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So, what can you sell online to make money right now?
More importantly, how do you choose what products to sell so that you don’t end up with a failed business and losing both money and time?
First of all, it’s good that you are thinking about going into e-commerce to ride the growing trend of online shipping.
Also, it has never been easier and cheaper to start a business in this day and age.
To get started, you just need a laptop and internet connection.
Compared to brick-and-mortar businesses, online businesses have their obvious benefits:
- Extremely low startup cost (all you need is a platform or a website to start selling online)
- Low risk (there are no huge sunk costs compared to physical storefront)
- Quick to get started ( yes, you can get started almost instantly)
- High profit-margin (thanks to the fact that you have no rental costs)
So, technology has made it super easy to start selling online.
But, here’s a big question.
What things can you sell online to make money?
Everyone can start an online store in minutes, but is it going to make you any money?
You see, whether you are selling online or offline, the same business principle applies.
If you are not selling something that is in demand, you are NOT going to make money.
In the shopping mall near my house, I see restaurants come and go every six months.
The foot traffic didn’t change.
Some of the popular restaurants are still there and have been there for many years.
So, what is the problem with the restaurants that closed down?
Their product failed the market demand test.
Now, when you choose what to sell online, you want to make sure that there is a high demand for your product.
Before we talk about how to find high demand products to sell, you need to know there are two main types of products that you can sell online.
So, which type of product is more suitable for you?
Two Types Of Products You Can Sell Online
There are two main types of products that you can sell online:
- Physical products
- Digital products
Physical products are well-understood.
Here is a list of common niches of physical products being sold most online:
- Shapewear Apparel
- Pet products
- Fitness products
- Skincare products
- Handmade Jewelry
- Mobile Accessories
What are digital products?
Digital products are products that exist in the digital form and can be delivered online via instant downloads.
Personally, I love the idea of selling digital products online.
Here is why.
You can sell it repeatedly without having to replenish your stock.
As it’s basically digital files, you don’t have to worry about warehousing, inventory management, packaging, shipping, and delivery.
The entire sales process can be automated online without you being involved.
So, what are some examples of digital products?
- Sound effect
- Graphic design
- Online courses
- Virtual Summit(i.e. online event)
Which Type of Product Should You Sell?
So, which type of product should you sell?
Digital products or physical products?
To help you choose which one is more suitable for you, you have to consider the following:
Question #1: Are you going to create and sell your own products or are you going to sell private-label products (i.e. as a product re-seller)?
So, do you want to make and sell your own products or you want to buy products from a wholesaler and resell them under your brand?
Let me first explain what is a private label product.
A private label product is manufactured by a third-party manufacturer and sold under a retailer’s brand name with the retailer being you in this case.
If you shop in Walmart, I believe that you must have bought some of Walmart’s house brand products.
One of the Walmart house brands is called “Great Value”.
Below are some of the food products sold under the brand name “Great Value”.
Basically, what Walmart does is that it analyzes its sales data and finds out what products are selling the most.
Then, it contracts a reputable third-party manufacturer to manufacture the same products under one of its own brands.
Generally, it will sell their house brand products at a lower price to win over price-sensitive consumers.
As you might have guessed it, Amazon is doing the exact same thing as Walmart online.
Selling Private-label products is the best option for them because they own the traffic and they have a vast amount of consumer data.
As a result, they can stay very competitive in terms of price.
If you want to sell private-label products, you need to be aware that it’s going to be very competitive because every re-seller is selling the same product.
In essence, it’s going to be a price war between re-sellers.
So, your profit margin can be squeezed very quickly.
But, there is one exception where selling private label products is the right strategy to increase your income.
For example, the 8-year-old Youtuber Ryan has a total of more than 24 million subscribers to his YouTube channel “Ryan’s World” which reviews children’s toys and makes children’s videos.
In 2019, he was the highest-paid Youtuber who made more than 26 million dollars.
He leverages his huge audience and sells his own line of children’s toys (private-label products) without having to spend on advertising.
So, this is his competitive edge over all the resellers who are selling very similar private-label products.
Similarly, you might see that Instagram influencers with a huge following is selling their own line of products (again private-label products under their brand).
Without a huge amount of free traffic, you are expected to spend advertising dollars to compete with other resellers if you want your products to be seen by potential customers.
And there is no guarantee that you can make a positive return on your advertising spend.
