The life of an eCommerce entrepreneur will never be boring. There is always much to learn to build your skills further. There’s always much work to do. Also many new opportunities to keep an eye on. The best entrepreneurs don’t just seek out new opportunities sometimes.
They make it a part of their eCommerce business. Something that they do every day. They also go beyond just cruising famous sites like Product Hunt – that are good – but also very well known as places to get product ideas. They recognize keeping an eye for new opportunities has a range of benefits.
It ensures their business stays current and cutting edge. It ensures they know what is going on with competitors. It also allows eCommerce entrepreneurs to take advantage of potential changes in their field before anyone else sees them.
So let’s look now at 9 brilliant places eCommerce entrepreneurs can go to find product ideas.
This is always the best starting point for seeking product ideas. Your competitors are the best place to begin for two reasons. First, they will have some products you will need to source to keep up with them and serve your customers. Second, you might notice something they’re missing. If they don’t stock it (but should) you can get a market edge by selling what they don’t.
Looking at competitor’s stores is also helpful as it will make you think about your own store in a different way, just like looking in a mirror. You might think about a product in your store that you don’t stock, but really should. Every great leader in business always thinks about what they offer. They also think often about what their competition offers.
Regularly visiting competitor’s eCommerce stores will guarantee you always spend time thinking about your strategy in these two really important areas.
We talk about learning from your competition here.
2. Industry Trade Shows
The online era allows eCommerce entrepreneurs to source goods easily. This is great, as it means you can place orders from the comfort of your own home, instead of needing to travel to a warehouse each week and do the heavy lifting.
Yet there is still a great advantage in meeting with manufacturers direct. That’s why trade shows are great for getting product ideas. You meet suppliers face-to-face, get a better sense of their brand, and even get a first-hand view of what is trending and really popular right now.
3. Your Own Home
When you run an eCommerce store you will naturally spend a lot of time thinking about your customers. Thinking in-depth about what techniques and strategies work best to get them to visit your site, engage, and then buy (AKA convert). This is completely cool, and it’s a good thing that you do think along these lines.
But it’s also important to never forget your customers are people too! Real people, who spend each day sleeping, working, watching Netflix just like you.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to look around your home for product ideas. If you have a business that sells goods used in the home, it’s a natural fit.
Even if you sell goods that are not used in the home, you can still generate ideas. For example, if you sell gardening supplies. People may not use a shovel and pitchfork in their home, but they probably bring dirt from their garden in the house. So sourcing a doormat to sell from now on could be a great way to fix that.
This is just one example of the many areas you can identify a new product to sell. While the new product might not always be at the heart of your daily sales, it can be a great accessory to add.
4. Your Community
Getting out and about in your local community is a great way to get some product ideas. You don’t need to do anything special, just get out and engage. Anyone who knows you run an eCommerce store is sure to ask you now and then ‘How’s business?’. Don’t just say ‘yeah, good’, say you’re looking for product ideas! This is a simple but terrific way to hear about some cool new products.
5. At an Art Gallery or an Exotic Car Dealership
Getting out into your community is a great way to find product ideas in an easy, low-key way. This is a really valuable habit to incorporate into your regular search for product ideas. As well as doing regular activities, it’s great to do special ones. Depending on the sort of goods you sell in an eCommerce store, an art gallery might be a natural fit for you.
If you sell any products in the areas of fashion, design, or even art itself! Yet even if you don’t, going to an art gallery can still be a really good idea.
Ultimately, art galleries showcase products by people that created something. It took planning and strategy, and precision to get right. These are always good themes to reflect on in eCommerce. They can help you come up with new product ideas and even new designs for existing products to make them shine.
If art just isn’t your thing, it’s OK to swap in a trip to a classic car dealership, or something else instead. Provided its a place that has things that inspire you, it’s sure to be worth a visit.
6. Somewhere You Would Never Normally Look
Part of being a leader is about finding new ground. About constantly exploring. You are certain to get some great product ideas from competitors, your home, and among your local community.
Look to go beyond your comfort zone for more results. This doesn’t mean you need to trek through a jungle or sail down the Amazon, but make a habit of exploring new places, and doing new things.
That could mean visiting a new cafe, trying a new hobby, or even heading out of town for a holiday. Step out of your comfort zone, and great new products ideas are sure to follow.
7. By REALLY Engaging on Social Media with Others
Social media is a great place to get new product ideas. For eCommerce entrepreneurs, it can offer you 24/7 access to people and products near and far.
You can get some good product ideas by just reading social media, but you will get your best product ideas by engaging on social media. Make a habit of reaching out and connecting with others who share your passion for new products.
Like you do in your community, ask them if they know of any great new products out now that might fit your eCommerce store. Everybody reads social media, but be one of the rare individuals who proactively use it to connect and grow with others. Alongside product ideas, you’re sure to hear from some interesting and inspiring people along the way.
8. On TV Shows
Social media is truly global, and the TV show is great because it’s the opposite. Whether it’s a comedy, drama, or sitcom, most of them will be set in a certain place. Watching a TV show can be a great way to get you ‘in the zone’ and think about the regular lives of your customers.
Sure, there can exceptions to this. If you sell covers for laptops and smartphones you might not find much crossover when watching Games of Thrones! Even so, you may get an idea about designing a case with leather, or silk, or something you else see on the show. Keep your eyes peeled and ideas will follow.
9. Innovation and Emerging Tech Websites
There are a ton of really great places online to get product ideas from. One category, in particular, is really good to spend some time in. Whatever eCommerce business you have, learning about the future of innovation and emerging technology is always a really good idea. After all, before founding SpaceX Elon Musk built his understanding of rocket science from being self-taught. Nobody is saying you need to go launch a rocket!
But learning about new ideas and innovations (and what other businesses leaders are doing) means you’re sure to discover interesting product ideas of your own. Over time this can deliver you a real advantage as you recognize new opportunities. Even maybe think up ideas for how to combine two existing products to make a new one!
So, what’s next…
Blazing Your Own Path
Every great entrepreneur blazes their own path. Some do it at right at the start. Others do it further down the road. Every person is different, and every eCommerce venture is unique. So there’s no right or wrong time, just your time. What is important to keep in mind is that it is OK to carve your own path here.
Even if you know most competitors get their product ideas from social media, if you find your get your best ideas from trade shows that is OK. Provided you find a formula that works for you and delivers you constant growth, go your own way.
On the other hand, if you find a place you got product ideas from isn’t good lately? Don’t be afraid to change it up. That’s the best thing about having so many places to source product ideas from. Just because you swap from one to another doesn’t mean you can’t go back to your first place later on. You can also try and source ideas from multiple places at once.
Making a Habit of It
Running a successful eCommerce business is a lot like a regular session at the gym. It’s a great thing to start, and over time you build up greater fitness and skill.
The core of eCommerce success is the same as success in the gym. It’s about having a routine and keeping up your momentum.
That’s the case when it comes to product ideas. When you need some product ideas? Search them out.
When you have some product ideas but want more? Search them out.
If you already have lots of ideas? Still ,go search them out.
As well as generating good product ideas, setting aside time regularly to seek out product ideas also has a flow on benefit. It will help you find new places to search for them.
Have fun with your searching.
What Other Places Do You Know You Can Get Product Ideas From?