They say that 80% of online businesses fail within 2 years.
Inexperience and lack of knowledge, among other reasons, are common explanations for why an online business doesn’t take off.
However, there are also cases in which businesses start off in the same situation, or even worse, and are still able to establish themselves well.
Why is that?
Again, there are a lot of reasons why, but among them we can find the one that we’ll deal with today: choosing the product.
Just by finding the right niche, you’ll help your business take off even when you may lack technical expertise or experience.
And if you add effort and good tools on top of that, you’ve got it made.
To give you a hand with that, we thought about giving you some ideas about what to sell. In order to do so, we went around the Internet and made a list of the most sold products online.
Read it with an open mind and analyze whether or not your business could find its place in one of these niches or not.
Let’s get down to business.
Why is it important to know what the most sold products online are?
If you are going to create an online shop , there is something you must have very clear: there must be demand for your products . It doesn’t make much sense to spend money setting up a store with products that nobody is going to buy.
It may sound obvious, but when you take a deeper look around the web, you will find cases where it’s not so clear why they decided to start selling certain products. ;)
In addition, to sell online, you must take one other important detail into account: online sales is completely different than traditional sales.
Physical selling ≠ Online selling
Just because a certain product or industry has a lot of demand in physical stores does not mean that it will have the same demand online (and vice versa).
To avoid any mistakes when the time comes to choose your industry and target audience for your shop, today we are going to share with you the 6 best products to sell online. With these products, the demand is assured, but so is the competition.
1. Fashion items
Interestingly, fashion is the top selling industry in almost all of the world.
Yes, despite the industry being tricky and having products that come in sizes that may vary from store to store, fashion remains the queen of sales.
The increase in demand in the fashion industry in the online world owes itself mainly to the improvement in returns policies.
Previously, it was difficult for somebody to risk buying a shirt, pants, or a jacket without knowing for sure if it was going to fit well. Nowadays returns are free in almost all shops and you can try something on at home, without lines and knowing that you can return it at any time.
Indeed, there are lots of sales, but… is it worth getting into this niche?
Advantages and disadvantages of starting a fashion e-commerce
Don’t get carried away with your first impulse.
Whenever you have an idea, try to separate yourself from the emotions it makes you feel and analyze it objectively. Ask yourself, who am I going to sell to? How am I going to reach those clients?
- Too general: the term “fashion”, when said like that, is too general. This means that there are a lot of different types of fashion that fall under that umbrella term. If you try to cover them all, you will surely fail.
- Swamped market: if the most-sold products are fashion products, don’t expect to reach the open blue sea (a market with no competitors), but rather a red one full of fishermen.
- Technical difficulties: do you know anything about textile design, materials, and suppliers or your only relationship with fashion your monthly reading of Vogue magazine? Even if it is a well-sold product, you are going to need a lot of knowledge…
- Risk of returned products: users are used to being able to return products without giving reasons why. Big retail businesses do it that way and it’s a challenge for an e-commerce that’s just starting up.
But not everything is negative—let’s take a look at the advantages of the most successful niche on the Internet.
- People buy a lot: clothes and fashion in general are the products that sell the most because people are not afraid of buying them online anymore. There are some other sectors where we don’t feel as comfortable, but not here.
- Technology makes it very easy: thanks to video and photo tools, you will be able to show clients products as if they were seeing them in person.
- It is a fast-moving sector: new products are released every day, as well as new trends to be exploited—and that is great for a content marketing strategy.
Here you have some tips before we get into the next point:
- Specialize yourself as much as you can: don’t just start a shop about clothes—find a style, a specific garment, or even a specific model from just one brand, and aim to be the best.
- Start by using dropshipping or affiliation: if you don’t want to invest in stock, try out one of the options that allow you have a shop without investing in material. If you are considering this option, read this post about how to sell without stock or this other one that focuses specifically on dropshipping.
Let’s leave fashion to the side and move on to the second bestselling product online.
We are going on a trip!
2. Trips and tourism
If there is one industry that has adapted well to the online revolution, it is the tourism industry.
Surely you can’t even remember the last time you bought a plane ticket, reserved a hotel, booked a tour, or planned any other part of a trip in person.
Furthermore, the huge number of comparison sites drives prices to be much more competitive. In the past, we all went to travel agencies, but now we can organize our own trips from home with a computer and a few clicks.
Are you thinking about starting an online business about trips and tourism?
Have a look at the pros and cons
Trips are wonderful, aren’t they?
If you always run to get the new Traveler and you have the Lonely Planet guides from every city you’ve been to, it is quite probable that you love travelling and this is your thing.
It is a huge point in favor, but don’t lose perspective. Just because you like travelling doesn’t mean that you are going to like selling tourism-related products. Not at all.
Plus, even though everyone buys online in this sector, there are giants that have been soaking up all the money for years.
Specialization is the key to getting into the travel industry.
Companies such as Booking or Trip Advisor cover all of the micro-niches in the sector, but they are too horizontal—they cover way too many aspects.
A vertical business will cover, for example, just the hotels with swimming pools in a specific city. The information is deeper and more specific than the one offered on a megasite. Clients will thank you, and so will Google.
TIP: if you want to learn about SEO for online shops, read this.
3. Tech products
It’s interesting that tech products aren’t the #1 seller, isn’t it?
The main reason behind a sale slipping away is the customer’s lack of guarantee.
When you buy a piece of technology in a physical establishment you tend to have much more confidence that, in the case of defect, they will be there to repair it.
