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Dropshipping Step 6: Choosing the right Products

August 16, 2020

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STEP 06: CHOOSE YOUR PRODUCTS (PRO TIPS)

Choosing the right products for your dropshipping business can be a daunting task.


Luckily I'm here to make it easier for you.

Product Selling Criteria

When selling a product, it should fall under one of the following criteria:

The Sales Triangle, represented by Passion, What Works and Problem Solvers

Your selling criteria are thus:

1. Sell to passionate people

- People passionate about something will buy a product on impulse.

A passionate person who loves turtles. You can sell a turtle armband for $4.95, when the cost price is only $0.90

2. Sell something that solves a problem

Never sell a product based on its features. Sell a product based on the problems it can solve. 


Focus on the problems you can identify in your niche and then find products that SOLVE those problems. You'll have winning products all the time!


3. Sell something that works or is already selling well.

You don't have to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes, it's okay to copy the competition to get going.


You might add value to the product or the shopping experience, or be better at the marketing.


These will give you an edge over the competition, making it worth your while to sell an existing best seller.

A woman thinking about her niche. Pen in mouth, notebook open on the desk in front of her.

How to choose dropshipping products

A niche based on interests or a passion

If you entered a niche you are passionate about, then it is much easier to choose your products. 


You already know the niche and have a good idea of what people like, or what problems people face in this niche.


Finding a product that people would love, or that solves a problem involves a lot less market research.


Quick sales

If you're going after quick sales, then you would choose products that are trending and not be niche-bound. 


Finding complimentary products / products that add value to your trending product, is a way to expand into that specific niche.

Dropshipping Product Considerations

You need to look out for the following when choosing dropshipping products, regardless of the reasoning behind your choice of niche:


1. Profit margin
Dropshipping enjoys profit margins of anything between 5% and 20%. Keep this in mind when choosing products.

If you want to make $1,000 profit per month, and your products costs $5, then (at 20% profit margin) you will have to sell 5,000 items...

Tip: Don't sell cheap trinkets. It takes forever to show a decent profit.


Anton Kraly from Drop Ship Lifestyle suggests the following strategy: Sell high-end, evergreen products instead of chasing trending products.

A chandelier sells for $1k. A trinket for $10. Each have a profit margin of 30%. Which is bets to sell?

This way you sell one product and make $300 profit. With the trinkets you have to sell a 100 items before making the same $300 profit.


This is not a bad method. However, a chandelier is probably not the best example of a dropshipping product. It can break easily in transit and will have high shipping costs. 


2. Market size / Product Demand

There's no point in having a product that is so niche specific and unique, that only a few people will be interested in buying it.


Therefore, choosing products that solve a problem are good choices, as they cater to a larger market.


3. Shipping

The ideal dropshipping product is expensive/high-end, but not heavy or difficult to ship.


You also want products that ship quickly. 


Use the proven FREE shipping method. Offer "free" shipping and work the shipping price into your product selling price.

Two shipping offers for fishing lures. Free lures, just pay the shipping. Or buy the lures and get free shipping.

4. Product Quality
You need to order and test dropshipping products before you advertise and sell them.

Low quality products will affect your bottom line and reputation negatively as you will have many returns and refunds.  


5. Complimentary Products / Add-ons

When choosing a dropshipping product, always keep in mind which products are accessories, or complimentary products, or add-ons.

An up-sell example. Teh customer buys fishing lures, you offer a fishing lure case at checkout as an added product to buy.

This increases your sales exponentially.


6. Products shouldn't be in retail stores + Convenience 

If you can find the product in a brick and mortar retail store, then don't even consider selling it. Even at a cheaper price! 


People would much rather pay more and get their product instantly, than waiting weeks for it... 


It's all about convenience! (Or the lack thereof.)



Now that you know what to look out for, here are some tips on products to avoid.


