How To Find the Best Online Retail Products For Your Business

By Volo Commerce

By Paul Watson - CEO at Volo Commerce

Choosing the right products for your ecommerce business and finding the right suppliers can have a significant impact on your business model, margins and operational structure. Nevertheless, a large number of online retailers still don’t invest enough in this process. 

So where should ecommerce retailers start when searching for the best online retail products? Nowadays, there is a wide range of resources available. Seasoned merchants try to cover as many avenues as possible - from trade exhibitions, wholesalers, distribution lists and product auctions to direct imports from manufacturers and private labelling.

This post will look at some of the available resources and products for your online retail proposition.

Suppliers 

The first resource you should try to capitalise on is your current network of suppliers

Be proactive in establishing mutually profitable relationships. Don’t expect to magically discover the best products suppliers offer unless you interact with them on a regular basis. A good relationship can result in more competitive prices and invaluable market insight. 

Suppliers know first-hand what’s in high demand and the latest trends shaping the market, as well as what are the best online retail products in use right now. Try to find out what products they’re sourcing for next season, and ask if exclusive offers are possible to set your business apart from competition. 

Marketplace research

To help sellers grow, marketplaces have developed useful tools to provide valuable insight. 

eBay’s recently launched Growth, which can become a key feature for all merchants. It provides a sourcing guide so sellers can learn more about the categories they are active in and those they are considering for expansion. It also analyses listings, shows seasonality, popular searches and even recommends the best product combinations based on what customers are buying.  

Also, if you want to know what the most popular items are, you can check eBay’s “completed listings / sold items” sections. This will show the sales volumes of items you have in mind as well as rate of sale and which product variations (if applicable) have the best performance.

Amazon provides similar data as well, if you know how to find it. Add an item to your basket and edit the quantity with ‘999.’ That will show how many products that respective seller has on stock. If you run the same search for several days you can learn more about the rate of sales for any product. 

Tools

To eliminate some of the guesswork and save time when researching your products, consider tools like Terapeak (eBay) and AMZShark (Amazon). Both tools have small costs, but the data they provide could be the difference between an average business and a highly successful one. 

Terapeak’s analytics show how products are performing and shoppers behave online. Its ‘Hot’ research menu can be useful, but you’ll uncover better insight if you go straight to its category research option. Enter the category you’re interested in and choose ‘top sellers’.

In just a few seconds you’ll be able to see the largest sellers in the category, how many items they’ve sold, total revenue, average selling price, and other metrics.

If you find an item is performing well, get in touch with your supplier to see if you can add it to your own listings. 

AMZShark is a very important tool for Amazon sellers. Its ‘Niche Scout’ feature provides category level data on average sales rank, price, monthly revenue and number of reviews. This information enables you to find a category with high monthly revenue but low sales rank / number of reviews. It can indicate when a product is in high demand but current sellers have quality or delivery issues.

‘Sales Tracker’ is an equally powerful feature, providing information on sales, price history and sales rank for each product, be it your own or a competitor’s. If you add a product’s ASIN, you can access sales volume per day, week or month, and price trends. 

Finally, to spot trends and see what products are doing well, use the ‘Ranking Tracker’ feature to get ahead of your competition. 

Other Options

Amazon Search Engine is another efficient tool helping to track how your products and competitors are ranked on Amazon. At the same time, you can see how marketing activities such as sponsored products or email campaigns are faring. 

Customers’ reviews are also a critical source of information as they indicate any issues or fault with the products. 

Of course, there are many other useful tools and third-party services to help you improve the sourcing process, but the above are a good start to diversify your portfolio and develop your business. 

Looking Wider

To ensure you cover every base, consider alternative avenues to expand your product portfolio such as trade shows and exhibitions, wholesalers, importers, clearance and auctions. 

Trade shows offer great opportunities for making connections with new suppliers and to check first-hand the products’quality. Such events are also good for identifying emerging market trends and checking what competitors are doing. 

10times is a useful resource. It offers an extensive list of conferences and trade shows. Google is another option.

Wholesale & Import

If you’re considering buying or selling wholesale, resources like thewholesale.co.uk, esources.co.uk, TheTrader and WholesaleOutlet are a good starting point. Of course, there are many wholesalers across Europe, US or Asia. If it’s the first time you’re doing business with a new supplier make sure that you check its background and also the hidden fees and taxes that could take a big chunk of your margins. 

When you choose to import your products, take into consideration import taxes, customs fees, import duty, security surcharges, docking fees and fuel surcharges. 

A potential solution to reduce the effects of these financial aspects is using a freight forwarder. These companies specialise in getting products into the UK so you don’t have to invest time in completing paperwork. Obviously, these services come at a cost, but it’s up to you to decide if it’s the right choice for your business or not.

Auctions, returns, graded stock and clearance lines are interesting options as well, but pay attention when ordering. Most of these sellers combine high ticket items with other products that are generally difficult to sell online which might affect your revenue. 

No matter what tools or resources you choose to create a strong product portfolio, keep in mind that the ecommerce industry moves at light speed and customers’ expectations are ever-increasing.

Conclusion

It’s critical to keep pace with the industry. A large part of that is finding the best online retail products for your business. There are constant developments and innovations, and in order to maximise your margins and growth, be sure to stay up to date with latest and best tools available.

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