Another big consideration when choosing what to sell on an eCommerce shop is the feasibility of your product. Doing an extensive market research might not even be an option for startup eCommerce shops due to the costs, time, and effort involved for such an undertaking. There are, however, faster and more cost-effective ways on how you can evaluate the demand for your product; and let’s take a look at the five most common ones.
Keyword Research using the Google Keyword Planner
One of the fastest ways to know how many people are looking for your product online is through the use of the Google Keyword Planner. To be able to access the keyword planner, you would need to sign up for an Adwords account (https://adwords.google.com).
After signing up, Google will ask you to create a new campaign. The site will ask you to enter a campaign amount, and might also ask for credit card information. Don’t worry. You can just type in $1.00 and just make sure to suspend the campaign before you finish creating your account.
Once you’re logged in, you will get a screen similar to the one below. You then need to click on the Menu icon (three dots on the top right of the screen), then click Keywords Planner on the pop-up menu.
You will then be greeted by the Google Keyword planner screen. This is where you put the keywords that are associated with your product. You can even include your competitor’s product/landing page to find out what keywords they use. You can also filter results based on locations, languages, and even exclude other keywords (other brands, for example). Once you’re done typing in the information, you can click on Get Ideas.
The results page would give you the estimated number of monthly searches for your product. The higher the number of searches, the better. This page will also show you the other related searches for your product category.
The example below shows that there are approximately 10,000 to 100,000 monthly searches for the specific product. Moreover, it also says that all associated searches (usually other products in that category) amount to around 10M to 100M monthly. Now, this is definitely a good sign that people are actually looking for (and buying) the product!
Getting Product Insights from Google Trends
You can also use Google Trends (https://trends.google.com) to determine the search demand for your product across a certain period of time. This allows you to see when the search demand for the product started, the current search demand, and the all-important insight of how the demand trend will go in the future.
Google Trends is also a good indicator of the seasonal trends on your product by showing when the online search for the product is the highest and lowest. You can also break down results into what country (or what city) the search demand is highest.
The example below shows that the trend for the product has been on a rise since 2008. To add, most of the online searches also come from the US. The graph also shows that the search demand peaks at December – Christmas time, dips during February to July, and picks up again in October - just in time for Black Friday and Thanksgiving. This is actually a good indicator of expected seasonal sales.
Using Hashtags on Social Media
Who would’ve thought that social media can be so useful for online businesses too! Aside from posting selfies and communication, these networks can also be used for validating the online demand for your product.
It works very much like Google Trends, you can also get insight on how the product fares with the users through the use of related keywords. Now, this is where the power of the HASHTAG comes in.
For social media networks like Twitter and Instagram, hashtags are a way to let other people know that you are posting for, are interested in, and are talking about a certain topic. More posts by users on a certain hashtag means that there is certain interest for the product. Of course, the more posts, the better.
Take a look at the example below, the exact keywords didn’t get too many results and posts. However, also remember that you can also use associated keywords as hashtags. In the case of this example, if a specific product or a brand is used instead, there will be thousands of posts as results. So, don’t forget to also search using other relevant keywords.
Soliciting Feedback from Your Network
There is a reason why your network – personal or social media – exists; and this is for you to get feedback regarding your product or your eCommerce business, in general. The best feature of social media is that there are interest groups in all networks; these are however, most apparent in Facebook and LinkedIn.
Through your networks, you can easily search for relevant groups, join those, and engage the other members. Oh yeah - guess what you can use to search for them? That’s right, your product keywords and associated keywords!
Through these online groups, you can get feedback from customers regarding the product you’re going to sell. To add, you can also get feedback from fellow eCommerce store owners on how to improve your business. You can also join local interest groups and go to meet ups too! The best thing about these special interest groups is that everybody is willing to lend you a hand!
Great business insights can be discerned through social media networks, and it’s not just limited to trends and analytics. People – the very reason why these networks exists – can also be great resources in getting feedback for your products and business. So, don’t be shy, feel free to ask away and join the conversation!
Getting your Feet Wet
Nothing will beat the experience of actually doing something rather than just researching and reading about it. One of the best things to do as a starting eCommerce store owner is actually opening your own store – even if you do not have the product on hand yet.
When you decide to take on this approach though, just always be sure to make it clear to everyone that you do not have the product yet.
This is also the best way to do a quick study on the demands on your product. Because, everything is operational like as if you’re already running the online store, you’ll get a feel of the market. You’ll get real-time customer queries, product feedback, and sometimes order inquiries from potential buyers. In addition, you can already run marketing campaigns, get customers on your mailing lists, and even collect pre-orders and signups from actual customers.