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How to conduct Shopify product research

A great product is the most critical aspect of your Shopify website. But what does a great product look like, and how do you find it? In this article, we’ll look at how to conduct Shopify product research to discover great items that enhance your chances of online success.

What does a great product look like?

A great product is one that is obtainable, profitable, shippable, and marketable. Ultimately, it’s a product that enhances, not hampers, your success as an online retailer.

Product research helps you to judge potential for success before investing time and money, by evaluating existing information and data. Not only does this help you identify money makers and avoid bad invesments, it also arms you with essential information.

  • Supply – how easily and quickly you can obtain the product
  • Demand – whether there’s a current or future need for the product
  • Competition – if you’ll be first to market or competing against established sellers
  • Shopify SEO – what keywords you’ll need to target
  • Shipping – how much the product will cost to package and ship
  • Growth – the long term potential for the product

How to conduct Shopify product research

Successful product research involves following a methodical approach, gathering as much information as possible about a potential product. Let’s get going.

1. Find a potential item

If you don’t already have a product in mind, you need to begin brainstorming. Start with one of the following activities to draw up a broad list of ideas and narrow it down to four or five potential ideas based on your personal preference.

Research current trends

Use Google, Amazon Best Sellers, and Trending on eBay to find out what’s currently selling well and taking off.

Solve common pain points

Speak to people, businesses, and groups about everyday problems and products that could solve those problems. For example, Earthwise Bags solved the problem of people using disposable carrier bags by launching stylish reusable bags.

Utilize your interests and hobbies

Use a particular skill or hobby of your own to create a product, such as crocheted blankets. Or, use your knowledge of a skill or hobby to sell related products, such as needles and yarn.

Predict trends

If you’re someone who wore lycra before Kim, oversized sweaters before Ariana, and double denim before Britney, use your instincts to predict the next big trend.

Look at customer reviews

Research popular online sellers who aren’t shipping fast, have terrible customer service or are overpriced.

2. Evaluate market demand

Once you’ve created a list of potential products, it’s time to evaluate the market demand for each product to establish if there’s a customer need.

Type the products into Google Trends to see how popular they are now, and to help you predict how popular they will be in the future.

Consistent growth overtime indicates steady growth in the future but can also mean that sellers have already established themselves in the industry. In contrast, a spike in demand signals a fad that may quickly fade, but can also mean an opportunity to establish an unknown brand.

Other ways to evaluate market demand include:

  • Research the products on social media to see how often they are mentioned
  • Google the products to see if there are related forums and communities
  • Ask around your networks

3. Assess your competition

Assessing the competition surrounding your intended products helps you validate your market demand research while predicting how hard it is to enter the market. Some great tools for completing competitor research include Google Keyword Planner, other marketplaces, and Google itself.

Google Keyword Planner

Type the products into Google Keyword Planner to see monthly search volume, the level of competition, and the cost per click (CPC) for Google AdWords for your keywords.

To do this, you’ll need a (free) Google Adwords account.

Online marketplaces

Type the products into Amazon, eBay, and Walmart to see the number for sale and the number of sellers. You can also start planning how to compete against these sellers by reading their customer reviews, checking stock levels, reviewing their social media, and noting whether they offer free and fast shipping.

There are several Amazon and eBay Product sourcing tools that give you access to more advanced data, such as average pricing, total sales, and shipping strategies.

Google

Type your products into Google to see who’s currently selling via their own website using Shopify or another eCommerce platform.

Is competition a good thing? It depends. Little or no competition means that you’ll be the first to market – great for establishing yourself as a market leader but difficult for establishing market interest. Significant competition means that the market opportunity is already there and established but you’ll need a unique selling point to compete.

4. Look into acquiring your product

The next step in your Shopify product research is establishing how to acquire your products. There are 3 main Shopify product sourcing options:

  1. Wholesale: Where you buy stock directly from a manufacturer or supplier.
  2. Manufacturing: Where you make your own products to sell.
  3. Dropshipping: Where you list the products of a third party supplier, who stores and ships the goods to your customers.

It doesn’t matter what option you choose. What does matter is:

  • Price – low enough for your make a profit
  • Time – how quickly you can receive products
  • Minimum order value – the minimum you need to order
  • Shipping – how much it costs to deliver the products to you

5. Calculate your potential profit

Market demand, suppliers, and beatable competition are only useful when you can make a profit. A critical step when conducting Shopify product research is calculating a product’s profit potential.

To do this, calculate your target selling price and deduct your costs;

  • Acquiring
  • Storing
  • Marketing
  • Packaging
  • Shipping

That will give you your profit. If it doesn’t look good, then your product idea might need to change.

Tip: Use our fulfillment calculator to determine storage and shipping costs for future products.

6. Validate your product

Second-hand data only gives you half of the picture. To validate your findings, conduct your own research using:

Surveys

Go out and ask potential customers if they’d buy your products, how much they’d pay, their experiences with your competitors, and what would entice them to buy from your Shopify store.

Pre-orders

Make your products available for pre-ordering, allowing you to establish demand before investing significant cash flow.

Small orders

Orders samples or a minimum quantity to test your supplier and sample the market.

What to do with Shopify product research

Congratulations – you have now completed your Shopify product research. But while this information is useful for identifying product potential, that potential can only be reached with the right tools and practices. Specifically:

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