How to Find Products to Sell on Shopify
Updated · May 13, 2022
If you're looking to start selling online, Shopify is a great platform to use. It's user-friendly, has lots of features, and there are plenty of apps and support available when you need it.
One of the most important things when selling online is having products that people want to buy. But how do you find those products?
In this blog post, we'll share some tips on how to find products to sell on Shopify. We’ll cover the process of actually deciding on what to sell, and then discuss the process of “product sourcing” and the various avenue available
Where to Get Ideas
When it comes to figuring out what items to sell, there are a few different options available. You could do surveys, but those are often easier and more beneficial once you’re established.
If you’re not yet established, you’ll need to draw on existing information.
The two best options are checking out what established stores are having success with, and of course, picking the brain of the masses—social media.
Look at Existing Stores’ Top Sellers
By investigating what’s selling well in existing stores, you can get a good sense of product opportunities, by knowing what’s in demand.
For a good example, check out Amazon’s best-seller section. Going to the front of the section will show you what categories are big right now, and what items are selling in them. You can then select specific categories on the left side to look through.
We recommend Amazon as a start because, with about 310 million active users, it’s as big as you can get, making it a wealth of info for product-selling.
Note, that when checking out things to sell via big stores, log out if you have an account.
Otherwise, the things you see may be tailored to you, and therefore distort the results.
Check Out Social Media
Another easy option is to check out social media and see what people are talking about. Use hashtags rather than simply typing in keywords.
This is more likely to show you posts relating to the items you’re checking out in particular. Plus if people are going to the trouble to hashtag it, it must be noteworthy.
Twitter is a good first stop for finding products to sell, but surprisingly, so is TikTok. The latter is rapidly expanding into the ecommerce arena.
Some products go viral. Remember when you couldn’t go five tweets without seeing a fidget spinner?
Keep an eye out for what people dislike too. This will let you know what you needn’t bother with.
Now it’s time to do some deeper market research.
Market research will allow you to figure out what to sell to maximize your return on investment (ROI).
Before getting into particulars, you need to decide how broad your offering will be, and whether it’ll be seasonal, or a year-round staple.
The things to sell on Shopify you’ve identified in the above steps will fall into the areas mentioned below.
Going Broad or Targeting a Niche
You need to decide whether your products will be niche, or broad. For example, you could go niche if you decide to sell mechanical keyboards, fountain pens, or gel mousepads with anime characters printed on them.
On the other hand, you’d be going broad if you decide to sell general stationery, DIY tools, or low-end clothing.
Having a niche to choose a product from allows you to target very specific groups who would be willing to pay premiums, but the trade-off is fewer sales overall. Unless you find a fantastic niche that isn’t being capitalized, it’d be best to go broader.
You can even go broad by targeting a few niches but make sure there’s a logical connection between them. This will allow you to upsell and cross-sell to further boost your sales.
Seasonal or Staples
Next, consider whether your product will be seasonal or a year-round staple. This doesn’t apply if you sell a product like electronics or art supplies, but clothing, sports equipment, and even accessories are often seasonal.
Few people will be buying sunglasses in the dead of winter, and no one will be wearing a fur coat in the height of summer.
If your products are year-round staples, then you don’t have to worry, but if they’re seasonal, consider putting together a seasonal catalog.
For example, if you sell products such as clothing, prioritize summer wear in summer and winter wear in winter. Out-of-season stock can be put in storage for next time, or if need be, sold on clearance.
At this point, you should have an idea of what you want to sell, and know how broad your audience is, and whether it’s seasonal. The final step is actually acquiring the products. This is done through “product sourcing”.
What Is Products Sourcing
Product sourcing is the process of finding or acquiring goods to be sold, and finding the right fit for you is crucial to the process of how to find products to sell on Shopify.
There are a few different types. In this section, we’ll look at five different ones and their benefits.
Dropshipping is a method of product sourcing where the retailer (you) does not keep goods in stock, but instead passes on customer orders and shipment details to a vendor, who then fulfills the order.
Dropshipping is quite a versatile way to source products because it cuts out a lot of the work one would normally have to do and allows them to mainly deal with admin and collecting payments.
You can build a dropshipping store from the ground up on Shopify, or even create one on a platform like Amazon. Dropshipping is a great way to start setting up an ecommerce business without having to learn the particulars of every aspect.
Wholesalers are companies that sell goods in bulk, at a cheaper price than what vendors charge.
They are usually the middleman between a manufacturer and a retailer. Wholesalers are a good way to get a lot of stock at a cheaper price.
While dropshipping normally involves sourcing products from vendors, you can also dropship from wholesalers.
Wholesalers are a good idea when you’re buying stock items, but if you’re looking to sell custom items, whether they be white-labeled or truly unique then you’ll have to use the next option.
Manufacturers create products or parts that go into making a final product.
They are the base level of finding products to sell online, and the whole product sourcing process.
By going to the manufacturer directly, you’ll be getting the cheapest price, and cutting out any middlemen.
The only trouble is that it may be difficult to find a manufacturer selling the items you want. Many manufacturers have exclusive deals with particular retailers. The other issue is that they often sell in greater bulk than even wholesalers.
For someone starting out, this could be out of reach. Don’t forget about them though. When you’ve built your brand’s reputation and your cash reserves, you may be able to come back.
Finally, we have handicrafts! This is where you select a product and make it “by hand”.
These items are normally what you’d find on Etsy, and are usually unique items like artwork, or “cottage” items such as handmade soaps, bracelets, and so on.
As much as this might upset handicraft purists, the idea of handicraft is changing. Handicraft sites now include 3D printed items and prints of digital artwork.
It’s not as rustic, but these are still unique items. It’s easier than ever to turn hobbies into side hustles with ecommerce.
Trade shows are events where manufacturers and wholesalers display their products in hopes of selling them to retailers.
These shows are an excellent way to get product ideas for good products to sell on Shopify and get a read on the industry you’re interested in.
It also lets you speak directly to those who already have experience, and get a read on your competition.
Now you have some ideas on how to find products to sell on Shopify.
To revise, you need to figure out what you want to sell by checking out the broad ecommerce landscape, before narrowing it down and finding a source for your products.
Of course, that’s only the first step in the process.
In order to start selling and making money, you’ll have to actually build your Shopify storefront, whether you’ll be dropshipping or selling direct.
Garan is a writer interested in how tech reshapes the environment, and how the environment reshapes tech. You'll usually find him inoculating against future shock and arguing with bots.