Dropshipping Products to avoid

A group of consumer electronics, including a laptop, VR goggles, smartphone, tablet etc. There's a big red cross across the center of the picture.
  • Products that are potentially dangerous.
  • This includes children's toys with parts that can break off and cause harm. 
  • Examples are cutlery, products that break easily and have potential sharp or jagged edges, products that are flammable, etc.
  • Products that break easily or are fragile.
  • Even if your supplier takes every care in the world to package them correctly, the shipping company might still break the item. 
  • Stay away from consumer electronics or products with movable parts.
  • You have no control over their Assembly or Quality Control and can't offer Support if something doesn't work.
  • Heavy products
  • Heavy products cost more to ship and will eat away at your profits.
  • Chinese clothing and shoes
  • Be careful of clothing and shoes that come from Chinese suppliers as the sizing will not be the same outside of Asia.
  • Do your homework carefully and make sure your customers know how to choose their product based on the Chinese sizes.
  • Branded products
  • Products with copyrighted branding. Avoid the use of manufacturer logos and brands and imagery. Selling knock-offs of famous brands such as Nike or Adidas, or selling t-shirts with Star Wars images or logos can land you in big trouble. Avoid at all costs!
  • Avoid the use of manufacturer logos and brands and imagery. Selling knock-offs of famous brands such as Nike or Adidas, or selling t-shirts with Star Wars images or logos can land you in big trouble. Avoid at all costs!
Young women on a laptop searching for dropshipping products

Finding Trending Products for Your Dropshipping Store

If you’re looking for a niche based on making a profit as quickly as possible, then ask yourself these questions:

  • Who has been the fastest growing online retailers in your country over the last year? 
  • What products do these retailers sell? If possible, find their best-selling products for the year. 
  • Find the best-selling or most-popular products. Visit Amazon and AliExpress and search for their best-sellers. You can even find the best-selling products according to different niches.
  • Tip: Ignore seasonal gifts. Products that sell well around Christmas might not sell during the rest of the year. So look for evergreen products, or products that are not bound to a specific holiday. Unless you're only in it to make a quick buck. 
  • Use free keyword tools. SEMrush, Neil Patel's Uber Suggest and Moz all offer free keyword planner tools. Type in the product you think is a winner and see what the search results are for that product each month. This tells you if your product is trending.

SEMrush

Here's an example of how to use SEMrush's free Keyword Overview Tool. Let's take "portable blenders" as an example of a possible winning/trending product. I used the product name as the keyword and hit Search.

A SEMrush keyword overview for the term "portable blender".

What to look for in the SEMrush Keyword Overview:

1. Organic search results / Volume

For "portable blenders", we see that there is over 6,000 searches for our keyword over the last month in the US. (Anything over a 1,000 is considered good.)


2. TREND

It also shows an upward trend in searches. That's what you want to see.


It's looking good!


Google Trends

Once you've found a winner, check its popularity against Google Trends.


The health industry is an evergreen niche and will always be popular, so new products that enable people to lead healthier lives are usually a safe bet. 


Using Google trends, you can fist check the product's popularity inside your home country. 


Google Trends gives a Trend Score between 0 and 100 in the form of a graph. A score as close to a hundred is obviously the most desirable.

Google Trends graph showing search popularity for portable blenders in the USA

According to this graph, the biggest spike seemed to have been in May 2019, with another spike towards the end of the year.


It looks promising, but we can't really see if it's trending or not.


To do that, we need to change the settings to Worldwide and over the Past 5 years. This will give you a clearer understanding of whether the product is trending. 

Google Trends graph showing an upward trend in search popularity for portable blenders worldwide

Now you can see that the product is trending upwards. This is a potential moneymaker if you can tap into the market early enough.



A desktop monitor with an upward curving graph

Dropshipping Tools to Help Find Future Trending Products 


How about searching for products that might trend in the future? Is it possible to predict trending products?


Good sites to visit are: Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Rockethub, Fundly, Fundable, etc.


Who knows?


You might just spot the next hoverboard before any other dropshipper!


Ka-CHING!


When something on a crowdfunding platform catches your eye, remember to periodically check on sites like AliExpress for similar products.


It might take a while for those products to get to mass production though, but if you know of them, you can cash in!

Different baby products - set of shoes and different clothes lying on a bed

How many products should I have?


My advice is to have only a handful of products.


