The 10 best products to sell online
Online sellers are like sharks, if we stop moving forward we die.
You're reading this so I already know you can succeed.
You are constantly learning, trying to find the secret sauce to take your business to the next level.
You already know this, but it's worth repeating:
As an online seller you need three things to succeed:
- The right product
- The right marketing
- The will to succeed
Today we will look at how to NAIL that first bullet point: selling the right product
In the next 3,000 words, I'll be showing you the 10 best things to sell online, making my case for each product using data from Google Trends, Terapeak and observations from Alibaba.
But before we go on, we should tackle a prevailing myth in the online selling world:
"Chris" you might say, "products are important, but as long I'm awesome at marketing and my website looks great I will succeed."
Did you know that there are now over 650,000 (!!!) live Shopify stores?
That's 650,000 sellers who are paying for Shopify and actively trying to compete in the eCommerce space.
Just look at that jump in 2018.
That's what you're up against.
With so much competition it's now impossible to find a niche with no competition. Wherever you turn, no matter how esoteric the niche, you WILL have some competition.
The days when a niche presented an open field are over.
As a result, selling generic products isn't good enough anymore. You need something special.
The 10 products I've listed below fit the definition of "special". They all enjoy popularity, healthy profit margins, high sales volume, a relative lack of competition and a relatively high level of accessibility.
if we take a more high level approach we can define a great product as having three key characteristics. I go into these in great detail this blog post, but in a nutshell the product:
- Is custom, unique or special
- Is in a very specific niche
- Enjoys a base-level of popularity
Each of the 10 products listed below fulfills these criteria.
Here are my ten best products to sell online in 2019!
The 10 best things to sell online
Let's dive in.
1. Homebrew equipment
Homebrewing is one of my favourite niches.
More and more people are trying their hand at brewing beer, wine and liquor. According to the Brewers Association, over 1 million (!!!) people in the US alone brew their own beer.
Nevertheless the ecosystem is still in its infancy. Finding hops, kegs and other essential equipment is really tough.
Not only does this present a great opportunity for sellers like you and me, but it's also an opportunity to join an excellent community.
Speaking of community, make sure to join some of the many excellent facebook groups dedicated to homebrewing. These are great places to learn about the market and engage with hobbyists and professionals alike.
Get started here 👉 UK Homebrewing Community
Backpacks are another great product to sell.´Over the last 15 years, the interest in Backpacks from consumers has been steady and predictable.
Similar to sunglasses and other summer products, backpack sales typically see a significant uptick in July and August. This trend occurs with reassuring regularity.
Just look at the Google Trends graph since 2004. Those annual spikes in interest in July and August can easily be taken advantage of by canny sellers.
The Google Trends data is validated by Terapeak, which shows us that around 5,000 backpacks are sold every day on ebay.com during the months of July and August.
Compare this to the roughly 2,300 backpacks sold on average in the months of September and October, and it's easy to see why backpacks are one of the best products to sell online - especially during the summer.
3. Dog toys
When I adopted my little Jack Russell Lennox (that's him), i was introduced to the world of dog toys for the first time.
I was amazed by how low the quality of most dog toys was. Not only did these not survive the normal day-to-day with a small dog, but they often broke, leaving dangerous fragments and pieces to be swallowed by an unassuming pup.
If you've ever owned a dog, you'll have experienced this. Low quality dog toys have flooded the market, and because they are typically cheap, they often get away with it.
If you've never owned a pet, you just need to go on Amazon to find evidence of what I've just described.
What I'm saying is, that dog toys present a unique opportunity for online sellers. The demand is steadily increasing, as is the number of dog owners, but the quality of products is poor.
According to the ASPCA, 3.3 million dogs are adopted every year in the US alone. That's 3.3 million dogs that NEED toys, food, beds, crates and a host of other things to stay happy.
As a result, interest in dog toys has been growing steadily since 2004.
This data is again validated by Terapeak, which states that over the last 60 days, each dog toy listing on eBay.com has received 1.18 bids on average.
The end result is an incredible sell-through-rate and an AWESOME opportunity for canny sellers.
Shapewear is a term which describes clothing that impermanently alters the figure of the person wearing it.
I have to admit, I've never bought Shapewear, nor do I know of anyone who has.
But this trend is a stealth MONSTER.
According to PR Newswire, the industry is set to skyrocket to $5.6 billion in sales by 2022. This once prudish undergarment has graduated to become a mainstream staple of the fashion industry.
Don't believe me, then take a look at the Google Trends data
That is stellar growth my friends.
Looking at the data from Terapeak, we can see that Shapewear typically has a HUGE sell-through-rate of ~60%.
That means that for every listed Shapewear product on eBay, sellers were receiving 1.32 bids on average.
Nearly 50,000 Shapewear products have been sold on eBay.com over the last 60 days alone, generating over $550,000 dollars.
This is really strong evidence that Shapewear is a fantastic product to sell online!
5. Standing Desk
As someone who works from home I absolutely love being able to standa and walk around while working.
I find sitting down for long periods of time an absolute killer for my posture. Getting up and standing for a while provides immediate relief.
I'm clearly not the only who feels this way, because standing desks have become increasingly popular, and even publications like Forbes are writing about them.
The Google graph shows interest going to the moon, and it's hard to imagine this trend collapsing any time soon.
Amazingly, this relatively simple product still retails as a big ticket item.
Even Alibaba sellers are offering run of the mill standing desks for north of $150.
The good news here, is that standing desks typically retail for between $180 and $2,000 (!!!).
This gives us an AMAZING opportunity to make bucket loads of money. The potential profit margin for standing desks is jaw dropping, and you don't need to sell many $2,000 desks to provide a great life for yourself and your family!
I don't have kids so I learnt about Slime from a friend.
