Still trying to figure out what to sell online? Let me show you, step-by-step.
Starting your first online store can get your anxiety pumping. You want to hit a home run with your first idea, but you don’t want to chase rainbows, either.
I get it.
You want to sell physical products online and make a profit. And to get there you, need data that you can trust and a smart ecommerce business model.
You also need product ideas. On this website I have hundreds (literally):
- Private Label Product Ideas
- 100+ Simple Crafts To Make And Sell Online
- Digital Products Ideas
- Print On Demand Products (like t-shirts)
- How to Find Your Niche Online
While there are dozens of ways to make money online, hundreds of potential niches, and millions of products to sell online, the foundation of your success comes down to two things
- the right products AND
- target market.
Don’t let the fear of failure prevent you from the research process.
The good news is, an opportunity is always around and you can learn the right steps here for free.
Keep in mind the important lesson: you need a process for choosing what to sell online.
Don’t randomly pick something based on a hunch.
What To Sell Online: How To Find Products To Sell
The selection process I like to follow is:
- Brainstorm ideas starting with areas of expertise
- Research ideas in Google Trends and social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest
- Find market data to see if the industry sales is growing
- Find low competition niches within growing industries
- Collect data such as Amazon and eBay Sales, Search Volume, keyword difficulty, etc.
- Compare my ideas using actual data
Scope out your competitors, suppliers, and manufacturers before spending any money. Look at their prices and inventory levels from day to day to see if they are successful.
When selecting products, keep a tight focus and look for the sweet spot. But make sure you have a good mix of low, medium, and high price points. Depending on your niche and margins, you might need to have a “loss leader” to bring in customers then upsell them later.
The Secret to the Best Product to Sell Online
There are two types of products you can sell online: commoditized and niche products.
Commoditized products are those that are in high demand or popular. They are things everyone needs, like clothes, food, etc. They can be physical or digital products. Niche products are things that only a smaller, specific group of people are looking for. For example, if you’re taking part in roller derby, you’ll need a certain roller skate, that others who weren’t into competitive skating would even consider.
There’s no “magic” answer here. What to sell online ultimately comes down to your business model and where the data points. What works well for a dropshipping business won’t necessarily work well for white label products. Selling products online is about meeting consumer demand in a way that works for you.
With that, let’s look at a few product ideas that will work based on the business model you’re using for your ecommerce brand. Specifically, we’ll look at:
- Private label products
- Print on demand
- Retail Arbitrage
- Amazon products
And as a bonus, we’ll look at some popular trending products you could adjust to meet your needs.
Best Products to Sell in a Private Label Ecommerce Store
With a private label brand, you, the online retailer, dictate everything about the product. You’re in charge of what it is, how it’s formulated, how it’s packaged, etc. A third-party manufacturer creates the product for you, then ships it to you for sale. Your customers see the product in your ecommerce store as your own brand – and never know that someone else had anything to do with it.
You’re already familiar with many private label brands, like Walmart’s Equate and Mainstays and Target’s Room Essentials and Market Pantry.
Here are great products to sell online with a private label model:
Whether you create a line of clay masks, lotion, body scrubs, cleansers, or a combination of these things, skincare products are hot. In 2018, the global skincare market was worth $134.8 billion and is expected to grow at a 4.4% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2025.
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a surge in demand for fitness equipment. Even as gyms and health clubs have re-opened with social distancing guidelines in place, many people opt to use their own fitness equipment at home. All kinds of fitness items are in high demand – from stability balls and yoga straps to balance disks, kettlebells, and resistance bands.
In 2020, the global fitness equipment market was with more than $10 billion. It’s expected to grow at an 11% CAGR between 2021 and 2027.
Water bottles have grown increasingly popular over the years, thanks to the bottled water market. Consumers are becoming more environmentally conscious, wanting to do their part to prevent single-use bottles from ending up in landfills. Market research shows the global reusable water bottle market reached $8.38 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4% through 2028.
Though you can buy water bottles at most retail outlets, an online business still has room to be successful in the space. It’s all about the products you offer and how you market them. If you start with a high-quality product that will keep the water cold for several hours and then provide a variety of design options to choose from, you’ll be able to find a clear target audience for this profitable product.
LED lights have grown in popularity because they’re much more energy-efficient than alternative lighting options. There are a ton of different products out there, from light-up sneakers to solar-powered lights, fairy lights, and LED light strips.
Even though there are a lot of product options, and plenty of brands out on there selling slight variations of the same thing, you can still carve out a spot in the market. Invest resources into creating a unique brand and marketing that’s different from the rest, so you’ll stand out from the crowd.