Choose between 5 to 10 Core Products that will form the foundation of your store.


On top of those Core Products, you can choose up to three additional add-on or Supporting Products per Core Product.


This means your store should have between 15 and 30 products to start with.


(Ten Core Products might already be excessive, especially if you have a limited marketing budget. I'll discuss this later, but you will spend money marketing EACH of your Core Products in a later Step. So, keep that in mind.)

The AliExpress logo and slogan: "Smarter Shopping. Better Living!"

Advanced AliExpress Product Search Tips


Method 1: Ali Search

The simplest way to do a product search on AliExpress, is to use their search bar. Type in your niche and hit search. 


As an example, I'm looking for "cat toys"

An AliExpress search fir "cat toys".

What to look out for on the above page:

1. Related Search

Right click each of the Related Searches underneath the search bar and open each one in a new tab.

2. Star User Ratings

For each of your searches, click on the "4 Star & Up" option. This offers the highest Ratings per product. Ratings are done by people who have bought the products, so it's a good indicator of a good product. Only look at 4.6 Stars and above.  

3. Sort By Orders

Click on "Orders" and this will return results based on the best sellers regarding the volume of sales per product.


Method 2: AliExpress Dropshipping Center

This is new! 


So get registered quickly before anything changes. As of 13 December 2019, AliExpress allows anyone to join the AliExpress Dropshipping Center.

The AliExpress Dropshipping Center Welcome Page

Merely tick the Terms Box (above the orange Submit button) and click on "Submit". 


AliExpress then asks you for a username and password. If you already have an account, type those details in. Otherwise, create a new account by providing your email address and a password of your choosing.


That's it! You're now an AliExpress Dropshipper.


Once logged in, you will see this screen. 

AliExpress Dropshipping Center HOT DS Items tool


Here's what you can do in the AliExpress Dropshipping Center:


1. Hot DS Items

AliExpress lists their latest Hot Dropshipping Products for you.

If you don't want their recommendations, merely choose the product category you are interested in.

Examples of Hot  DS Items in the Cat Toys Niche

I do not understand what the criteria are for AliExpress to choose these products as "Hot DS Items".  As this feature is only a few weeks old (in December 2019), they will still improve on it and work out kinks. 


So be patient with it. It does however have the potential to be a great search tool for products and suppliers. 


Back to the results above:

Their top recommendation (Funny Pet Cat Toys Kitten Play Toy Electric Rotating Bu...) has only had two (yes, 2!) orders. So... Take it with a grain of salt.


Using these recommendations, I found alternative suppliers with the same products who have had more orders. So use this tool as a useful starting point.


I'll discuss the Product Analysis tool next, not the Suppliers Rank Tool. 


2. Product Analysis

Once you have a product identified, copy the product page URL.

An AliExpress Product Page

Go back to the AliExpress Dropshipping Center, and click on the Product Analysis tool. 

AliExpress Dropshipping Center Product Analysis tool

Then paste the URL in the Product Analysis bar.

Cutting and pasting a product URL into the product analysis tool

The search result produces a Sales Graph containing the sales figures of the product over the last 14 days.

Results from the Product Analysis tool

It's a pity it doesn't show sales over a longer time. That would have been very useful.


But, with this graph, you can at least see that they are still selling much more than a 100 units per day. 


You can also use this tool to compare the same product, but from different suppliers. The Logistics Reliability rating at the top right will also be useful to compare suppliers.  


3. Suppliers Rank

Unfortunately, there is no search option here, but it is useful to see who the top suppliers in any category are. 


This doesn't work very well yet. The Top Suppliers according to my Pet Products search showed the following results:

Ali's Number One Supplier of Pet Products, Ordernow Store isn't a Pet Product Supplier...


And their Number Two doesn't have enough Seller Ratings yet to have a Detailed Seller Rating...

This Pet Products Supplier has also only been open for a year.


So, you can IGNORE this tool for now. Do NOT use it to find suppliers!


