When you go to an online store and see 15 different product categories, your fight-or-flight instinct will kick in. It’s overwhelming to be bombarded with a ton of different options — and it doesn’t help if you’re unfamiliar with the company selling it to you.
While there are many enticing options for what to sell out there, sellers need to make a choice and double down in a specific niche. It doesn’t matter if baby clothes are all the rage right now — you sell dog-related items. Amazon has the infrastructure and dollars to sell both baby clothes and dog toys — you most likely do not.
In order to avoid dissonance on the part of customers and overextending a business before it even takes off, we’ve identified some of the best dropshipping product categories for consideration as you determine what to sell.
1. Eco-friendly products
Consumers are more eco-conscious than ever, and their sentiments are reflected in their shopping habits. A study by GreenPrint found that if a product is clearly labeled as environmentally friendly, 78% of people are more likely to purchase the product.
Searches for eco-friendly items are on the rise as consumers become more environmentally conscious. A PwC survey found that 50% of consumers globally consider themselves more eco-friendly now — and 53% are buying more sustainable products.
Reusable bags are a major part of the consumer shift towards being eco-friendly, especially as countries push toward being less reliant on single-use plastics. Searches for ‘tote bag’ ( a popular eco-friendly alternative to plastic bags) have risen gradually over time.
Other products that you can add to your eco-conscious store include bamboo products and reusable water bottles. Bamboo is gaining popularity among consumers as it is biodegradable, and with water bottles, the less plastic used, the better it is for the environment.
Durability and quality are key when it comes to eco-friendly items — they have to be able to last for a long time. Consumers also appreciate stylish products that can blend seamlessly into their typical aesthetic. Consider selling more neutral-toned products as they can go with anything.
Key Tip: While consumers show growing interest in eco-friendly products, GreenPrint also found that these types of items are not easily identifiable by the average consumer. Sellers will need to put in extra work with detailed product descriptions and SEO to drive consumers to their site.
2. Plants and gardening
When you’re stuck inside, adding some greenery brings that feeling of nature indoors. While faux plants might work for some, there’s also demand for the real thing. According to the National Gardening Association, houseplant sales in the U.S. have grown to $1.7 billion over a three-year period — an increase of almost 50%.
Even better, a ScienceDaily study has shown that indoor plants improve concentration and productivity by up to 15%. The plants and gardening industry is growing now more than ever as people look for new creative, calming, non-digital outlets both indoors and out.
To serve the growing consumer interest in houseplants, dropshippers can stock the items needed to maintain plants — watering cans, misters, and gardening tools like trowels and spades are great starting points.
However, since tools tend to be one-time purchases, sellers should look to products that lead to recurring purchases in order to sell more frequently. Items that add to the plant owner’s aesthetic, like plant pots, hangers, and plant-themed décor, fall under this category as they are more likely to be replaced often.
Key Tip: Indoor plants can vary greatly in price, but regardless of cost, plant owners want to keep their plants alive. Unfortunately, most owners aren’t knowledgeable about plant care. Invest in educational social media and blog posts that show your audience which types of plants to buy and how to take care of them.
3. Home and office
The line between the home and office has been blurred in consumers’ homes — making for an interesting combination of categories and consumer trends.
With most people still working from home, video calls have become the default communications channel — and workers are paying more attention to their workspaces than ever. This CraftJack study found that 90% of respondents have spent money on their workspace in the past year.
Dropshippers can tap into all the money being invested by remote workers with items that enhance workspaces and overall productivity. Although chairs and desks may be too heavy to start with, there are other items that improve the function of a workspace — including laptop stands, webcams, ring lights, tripods, and desk lamps.
Sixty-eight percent of people prioritize the appearance of their background — with 41% displaying art, pictures, or décor, 29% displaying books, and 27% displaying plants. Sellers can add decorative items like art prints, mousepads, and artificial plants — all of which elevate the beauty of workspaces.
Key Tip: CraftJack also parsed the different industries that prioritize their workspaces’ appearance (accounting and HR came out on top). Sellers can use this information when figuring out audience targeting and overall marketing strategy. Craft your outreach and copy around the audience’s pain points.
