The next time you are idly sitting down the pub watching the world go by, or suffering a daily commute on the train, you'll come up with an idea for building an eCommerce store. You may come up with lots of them; I do - all the time.
Ideas light the touchpaper and fire the rocket into the sky. They are the waves on which you surf if you choose to ride them. If unused, ideas slowly wither and die like cheap sparklers on Guy Fawkes night. Most of the time, that's all that happens to ideas, left to languish on the shelf with the rest of the wreckage of life.
Ideas are cheap as chips. A dime a dozen, run of the mill. Suddenly appearing directly in front of you like ghostly apparitions or disappearing like the sun setting on a particularly vivid dream. The Muse, offering up opportunities for those who are prepared to take up the challenge.
See This Post For More About Ideas: It's Not About The Idea, It's The Execution That Matters
Everything in the universe is known. Ideas float around you like soft willow wisps in the mist, teasing and coaxing, seeking those who will bring their inkling to a full vision.
Notice how your best ideas come when you are sitting in solitary, or in the shower, or out for a walk. All my best ideas come when I'm out walking the dogs, away from the constant white noise of social media and 24/7 news streams.
The difference between those that built a successful eCommerce empire or blog and those that stand still on the platform in the rain miserably awaiting their next connection is putting ideas into action. The more ideas you try, the more you learn what does and doesn't work.
“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.Thomas A. Edison
To accomplish anything means you have to put one foot in front of the other and head off into the unknown like a poorly equipped Antartic explorer, hemp rope curled over your shoulder, back bent into the rushing blizzard.
It is better to have tried and failed than not to have tried at all. You look at all the successful blogs and eCommerce stores and wonder how you can ever compete. But they were all where you are now at one time, looking for a product or an idea to get started.
As they worked away at their idea, knowledge became acquired, and they gained experience. The coal face is a hard taskmaster, but there are no shortcuts to success. You think everyone else is doing it quicker, faster and better than you, but the hard truth is that very few people are in the right place at the right time. Most often, people move to the right place when they have discovered they are in the wrong one.
It doesn't matter what art you are creating, whether it be blog posts, eCommerce stores or Youtube videos. To be good, you have to put in the hours, nothing gained by subterfuge will give you lasting satisfaction. There are no short cuts, no overnight success, no instant riches. If it were easy, everyone would do it, and when they do, the fight for the scraps is an ugly business. You don't want easy; you want hard.
Don't Choose An Exact Match Domain Name
Back in the day exact match domain names were all the rage. If you wanted to sell yellow hankies, then yellowhankies.co.uk would be the perfect domain name for you. However, what happens when you want to start selling different colours, or different products like matching ties, socks or umbrellas?
The significant advantage of using a website builder to start your eCommerce store is the relatively low development cost, and you can try different products or switch to a new niche if you discover something interesting in your analytics.
However, along with a wealth of information to support your products, you also need backlinks to rank. Once you've gained those backlinks then unlike your blogging effort you can't take them with you to another domain name. You'll have to start all over again.
Xerox, Yahoo and Google are all great examples of made up names that could sell anything.
Here's Some Help With Finding A Perfect Domain Name
Choosing a name that means nothing means you can try lots of different things without having to purchase a new domain name every time you want to try something new or give up your hard-won backlinks.
Seth Godin Wrote One Of My Favourite Blogs About Naming A Business
The quickest way of building a dropshipping site is with Shopify and Oberlo, but that doesn't mean you are going to hit the jackpot automatically. It just means you get products to market at a fraction of the cost of building a site in say Magento or other open source software. You still have to get traffic to your site to make it work, and the way to do this is through a comprehensive blogging campaign.
See My UK Dropshipping Guide For More Information
There are tens of thousands of Shopify websites in the Google graveyard that have never made a sale because they exist in a vacuum. If no one knows you are there, then you can't make sales.
