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"The Art of Finding Winning Products"
In 2025, worldwide eCommerce sales are predicted to hit $6.9 trillion, and by 2027, experts believe this number will exceed $8 trillion!
The bottom line: eCommerce is going nowhere fast and remains incredibly lucrative - and with so many apps available for consumers to shop on and for entrepreneurs to source high-quality products and sell them, it's no wonder eCommerce is thriving. For example, eBay, Amazon, Etsy, Spocket, etc., to name but a few options!
So, how can budding businesses use these apps to sell online?
Continue reading for answers to that very question!
Before diving into the nitty-gritty of this guide, let's get an insight into how online marketplaces influence the world of eCommerce.
The birth of online marketplaces revolutionized how brands do business.
When eBay launched in the 90s, and Amazon opened its doors to third-party retailers in 2000, it became possible for retailers to easily reach more customers without a brick-and-mortar store.
In fact, in February 2019, online sales surpassed in-person commerce for the first time.
This is no surprise. After all, these days, shoppers are pretty comfortable with online shopping, internet access is more readily available than ever, and Amazon blazed the trail in fast shipping.
The result? Online marketplaces provide shoppers and sellers with a convenient and popular hub for business.
Fast forward to today, and below are some key trends shaping the online marketplace:
The moral of the story: The online sales space continues to evolve, and with that comes opportunities for businesses to profit.
With that in mind, here's some sage advice for anyone looking to start selling online:
Picking and sticking to a niche is imperative. As you may already know, a ‘niche’ is a smaller segment of a broader market. For example, eco-friendly kid's clothes, yoga-related goods, and accessories for small dogs are all examples of niches.
So, how do you pick a niche?
Identifying your interests and expertise is a good starting point. Grab a pen and paper and draw a mind map listing everything you're knowledgeable/passionate about. Is there anything you could base your eCommerce business on in that list?
With a few ideas for niches in mind, it’s time to validate them.
By 'validate,' we mean ensuring enough demand to generate a decent profit.
This is where analyzing market trends and demands is helpful. During this process, pay careful attention to problems customers in this niche face and consider whether the products you’re thinking of selling solve a long-standing issue.
There are a couple of free tools we recommend using for validating your ideas for niches:
First off, there's Google's Keyword Planner. You can filter keyword searches by date, region, and language to get insights into search volume.
Ideally, you want shoppers Googling keywords related to your niche that achieve 100-1000 monthly searches. This proves consumer demand without being overly competitive.
Another tool worth using is Google Trends. This platform is excellent for seeing if searches for a particular keyword have remained consistent, increased, or declined. Needless to say, you want to do business in a niche with consistent or rising demand.
To help kickstart your research, here are a couple of niches that have proven lucrative:
Once you’ve settled on a niche, you’ll need to consider product sourcing and inventory management.
For example, will you make your own products? Work with manufacturers directly? Or are you considering dropshipping?
Research all your options before settling on the right one for your business.
But in our opinion, dropshipping is the easiest way to source and fulfill products. However, for dropshipping to work, partnering with reputable suppliers is paramount.
This is where Spocket shines. We vet all dropshipping suppliers for the following:
For the uninitiated, here's the basic framework for how Spocket works:
Spocket also benefits from inventory automation. So, suppose a product is out of stock. In that case, the supplier's inventory is automatically updated on your store to reflect that.
Another thing you can do to help manage inventory is develop strong supplier relationships. Depending on your Spocket subscription, you can contact suppliers directly to help anticipate potential stocking issues, allowing you to respond accordingly.
Next, you'll need to decide where to sell your products. There are tons of online marketplaces available, but here’s a quick list of some of the most popular general-purpose selling apps:
Facebook Marketplace Pros
Facebook Marketplace Cons
However, there are a few niche-specific online marketplaces worth checking out:
Depop Pros (for selling clothing)
Mercari Pros (for selling home goods)
Poshmark Pros (for selling luxury clothing)
Of course, best practices for getting started on an online marketplace vary from platform to platform.
However, here’s some general advice for when you’re first starting out:
As we’ve already hinted, crafting irresistible product descriptions is imperative for establishing yourself on online marketplaces.
Here are a few pointers:
You need to set competitive yet profitable product prices, and to do that, you’ll need to monitor and tweak your pricing strategy based on market trends.
With that in mind, there are several pricing strategies you could consider:
On top of the above tips for establishing yourself on online marketplaces, there are other things you can do to develop a robust brand presence.
