If you’ve ever tried dropshipping or starting an e-commerce store, then you’re likely aware that finding a good product is one of the most important things you can do to ensure success. I always preach to not sell trendy products because their lifespan is typically short. Rather, sell products in an evergreen niche that have a differentiating factor to them.
Easy in theory, but when you’re new to the game it might be hard to determine if a product is different enough to warrant selling. If it isn’t, no one will be interested, you will lose money, and end up disappointed.
But how do you know if a product is “different enough” to sell? Well, depending on where you find the product, there are a few things you can do.
If you find the product on a marketplace such as Amazon or Aliexpress, then you can check the number of reviews, orders, and what people are generally saying about the product. This will give you a decent idea of what people think of the product and how many are selling.
If you find the product by scrolling through FaceBook and an ad pops up, then you can look at the engagement, the number of comments, and what people are saying in the comments. Just check out the ad below which has a MASSIVE amount of engagement.
The more engagement and comments an ad has, the more an advertiser has spent on scaling that ad – typically.
I say “typically” because some advertisers buy cheap traffic from third-world countries that don’t actually convert. They do this to give the appearance of the ad being popular. So it’s a good idea to check out the profiles of a few of the commenters/engagers to see if they reside in one of the top 5 English-speaking countries (if that’s who you plan to market to):
- New Zealand
That being said, I want to introduce a new way of finding products that are already semi-validated. And this is through TikTok.
What Is TikTok?
TikTok is a social media platform that focuses primarily on short-form videos. You can find TikTok videos on just about anything from home improvement, dance, comedy, and much more. The videos last no longer than 60 seconds making them really easy to watch and move on to the next which is what has made the app so popular through 2020.
But TikTok isn’t just for entertainment purposes, you can actually find content on there that is really useful for starting an e-commerce business.
How To Find Products to Sell Via TikTok?
TikTok uses hashtags similar to other social media platforms to categorize certain topics. One big trend that I’ve seen over the past few months is creators making short videos about interesting Amazon products. All you need to do to find these videos is search up a few hashtags like the following:
These searches will return a bunch of results for videos relating to cool Amazon products. You can also press the See More button next to hashtags to get even more hashtags that are similar to the one you searched for.
From here you can scroll through the videos and keep an eye on the likes/comments of each. Go into the comments section and see what people are saying about each product video.
If people are saying things like “wow I need this” or “That’s so cool I want one” you know there’s a demand for it and it’s something you could potentially sell.
Like I said in my Shopify dropshipping post, I like to look for the following criteria when choosing a product to sell:
- The product isn’t readily available in stores
- The product is in an evergreen niche but has a key differentiator to it
- The product can be sold for over $25
- The product is brandable
Scrolling through these videos will give you a TON of ideas. What’s great about this method is that the content creators actually use the products and show you how they work, thus giving you content ideas that you can re-create for your ads.
Sometimes when you’re looking for a product and just see an image, it doesn’t really give you the full picture of what it can do. But seeing someone else explain it for you can give you more confidence in that product.
Follow a few content creators that focus specifically on these types of videos so that you’ll get a constant stream of new product ideas and will be able to keep an eye on the likes/comments of each. A few creators I like include:
What I Look For
Here is an example of what I like to do when searching for products to potentially sell while scrolling through TikTok. First, I like to go to a TikTok creator’s page and scroll through their feed to see which videos received the most amount of views.
If people on TikTok really like a video, then that’ll get shared out with more people and is usually a good representation of how well a product is received. Here is an example of what I look for.
As you can see in the screenshot above, there are 3 videos that immediately stand out in terms of views. These would be the first 3 videos that I watch and read comments from. I would then save these videos as long as the product aligns with the product selection criteria I set out above.
Then, I would rinse and repeat this process 5-10 times so that I have a few products to further analyze before choosing which one(s) I ultimately end up selling.
What To Do Once You’ve Found a Product You Like
So you’ve found a few products that you think are interesting and could sell well. Now it’s time to do a bit more research, refine that list, and start selling. Let’s continue with the example I showcased in the previous section.
In the last screenshot, I highlighted that there were 3 products that really stood out in terms of views as compared to all the other videos in this creator’s feed.
Each video showcases one of the following products:
- A silicone food stretch lid
- A heat transferring ice cream scooper
- A new take on a popcorn maker
All of these products are within the kitchen niche making them all great options to promote if you created a kitchen-niche store. If you decided to list all three on your store and found that one product is selling better than the rest you could eventually solely focus on that product and niche-down.
But first, let’s look into how you would go about finding a supplier for one of these products and then creating a store and selling the product.
Find the Product on Aliexpress
The first thing you’ll want to do is search for the product’s name on Aliexpress. I’m going to take the silicone stretch lids for this example and search it on Aliexpress and then sort by orders.
This product already has 10’s of thousands of orders so you’ll likely be facing lots of competition. That being said, competition isn’t always a bad thing. You know that based on these orders the product IS selling – all you have to do is market it better.
When I come across a product that already has a lot of orders I tend to go down the Aliexpress rabbit hole and look for a similar product that has a different design or is better in some way.
By doing this, you’ll have a product that the masses haven’t seen before and you’ll be better able to grab their attention while still solving the original problem.
By doing a bit of digging I came across this listing which is also for stretch lids but the design is much more chic and updated.
If you wanted to start selling this product you would be better able to brand it as opposed to the generic stretch lids.