The electronics market is one you can count on to be there no matter what’s going on in the world. Growth may be slower, but it’s still a solid product category for the long term. Research shows the global electronics market is expected to hit $1055.29 billion in 2021. Much of the 11.2% CAGR from 2020 results from companies making adjustments to operations because of the COVID-19 impact. By 2025, the market’s projected to be worth $1291.14 billion in 2025, for a CAGR of 5%.
You can sell a variety of electronics products on your ecommerce site, from Bluetooth keyboards and speakers to earbuds, or smartwatches and smartphone accessories. To stand out from the crowd, find a niche product, such as video game accessories, and market that. Simply going for the trending product at the moment won’t bring good money over the long term.
What to Sell in a Dropshipping Online Store
With a dropshipping store, you don’t have to worry about storing or managing inventory. You simply list products for sale in your store, send the orders to the supplier (usually with automation) and the supplier takes over.
The supplier sends the order directly to your customer – and the customer never knows there was a third party involved. You can sell a variety of items with a dropshipping model. However, since these have a lower profit margin, it’s best to stick with products with low shipping costs.
Smartphones are incredibly useful, but there are tons of accessories out there that make them more so. Whether it’s an armband to hold your phone while you’re on a run, a wireless charging pad to make charging easier, or a waterproof bag to protect your device while you’re out on the water, there are plenty of things to sell.
Jewelry and Fashion Accessories
Through the years, styles and trends have changed a lot, but one thing remains the same -jewelry and fashion accessories are always desirable items. Whether you focus on a specific type of jewelry like rings or manage a broader range of products, this type of store has a lot of potential.
Art never goes out of style. In selling art supplies, you can choose to focus on a particular type of art – such as painting – or you can cover a broad area and provide supplies for various media. Supplies include things like easels, paintbrushes, clay, charcoal, markers, ribbon, paper, scrapbooking embellishments, canvas, etc.
Bluelight glasses are made with special lenses that block the blue light that emits from electronic screens. This is supposed to help reduce eyestrain and make it easier to sleep. The blue light mimics sunlight, which makes it harder for the brain to calm down. Prescription wearers can get specialized lenses to block the blue light, but these glasses are designed for people without prescriptions to use.
Auto accessories cover a wide range of product options. From dash covers, seat covers, and steering wheel covers, to aftermarket backup cameras, car stereos, to air fresheners, there’s plenty of room in the market.
Best Products to Sell with a Print on Demand Business
A print-on-demand business is a great way to make money online. Whether you want to start a t-shirt business, a line of products built around a theme, wall art, or home decor, you’ll find no shortage of options with a print-on-demand store.
Wondering what to sell online with a POD business? Look at these products:
T-shirts and Hoodies
T-shirts and hoodies are everywhere these days, but that doesn’t mean you can’t carve out your own place in the market. By creating designs that people love, you can start your own clothing line. Focus on offering your designs on quality apparel products, like the Bella+Canvas 3001 t-shirts, instead of a generic or lower quality product.
Yoga pants aren’t just for yogis. They’re comfortable, and yet stylish enough that you can wear them out of the house, too. Separate yourself from the competition with styles and designs. Even if you’re not a graphic designer, you can hire a freelance designer to develop the designs for you.
Mugs aren’t just for putting photos of your kids for the grandparents’ holiday gifts. You can print your own line with catchy sayings or designs like you put on clothing.
Giving your customers the option to print your designs on wall art helps to create variety in your store. Maybe they love one design they see on your t-shirts, but they don’t want to risk ordering a size that doesn’t fit.
Bags and Totes
With the push to reduce single-use plastic bags at grocery stores, many people bring their own reusable bags. Why get bags with the grocery store’s logo on them, making them hard to keep separate from everyone else’s when you can get your own customized bags? Like with wall art, you can put many of the same designs you have available on clothing onto bags and totes so that people have options.
What are the Best Products to Sell Online for a Wholesale Business Model?
With a wholesale business, you purchase a high volume of products from a supplier at a discounted price. You then sell each item with a markup. If you don’t have the capital to purchase inventory upfront, then this approach may not be right for you.
You’ll either have to store and fulfill orders yourself, or you’ll need to ship your inventory to a third-party logistics (3PL) company. The 3PL will take care of storing your inventory, picking, packing, and shipping orders for you. Fees vary from one provider to another. You’ll need to compare providers to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal. The ideal company for small items may not be the best choice for larger items. Consider your inventory as a whole before partnering with a 3PL.