Fashion, comfort, and quality are important factors when choosing the products you’ll be selling. Consumers may change their workout gear frequently for aesthetic purposes, but there’s no point in repurchasing from a seller if the items feel cheap and uncomfortable.
Sixty-two percent of consumers want their workout wear to align with fashion trends — something for sellers in this category to keep an eye on. Yoga mats and balancing boards are necessary equipment for yoga practitioners, so sellers should consider adding those to their inventory as well.
Key Tip: Sellers in this category should not be hyper-focused on pushing their products — rather, invest in helpful yoga-related content. Lululemon, a popular seller of workout gear for women, has a section on its website dedicated to how-to guides and interviews for its audience. The content created doesn’t sell anything but rather provides value to their audience of wellness enthusiasts through educational content.
5. Pet supplies
Pet supplies are a stable category that dropshippers should consider when deciding what niche to sell in. Owners spend up to $500 on their pets every year, and a chunk of that goes to supplies.
The pet supply category saw a boom in 2020 that is likely connected to the increase in pet adoption in 2020, due to the pandemic. Pet supplies are a leading industry category in the United States, with sales of approximately $22.1 billion in 2020. Feeding bowls, beds, and toys are always good products to start with.
Pet loss is another concern for pet owners — the American Humane Association estimates that “one in three pets will become lost at some point during their life.” To avoid losing pets, owners are recommended to tag pets with some form of identification. Sellers should consider adding pet tags, leashes, collars, and trackers to their inventory.
Key Tip: For first-time owners, adopting and trying to take care of a new pet can be a learning curve. Focus your marketing on helping them navigate pet ownership — and position your products as great tools to help them on their journey.
6. Cooking and baking
Interest in home cooking and baking is higher than ever, with 54% of people cooking more and 46% of people baking more. And combined with the increase in cooking-themed videos on social media, the cooking and baking category is a good place for dropshippers looking for the right niche.
Products to consider in this category include utensils, storage containers, cutting boards — anything that makes the process of cooking and organizing the kitchen afterward a bit easier. These items may not be recurring purchases, so sellers should also add napkins, aprons, and placemats to their inventory to mix things up and create recurring revenue for themselves.
Key Tip: Thanks to the aforementioned rise in popularity of cooking-themed videos on social media, sellers who tackle this category have a marketing tactic ready to go. Invest in helpful video content showing off your products during cooking or baking, or send them to influencers. Even a micro-influencer can bring in a dedicated audience — as long as the content is done right.
Do your own research to find what product category will work best
New sellers will often make the mistake of selecting dropshipping items based on their personal interests or the interests of those around them. If you were running a passion project through Etsy, that would be acceptable. However, to compete in the crowded dropshipping space, you’ll need to select niches that are popular with consumers. A bike-gear seller might not be passionate about that specific niche, but they’ll definitely be winning in Europe’s great bicycle boom.
When deciding on what products to sell, here are some factors to consider:
Who are your customers, and what is their typical income range? If you don’t have a lot of capital to begin with, you might want to start with smaller, more accessible products.
Will your products be recurring or one-time purchases? This will also affect pricing. If people aren’t constantly buying your products, then you may have to raise your prices to see a decent profit.
Does the price point match the presale service you need to provide? A $20 item won’t receive the same customer queries as a $500 item.
How big or small are the items? Smaller is usually better — the bigger the item, the higher your shipping costs.
Is the product scarce or unique in the locations you’re targeting? If customers can walk 20 minutes to find exactly what you sell, then you might want to consider something else.
Want to do your own research? Here are some of the best places to find potential product categories:
Google Trends to see what searches have been popular
Amazon ‘Best Sellers,’ which displays the most popular products, based on sales, for every niche
‘Trending’ on eBay, which shows you the top 10 products that users are searching for the most
Thieve.co, which analyzes the popularity of different keywords and product categories by aggregating information from Facebook and AliExpress searches.
Not all products you sell will be profitable — there are still many other elements outside of your niche to consider. Starting a dropshipping business is an investment, and those fail all the time. Do your best to reduce the chances of failure by conducting deep research on the market for your products, marketing aggressively, and building customer and supplier relationships.
Elon Musk said Sunday he “somewhat agonized” over the font designs for his companies Tesla and SpaceX.
The billionaire businessman added he “loves fonts” and has tweaked the logos over the years.
