If you plan to launch an ecommerce store this year, you’ll need a strategic sales and marketing plan to help you stand out. You’ll also need to know where to source the best products if you don’t manufacture them yourself. These types of businesses need to know how to find products to sell online.
Let’s explore how to find products to sell online and ensure they fit with your overall business strategy and budget.
1. Identify products that you’re passionate about
It’s essential to have a profitable small business. But it’s hard to stay committed to it long-term without a passion for what you sell.
As you embark on your online business journey, start by identifying those passions. Do you love books, fashion, food, jewelry, or technology? Do you have a hobby, like buying art or collecting dolls, that you’ve always wanted to turn into a business by helping others do the same?
More than 65 percent of participants in a Customer Thermometer study said that “being emotionally connected to a brand made them feel like the company or business cared about people like them.”
So the more you’re able to align with and communicate your passion for your digital or physical products through your online business, the better you’ll attract like-minded, loyal shoppers.
It’s also critical to think about what the products that you want to source and sell will say about your business and brand.
For example, if you decide to sell organic, fair-trade coffee beans, you’re promising to deliver a product that is healthier for your customers while showing that you care about the people who grow and package that product.
If your potential customers also care about those values, you know they’ll be looking for a site like yours to purchase those products.
That’s why you must identify the right product niche and target market before you source the products you want to sell online.
2. Align those passions with a niche product-market fit
Try to get as specific as possible when defining your niche target customers. Include everything from demographics like age range, occupation, and household income to psychographics like their personality traits, lifestyle, special interests, and values.
Using the costume jewelry example from earlier, your target customer could be a single woman in her 20s and 30s who works in advertising or PR and makes $30,000 to $75,000 a year. She likes to go out with her friends after work, belongs to a book club, is a foodie that watches baking shows, and cares about climate change and product sustainability.
Once you’ve completed your customer profile, research how they’re likely to shop for your products online. Small business owners can start by reading free blogs and consumer studies published on online marketing sites such as eMarketer, Econsultancy and MarketingCharts.com.
Look for trends that reveal where your potential customers spend most of their time online and try to learn how they discover new products.
For example, are they more likely to research vintage jewelry through search or fashion and celebrity websites? Do they follow influencers on social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest? If so, which ones and what are those influencers saying about those products and styles?
You can also send out an online survey to friends and family who fit your niche customer profile using Survey Monkey or Google Forms. You can ask them specific questions like:
What do they love about that product niche?
Which niche product trends are they looking for right now?
What products in that niche are they most likely to research or buy online?
What’s missing from that niche market that they’d like to see filled?
How much would they be willing to spend on a specific niche product?
Where do they typically learn about new niche products online?
Which competitor sites do they currently buy from, and what do they like or dislike about those ecommerce sites?
Do they buy their niche products from local, national, or global competitors?
Would they prefer to have products shipped to them if they buy locally, or would they like to purchase products online and pick them up in-store?
If they buy products nationally or globally, how much would they be willing to pay for shipping?
Giving them specific answers to choose from, rather than asking them open-ended questions, will make it easier for them to fill out your survey. Although, a combination of the two is often necessary.
It’s also helpful to offer an incentive to get them to complete your survey, like gift cards and discounts when shopping with your online store.
Once you have all of your answers, it’s time to look for the right products that meet all of their needs.
3. Find the right products to sell online
As you prepare to source your physical products, think about the type of ecommerce business you want to create.
For example, many small business owners start with a dropshipping business model where you don’t need to make or store any inventory yourself physically. Instead, you’d source and curate the niche products on your site while your suppliers would store, package, and ship the items for you.
With a dropshipping business model, your suppliers will take a bigger cut of the profits.
However, dropshipping is a flexible and scalable way for a small online business to get off the ground quickly and affordably, with lower overhead costs.
As your business grows, you can potentially add your own manufactured products to sell on your site to make a larger profit.
Identifying products for your dropshipping business
Where you source your dropshipping products depends on your chosen product niche.
According to SixAds.net the top dropshipping niche categories last year were:
Home decor and home improvement
Health and beauty
Boho clothing and accessories
To find the top trending niche products right now, SixAds recommends looking at:
Sourcing those products via dropshipping suppliers
You have many options to choose from when sourcing products for dropshipping.
Access a network of sellers via ecommerce marketplaces
One of the most common places to start sourcing your products is via an ecommerce marketplace that connects you to a large network of manufacturers and sellers. As mentioned earlier, the AliExpress Dropshipping Center is a good place to start.
Choose high-quality niche products via wholesale supplier directories
Directories like InventorySource.com give you access to thousands of high-quality wholesalers and suppliers for niche product categories.
Keep in mind, however, that they charge a monthly subscription fee to integrate and automate the SKU data onto your site. However, some let you look at the content for free to decide whether or not you want to invest in a subscription.
Go straight to the source with brand manufacturers
You can also go straight to your favorite niche brand manufacturers to negotiate a dropshipping partnership. Keep in mind that not all of them will be interested in dropshipping, and this can become a laborious process as you add more partnerships.
Be sure to ask about their revenue share model (e.g., how much of the sales revenue they would keep to store and ship the physical product to your customers), and compare prices among a host of your favorite niche brands.
You’ll need to factor that number into your price, along with the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP), to make a profit. Refer to our post on product pricing for help when developing the right ecommerce sales strategy for your small business.
Enable manufacturers and sellers to come to you
You can also make it possible for niche product creators to post and sell their wares through your site.
