Part 1: Finding a Product to Sell Online
So, you have dreams of starting an online business, working from home, making thousands a month and retiring on a beach somewhere? Awesome, well first things first. If you are new to online / e-commerce business, then you should know that it all starts with coming up with something to sell. When I first started, I was told to build a business around something I am passionate about. Yes, that is great for most people if you are just looking for a hobby. If what you are passionate about pays well, then that may be an option but I will tell you the method I use to find products to sell online and how to start an online business step-by-step.
Method 1 – BTNB Method (Big Traffic No Brand)
One of the best ways to find products to sell online is a method called BTNB which stands for Big Traffic with No Brand. It took me a few years to figure this out but I am going to give it to you for free. Let me give you an overview of what this is and then I will explain step-by-step how to use this method successfully. My number one tip when researching what to sell online is that a product should be something that does not immediately invoke a brand association. Let me give you a couple of examples to demonstrate. If I say soap, what do you think of? Did you think Dawn or Dove? If I say shoes, do you think of Nike, Sketchers, etc?
Now, what brand do you think of when I say Futons? Nothing?? Great. What about glass aquariums?? No brand?? Awesome, that is the first step. There are a few reasons why this is very important.
If people are looking to buy something online and there is a brand associated with it then they will most likely type in the brand name. It is very hard to compete against big brands and you cannot use their brand words in your content to compete with them. One of my current e-commerce stores is selling futons. While I am competing against big name stores, I am not competing against big brands in regards to what customers will search for. If you are looking for a futon you will most like type in something like ‘cheap futons’ or ‘futons for sale’ and not Kodiak futons. Does this make sense? So now I can write content and create product pages to target generic keyword terms and not have to fight to beat brands at their own search terms.
You can become the authority for a ‘general product’ and start to build your own brand. You can specialize in a niche and become the brand people think of. Even though my futon ecommerce website is competing with Walmart, Target, Overstock and many more giants I can stand out by becoming THE PLACE to buy futons which my big brand competitors cannot.
You cannot use big brand names in your internet marketing strategy. You will not win (and you may also be sued). The caveat is that if you are selling these brands then you may be able to use their brand name but that is very different than competing to sell shoes against a big brand such as Nike. Go ahead and type ‘nike shoes’ in Google and see what you find.
Last but certainly not least. There is a lot of money to be made without having to try as hard and spend as much to compete with major brand keywords.
The main thing you want to watch out for when using the BTNB method is that you don’t want to be so generic that you are targeting just research terms and not buying terms – buying search terms are those that customers use when looking to buy a product. I will talk about a way to find buying terms a little later when doing keyword research for your product. While that gets into more of the nitty gritty details, I just want you to be aware of it while you are doing initial product research.
Where to begin researching potential BTNB products. A couple of great websites to search are Wayfair.com and Hayneedle.com. Why?? Because Wayfair started out as a ton of small niche stores that were mostly if not all dropshipping. Over time they decided to consolidate their websites and build a billion-dollar brand. You can search through their store and find a BTNB products. Once you narrow down a product you like on Wayfair, just look in the left side navigation and search for the section that list the Brand. This will tell you all the manufacturers you should contact and build a relationship with to dropship their product. You will start noticing these same brands across top stores such as Walmart, Target, Overstock and more.
Method 2 – Follow the Bouncing Ball (FTBB)
This method for finding a product involves Researching Trends. This works best for weight loss and fashion. Let’s say you want to start selling products in the weight loss niche.
– Go to google and type in
‘latest weight loss products’
‘weight loss products 2016’ (use the current year obviously. This should bring back all the latest weight loss trending products.
‘weight loss product reviews 2016’
PRO TIP *** Remember to use words such as ‘latest’, ‘current year’, etc to find the latest trending products. For weight loss products, it is typical to do affiliate marketing (which I will not go into here, maybe later). Some will get a product created using a white label company and build their own brand. Just search for ‘white label weight loss products’. These white label companies will allow you to sell the same products other big brands sell but with your own brand name. You can get a large discount on these weight loss products because order the product at wholesale prices in bulk.
When searching for trends you can also use the following tools:
Once you have found a product that seems promising you can then move onto the next step…
Probably one of the most important questions you need to ask when researching a product to sell:
How much money can I potentially make?
Is it worth my time and effort to setup a store and sell this product?
While you may get a 100% accurate answer on how much you will make exactly, you can fairly, accurately determine if the product is worth pursuing based on a quick test I call the Product Value Test or PVT for short. Here is the step-by-step process I use to figure this out. This has saved me tons of time and has also been fairly accurate in determining the potential profit one can make by selling a product that reaches the top of Google. Why Google?? Because it currently owns 63% of all online searches with Bing coming in second at 21% at the time of this writing. Also, if you reach the top of Google, you will most likely rank at the top of Bing and Yahoo as well by default.