Growing a successful ecommerce store is a lot of hard work and requires constant research and evaluation to source the best and most in-demand products and trending gift items for your retail customers. It’s really like an exact science that takes a lot of testing, and retesting of products, website design, images and branding tactics to figure out what works best for your business.
Product discovery is by far the most time-consuming activity for ecommerce business owners. At Dropified, we’re helping to create more success stories for our members, and we’d like to share some creative insights that can help you master the exercise of product discovery and research. We’re more than just a SaaS solution provider for independent online retailers, we’re growth hackers that want to see you enjoy the success you deserve.
Here are a few insights from our team that we know will help.
Front End Vetting and Product Discovery: What’s Selling Right Now?
Do you know who has hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of dollars to spend figuring out what products consumers want to buy the most? Big box stores. The same ones you are competing every day with on levels of price, product assortment and customer service.
Front end vetting means evaluating product assortments from all retail sellers. Luckily, Google will do much of the heavy lifting for you. Create a bookmark folder of large stores like Walmart, Target and ecommerce communities like Amazon and eBay, as well as other sales leaders within your product niche. Review these sites weekly for new products, to help you define what is selling well (or anticipated to sell well during peak seasons) and build your hit-list of products to add to your shop.
Also look for opportunities to bundle a trending item with other helpful products that fit with that lifestyle need or specific activity. Selling the must have environmentally friendly (no plastic bottle) solid shampoo bar? Consider bundling it with an economical anti-fog shower mirror and loofah. You’ve just created the ideal low-cost (and trendy) gift bundle.
Back End Research and Product Evaluation: Which Vendors and What Products Should I Select?
Now comes the tricky part. You have identified the types of products that are literally flying off the virtual shelves for ecommerce retailers, but you aren’t sure which vendor or manufacturer to choose as your supplier on AliExpress.
One indicator of product volume, and the quality of the vendor, is the overall vendor rating on AliExpress. What percent rating have they been given by purchasing customers? Obviously, the higher the rating the better, to make sure you don’t run into problems with either the quality of the product, or availability for shipping.
Is the vendor rated at 4 stars or higher on AliExpress? To the right of that information beside the product name, you will also see a total order number. If that number is astronomical, you can infer that the vendor is shipping thousands of units per month; it’s clearly a winning product. If the number is low, proceed with caution and evaluate other similar products from different vendors.
There are deeper insights you can gather about vendors, products and sales volume with a software tool called AliExtractor. Check out the website to learn more about this secret power seller intel, that allows you to actually see sales volume statistics, consumer product reviews, total units fulfilled by the vendor and more. It can even help you sort by overseas vendors who provide the economical ePacket shipping option.
Use Seasonal Blogger Gift-Guides as a Barometer on Niche Trends
Certain times of the year, bloggers from every niche including beauty, fashion, technology, home décor, pet and animal care, and kitchenware start blogging their picks of trending products for the season. Whether that is ramping up to the Fall for holiday gift giving, or for other important purchasing periods like Valentine’s Day, Easter or Back to School, these blogs are an excellent resource for ecommerce business owners.
When professional bloggers place their Gift Guides up, they may be sponsored by brands, but the majority of bloggers actually do not accept sponsored suggestions. The Gift Guide’s are serious business and they are a huge traffic bump in readership for bloggers, as consumers depend on them for an honest review.
Let’s say for instance, that you sell personal tech gadgets. Your search query in Google should be something like this:
Tech +Gadgets +Holiday +Gift +Guide
(If you didn’t know that trick with the + to your query for Google with no space between search terms… you’re welcome. It really helps refine your results to what you are looking for. If you want to omit any results, you can also use a disqualifying hyphen like this:
Tech +Gadgets +Holiday +Gift +Guide -pets
Now assume that you are looking for the top trending tech gadgets for American consumers only. You can refine your query like this to show only American based domains and blogs, if your store specializes in exclusively domestic sales in the United States.
Tech +Gadgets +Holiday +Gift +Guide +USA
What the search engine will report is a list of pages and pages of gift guides within the niche consumer product area you specified in your search query. And a quick skim through at least the first two pages of Google results will tell you everything you need to know, about the products that American consumers are adding to their wish list.
Some of the bloggers you encounter are micro influencers and they will actually accept sponsored posts. The rate of pay varies, but it is possible to request that they include one of your products in their Gift Guide, or another blog post on their community site. It doesn’t hurt to ask, and if you can arrange it, you’ll both enjoy shared traffic through reciprocal links that will also help boost your organic SEO.
If you have just started using Dropified, don’t forget we offer an amazing support team to help you utilize all the tools for organizing product boards, setting specialty pricing or limited time flash sales, product variant mapping and much more. Visit our training portal for easy-to-follow videos and contact us on SLACK for more tips and advice.