I’ve been asked a lot recently to expand on my earlier article on Choosing the Right Product, so I think it is a good time to go into a little bit of a deep dive to help people find that thing that really clicks with them. And when I say a little bit of a deep dive, I can’t make any promises exactly how deep this is going to get. When I get into the weeds, sometimes I don’t come out for a while. 😊
First, reflect back on the prior article on the six questions you must ask on product analysis.
- Are you selling a product that many other people are also selling (commodity)?
- Does the product solve a problem or provide perceived value in some way?
- Is there appeal to the product that makes it different to other competitive products that exist in the market?
- Can you source this product or manufacture the product yourself?
- At what price would selling this product allow you to operate profitably?
- Is there a market for your product at the price that you’ve selected?
For the purpose of this article, we’re going to assume the answer to the first question is yes, you are looking to sell a commodity that other people are also selling. We still would like for that product to have some perceived value, so that we can promote it as a premium product if we choose to do so. We’ll look for something with appeal that makes it different to other competitive products, and we’ll talk about what to do if we simply can’t do that from a product perspective.
We’ll also assume that you are not manufacturing this product yourself, and are sourcing it either by working with a factory / distributor, or very likely in this scenario, dropshipping. At the end, we will work out the last two pricing questions for whatever product we land on. And as I write this, I’m going into this workshop with a completely open mind about the product so that you can see how the analysis of product selection might work for you. Keep in mind that one thing that makes a difference is your passion for the product. If you love animals, maybe you should be leaning toward pet products. If you’re married to a teacher, perhaps something in educational products might make more sense.
Really, there is no right answer to your product selection. Make it something you aren’t going to lose interest in two weeks later. But the process and analysis is all the same, regardless of the product. Maybe it’s a problem that you’re facing yourself. Remember, if there is a product that solves a problem for you, there are a lot of people in the world who have the same problem for you. Just driving home earlier today, I had some groceries in the trunk that ended up all over the place by the time I arrived home. I was thinking about how much I could use a decent trunk organizer for this very scenario. There’s a product idea. I would buy one, so it is likely that other people would buy it too.
The first thing we’re going to talk about is one of the key components to product research – Google Trends. If you have an idea for a product that you want to sell, the first thing you should do is pull up your handy Google Trends page and do a search for that product. Some things are a little more difficult to identify, as trends may run seasonal, or perhaps they are new and don’t have a lengthy history. But overall, you can get a pretty good idea of a product’s popularity just by looking at the 12-month graph, and for longer-term products, the 5 years graph. Five-year is good when researching things that are more seasonal.
For example, if you only look at this graph you may think that the product is completely dead. That graph shows nothing going on right now. This product must be absolutely terrible, right?
And how about this item below? It was big last September and October, and then it completely fell off the face of the earth in November and was nearly non-existent during the holiday season. Equally as bad of a product as the first one, right? Stay away from both of these?
The first item on the list was the single hottest product to hit the earth in 2017 – the fidget spinner. These things made a lot of people a lot of money in 2017, and if you timed it well, you may have made a substantial amount of money on them. Every kid had to have one. They were everywhere you looked. And then they weren’t. If you’re trying to sell a fidget spinner right now, today, I feel sorry for you. If you decided to order a ton of fidget spinner inventory heading into this holiday season, you’re going to lose a lot of money. That product came and went very quickly, and you can tell by this next graph just how things have been for fidget spinners over just the last 90 days. It is not a gentle drop.
It’s been a slow and steady death after exploding onto the scene – all within a matter of months. That is a trend that is not going to change. Obviously, I would recommend staying away from that product.
But the second image above also looked like an equally bad product that you should avoid as well. However, just looking at a 12 month graph on a seasonal item like this – “Halloween costume” – may not give you the whole story. This is actually a terrific item to offer for sale right now, based on looking at the 5 year history of the keyword instead of the 12 month view.
Of course, you could see that it is a very seasonal product. So you would need to know – and plan accordingly – that on November 1, you are basically shutting off the revenue for the year. But if you have Halloween product ready to go, right now, today… you will capitalize on a peak performer at exactly the right time, which has been growing year over year for at least five years now. You will get about one month (or less) out of it, but people in this niche can sometimes make enough revenue in that short window to last them the entire year.
Now let’s look at other product ideas. I saw a guy earlier today with a pretty cool looking beanie on his head. It’s still hot out in Texas, so it wasn’t to keep his head warm. It was a fashion statement. And that got me thinking that I’ve seen a lot more beanies in recent years than I really remember, so I wanted to see if this might be a potential opportunity for a product. I go to my trusted Google Trends and open up the 5-year trend for the word beanie, and what do you know, it looks like they are more popular nowadays than ever.
They do seem to peak around Cyber Monday or so each year, but with that coming up in the next few months, maybe it is a good time to get involved in that type of product. The year over year trend has gone up each of the past five years, and while there is no guarantee that it will continue, at least aren’t jumping on something that we know is on its downward slope.
Same with coffee mugs… it seems weird to me that coffee mugs tend to hover around 25% of its peak interest most of the year, but during the holidays, there is a huge spike in product searches. I guess mugs make great holiday gifts every year, so while people drink coffee all the time, it would be an especially great product to sell around the holiday season.
It also helps you focus on geotargeting ad campaigns and countries to focus on. For example, searching for “Stuffed Toy” you can see that Japan is the most interested country in such a thing, followed by Peru, Hungary and Mexico. If you’re selling stuffed toys, make sure you ship to those countries and that you are advertising to people in those countries (don’t forget about accepting their currency and language issues, etc, but that’s a different conversation).
I encourage you to spend time entering in anything you can think of that interests you into Google Trends. Maybe you will uncover something really special that is peaking at just the right time, or better yet, is sustainable all year long.
I start many days by reviewing Google Trends, not just from a product perspective, but from a ‘what’s going on in the world’ perspective. This Google Trends Hot Trends Report is something you should bookmark for use every day. Wouldn’t be a bad homepage for your browser perhaps.
There is also something called Google Correlate. This is great because it gives you some things that have correlation to other events. For example, right here you can see what searches are most common in regard to “losing weight”. You might find that “whey protein” is on that list, so perhaps that is a product that you might want to sell if you are focusing on a lifestyle brand around losing weight.
There are also paid resources, such as JungleScout.com, that are very useful to people that are trying to research and investigate trending products.
So yes, as promised, I did go a little deep into the weeds on some of these examples today. But I hope that you found value in this and other premium content that is only available to our paid members. We do appreciate all of you and I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments section below.