Here are some of the top items to sell online with a wholesale business:
Kitchen gadgets are all the rage as more people cook at home. There are many wildly popular kitchen gadgets you could sell in your own online store, such as:
- Air fryers: These gadgets help you enjoy the taste of fried food without all the oil. In August 2021, there were over 60K monthly searches on Google, and 40K monthly searches on Amazon. If that’s not enough to convince you of their demand, Exploding Topics shows the search volume has grown 470% over the last five years.
- Griddles: These let you have the convenience of a flat top grill whenever you need it.
- Pizza ovens: These cook at higher temperatures than a traditional home oven. The result? A crispier pizza in less time. With 76K monthly Google searches and 35K Amazon searches, you can bet you’ll find an audience.
- Portable blenders: Need to make a smoothie or a protein shake on the go? These portable blenders are usually USB-powered, so they’re great for people who travel for work. Though they’re not as popular in the search engines as they have been in the past, they can still make a great addition to your kitchen gadgets store.
- Electric kettles: Want to have warm tea at your desk? Electric kettles make it possible to keep hot water nearby when a stove isn’t practical.
- Mandoline slicers: Love potato chips but don’t want all the fat? Want to make your own thin pickle slices? Mandoline slicers can slice vegetables paper-thin. They’ve got 34K searches on Google and 47K on Amazon every month, so it’s clear people are interested in adding them to their kitchen.
- Grape cutters: Grapes are a choking hazard for small children. Using a regular knife to cut individual grapes is a disaster waiting to happen. Grape cutters are specialized tools to ensure grapes are small enough for kids to eat.
If you can think of it, chances are there’s a subscription box for it. Some are monthly and some are quarterly. If you can secure enough products around a theme from a wholesaler, then send them to a 3PL that offers kitting services, then running your own subscription box service is easy. It’s when you try to store and pack everything yourself that things can get a little crazy.
Have an idea? Search what’s already out there, then think of how you can make yours slightly different to target a similar audience, or how you can improve upon it to grab some of the market share.
Smart Home Products
Smart home products allow renters and homeowners to add smart features to their homes without having to build an official smart home. These include everything from smart power outlets, to light bulbs and light strips, to thermostats, security cameras, door sensors, and door locks. You can even find smart air purifiers, humidifiers, and diffusers. Everything works by connecting to your home’s wi-fi network. Many products are compatible with voice assistants like Google, Alexa, and Siri.
The global smart lighting market alone was worth $12.72 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach $37.41 billion in 2026, thanks to a 20.26% CAGR.
Gardening Supplies and Furniture
Gardening is a popular hobby. A 2018 survey from Garden Research found that 77% of Americans took part in gardening activities within the past year. And because of that, $47.8 billion was spent on gardening and landscaping supplies. Furniture wasn’t part of that spending amount. However, those who are serious about their gardens also invest in furniture that lets them create a relaxing outdoor space.
Gardening supplies you may wish to consider selling online include:
- Seeds and bulbs
- Flower pots
- Watering cans
- Technology – automatic watering tools, indoor growing equipment, technology to monitor growth trends
- Gardening tools
- Soil and fertilizer
Shapewear is a type of undergarment designed to improve the appearance of the wearer’s body in a certain outfit. It can flatten your stomach, hips, thighs, and more. It makes the outfit you’re wearing look nicer by smoothing everything out. While it’s more targeted toward women, it’s available to men, too.
There’s a variety of options – full bodysuits, tops, and bottoms – that you can use in your online stores. You could include the shapewear as part of a larger overall clothing store, or you could create a shapewear and underwear exclusive store. Shapewear is a profitable niche.
What to Sell Online with Retail Arbitrage
With the retail arbitrage business model, you purchase products from a retail outlet like Walmart, Target, or another local store. Then, you list them for sale in your ecommerce store. It’s difficult to find and maintain inventory since you have to rely on what’s available in stores. To get the best deal, you must capitalize on sales, clearance deals, and closeouts. That’s why certain products are better with retail arbitrage than others. Look at these ideas to get started.
Puzzles and Board Games
Puzzles and board games are timeless. It’s a great way to take a break from the screen while still socializing with friends and family. And, because they are always available in retail stores, you never have to worry about running out of inventory. Many puzzles and games go on sale and clearance, making it easier to get plenty of options for things to start selling online.
Books, Music, and Movies
Like puzzles and board games, books, music, and movies are always a good option. They too go on clearance, so it’s easy to grab inventory for online sales. You can get a variety of options from any particular genre, to add options to niche genre stores, too.