"Don't expect to build a store (though the platform makes this part easy and offers free, optimised eCommerce website templates), stock it with products from Oberlo, and automatically generate hundreds of sales because it doesn't work like that. Instead, find a niche with twenty products and take the time to craft detailed and persuasive descriptions for each of your items; if you do this, you'll have built a solid foundation for your store and can grow your inventory as you move forward."
Selling Products That Are Already Successful On eBay
Using Terapeak To Discover Opportunities
If a product is already selling in large amounts, then it would make sense to sell the same product?
Unfortunately, this is the way to go broke quickly. Unless you can source the same or similar product at a lower price then only competing on margin is not the way to make a living.
You can use Terapeak to interrogate the eBay database and discover which products are the best sellers and what is trending right now. To take advantage of short term trends, you'll also need to be good at Pay Per Click or Facebook advertising to drive traffic to your store. Otherwise by the time you've built a new store and got it ranking the trend will be over!
Here are some of the current hot trends on Terapeak:
Water Flavour Enhancers
Those Mad Men have outdone themselves this time and convinced the public that adding a water enhancer to necessary tap water can add essential minerals like Vitamin B. It's ridiculous really, but people are taken in by these new “diet water” products!
Flavoured water drops are tiny squeeze bottles that contain concentrated flavour adding sweetness and colour to your tap water. But they also contain other ingredients like citric acid: propylene glycol, caffeine and sucralose.
The health benefits are questionable, but it has to be better than drinking sugary cans of fizzy pop, that's all they have going for them.
Way too many people are taking Game Of Thrones too seriously! Archery as a sport is on the way up, and archery products feature throughout the Terapeak “hot list.”
Dungeons And Dragons
In my school days, we used to have a basement where the nerdy types used to go and play their war games. If computers had been available, they would probably have been the first to use them as well. It seems Game Of Thrones has had a significant influence on these role-playing games, everything GOT is hot at the moment.
Battery Testers & Rechargeables
Battery technology has improved tremendously over the past couple of years, and rechargeable batteries are brilliant. They are not cheap though, and intelligent chargers that can discharge them first before doing a full recharge will extend their life. Battery replacement websites are a great niche.
Trend watching is a company that scans the entire internet for the most promising and upcoming trends and insights. They were established in 2002 and have hubs in London, Singapore, New York and Amsterdam. They have over 250,000 subscribers.
Springwise has over 20,000 global “springspotters” in 190 countries reviewing innovations. They evaluate 100 innovations every single day! They will provide you with monthly reports on the latest innovation trends.
Trendhunter is a community of nearly 200,000 people collecting all the latest cutting edge ideas. They provide trend reports, conferences, books and keynotes.
There is a slide show on the homepage of the hottest new ideas, and you could quite easily get lost on this website for days on end, so be warned!
Here Are Some More Ideas:
My wife is always watching Celebrity Big Brother, Love Island or some other reality show when I go to bed, so I like to listen to a podcast or an audiobook before I go to sleep.
The trouble is, those bulky wireless headphones are no good because when you lay on your side, they dig into your ears.
The solution is a fabric sweatband with built-in and removable Bluetooth speakers. You can wear them for running or sports as well and when they get dirty, remove the tiny speakers and put the band in the wash. They are comfortable if you fall asleep while listening to music.
LED Dog Collars
I was out walking the dogs earlier in the year when I saw a blue band galloping round and round in circles in the distance on the park. It frightened the life out of me! LED dog collars enable dog owners to see their dog when they let them off the lead at night.
USB Desktop Fans
It hasn't been a great summer here in the UK, but when it does eventually heat up, USB desktop fans are an excellent way for people to stay cool at their desks.
Genetic Nutrition Kits
DNA testing hasn't been around all that long, but already it is making its way into the mainstream. Orig3n's LIFEPROFILE FUEL assesses your food needs based on DNA.
There are opportunities everywhere. My advice is to build for the long term and stop looking for short term trends that will play havoc with your cash flow. Short term trends should be something you play with once you have an established website and a steady income.