Scoping Out the Right Products for Your Store

by Craig Anthony

2 min read

You’ve decided to launch a retail store. The next step is determining which products to sell. Curating products that consumers want to buy can be the number one challenge facing small business retailers. You could sell products that you enjoy buying yourself, but too many competitors or consumer disinterest could put your retail store out of business fast. Here is how to find products consumers want to buy.

Browse Social Media

People spend a lot of time sharing information about their favorite products. You can scope out social media websites such as Pinterest and Instagram to get a sense of popular products and product trends. Browsing social media image galleries can reveal pain points on which you can capitalize. For example, a tech company might have released a cute new smart device, and browsing social media websites reveals that retailers haven’t stocked enough protective cases of a certain style for the device.

See What Is Popular on Kickstarter

Kickstarter provides a platform for creative artists to seek financial support and customers for their products. While it is never good to copy other people’s ideas, you can get valuable intelligence about the kinds of products you might sell based on the popularity of Kickstarter campaigns. For instance, you might come across the profile of an artist who has received a lot of support for making owl-themed jewelry. You could surmise that consumers are interested in owl-themed merchandise and source products to tap into that market.

Use Google Keyword Planner

Google Keyword Planner can provide a range of intelligence about popular products based on consumer web searches. However, you do need an AdWords account to use the service. Keyword Planner provides information on search volumes of various keywords. High search volume on certain keywords may reveal that many consumers are looking for a certain type of product. You can then conduct further online research to determine whether retailers are meeting consumer demand or if there is a gap. Contrarily, low search volume might shed light on new products where interest is growing but hasn’t yet hit fever pitch; this presents an opportunity for you to stock your store shelves and start marketing the product ahead of your competitors.

Go Niche

As a small business retailer, you most likely don’t have the capital to stock a wide variety of products in your store. Going niche ensures a higher probability of success for small retailers. Consider focusing on niche products that aren’t available in big box retail stores locally. You might, for example, browse retail websites such as eBay and Etsy to learn which items sell well in niche hobbies such as photography and woodworking. You can also browse hobby and interest forums and Facebook groups to find out about niche products people want to buy the most. It is also a good idea to be mindful of margin when scoping products for your store. Typically, products priced between $100 and $200 provide the best opportunity for small business retailers to make a profit.

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