Children’s toys are always a good option. You can choose to specialize within a particular age group or a certain type of toy, so you have a niche audience. Or, you can go broader with toys in general.
Baby products are almost always in demand as each generation continues to have children. Babies need a ton of stuff to make things easier for their parents. Whether it’s clothes and bottles, to things like bottle warmers and a dirty diaper storage container, you can find a variety of baby products on sale at major retailers to list in your online store.
Home Decor Items
Home decor is a great option for ecommerce businesses. You can sell a variety of items like wall art, candles, lamps, rugs, centerpieces, storage items like baskets and bins, and mirrors, etc.
White Label Products for Your Online Business
White label is like a private label business model. The difference is that white label products are generic and sold to multiple retailers. You don’t have control over the specifications like you would with a private label equivalent. You control the branding/label, but nothing else. That means that there could be countless other businesses out there selling the same thing you are.
Don’t let that discourage you, though. Certain products are highly profitable for white label relationships.
Health supplements have always been a popular product to sell, but the market is seeing growth because of the pandemic. As the virus spreads, consumers are becoming more health-conscious, and more willing to spend money on nutritional supplements to improve their health and wellness. A healthy diet is a primary way to take care of your body, but for many, supplements make up for dietary deficiencies.
Research shows the global nutritional supplements market hit $310.4 billion in 2020. It’s expected to grow at a CAGR of 6.2% until 2028. To cater to the huge demand, you can create a line of standard vitamins, or consider developing your own blends to target specific health issues.
Have some really cool designs you want to share with the world? Try it with beach towels. Printful is a print-on-demand company that offers white labeling, for an additional fee per item. You can put your own logo on the tag. This way, you don’t risk ordering too much inventory and later finding that you can’t sell it.
Flip Flops and Shoes
Flip-flops and shoes are hot commodity items – everyone needs to protect their feet. You can also use a white label print-on-demand approach here to avoid having excess inventory on hand.
Notebooks and Stationery
Though many people prefer digital note-taking, handwritten notes are still better for learning. The key to selling notebooks and stationery is to determine your market segment. You can market to anyone – but you’ll have a much better chance of success if you choose a smaller niche segment. Options could be:
- Parents of school-aged children
- College students
- Office administrative staff
To round out your online business, add related items, like sticky notes, pens and pencils, pencil sharpeners, and pencil cases.
Work with a supplier that will sell products by the hundreds, because you don’t want to get stuck with thousands of copies of a single notebook. Once you know what your best-selling designs are, then you can up your order quantities.
The pandemic forced many businesses to close their doors – at least temporarily. As salons and spas couldn’t provide the services people wanted, consumers started looking for ways to get similar self-care at home. This caused a surge in sales for products like essential oils and diffusers, as well as products made with essential oils such as bath bombs and foot soaks.
Essential oils are easy to white label and sell online. If you’re already a wellness influencer, you’re missing a huge monetization opportunity.
Top Products for Your Amazon Business
Since Amazon is in the product business, you need to do some research to make sure you’re not competing against them for their own products. If you’re interested in starting an Amazon online store to sell stuff online, certain products will do better than others.
That said, there’s no one strategy that will pick a guaranteed winner every time. You’ll want to experiment with a few different products to see what works well for you. Always going for top-selling products on Amazon is a recipe for disaster in the long term.
It will also depend on how you plan to handle fulfillment. If you decide to partner your online business with Fulfillment by Amazon (Amazon FBA), there are certain requirements and restrictions to be aware of. FBA, of course, isn’t the only fulfillment partner out there. But understanding the fulfillment costs ahead of time can help you decide which products you want to focus on.
Bird feeders are a popular product with 43K monthly Google searches and 39K monthly searches on Amazon. They may not have as wide of an appeal to consumers, but that’s okay. It’s clearly a product you market to a specific segment, which can help with marketing.
CBD gummies are popular among consumers because they’re thought to offer therapeutic benefits often associated with medical marijuana, without the psychoactive effects of THC. Because they’re made from hemp, they don’t contain THC. That makes these products legal in all 50 states.
There are a lot of brands out there selling CBD gummies since there are 210K monthly Google searches and 75K monthly Amazon searches. That means you’ll have your work cut out for you in terms of competition. But, by investing in a quality product, unique branding, and stellar marketing, you can reach more potential customers.
You can expand your CBD offerings outside of gummies, too. Think about adding CBD tinctures, capsules, vape oil, and more so you can reach new customers who don’t prefer the edible route.
