you search for a dropshipping supplier.
Whether you choose to find suppliers on your own or opt for a dropshipping platform, this article should be in your back pocket for reference. With the steps outlined, you should be well on your way to easily find dropshipping product ideas to sell so you can run a successful online dropshipping store and start a burgeoning entrepreneurial journey!