Product Trends are identified by analyzing the latest consumer behaviours, and anticipating future demand with data & instinct. Trends are especially important to drop shippers, because they have a unique ability to test & change products rapidly. Mastering the art of trend spotting and related product selection makes drop shipping more profitable, and addresses competition concerns.
One of the best things about drop shipping, is the freedom from physical inventory. It allows you to test & change products rapidly, opening the door to the latest trends.
Profiting From Product Trends
While it wouldn’t be feasible for your average retail business to run around following trends, it’s a drop shipper’s superpower. If you’re good at it, devoting 25 percent of your inventory to trending products could double your bottom line.
It usually isn’t feasible for most retailers to manage a fully dynamic product line, due to the micro-management required with trends. You’re not going to be right all the time either, resulting in unpredictable sales volumes. In my experience, 25 percent brings a manageable balance to your product line while remaining profitable.
That said, if your niche is in a retail sector that revolves around trends, such as fashion, you already have to stay on top of where it’s headed. In that case, you can easily devote more of your inventory to short-term trends.
“If you know that your market is growing, then you can move resources away from products in declining markets so you can ramp up supply and cash in while the going is good,” writes Bernard Marr for Forbes.
Keep in mind that trends aren’t always about a specific product that’s popular. They can also revolve around the latest issues, news, ethics, and so on. For example, today’s high level of environmental awareness can lead you to the elimination of single-use plastics. That, in turn, can lead you to products that replace them, such as reusable straws or shopping totes in fun designs or unique colours.
Selecting your products strategically to exploit the latest trends isn’t difficult, but it does require two things:
- Time to monitor and research trends.
- The ability to evaluate trends and envision how you can profit from them.
You don’t have to sell the trending product itself. In fact, products that initiate a trend saturate the market quickly. Instead, do some brainstorming that starts with the question, “What can I sell that’s related to this product?”
Then, follow the same process you use to evaluate any other product you’re considering, such as profit margins and suitability for your ideal customer. We have more information about product selection in How to Choose the Best Products to Sell Online in Canada.
Research must be done diligently and as quickly as possible. As time goes on, you’ll narrow down the best methods for your particular online store and the process will be faster.
Start with the following suggestions:
> Know your ideal customer, inside and out. Everything you do will revolve around this shopper, including the trends they’re interested in. Use your own visitor data and ask questions on social media to gain insights.
> The latest news is a treasure chest of product ideas. Subscribe to newsletters and magazines and pay attention to the advertisements. Many trade magazines are available free of charge to Canadians.
> If you intend to focus on the Canadian market, you can monitor best selling products in the USA and check for their availability here. If that product is selling like hotcakes in the US, there’s a good chance the demand will be there in Canada too. Make sure it’s legal to sell in Canada and then find drop shipping suppliers.
> Monitor Amazon, or other sites with ‘top product’ rankings, such as Indigo and Walmart Canada. You can also use online marketplaces like Amazon see which recommended products are automatically associated with the product you’re researching. Read 7 Online Marketplaces for Profitable Product Ideas for more tips.
> Google Trends Canada provides information on search trends in this country. Knowing what consumers are searching for can help you determine where a trend is headed and how saturated the market is.
> The Junglescout Opportunity Finder is designed specifically to find hot niches by leveraging search data.
> Drop shipping apps and websites usually have lists of trending products. World Wide Brands, for example, has a product analysis tool that is absolutely priceless. It’s included free with your lifetime membership to their (certified genuine) drop shipper directory. It is designed specifically for online sellers, providing market research data like demand, competition, and more. These sites are also a fantastic resource for identifying profitable products in general, like AliDropship’s list of Best Dropshipping Niches.
> Ecomhunt and similar tools are designed to help you discover new products. They can save an enormous amount of time!
> Bloggers & influencers are often the first to identify or announce new products. For example, fashion & beauty sites often have a ‘trends’ section.
> Social media networks can provide data that indicates trends and shifts. For example, you can track hashtags and search for specific trends within the network.
> Businesses that offer retail services or related information can be a source of valuable info. For example, Cloudways publishes an annual list of 50 Top Trending Products to Sell Online At Your Ecommerce & Dropshipping Store in 2020. Here at Online Business Canada, we publish an annual list of our own hottest niches.
> Competitive intelligence involves keeping a close eye on your competitors. You can do that with competitive intelligence tools or just by visiting their website and following them on social media.
> Keep an eye on the news. That means everything from general news to industry news. When you view the world as it relates to a product, it’s much easier to predict its potential.
If that seems like more work than you can handle yourself or with your present team, seriously consider hiring someone to help. Anyone can do the initial legwork and leave the final decision to you. It’s a perfect job for your average Virtual Assistant.
Keeping up with the latest trends is only half the battle. The money is in staying one step ahead of them.
Think about where a current trend is headed. Most of it is simple logic, but few take the time to reach beyond current popularity to see what will happen next. The sellers who are able to see beyond the end of a current trend, are the ones who will be most successful.
For example, face masks were an obvious trend during the pandemic, but they come with a whole new set of problems to solve. Ears got raw so someone invented head bands. Glasses fogged up. Skin conditions appeared from long-term use.
What’s next? Are consumables involved? Accessories? Related products?
With practice, it will become faster & easier to identify related opportunities.
When you think you’ve found a winner:
- Make sure there are drop shipping suppliers available to you.
- Test a sample.
- Set it up through your online store as quickly as possible.
- Use online marketing to get it in front of consumers in real time, such as your blog, newsletter or social media.
Have a look at some of the internet’s top drop shipping retailers and try to spot the strategic use of trends. You’re almost certain to find them, because they’re a true secret of success among those who are killing it with drop shipped fulfillment.
If you have questions or wish to discuss trends further, join us in the Online Business Canada Facebook group!
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Melody McKinnon's formal education is in business management, which she enhanced with more than 60 certifications revolving around business, marketing, health, general sciences and writing. In over 20 years of working online, she has owned or managed both educational and eCommerce websites.
Melody has worked with many businesses & brands in a multitude of capacities. She can often be found on CanadiansInternet.com, CanadianFamily.net and AllNaturalPetCare.com, as well as other quality digital publications. Her content has earned reference links from highly-respected websites, magazines and university textbooks.