For instance, using social media to your advantage. But before posting anything, you need to pinpoint your brand's values and have these at the forefront of your mind when posting social content. This is crucial for establishing authenticity and building deeper relationships with your target audience.
Another thing you can do to build a stronger brand presence is gather social proof. Make it easy for customers to leave reviews on your website, socials, marketplace listings, etc., and then use glowing reviews in your product descriptions, seller profile, and marketing collateral to instill confidence in other prospective buyers.
Most online marketplaces offer sellers a choice of in-built marketing and advertising tools.
So, if you have the budget, it’s worth investing in ads to boost your product’s visibility. 70% of Amazon shoppers don't click past the first page of search results, so it might pay to ensure your listing makes it to the front page!
The beauty of advertising on online marketplaces is that often, you can launch targeted ads fueled by aggregated customer and sales data. This goes a long way to helping your ad reach a relevant audience.
Here are a few top tips for launching ads on online marketplaces:
While we’re on the subject of advertising, you might also want to consider influencer marketing.
This can be excellent for introducing your business to a broader audience while lending your brand some credibility. After all, consumers who haven’t purchased from you are more likely to trust your product if it's endorsed by an influencer they respect. In fact, as many as 50% of millennials trust influencer product recommendations.
Pro Tip: Use influencer databases to look for individuals with a significant following, engaged (authentic) audiences, and those who produce frequent, high-quality content that aligns with your brand values.
Excellent customer service is essential for any business - and selling on online marketplaces is no exception.
You must provide prompt and helpful customer support to secure those all-important positive ratings and reviews.
So, be prepared to answer common concerns like questions and queries pertaining to returns and refunds and uphold any promises you’ve made.
Looking to the future, you’ll want to eventually scale your business. This could involve expanding your product offering, diversifying inventory, and/or considering cross-platform selling for increased reach.
The easiest way to achieve this is to tap into a network of high-quality dropshipping suppliers. This makes selecting and importing premium products to expand product ranges across several sales channels a breeze.
While we're on the subject of scaling your business, it's worth mentioning the crucial role data plays in your business's ability to expand.
Use data provided by your online selling apps to fuel your decision-making. For instance, when you know what's selling well and, more importantly, what isn’t, you can better focus your advertising and inventory efforts more efficiently.
We would be remiss not to mention the legal and compliance issues associated with selling on online marketplaces.
For instance, you’ll need to understand the tax obligations applicable in the country/state in which you’re doing business. So check out your government website or consult a professional for more information.
It’s also wise to familiarize yourself with your online marketplace's policies and regulations to ensure you don’t accidentally infringe them. Breaking the rules can sometimes result in a suspended account. For instance, always be wary of intellectual property and trademark law, as violations might not only get your seller account suspended but could also result in legal ramifications.
Before we wrap up this guide, below, we'll answer some of the most frequently asked questions about using apps to sell online:
Here are a few pointers for picking the most profitable marketplace(s) for your products:
Like any entrepreneurial undertaking, using apps to sell online has its challenges. So, with that said, we've listed some of the most common hurdles alongside potential solutions:
Challenge: Finding winning dropshipping products
Solution: Using a dropshipping supplier directory like Spocket makes sourcing high-quality products across a multitude of niches easy.
Challenge: Testing dropshipping products for yourself
Solution: Working with dropshipping suppliers that make ordering product samples a breeze (like the ones partnered with Spocket). With just a few clicks, you can order product samples.
Challenge: Turning a profit
Solution: When pricing products, factor in all your costs. This is crucial for ensuring you don't accidentally run at a loss. You'll also want to source products that allow you to charge a decent markup. That's why all Spocket suppliers heavily discount their products (30-40%) to ensure enough room for sellers to competitively price products.
Double-check that the browser window frame has a padlock symbol and that the web address begins with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.
Whether a marketplace's fees are 'hidden' depends on the specific marketplace. However, below, we've listed several fees worth investigating to avoid any nasty surprises:
On top of using social media and influencer marketing (as mentioned above), consider offering customers incentives, discounts, promotions, coupons, loyalty programs, referral bonuses, seasonal sales, etc., to entice customers to buy during slower periods.
After reading this guide, we hope you have a better understanding of how to use apps to kickstart your journey to online selling success.
In summary, here are the most essential things to do to get the ball rolling:
That's all from us! We wish you the best of luck as you continue exploring different online selling opportunities!
Rosie Greaves is a professional content strategist specializing in all things digital marketing, B2B, and lifestyle. In addition to Spocket, you can find her published on Reader's Digest, E-commerce Platforms, and Judicious Inc. Check out her website Blog with Rosie for more information.