I remember thinking at the time that Slime just seemed like a no-brand version of play doh - not really deserving of any more thought.
It was only until I heard from others how crazy kids had become for the stuff, that I started looking into it.
AND boy was I wrong.
**Slime absolutely WIPES the floor with play doh.
"BUT what the HELL is Slime, Chris?" I can hear you shouting.
Well, Slime is a squishy and oozy material that is fun and relaxing to play with. It has little utility outside of those two properties, but kids absolutely love the stuff.
Now, you might be aware that it's possible to make your own Slime, but that hasn't stopped thousands of dollars being exchanged for pre-made Slime.
On eBay.com alone, Slime has generated over $270,000 in sales over the last 60 days.
Interestingly, the UK seems to be an even more fruitful place to sell Slime, with over $600,000 worth of Slime being sold on eBay.co.uk in the same time period.
If you can find a cheap manufacturer of Slime or even make it yourself, give it a shot.
7. Coffee Machines
Almost no industry has experienced growth like the coffee industry.
Between 2006 and 2011, coffee consumption grew by 30 million bags, and is now estimated to be worth over $100 billion across the globe.
How can we profit from this MASSIVE industry?
The easiest way is by selling coffee machines. (I recently bought an excellent coffee machine for around $80)
Interest in coffee machines has been steadily growing over the years.
Our old friend Google Trends, shows a very healthy level of demand and this is validated by Terapeak.
According to the data analysing tool, Coffee Machines generated over $550,000 in sales on eBay.co.uk over the last 60 days.
With a massive sell-through-rate of 57%, every listed coffee machine received an average of 2.15 bids. Really impressive stuff.
All this data (plus my brilliant anecdote) paint a very clear picture: Coffee Machines are one of the best things to sell online in 2018.
Give it a try, and let me know how you get on via Twitter.
Apparently I live under a cave, because I hadn't even heard of Athleisure until about a year ago.
For the uninitiated, Athleisure is a phenomenon describing clothes that can be worn both for sport and for a casual look.
This picture describes it better than I ever could.
Essentially, it's casual but you could work out in it.
Thanks to Social Media platforms like Instagram glamourising the fitness industry, Athleisure and the fitness industry as a whole have experienced skyrocketing interest in recent times.
Just look at the number of Gym memberships in the US.
That's over 60 million (!!!) people, and the number will keep increasing.
That means the number of people who want to look great while working out will keep increasing too.
No wonder then, that Athleisure has seen such a spike in demand.
If the data hasn't convinced you so far, just take a look at Alibaba. Athleisurewear is not expensive to make, meaning that profit margins are very attractive.
Items that cost ~$4 on Alibaba can be retailed for more than $20 given the right marketing.
If you have a Shopify store focused on fashion or fitness don't let Athleisure pass you by.
9. LED Lamps
Old school advertising wisdom tells us that Sex sells!
I couldn't disagree more. In fact, utility sells.
It's often the least glamorous products that end up making the most money - like LED Lamps.
Out of all the awesome products listed here, none generate higher monthly sales than the humble LED Lamp.
According to data from Terapeak, more than $960,000 worth of LED Lamps were sold on ebay.co.uk over the last 60 days.
On eBay.com $180,000 worth off LED Lamps were sold in the same time period.
Naturally, you might not be selling on either domain, but nevertheless these numbers act as a reliable baseline for the level of interest in the product. With these numbers at your back, you can be more confident when making a decision about listing LED Lamps on your Shopify store or even on Amazon.
Crucially for you and me, the data from Google suggests that the demand for LED Lamps is rapidly increasing.
Additionally, Alibaba is listing LED Lamps at just $0.80 per unit, meaning that there is a tasty profit margin to be had.
The growing demand, healthy profit margin and basic utility make LED Lamps a great product to sell online in 2018!
10. Power brick
Sometimes the answer is obvious.
You don't need to know about some subculture in the fitness industry, or adopt a dog to figure some things out.
As a general rule to online selling, it always makes sense to leverage larger socio economic trends. By doing this, you can eliminate the possibility of selling a dead product (think CDs or VCR machines).
One trend I'm sure you are aware of is the growing use of mobile phones. Everywhere we go, we see people glued to their phone, engaged in a digital world a million miles away from the here and now of analog life.
As phone usage increases, manufacturers have sought to increase the screen size of their flagship device. With increasing screen size, battery life is significantly reduced.
What that means for you and me, is that demand for battery chargers or "power bricks" is increasing, and will continue to increase in the near future.
The Google Trends data shows more than a decade of steady growth.
Growing interest on Google is also reflected on eBay. On the british domain, sellers received more than 1.4 bids per power brick listing over the last 60 days.
Additionally, the number of sellers still seems to be relatively low, meaning that power bricks are not as competitive as many other great products.
As a result, sellers enjoyed a massive 51% sell-through-rate on eBay.co.uk, generating over $50,000 in sales over the last 60 days on that domain alone.
We can see that the data backs up what makes intuitive sense. Power bricks are one of the best things to sell online.
Conclusion - The 10 best things to sell online
I think I've listed some great products in this list. None of them are just here to make up the numbers. I genuinely believe that all of the products listed, are a great opportunity for sellers like you and me.
I've tried to provide products from different niches so that sellers from all different backgrounds can find something of value.
Besides the anecdotal evidence, the data from Google Trends and Terapeak help to make a convincing case for each of the ten products listed here.
Of course you may not be selling on eBay, but instead run a Shopify or Amazon store. Nevertheless, the data from Terapeak acts as a baseline for the general selling potential of a product.
If hundreds of thousands of a product can be sold on eBay, it can be sold successfully on any platform or eCommerce solution.
The research around this article took months and I hope you gained some valuable insights from it. If you did, let me know on LinkedIn.
Thanks for reading, and good luck selling 🙏👍