The world of eCommerce is rife with opportunity, but it’s also fiercely competitive. As a digital seller, in order to stay one step ahead of the competition, you must keep ahead of trends in consumer demand even as they emerge.
While one can certainly benefit from tweaking the appearance and UX of their online store, merchants ultimately rise or fall based on their ability to offer the right products at the right time.
One of the most important lessons for managing an eCommerce store is to be adaptable in your approach. You need to be able to provide the products your customer base wants without being tied to inventory that refuses to shift. This is why dropshipping has become extremely popular among nascent eCommerce merchants.
For the uninitiated, dropshipping is the process of importing products from cheap eCommerce stores to your own online store and promoting them on social media.
Profit margins in this industry can be slim but this is offset by the fact that you won’t have to stock huge amounts of inventory and overhead costs will be slim-to-nil.
Dropshipping is a particularly attractive revenue stream as starting a successful store only requires two basic things from you as a seller:
This is a key ingredient for success. Your social media campaigns are what will help set you apart from your suppliers. An easy way to get the lowdown on setting up and running social media posts is by completing some social media marketing courses created by experts on Udemy.
Designing social media posts is a lot easier than it sounds. Here’s our guide on how you can create them fast (without breaking the bank).
Paperform also allows you to display your products in multiple ways, create payment forms that integrate with Stripe, Braintree, Square or PayPal and automatically updates your inventory for you.
If you have your sights set on dropshipping, it’s a good idea to keep this formula in mind...
High demand + low competition = dropshipping success
As you can imagine, product and market research is the key in finding success with this formula. You’ll need to keep a close eye on consumer trends in order to ascertain which products are in high demand with a consumer base that is not yet being adequately met by your competitors.
Keep in mind, of course, that even as you adapt your strategy, your competitors will be doing the same with theirs so you can never afford to rest on your laurels.
Aside from keeping abreast of the year’s trends, being successful in eCommerce also requires you to…
Staying on top of trends can be exhausting, so it’s important that you choose a niche to give your business focus and better suit the demands of your clientele. There are many niches in which dropshipping has proven particularly effective this year.
If you’ve read our guide on starting your own subscription box service, you’d know that it pays to select a niche that you know well and are passionate about. Popular niches for dropshipping include:
Even when you have chosen a niche, it still takes a great deal of research to find the products that will bring help you build a profitable business. We’ll shortly list a few specific examples of products which currently do well for dropshipping (and / or are expected to), but this does not necessarily provide a long-term roadmap to success.
Above all else, if you focus on selling items that genuinely solve problems, you'll find an audience regardless of seasonality or trends.
However, another approach might be to run a store that rides the wave of trending items to maximise profits at any given time. To do this, you’ll need to constantly keep on top of market data, keep up with the latest eCommerce news and adapt your approach to ensure that you’re adhering to the formula for dropshipping success.
You should always expand your repertoire to offer promising new products. If you’re unsure about a product ask yourself if it meets these parameters;
If you’re unsure where to go for market data to analyse, try sites like Spocket, Product Mafia or Product Research Group. These platforms are useful hubs that house pertinent information like profit margins, countries of availability, interested demographic groups and everything else you need to know to make an informed decision.
While you should find success with the products listed below, even if you should strike out, sticking to the parameters above should guide you in the right direction.
Consumers are becoming increasingly ecologically aware and this continues to have a growing impact on their choices. Thus, many of the items in this list are geared either towards sustainability or insulating one’s self against the rigours of pollution.
With increasing levels of air pollution across the globe, the global respiratory protective equipment market is expected to be worth more than $9.96 billion by 2025. In major cities around the world, people are increasingly adopting breathing masks to protect themselves from inhaling dangerous fumes.
Breathing masks are readily available online but tend to be shipped from locations like China which can lead to unpredictable shipping times. If you can get these products to consumers quickly and in a range of colours and styles, you can expect to reap the benefits of tapping into a niche market that hasn’t reached its peak yet.
Speaking of sustainability, more and more consumers have begun purchasing reusable water bottles to help mitigate the environmental cost of using single use plastic water bottles. After all, the reusable water bottle industry was valued at over $8 billion in 2018.
Building on this trend, reusable water bottles with crystals in the base have gained some momentum this year. Bottles containing natural quartz are flying out of inventories because their owners believe that these minerals can have restorative or rejuvenating effects.
Whether you embrace this notion or not, the popularity of crystal water bottles can’t be denied. The bottles have been embraced by celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Adele and were touted the status symbol of 2018 by Vanity Fair.
While crystal water bottles are currently manufactured by luxury brands for no less than $100 per bottle, this trend could easily be made more consumer-friendly. Some suppliers like Alibaba and Soji Energy could have you selling these for less than $10 per bottle through your online store.
Remember the slime craze that all kids were obsessed with a couple of years ago? It’s not only alive and well (which is why it may be a good idea to tentatively promote some “Instaworthy” types of slime for younger customers), but it’s also kicked off a fast-diversifying interest in what are collectively known as “sensory items”.
These can include chewable necklaces, mermaid pillows and all manner of cute ephemera which are designed to stimulate more than one sense.
As previously stated, a growing proportion of consumers are trying to move away from their reliance on single-use plastics.
Thanks to the efforts of high profile ‘zero-wasters’ like Lauren Singer of Trash is for Tossers and Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Household, legions of consumers are looking for more sustainable solutions for daily living. This means that reusable eating and drinking utensils are a great addition to your online store. Consider;
We’re not only increasingly reliant on mobile devices, we’re also increasingly aware of the toll that looking down at a screen constantly can take on our bodies.
More and more consumers find themselves checking in with their doctors and chiropractors to take a look at their “text neck”.
As a result of this, some forward-thinking consumers have invested in phone holders which are worn around the neck and can position the phone so that users can make hands free video calls without having to peer down at the screen.
As insufferable as some may find them, the selfie stick trend is most assuredly here to stay. Sales of selfie sticks have shown consistent growth since their inception a few years back, and are predicted for strong growth right through to 2025.
While these are just a few examples, a keen understanding of your niche and astute market research can pave the way for dropshipping success!
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