For example, Society6 created a platform for artists to affordably upload photos and sell their designs (e.g., prints on mugs, t-shirts, and socks) to the world. In this way, artists can reach out to them and post their own products on the ecommerce site.
Sourcing products for your general online store
If you already own a retail store and plan to launch an ecommerce site, or you’re an online retailer that buys commoditized physical products (e.g., high-demand, essential items) and/or niche products to store in a warehouse, then you have some additional options to consider.
In addition to the resources listed above for dropshipping sources, you can purchase your niche products from ecommerce marketplaces like: Alibaba.com and Amazon wholesale. You can also purchase inventory from wholesale partners like Costco.
To decrease your overhead costs, since you’re renting out a physical warehouse and covering your shipping costs, look for discounts when purchasing large product quantities in bulk.
Additionally, keep in mind that suppliers are currently dependent on manufacturing capabilities during the Covid pandemic. Check-in regularly with your suppliers to make sure you don’t frequently sell out of items and keep customers waiting for long periods.
4. Identify and integrate online product sales channels
Once you’ve sourced your digital or physical products, it’s time to decide where and how you’ll sell to customers online.
First, you’ll need to develop and launch your online business website. If you don’t have one already, there are a variety of options out there and many ecommerce platforms, like GoDaddy Online Store, can help you to:
Buy a domain name
Build your site with affordable mobile-friendly templates
Process payments quickly and securely
Host it all on one integrated platform
Use GoDaddy Online Store to build your site and sell everywhere
If you’ve already done your research on where customers are likely to discover and buy your products online, working with GoDaddy will enable you to sell directly from your website or your customers’ favorite platforms and marketplaces, like eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Facebook or Instagram.
Plus, GoDaddy Online Store integrates with GoDaddy Payments to help you process payments securely — both online and in-store.
Your payments will arrive in your business account as soon as the next business day, and GoDaddy offers the lowest fees in the industry per transaction, compared to leading competitors.
GoDaddy Payments processes all major credit and debit card transactions — both online and using our POS devices. If you use our Smart Terminal and Card Reader devices in-store or in-person, we also provide contactless payments via Apple Pay and Google Pay.
Finally, you can access all of your orders, inventory, reviews, and customer emails — across all of your online business sales platforms — from one easy-to-use online dashboard.
Add WooCommerce to our managed WordPress ecommerce platform
If you already have a WordPress website and want to add ecommerce functionality, you can do so using WooCommerce extensions — choosing from over 50,000 WordPress plug-ins and 10,000 site design templates.
GoDaddy’s managed WordPress Ecommerce platform with WooCommerce gives you the freedom to sell anything, anywhere online — from physical products to digital downloads, services, and subscriptions.
It also seamlessly integrates with GoDaddy Payments, giving your customers more ways to pay you, and helping you get paid faster.
Once your site is live, it’s important to track how each product is performing on your website, so you can offer more of what your customers want, and consider removing products that aren’t driving sales.
First, you’ll need to install an analytics tool like Google Analytics on your site to track your customers’ online shopping behaviors. For tips on what to track and which reports to use, read:
Next, consider using A/B testing on your homepage, product pages, and check out to see which design features and copy can be improved to increase sales (or conversions) on your site.
Essentially, A/B testing is a split test between two variations of the same page. At the most basic level, you can test whether a checkout page with a green button will outperform a red button to drive more sales. However, you can get a lot more sophisticated with what you want to test.
But equity rounds aren’t the only way for a company to raise money — alternative and other non-dilutive financing options are often overlooked. Taking on debt might be the right solution when you’re focused on growth and can see clear ROI from the capital you deploy.
Not all capital providers are equal, so seeking financing isn’t just about securing capital. It’s a matter of finding the right source of funding that matches both your business and your roadmap.
Here are four things you should consider:
Does this match my needs?
It’s easy to take for granted, but securing financing begins with a business plan. Don’t seek funding until you have a clear plan for how you’ll use it. For example, do you need capital to fund growth or for your day-to-day operations? The answer should influence not only the amount of capital you seek, but the type of funding partner you look for as well.
Start with a concrete plan and make sure it aligns with the structure of your financing:
Match repayment terms to your expected use of the debt.
Balance working capital needs with growth capital needs.
It’s understandable to hope for a one-and-done financing process that sets the next round far down the line, but that may be costlier than you realize in the long run.
Your term of repayment must be long enough so you can deploy the capital and see the returns. If it’s not, you may end up making loan payments with the principal.
Say, for example, you secure funding to enter a new market. You plan to expand your sales team to support the move and develop the cash flow necessary to pay back the loan. The problem here is, the new hire will take months to ramp up.
If there’s not enough delta between when you start ramping up and when you begin repayments, you’ll be paying back the loan before your new salesperson can bring in revenue to allow you to see ROI on the amount you borrowed.
Another issue to keep in mind: If you’re financing operations instead of growth, working capital requirements may reduce the amount you can deploy.
Let’s say you finance your ad spending and plan to deploy $200,000 over the next four months. But payments on the MCA loan you secured to fund that spending will eat into your revenue, and the loan will be further limited by a minimum cash covenant of $100,000. The result? You secured $200,000 in financing but can only deploy half of it.
With $100,000 of your financing kept in a cash account, only half the loan will be used to drive operations, which means you’re not likely to meet your growth target. What’s worse, as you’re only able to deploy half of the loan, your cost of capital is effectively double what you’d planned for.
Is this the right amount for me at this time?
The second consideration is balancing how much capital you need to act on your near-term goals against what you can reasonably expect to secure. If the funding amount you can get is not enough to move the needle, it might not be worth the effort required.
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.