He revealed the SpaceX logo also holds a hidden meaning, representing a rocket’s arc to orbit.
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In a series of Sunday tweets, Elon Musk said he “somewhat agonized” over his choice of fonts for his businesses and revealed a hidden meaning behind the SpaceX logo.
Responding to a tweet about serif and sans-serif fonts, the billionaire businessman took a break from posting cryptic memes and discussing politics to say he loves fonts and put significant consideration into how his companies are presented to consumers.
“I somewhat agonized over the Tesla & SpaceX font design (love fonts tbh),” Musk tweeted. “There are some similarities, particularly use of negative space. We’ve made many little tweaks over the years.”
The Tesla logo — a T-shaped design with a custom, sans-serif font spelling out the brand name — is meant to resemble a cross-section of an electric motor. The SpaceX logo, written in a similar font with an extended X, references the reusable rockets made by the company.
“The swoop of the X is meant to represent the rocket’s arc to orbit,” Musk tweeted.
Other business logos have also held hidden messages: Baskin Robbins, a chain that sells 31 flavors of ice cream, has a secret ’31’ hidden in the letters of its logo. Likewise, Amazon’s arrow logo is meant to represent a smile, while the circular ‘B’ logo for Beats by Dre represents a person wearing the popular headphones.
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The internet has revolutionized the business world and changed how we conduct business. Any business that aims to increase its visibility and boost profit needs to pay much attention to top ranking factors, including local SEO — which introduces the topic of the local search algorithm.
Local SEO is one of the top practices that help boost a business’s visibility and generates more sales.
However, achieving better local SEO rankings is not a walk in the park, especially due to increased competition. To appear higher on local results, businesses and marketers need to understand how the local search algorithm works.
Knowing this helps guide the steps for improving rankings in the local pack.
The competition gets stiffer as more businesses open and optimize for local searching. Besides, Google is updating its algorithm consistently, meaning only businesses that can keep up with these updates can appear at the top of local search results.
Luckily, you have come to this post as this article looks at everything you need to know about Google’s local search algorithm and what you can do to get that top spot in the local pack.
Understanding the local search algorithm
Google aims to provide the best results that match a specific local search query. It constantly updates the local search algorithm to determine which business to rank on top of local search results.
Ideally, Google wants to provide local content that is relevant and valuable to users. As with search engine optimization, keyword stuffing cannot give you that top spot in local search results.
SEO specialists and marketers should consider Google’s local search algorithm updates and make the necessary changes to rank higher. Failure to consider these updates means losing your local search presence, resulting in fewer leads and conversions.
Local algorithms check the Google My Business (GMB) listings to determine where to rank a business in local search rankings.
Ideally, Google’s local algorithm ranks businesses with information that matches a searcher’s query. And the higher a business ranks in local search results, the more chances a potential customer will click on it.
This post looks at the three major pillars that determine local search results to better understand the local search algorithm: proximity, prominence and relevance.
Of course, other factors make up Google’s local search algorithm, but since we cannot identify all of them, we’ll focus on the most crucial ones in this post.
By understanding these pillars, marketers can better position themselves for local search success.
Proximity is one of the major ranking factors when it comes to local search. That means the distance between a business and a searcher is a ranking factor in local search.
When a searcher searches for something, Google considers how far the searcher is from the location of the term they use in the search. When a searcher doesn’t specify the location, Google calculates the distance based on the information they have regarding their location.
Ideally, Google aims to provide the most relevant results to a search query. For instance, why would Google provide a list of coffee shops in Los Angeles if the searcher is searching from Colombia?
That would be irrelevant local search results that won’t benefit the searcher.
Unfortunately, while proximity is a major local search pillar, it’s one of the factors that businesses have little control over. After all, you cannot change where your business is located, right?
You can only ensure your business location is as clear as possible, so that it appears for related nearby queries. Here are steps you can take to achieve this:
Claim and verify the Google My Business listing
Ensure local listings are accurate and optimized for local products or services
Get the Google Maps API Key and optimize for your location and routes
Set up your profile correctly (for Service Area Businesses) to avoid violating Google’s guidelines
Users can perform several types of local searches, including:
Users will perform geo-modified searches when they are planning to visit somewhere. For instance, a searcher in Los Angeles planning to visit Toronto, Canada, may search for a “coffee shop in Oakville.” The results will differ from if they searched for “coffee” while physically in Oakville.