Now that you’ve found the product on Aliexpress, start a conversation with a few of the suppliers. Ask them about their shipping times, inventory numbers, etc. Just reach out and see if you can have a conversation with them. If they don’t reply, move on to the next because without communication your business may fail right off the bat.
Additional Research For Product Validation
To further validate a product before I start running ads for it, I like to check a few other things.
1. Google Trends
The first place I go to is Google Trends to get a better idea of what people’s search behavior is like for a particular keyword related to the product I want to sell.
For instance, people wanting to buy these silicone food covers might be interested in:
- Silicone lids
- Food storage
- Food covers
- Kitchen gadgets
All of these keywords can tell you just how interested people are in a particular product or niche. You might find a product whose keywords only spike seasonally such as during Christmas. This is important to know since without this information you may be wondering why you aren’t getting any sales during other parts of the year.
You want to see a steady increase in the trend of your keyword over the last 10 years. If the trend is decreasing, that isn’t likely a very good sign.
2. Product Reviews & Comments
I also like to check out the comments on the TikTok video to see how many people are commenting “I need this” or “I just bought this”. This tells me that the product is in demand.
Once I’ve read through the comments there, I also read through the product reviews on both Aliexpress and Amazon. I like to read both the good and bad but particularly the bad. This gives me a better idea of what people actually might be upset about if I start selling the product.
For instance, if there are a lot of people talking about how the product quality is poor then I will find a different supplier and check their reviews.
Amazon is just another place to get even more feedback about a product before you start selling it. Don’t worry if a product on Amazon is cheaper than what you’ll likely sell it for (most products are cheaper on Amazon). You’ll have an advantage in terms of marketing the product and triggering impulse purchases.
3. Can You Find Competitors?
I really like to look at competitors and see what they’re doing in order to market a product I want to sell. A lot of people think competition is bad but really, having competitors means you’re further validated in terms of your product selection and you can pull from their ads and website for inspiration (NOT COPYING, INSPIRATION).
In order to find competitors you have a few options:
- Do a simple Google search for the product name. Then go through the list of results and study the stores that come up. Visit their social media profiles and view their active ads by visiting the “page transparency” section of their Facebook page.
- Do a reverse image search for the product. Just go to Google, click Images in the top left, and upload a supplier image of the product you’re planning on selling. This will return a bunch of stores that are selling the same product and using supplier images.
- Go to Facebook and type in the name of the product into the search bar. You can then sort by Photos or Videos and see how much engagement each ad is getting and which pages are running those ads. This is a great way to see if a product is still actively selling well.
Once you’ve found some competition, study what they’re doing and think about what you can do better.
Can you have a better website? Can you compete on price? Can you make better ads? Can you offer faster shipping? Pinpoint their downfalls and work on being the better business.
Order the Products and Check for Quality
Before I start selling anything I always like to order the product first and check that both the quality and shipping times are what they say they are. This is crucial if you want to run a long-lasting business or even get your business up off the ground.
Payment processors and social media platforms are becoming more and more strict on who they work with so it’s in your best interest to ensure things run smoothly right off the bat.
Order from 2 or 3 different suppliers to compare and contrast the shipping speed and quality. Go with whichever supplier provides the best quality and delivery times.
Create an Ad
So at this point, you’ve validated a product as much as you can without actually going out and spending money on ads. Even though you’ve gone through all the steps above it still doesn’t mean that the product will work for you. It takes time, money, and trial and error to get most successful e-commerce products off the ground.
If something doesn’t work right off the bat then don’t get discouraged. Rather, dive into your analytics and find where the issue lies. There can be a variety of reasons why people don’t buy from a store but one of the most common ones is that the ad simply didn’t hook your audience.
Creating a good ad is essential to any e-commerce business’s success. The first 3 seconds of a video are essential in hooking the viewer and having them keep watching.
Likewise, if you’re using a picture ad instead of a video, the picture needs to be high-quality and easily portray the product and what it does.
For the most part, products that need explanations do much better with video ads (think tools, kitchen gadgets, technology, etc).
Products that don’t need explanations also tend to do well with video ads but I would recommend trying picture ads too. Picture ads are way easier to make and can produce a better ROAS than videos if the product is right for it (think of apparel, jewelry, etc).
When it comes to creating video and picture ads I use the Mac app Graphic for editing pictures and Screenflow for making videos.
In general, it’s recommended to have 2-3 ads running within an ad set at all times. This gives Facebook the ability to find the best ad to show potential buyers and also helps reduce ad fatigue.
When creating your ads be sure NOT to copy your competitors. This will only get you banned which will set you back a long way. Either use supplier images or create content yourself with the pieces you ordered for quality inspection.
I’ll go into how I create my ads in more detail in another post as this post focuses more on finding a product idea through TikTok.
That’s pretty much it! Of course, in this post, I’m assuming that you already have a Shopify store set up and know how to run Facebook ads. If you don’t, check out my post on starting and growing an e-commerce store from $0 – $1 million and sign up for our newsletter below to know when a new post goes live.
The concept of finding a winning product through TikTok is pretty straightforward but I would recommend going through multiple videos and following multiple creators so that you get a steady stream of new product ideas daily. The more you’re exposed to, the better you’ll be able to distinguish a winning product from a non-winning product.
Doing this will also allow you to keep up on new products that are getting good responses from the viewers, giving you an even better chance of success if you go ahead and sell them.
Hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any questions on the strategy leave your comment below and I’ll do my best to help you out.
Till next time.