When you’re starting an online business, it’s essential to think carefully about the product you’ll offer to your customers.
Doing so will allow you to grow a sustainable and profitable business without wasting precious time, effort and money on following ideas that might never come to fruition.
Here are five factors that you’ll need to consider when choosing your product.
1. Is there a demand for your product?
Make sure that people want to buy your product before you start creating your online business by doing plenty of market research.
Start by asking family and friends, evaluate the competition and ask any existing customers if applicable.
It’s also worth doing keyword research to find out what customers are searching for online and look at Google Trends, online forums and even social media platforms like Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram to find out what is popular.
2. How much time will it take you to make your product?
As the saying goes, ‘time is money’. So, it’s always a good idea to first calculate how much time you’ll take to create each of your products.
Don’t forget to factor in how much time you also need to gather your supplies, package and post your item and work on marketing.
Can you charge what you’re worth? Do you have the time available to make each product? Are there any alternatives or shortcuts you can take to cut the time needed to streamline the process?
3. Can you repeat the manufacturing process easily?
Whilst those unique, one-off products might look gorgeous and appeal to many, they’ll only get you so far if you want to build and grow a sustainable business.
Remember, for each product you create, you’ll also need to spend time photographing, describing and marketing each product, so time is of the essence.
How easily can you manufacture your product again? Can you create your product in batches or take steps to make the process more efficient? Does this matter to your business?
4. Is your product easy to post?
When choosing a product, you also need to ensure that it can reach your customer efficiently and in excellent condition.
Ask yourself if the size and weight of your product allows you to package and post the item easily. Consider the delivery companies you should use and whether you’ll include international delivery.
Will you be offering free postage by including shipping costs in the item price or will the customer need to cover the price? Will you need to use specialist packaging materials to protect your item and ensure that it arrives in one piece?
5. Is your product suitable for repeat sales?
For greater profit with minimum effort, consider selling products that your customers need to keep buying multiple times.
For example, candles run out and need to be replaced, whereas a hand-carved ornament is likely to be a one-off purchase.
Even if your product doesn’t lend itself to repeat sales, could you encourage customer loyalty by providing discounts for referrals or a loyalty scheme? How could you encourage your customers to keep coming back?
Before you launch your online business, do your homework by thinking long and hard about which product you will sell.
Explore whether there’s a demand for your product, how much time you’ll take to create it, whether you can simplify the process, if you can encourage repeat sales and how you’ll post the item.
Do this and you’ll save time, money and effort and stand a better chance of creating a sustainable and successful business you’ll be proud of.
If you’d like to learn more about starting your online business, come over and read our FREE guide to starting your own e-commerce business.