To be specific, geo-modified searches are mainly based on relevance and prominence as opposed to proximity when a user searches for something when outside the city included in the search.
Searchers perform this type of search when looking for something around them. For instance, a user in Los Angeles performing a local search for “coffee.”
Ideally, the user only needs to search for something and is shown results based on proximity. They will get the results that are closest to them.
“Near me” searches
“Near me” searches have been so popular in recent years. Although their popularity has significantly declined, users still perform this type of search when looking for something locally.
For instance, some users could add “near me” when searching for a coffee shop, hoping to get the most relevant results near them. As we’ve stated, this trend has lost popularity because when you perform a local search, you are searching for something near you.
It is not necessary to add “near me” to what you’re searching.
Prominence refers to how important Google thinks your business is, which gets factored into the local search algorithm.
In other words, it refers to how well a business stands from the rest in various aspects, including directories, links, reviews, mentions, among other things.
If search engines view your business as trustworthy and credible, they will likely show it on top of related search query results.
The local search algorithm views businesses/brands with a stronger online prominence as credible and trustworthy. Some of the factors that determine prominence include:
A local citation is the mention of a business’s information online. The mention can include the partial or complete name, address, and phone number (NAP) of a local business.
Citations are an excellent way for people to learn about local businesses and impact local search results.
A business with high-quality citations can rank better in local search results, although businesses must continually manage citations to ensure data accuracy.
Backlinks play a crucial role in local business prominence. Gaining relevant backlinks from high-quality sites is an excellent way to build a business’ online reputation.
If you’re trying to outrank your competitors without much success, your backlink profile could be the reason.
In that case, you should check your competitor’s backlinks and compare them with yours. When doing this, pay attention to the number and quality of their backlinks.
As a rule of thumb, aim to have high-quality local backlinks pointing to your site to improve your page’s authority.
Next, you need to pay much attention to reviews to improve local prominence. Many customers look at a business’s online reviews before deciding whether to engage more with the business or not. Besides, many positive online reviews can increase a business’ ranking factors.
Consider this scenario. A potential customer is looking for a pub around Oakville. When they perform a search, they are presented with two results: one with over 100 reviews and another with less than 10 reviews.
Which business do you think the searcher would trust? The one with 100 reviews, obviously.
As with search engines, customers need to trust a business before they decide to do business with it. Similarly, search engines can view online reviews and analyze them to determine a business’s online prominence.
That said, here are strategies you can use to boost your online review signals:
Have a strategy
You won’t have a strong online prominence if your products or services are not of a high standard. So, the first step to having many great reviews is to develop great products and services.
After that, develop a strategy to encourage your happy customers to leave honest but valuable reviews of their experience doing business with you to help boost your online reputation.
Monitor and manage the reviews
Having many reviews is one thing; you need to develop a plan to engage with your customers for better results. Responding to reviews shows people that you care and are genuine about your products and services.
People will avoid businesses that don’t respond to customer reviews (whether positive or negative).
Search engines, too, can tell whether you engage with customer reviews or not and will use the information to determine where to rank on local search results.
When responding to online reviews, pay special attention to negative reviews and how you respond to them. While no business likes getting negative reviews, how you respond to them can positively impact your business — respond positively to turn the negative reviews around.
As earlier stated, Google wants to provide the most relevant results to a local search query. This key ranking factor will determine a business’s position in local search results — how well does a local business match a search query?
Even if your business ticks the above pillars (prominence and proximity), if the content on your page isn’t well structured and doesn’t cover the topics that a searcher is looking for, you won’t appear on top of local search results.
Here are factors that businesses should consider to create a relevant listing:
Local page signals
Local listing categories and attributes
Social posts and responses to online reviews
Local listing signals and categories
A business GMB listing and category can impact its relevance score for local searches. As such, complete your business profile carefully and continually add quality content to the web page to ensure it is relevant for proximity searches.