4. AliExpress Product Research Tools

Free Google Chrome Extension Tools:

1. AliPrice - Allows you to track pricing changes in AliExpress.

2. AliUp - shows you price history, seller ratings, similar goods and sends notices for price drops.

Chrome extensions AliPrice
Chrome extensions AliUp


Paid Standalone Tools:

1. AliShark - offers a 2 day trial run for $1. If you are happy with it, it costs $20 per month.

2. AliInsider - $19.50 per month


The Amazon logo

Advanced Amazon Product Search Tips


Now that we've covered how to find products on AliExpress itself, let's find winning products on Amazon.


The idea is to see what sells well on Amazon and then finding the same or similar products on AliExpress.

1. Restricted Products

If you don't know what to sell, then a good place to start is looking at Amazon's Restricted Products.


As a customer, you can't get these items on Amazon so it might be worth your while looking into them.


You can find the full list of Amazon Restricted Products here.


2. Movers and Shakers

This page shows you the results of the products that have had the biggest increases in sales over the last 24 hours. 


Go through these products and then see if you can find any of them on AliExpress.


Luckily, you can search for the Movers and Shakers in your specific niche.


This is a great tool to use, so check the Movers and Shakers every day!

Amazon movers and shakers

3. Best Sellers

Your next stop should be the Best Sellers. They compile it, based on the number of sales of a product.

Amazon best sellers

Once again, you can be niche specific when looking for best sellers. 

Where to find main and sub niches Amazon best sellers

Once again, make a list of possible winning products and find those or similar products on AliExpress.


I took the number 2 best seller from Amazon (because it costs a little more), and typed in the product description in AliExpress. My Ali Search revealed 25 different suppliers of the product on the first page alone. 


Remember to narrow down your search by using the "4 Star and more" rating, and the "Sort by Orders" options.

A specific search in AliExpress

4. As Seen on TV

If a product has been advertised on television, there's a good chance it's trending. And there's a way to find products on Amazon that have been featured on TV. 


So if you're still stuck for product ideas, type: "as seen on tv products" followed by the niche.

Amazon as seen on TV product search

Boom! Amazon will show you products in the specified niche that have been featured on television.


You can even filter your search results according to Featured (default), Price (Low to High, or High to Low), Average Customer Review, and Newest Arrivals.

Amazon as seen on TV search filter

Newest arrivals, will probably be your best bet if you're looking for new trending products.


5. Amazon product research tools

You can use Amazon Product Research Tools to help you gain more insights into products and niches.


Most of these tools, though, can NOT be used to discover products or niches.


They are developed to analyze and provide sales estimates about products and keywords that you have already discovered.


Top Free Tools:

  • Unicorn Smasher (Be warned - you'll be bombarded with advertisements. It's a free tool, but you pay with your time. 5 second ads though, are not too bad.)
  • Camelcamelcamel - despite the quirky name, it's free and features a good search tool to use in your Amazon product searches.
  • Helium10 - They offer a Free Plan with limited functionality. This is fine though for a dropshipper just starting out. You don't need all the fancy tools. 

Top Paid Tools (not recommended when starting out with dropshipping, but something to consider once sales come in)

  • Jungle Scout (Lite version starts at $29 per month).
  • AMZ Scout (Start Plan from $29.99 per month)

Alternative ways to find dropshipping products

I don't these sites that much, but you might find them more useful.


It's not that they're inherently bad at showing you trending products, the problem is that too many people know about them. You might just end up being yet another dropshipper, jumping on the bandwagon.


It might be worth your while though, but use these sites as a last resort to find products. ​

  • Etsy 
  • Wish
  • Watchcount (for eBay products)
  • Trendhunter
  • Springwise

Free Shopify apps

You can also use Oberlo and Dropify to find their curated/suggested products. 


You need to have your Shopify store up and running before you can add them.


Advanced Tip: 

As soon as you have Shopify up and running (Step 10), use Oberlo as an essential Product Research tool. The free version of Oberlo is more than adequate to help you find the right products.


And NO, it's not what you think.

 

It’s NOT as simple as using Oberlo (or Dropified or any other tool) for their suggested products. Sorry to say, but you still have to do your own Product Research, even with suggested top trending products.


I discuss this method in STEP 10: BUILD YOUR ONLINE STORE.



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