Weighted blankets are a popular trend because they are thought to help with anxiety. The weight while you’re sleeping also helps to promote a better night’s sleep. These blankets come in a variety of sizes and weights. They’re also available in a variety of materials. Some are safe for the washing machine, while others are not. The ones that aren’t machine-washable are recommended for use with duvet covers, so you could also sell those in your ecommerce store.
One thing to be aware of when selling weighted blankets is the cost of shipping. Weight is one factor that determines how much it costs to ship something. To maximize your shipping costs, ensure the blankets are packed well, so they can be shipped in the smallest possible box.
With a monthly Google search volume of 307K and 457K monthly Amazon searches, it’s clear that shoppers are going straight to Amazon’s online marketplace to find the ideal weighted blanket for their needs.
There’s no shortage of options to help people take care of their furry friends. From basic care supplies like food and water bowls, harnesses and leashes, to more fun stuff like toys and exercise games, you can find a variety of products to include in an online store dedicated to pets. This is an excellent option for a pet service business to expand into as an income supplement.
Haircare products are another popular option to sell on Amazon. In fact, if you’re already running a salon or are an independent cosmetologist, this can be a great way to expand your product offerings.
You can start with shampoo, conditioner, leave-ins, detanglers, etc., and expand into other areas like brushes, combs, hair ties, etc. You can target people with curly or ethnic hair.
If you’re not keen on selling directly through Amazon, or you want to avoid your own website, you can still earn money with the platform as an affiliate. Amazon makes it easy to reach your customers with the Amazon Local Associates program. You’ll have your own virtual storefront, so your loyal customers can shop for any products sold on Amazon.
Trending Products to Sell Online
Starting your store with nothing but trending products is a risky approach since trends constantly change. But, if you already have an established store and you want to add more products for fast sales, turning to popular products or a growing trend is a great way to expand your offerings and attract potential customers.
Melatonin is a natural chemical in the body that helps us sleep. Many people turn to melatonin supplements to help them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Like with multivitamins, gummies are becoming an increasingly popular option.
This product can work well with private label businesses. You’ll control exactly what is in the product, and you’ll be able to build a solid brand name, too. It can also work with a white label business, but this approach means you’ll have to take an existing product and put your brand on it. You’ll have to focus a lot of resources on your brand and marketing.
Camping gear is a trending product category because it’s safe to do while social distancing. You can open a store with a variety of products, such as:
- Inflatable mattresses
- Camping toilets
- Camping kitchen items – stoves, sinks, plates, cutlery, etc.
- Solar-powered battery packs
- Ponchos/rain jackets
- Survival tools
This works with a wholesale or dropshipping business.
CBD balm is like CBD gummies. The difference is people apply it directly to the area of the body where they feel pain or discomfort. That makes it an ideal product to market to those with joint problems and other chronic pain conditions.
With 6.5K searches on Google and 2.4K searches on Amazon, it’s not as popular as some of the other products on this list. But that could be a good thing. Like melatonin gummies, it works best with a white label or private label approach.
Wax melts are an alternative to traditional candles. These don’t use a flame, which makes them an ideal choice for families with small children or pets.
Wax melts are placed into an electric device that uses a lightbulb to heat the wax and melt it. As it melts, the fragrance fills the room.
Wax melts get more searches on Amazon than they do Google – but they still have a decent volume in both search engines, coming in at 41K and 19K, respectively.
With this online business, you could make the wax melts yourself, or source them from a third party. You could sell them on Amazon and through your own website. You can expand your offerings to include warmers, light bulbs, and cotton puffs to easily clean the warmer between scents.
Diabetes can cause nerve damage, particularly in the feet. This translates to a loss of sensation in the feet, which makes it easier to get hurt. Foot care is important for any diabetic, even when blood sugar is well managed and under control.
Diabetic socks are specially designed for extra foot care. They’re made with moisture-wicking fabric to keep the feet dry. This reduces the risk of fungal infection and keeps odor at bay. Dry feet are also at less risk for blisters and other wounds that may be slow to heal because of diabetes.
Exploding Topics shows a 46% growth in search volume over the last five years. Other data shows 17K monthly searches on Google and 16K monthly searches on Amazon.
It’s a great product to dropship and can make a good addition to clothing or health-centered stores.
Which Products Will You Add to Your Store?
No matter what business model you choose, making sure you have a product that meets a need or solves a problem makes all the difference in your success. You can have a solid marketing budget, but if you don’t get the products right, you’ll struggle to earn profit.
So what products you will add to your online shop when you start to sell things online? Do you have any other ideas to add to this list that we may have missed? Share your thoughts in the comments.