More specifically, ensure that all information on all listing pages, including Yelp, Bing, and Google, is complete and accurate. Aside from these factors, here are two crucial features you should pay attention to:
Selecting the right categories for your local business listing is among the crucial factors for ranking locally. With over 4000 GMB categories, you want to choose categories that best describe your business — ensure they are relevant and specific.
Here are guidelines to follow when selecting a category:
Describe your business as opposed to your services
Be specific to minimize competition
Reduce the number of GMB categories to describe your business better
Without a proper description, users won’t know what your business is about. This section is about adding an introduction to your business so that customers and search engines can know more about your business.
However, don’t use this section for marketing your business. Just give users and search engines descriptive info that can help determine whether your business matches their needs.
Local page signals
Another way a business can improve its standing in the local search algorithm is by optimizing web pages for specific keywords. For multi-location businesses, it’s essential to have separate, localized pages for each location, with relevant information and contact details for customers to reach you.
Performing competitor research is advisable to determine what terms or keywords to use for a specific query. Here are top on-page signals to consider when trying to gain relevance for a given topic:
Keyword research — Before creating local content, you need to find keywords that matter to your business. Perform keyword research to determine highly relevant keywords with high intent. When finding relevant terms to use in your content, base your research on the customer perspective; think about what they search for and the type of content they are looking for.
Create local content — After finding the right keywords, it’s time to create your content. Google values the quality of content more than the length of the content, so keep this in mind when creating content. Another crucial thing to pay attention to is localizing the content. For example, you can create content on local news and events or use your city’s name within your content.
The goal is to create a connection between what’s happening in your local area and your business. Also, use pictures with your specific geolocation to increase your content relevance.
Creating quality and relevant content is only the start. You need to optimize your content for on-page signals so local search algorithms can discover and rank them better. Here’s how you can optimize your local content for on-page signals:
Meta descriptions — Include keywords in your meta descriptions to encourage searchers to click through and increase visibility
Title tags — Title tags are some of the factors that search engines use to determine where to rank content. Incorporating keywords naturally in your title tags can help boost local rankings
Image tags — Another way to improve local rankings is by including relevant keywords in your image tags. Including geotags also comes with an added advantage
Headings — Users and Google value pages with clear structures. Consider creating headings within your content to capture readers’ attention and encourage them to read on. However, ensure your heading tags describe the content that comes after them well. Also, include keywords in your heading tags to help search engines understand them and their importance.
Off-page local signals
Gaining high-quality backlinks is a great way to boost credibility and trust. Backlinks refer to external links from another website to your site. Aim to have more high-quality backlinks to boost your website authority.
Ideally, having many quality backlinks shows search engines that your website or page is credible and trustworthy, which boosts the chances of ranking it higher in search engine results.
Guest posting is one of the best examples of link-building strategies you can use. Finding great guest posting opportunities provides an excellent opportunity to share your content to a new but relevant audience, which helps boost your website authority.
Another strategy you can use is to create longer and better content than what is already available on the web. When your content is high quality and relevant, it will be easier to get high-quality backlinks.
Review and social signals
Online reviews can also help boost relevance for your local business. Aim to get as many positive reviews from your happy customers as possible.
Remember, when customers perform a local search, they get not only the relevant businesses but also reviews related to the search. The more positive reviews a business has, the higher chances a potential customer will do business with them.
Closing thoughts on the local search algorithm
Ranking on top of local search results can seem daunting, but it shouldn’t when you know the vital things to focus on. As you have seen above, the local algorithm is based on three pillars: relevance, proximity, and prominence.
Of course, other factors determine local search rankings depending on your industry and competition.
Ah, email. Why did you send my friend’s birthday party invite to my spam folder? Why do you make it so easy to archive an email when I don’t even know what that means? Why are you … blue now … Gmail?
Email is a necessary evil. So whenever I hear about startups looking to innovate on the decades-old communication tech, I’m instantly intrigued considering the huge number of potential areas of improvement. Plus, talk about a large TAM!
Startups have taken note. Boomerang launched its email productivity software in 2010, and since its 2014 launch, Superhuman has raised $108 million to help users get through their inbox faster. Trying to build a better email mousetrap isn’t exactly a novel concept, but it could be big business.
I recently received pitches from two new upstarts, both of which launched their email innovations in the last year, that really piqued my interest. Let’s meet them.