Unless you have some existing traffic (e.g. a huge amount of followers on social media or a large blog audience), I don’t really recommend selling private label products.
Now, it brings us to the second question.
Question #2: If you are going to create and sell your own products, should it be a physical product or digital product?
So, if you are going to create and sell your own products, which one should you sell, physical product or digital product?
This pretty much depends on YOU.
What do I mean by that?
It means you have to brainstorm what products you can make.
Are you a craftsperson?
For example, are you good at woodworking? wooden furniture?
Or are you good at making jewelry? Necklace? Earrings?
Or are you good at making home decor? Wall decal or stickers? Candles?
The downside of selling handmade products is that you will inevitably run into the problem of scaling it up and growing your business.
What about inventing a new product and getting a manufacturer to make your product for you?
This has been done before.
If you have been watching Shark Tank, there are tons of examples of ordinary people coming up with brilliant product ideas.
Below is just one example of an excellent business idea by a mother and daughter duo.
This product is called “Simply Fit Board”.
It is a dynamic workout tool that will give your abs, legs, and entire core a good workout in minutes.
So, how much sales have they done so far?
160 million in revenue in 4 years!
The income potential of inventing and making your own product is very high.
But, the challenges that you face will be big.
For example, you have to think about everything from your funding, making the prototype, sourcing reliable manufacturers, marketing, distribution channel, sales and many more.
So, that’s why I recommend that you sell digital products.
You just need to create it once and you can sell it over and over again to as many customers as you want without having to worry about storage, inventory, shipping, and delivery.
The risk is also extremely low because you don’t have to come up with the capital to buy inventory.
How To Find High Demand Products To Sell
Sell Private Label Physical Products
Although I don’t recommend selling private label products, that’s not to say that you won’t make money at all.
One of my friends started an online store selling private label products – handphone case covers.
He sourced the products from China at a very low cost per unit.
Then, he redesigned the packaging to sell it under his own brand name at a much higher price – about 500% higher than his cost price. (yes, that’s how high the profit margin for handphone accessories.
To market his products, he made a few videos of his products and then spent some money running Facebook ads on these videos.
Did he make any sales?
He made a lot of sales in the first two months.
But he had one problem.
His competitors started to bring in the exact same products and undercut his prices.
As a result, he had to keep sourcing for new products with a good profit margin.
So, how do you source for profitable products?
Here are a few tips.
Tip #1: The product must have a very high-profit margin.
Generally, small and low to medium-priced products have higher profit margins.
For example, handphone accessories such as screen protectors and handphone cover typically have a markup of 100-700%.
Health supplements are another category of product that has a very high markup – 300% on average.
Fashion products also command a high markup of up to 2000%. (WHAT!)
Tip #2: The product must be small and light.
This will help you save a lot of costs and trouble in warehousing and shipping.
Just imagine that you are selling bulky items such as furniture or fitness equipment such as the treadmill.
How are you going to store all your products?
And more importantly, how are you going to deliver it to your customers?
Inevitably, you are going to run into some logistics issues.
Now imagine that you are selling small and light items such as necklaces or women’s leggings.
First of all, it doesn’t take a lot of space to store your products.
Secondly, it’s very easy and cheap to mail it to your customers.
Tip #3: There must not be a lot of competition in the market.
To make money from selling private label products, you have to start selling them way before your competitors.
If the market is already flooded with a lot of the same products, customers will have the bargaining power to force the sellers to compete with each other on price.
So, timing is very important.
The reason why my friend made a lot of money with his anti-gravity handphone case is that he was one of the very first few people selling this and he did a much better job at marketing his product.
The very first person who started selling this product simply listed the product on her online store and waited for customers to come to her.
But, my friend did something quite brilliant.
He hired a videographer for $200 and shot a short video to showcase how cool this product is.
And the video went viral on social media and brought him even more sales.
Tip #4: There must be a high demand for your product.
This is probably the most important criteria when it comes to choosing what products to sell.
How do you know what product is in high demand before you even start to sell?
There are a few tools that you can use to help you evaluate whether or not a product will sell:
For example, AliExpress is one of the most popular websites for resellers to source products.
So, how do you find what products are selling the most?
First of all, you go to AliExpress.
Next, you select the product category that you are interested in.
Let’s say you pick mobile accessories.
Then, what you do is to sort the products by orders and tick the box ” four stars & up).
