The hardest part of getting an online business started? Usually, it’s coming up with a business idea in the first place.
For many new entrepreneurs, coming up with product ideas to sell online can be a challenge, but it’s a crucial part of getting started, so if you can expedite the process at all, you can get your business started that much faster.
If you’re one of many entrepreneurs who wants to start an online business but aren’t sure what to sell, then we have some ideas for you! We have 15 tried-and-true strategies you can use to help you find ideas for what kind of online business to start.
But there’s one more very important thing to keep in mind: Coming up with business ideas is only one step in the process. In order to turn those ideas into any kind of value, you have to actually take action on those ideas and turn them into a reality.
Turn Your Idea into a Store: #IdeaToStore
So as you’re reading through the strategies in this article remember that an idea is just the first step — and it’s a very important first step because it paves the way for the rest of the journey; but ultimately an idea is only as good as its execution. To start a new store, you need an idea, seed money, mentorship, access to resources, and even a domain name, so executing on an idea may seem daunting.
But remember that help is there for you. The entrepreneurial community at large is your best asset when you’re just starting out — so many brand owners and companies support fledgling entrepreneurs in whatever way they can because they understand what it’s like to be in that position. Our long-time partners .Store Domains, for example, support and encourage entrepreneurs with their IdeaToStore contest.
What’s the IdeaToStore contest?
IdeaToStore is an initiative .Store Domains created to remind and encourage entrepreneurs to take the first step towards turning their idea into a store. Their hashtag #IdeaToStore says it all; don’t just keep great ideas to yourself — put them out there to eventually turn them into a store.
.Store Domains is the leading domain extension for online stores. It gives businesses and brands the opportunity to secure website URLs that end in “.store” which indicates that your store is “open for business.” Through their experience, they noticed the value that simply encouraging founders to take the first step can have, so they created the entire contest around that notion to just get entrepreneurs started.
With the IdeaToStore contest, you have the opportunity to win great prizes, like:
- Cash prizes of up to $30,000
- One grand prize winner will receive a $20,000 cash prize
- One runner-up will receive a $5000 cash prize
- Five weekly lucky draw prizes of $1000 each
- The opportunity to bounce your idea off of accomplished entrepreneurs John Lee Dumas and BossBabe
- A 1-on-1 mentorship session with BossBabe
- A 1-on-1 mentorship session with John Lee Dumas
- The winner and runner-up get annual memberships to the BossBabe Société
- Every registered entry gets an assured prize of 99% off coupon code for a .Store domain
- And bragging rights, of course!
Like we said above, to start a new store, you need an idea, seed money, mentorship, access to resources, and a domain name — that’s everything that the IdeaToStore contest is offering if you win the contest so you’ll be fully prepared to make your idea a reality.
The IdeaToStore contest opens on Thursday, 30th Sept 2021 and closes on Thursday, 15th November 2021, so get your online store ideas brewing!
Can’t wait to learn more? Check out the IdeaToStore website for more information.
But, to dive into the 15 strategies to come up with ideas for an online store, just keep on reading.
15 Ways to Come Up With an Idea for Your Online Store
Business Idea Strategy #1: Make an Existing Product Better
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel — think of how you could improve a product that already exists.
There are so many products on the market that, with a tweak here or an adjustment there, could become even better. Make a point to notice things that you use in your daily life that you could make small adjustments to so they could be sold as their own product.
In fact, Amazon seller Chaim Pikarski has made a living out of doing just that. He trawls through Amazon reviews to find products where a customer reviewer comments that they wish the device had a handle or some sort of other small adjustment. He then sources a product that matches the consumers’ desires and takes over some of the market share.
It’s an easy yet effective way to start selling online without completely inventing something new.
Business Idea Strategy #2: Solve Your Own Problem
Do you wish that you had a product that could do something you don’t want to do? Or do you wish you had a product that would make your life easier in some way?
Then make that product yourself! So many businesses have been started simply to solve the founder’s own problem. Make no exception for yourself and start recognizing what your pain points are — and then develop the solution.
Business Idea Strategy #3: Concentrate on a Passionate Niche
The worldwide web is so vast these days, you can afford to niche-down and focus on a very small group of passionate people. Finding a niche of people that share a common interest and then catering just to them can be very lucrative, so keep an eye out for niche markets you can create products for and sell specifically to those people.
Business Idea Strategy #4: Pay Attention to What Consumers Want
One of the best places to get product ideas is straight from the customers themselves. Who better to source business ideas from than the people who would be your future customers?!
Check social media comments, read customer reviews, search out unboxing videos, or review blog posts to see what consumers are actually saying about products or brands. Take in all of that feedback and develop a product that consumers openly are saying they want to buy.
Business Idea Strategy #5: Use Product Search Tools
You don’t have to find product ideas manually these days — there are plenty of tools out there that you can use to do the dirty work for you. Services like Jungle Scout have been specifically developed to help you determine what consumers are actually interested in buying — so use them to your advantage! If you’re tight on time or want to cut straight to the chase, this is an ideal strategy to use.
Business Idea Strategy #6: Keep an Eye on Trends
Trends come and go, but if you jump on them when they’re popular, it can be a lucrative opportunity. Use tools like Google Trends to search and discover what’s trending right now so you can think of product ideas that will capitalize on those trends.