We want to feel that no matter what problem we have, there will be a “real” person we can go to.
With an online shop you don’t have that kind of confidence, unless they have inspired it.
For example, in the Spanish tech market, BQ has become a benchmark thanks do their excellent guarantee. Anyone buying from them knows that if they have any defects they will have their product replaced or repaired within 2 days.
Here you have our advice about starting up in this sector
Unless your surname is Jobs, you are a creative genius, or you have started a business in Silicon Valley, we don’t recommend that you start an e-commerce shop that sells your own products.
The positive thing about this sector is that there is a huge supply and that technology advances quite rapidly.
This situation is key for a content curation strategy in which you analyze the “new arrival” products.
The con, again, is that there are a lot of consolidated blogs and websites with a huge business volume that already do reviews and compare devices.
There are only a few who can create technology. The way to monetize a website here is through publicity and affiliation.
Affiliation is about analyzing products from other parties and redirecting the audience to an external sales website in exchange for a commission. Click here if you want to know more about affiliate marketing.
Once again, specialization is key.
If, instead of covering all types of products, you specialize yourself in Samsung tablets that cost more than X euros, you will be able to reduce your competitors and become the benchmark on the topic.
4. Second-hand sales
Though eBay isn’t quite what it was a few years ago, second-hand sales remain one of the top sellers online.
The ease with which you can find a product being sold for half the price and in great condition cannot be matched in almost any physical shop.
Beyond that, the world of second-hand selling opens up possibilities of finding and selling almost any type of product. There are shops of all types: electronics, clothing, tickets, books, cars, etc.
If that wasn’t enough, demand for secondhand products has increased among populations with medium to high income.
Buying used products is no longer stigmatized as being for those with low economic status, but rather as a love for quality products that combats the “made in China” trend.
All this has been accompanied by technology.
To those who were already part of MilAnuncios or Vibbo, a new app called Wallapop was added, an app that has more than 20 million users in Spain alone.
There was a comment made by the Spanish Ministry of Economy that created a bit of a fuss. He basically said that these types of transactions between private parties should be taxed.
We will see where all that goes, but the boom is unstoppable. Don’t discard the idea that it becomes number one on our list.
5. Books and Musis
These products may be thought to be in a higher position in this ranking, but taking into account the amount of illegal downloading of both music and books, fifth place is not bad at all.
Lower prices, after eliminating some of the costs related to distribution , allows us to buy books for as little as $1 and to choose which tracks of an album we want to buy.
Since it seems that hard copies of books are going to disappear altogether, it wouldn’t surprise us if book sales jumped up in the rankings in the coming years.
It’s been a long time since Napster and other platforms of that sort started to come along.
Since those days, when this sector began to fear what could happen, we’ve experienced a revolution, especially in the way music is bought and sold.
Books and music albums are still among the most sold products because of platforms such as iTunes, Spotify, or Amazon and its Kindle. If it had depended on music labels, we would still be buying cassette tapes.
6. Educational Courses
It’s hard not to notice how popular e-learning is becoming.
A lot of online learning platforms have appeared lately; like course platforms such as Video2Brain (recently bought by LinkedIn), or Udemy. Specific education in some areas is taking over general education (like official university and master’s degrees).
iven that we live a global setting in which finding a job is getting more and more difficult, it is understandable that the demand for online training is on the rise.
The key to that change is that users are no longer afraid of learning without getting a degree or certificate.
Let’s break that down.
The most important thing now is simply the content you learn, not the certificate that says that you have learned it.
Perhaps there were too many cases of students holding university bachelor’s and master’s degrees despite not knowing anything about the real market.
When someone has the skills and knowledge in order to train other people about something, it is not necessary to issue a certificate specifying what students have learned.
For many years, we have had an obsession with certificates. Luckily, users are starting to get online training these days.
This unaccredited education is surely going to grow in the future. In addition, the entrance requirements are quite flexible. And that’s good, isn’t it?
Are you thinking of offering online education?
This democratization of the transfer of knowledge, as some people like to call it, has just started.
One of the risks is the low barrier for entry. Just by having a website, some videos, and a couple of testimonials, anyone can teach.
But can we assure quality?
It’s difficult to say at first.
The proliferation of poor-quality courses brings along with it the fear of being deceived.
However, if you offer a quality service, the market will allow you to find your place.
If you are thinking of selling online training, make an extra effort with respect to:
- A good Inbound Marketing strategy
- A powerful editorial line
- Getting subscribers
- Email marketing that strengthens your brand and fosters trust
Should you create an online shop with one of these products?
With these being the most demanded products, the obvious and logical answer would be yes. The problem is that this high demand is no secret and that means there is a lot of competition.
Think about the number of fashion shops, trip planners, technology shops, music/book shops, or e-learning platforms that we currently have, and their numbers are only increasing.
If you want to succeed in this industries, there is only one possible way to do it: differentiate yourself and specializing.
Getting into a mature and general market like the ones we have talked about isn’t something a beginner can do:
- Price: competing in terms of price is nearly impossible, so your brand must be 100% unique.
- Authority: be the market’s benchmark has its perks. You can even set the trends.
- Trust: remember that online customer are still scared and prefer to buy from well-known shops, even if the products are worse.
- SEO: can you imagine yourself trying to position the same amount of products as Amazon or El Corte Inglés?
The key to making it in these industries that deal with the most sold products online is hyper-specialization, offering a unique user experience, and covering those tiny details that the giants just can’t see.