Now, this is what you will see.
You can see that as of my writing today, the best selling product under the mobile accessories is magnetic fast charging USB cable with more than 330,000 units sold.
It’s also good to use more than one tool to check and validate the product’s popularity before you pick a product.
How You Can Start A Profitable Online Store (In 12 Weeks Or Less)
Sell Your Own Digital Product
Having sold digital products myself, I highly recommend you consider creating and selling your own digital products.
It’s low-cost, low-risk and you get to keep up to 90% of all your sales as pure profit.
So, what digital product can you create that people will actually buy?
Earlier on, you already know that there are a few types of digital products:
Type #1: Writing
Examples include eBooks, online courses, research papers, and lesson plans.
Type #2: Audio
Examples include music and sound effects.
Type #3: Video
Examples include video animation intro, video courses, and short films.
Type #4: Design
Examples include web design templates, fonts, printable, Photoshop templates and Powerpoint presentation templates.
Type #5: IT
Examples include apps and software.
There are also many other types of digital products such as stock photos, lightroom presets, virtual events, coaching, games, and even trading indicators.
The list is endless.
So, which one should you choose?
And how do you know whether or not there is a demand for it?
First, you have to think about what skills or knowledge you have that can be turned into a digital product.
List down everything on a piece of paper.
Next, you want to write down what kind of digital product you can create.
For example, if you are good at cooking vegan meals, then ebooks, online courses, and vegan recipes are some good product ideas.
Or if you have a lot of experience in website design, then WordPress themes, online courses, coaching and consulting are some possible ideas for your digital products.
Or if you are a good photographer, then you can consider selling lightroom preset and photography courses.
Now, how do you decide which one will be in demand and will be worth your time creating it?
Here are a few ways to help you validate the product demand before you actually start investing your time into product creation.
Scenario #1: If you are selling online courses, you can go to online learning platforms such as Udemy and check out whether or not the courses in your niche are selling well.
Apart from online learning platforms, you can also go to the affiliate marketplaces such as Clickbank and check out whether or not similar products in your niche are doing well in sales.
Scenario #2: If you are selling design assets such as WordPress themes and graphic templates, then you can go to Envato marketplace and check out whether or not it is selling a lot.
For example, below is the screenshot of WordPress Business Themes being sold in Envato marketplace.
You can see that one of the themes in the screenshot above has close to 10,000 units sold and did more than $200,000 in sales.
If you are an app developer, then the best place to do your market and product research is to go to Google Play Store and Apple Store and find the most downloaded apps in your niche.
So, the secret is to find out what are the marketplaces where similar products are already being sold and then check if the sales are good.
Personally, I have created and sold online courses, and I still do.
Why online courses?
From my research, there is a lot of demand for courses and training in the home business niche.
Below is a screenshot of the courses being sold in this niche on Udemy
As you can see from the screenshot, there are thousands of people signing up for the paid home business courses.
So, this tells me that there is a high demand for this type of online course.
Where To Sell Your Products Online
Once you have figured out what profitable products you can sell online to make money, the next questions are where to sell them online and how to get people to actually buy from you.
If you are selling physical products, you have two options as to where to sell them online:
- Big e-commerce platforms with high traffic (E.g Amazon, eBay, Etsy, etc)
- Start your own online store
There are two ways to start your own online store.
The first one is to design and set up a brand new website by either hiring a website design or doing it yourself.
The second one is to set up your online store with a few clicks by signing up with one of the e-commerce platforms such as ( Sellfy , Shopify and etc)
If you are selling physical products online, I will recommend Shopify because it’s the best e-commerce platform for physical products.
It takes care of everything from domain name, store setup, store design, store management, inventory tracking, marketing and analytics and payment.
So, even if you have zero tech skills or knowledge, you can set your store up very quickly and easily.
But if you are selling digital products or services online, I will recommend Sellfy because it’s specially built to help people sell digital products and services online.
You can read my detailed reviews of Sellfy here.
Sellfy is also known to help you set up your store hassle-free within 5 minutes (yes, I actually tested it )
Sign up with Sellfy for a 14-day free trial Now (no credit card needed)!
When you are looking for the best products to sell online to make money, it’s very important to validate the demand before you invest money and time into this business.
I really like your articles, they are well written and a very good source of inspiration for start-up entrepreneurs. Also the case studies come in handy.