Business Idea Strategy #7: Sell What You’re Passionate About
One of the best ways to come up with ideas for a business or online store is to sell what you’re passionate about! Chances are that if you’re passionate about something, other people will be too, so why not start selling it?
Take some time to really think about what it is that you’re passionate about and how you can turn that into a product idea. As you go about your day-to-day life, keep in mind the things that you really love to do and what kind of product would support those situations. Once you come up with a product idea, ask yourself, “Would I buy this?” and if the answer is yes, then you likely have a product idea worth pursuing.
Business Idea Strategy #8: See What Suppliers are Making
Check through supplier directories or supplier marketplaces like Alibaba and AliExpress to see what suppliers are making. Suppliers only make what consumers are interested in buying (why would they waste their time making anything else?) so you can be sure that if a supplier is already making it, then it’s a good product to start selling online.
Plus, supplier marketplaces like Alibaba and Aliexpress have tons of product listings in all types of different niches, so it can help get your ideas flowing. Peruse through the different categories and either find a product you want to sell, or maybe you’ll get inspired with other ideas!
Another advantage of this method is that you’ll also be able to find suppliers for your product, so you can start sourcing right away, after you conduct your due diligence by vetting the supplier as best you can. See our Ultimate Guide to Safely Sourcing Products from Alibaba article for guidance on that.
Business Idea Strategy #9: Ask Friends & Family What They Want to Buy
Who better to get product ideas from than the people closest to you? Ask your friends and family for product ideas! Ask them what they would buy to solve their problems right now, or ask them what they’re super passionate about and the products they would purchase to support that passion.
Even if your friends and family don’t have product ideas raring to go, it will at least be helpful to bounce ideas off of them and get the product idea juices flowing.
Business Idea Strategy #10: Use Social Listening Tools
Social listening tools like Twitter Advanced Search are a great way to tune into consumer conversations about what they’re loving, not loving, and want to see more of when it comes to businesses and products. Think about it: When someone buys something and loves it or hates it, they often tell their peers about it. And in today’s digital world, they often tell their peers about it on social platforms like Twitter.
So, use Twitter Advanced Search to find tweets and threads where consumers are talking about products or businesses in a niche or category that you’re interested in pursuing. Use relevant words, phrases, and/or hashtags in the Advanced Search fields to find the tweets that are most relevant to you, and with some repeated searches, you may be able to discover product ideas.
Business Idea Strategy #11: Search Through Forums
Forums like Reddit can be a great way to discover product ideas. Trawl through subreddits and threads like Shut Up and Take My Money to get high-value product ideas consumers want to buy. Scrolling through forums like this can not only give you exact product ideas, but it also gives you an idea as to why consumers are so interested in them which can help you come up with more product ideas. It’s a great way to learn about how consumers think.
Check out these subreddits, too:
Business Idea Strategy #12: Browse Product Curation Sites
Using resources that are already available to you is a smart way to come up with product ideas, and one of those types of resources is product curation sites.
Product curation sites curate cool, interesting, and unique products that are either already on the market or are up-and-coming, and they’re a great place to get inspiration. Check out these product curation sites and see what you can find:
Business Idea Strategy #13: Pay Attention to What Other Entrepreneurs Are Doing
What are other entrepreneurs/brands selling? Is there a way that you can do it better or change it slightly so it targets your own niche? Remember that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel when it comes to your product idea, so it’s always an option to take inspiration from others.
Remember though to just take inspiration — don’t copy others completely. Get inspired by what others are doing, but put your own spin on things and make a product idea “yours” before you start selling it to the general public.
Business Idea Strategy #14: Research Keywords
Keyword research is a super valuable way to find product ideas, because if you use a keyword research tool like KWFinder or Google Keyword Planner you can discover the number of people who are searching for each term each month. This tells you how popular a product is and gives you a good idea of how much traffic you could drive to your store once you start selling.
For best results, try to search for keywords with a high buying intent, as these are the types of things that people are searching for when they want to make a purchase. Examples of keywords with purchase intent are, “t-shirts with digital marketing slogans” and “gold edged picture frames.”
Business Idea Strategy #15: Bring Ideas from Other Countries to Your Country
It’s common for products to become popular in one location before they take off in other locations, so keep an eye out for cool or trending products that are selling well in other regions and bring that product to your region.
To do this, use tools like Google Trends, KWFinder or Google Keyword Planner, or even Twitter Advanced Search and filter by country. Alternatively, you could simply keep an eye out on social media or in the news to see if you can discover any product ideas that way.
There you have 15 valuable ways to come up with business ideas. Try these strategies out and see what business ideas you can discover for yourself!
But remember, if you want to start an online store and have an idea, it’s time to do something about it. Don’t just sit on your idea, take action on it, and turn your idea into a store. Take one step further and submit your business to .Store Domain’s IdeaToStore contest! You have nothing to lose, and a whole lot of value and prizes to gain. Participate now to win up to $30,000 in cash prizes, mentorship, exclusive memberships, and a .Store domain name to turn your #IdeaToStore!
Find out more about how to participate in the IdeaToStore contest here.