So now that you know what DropWired and dropshipping is you’re ready to think about what you’re going to sell on your website. By using DropWired you can easily import hundreds of products to your website to begin your dropshipping business, but before you start just adding products at random you should decide on a niche and formulate a strategy for finding the right sorts of products. Remember that the products you choose are the most important aspect of your business.
Throughout this guide we’ve provided some tactics to help you figure out what to sell and how to make sure the niche you choose can be profitable. We’ll then take you through the process of finding the right products on AliExpress and how to import them into your DropWired website.
Choosing a niche
AliExpress has millions of products for you to choose from, and it can be daunting knowing where to start in trying to decide what to sell. To decide what to sell you will first need to pick a niche. Your niche can be as broad as 'shoes' or more defined like 'slippers'. The niche you choose is what you'll build your brand and identity around. It's also how you'll garner an idea of the demographics of the people that you'll be marketing to.
Here are some ideas to help you come up with a list of potential niches:
1. Think about what sort of products are of interest to you.
Make a list of everything that you think would be fun to sell. This way can be profitable as you’ll find it easier to market something you’re passionate about.
2. Look for the best selling products on big websites like Etsy and Amazon.
Then make a list of the niches that stand out to you based on those products. Knowing what sorts of products are selling well can help you choose a profitable niche.
3. Think about products you own or have seen that could make your customers' lives easier.
These sorts of products will be easy to market as you can explain all the ways it can change the customer’s life.
4. Consider niches that encourage return customers.
Niches that appeal to specific hobbies can encourage return customers as they look for the next thing to further their interest. Niches that involve products that would need to be repeatedly bought, such as cleaning products, can be profitable as return customers are built right in.
5. Check websites like Trend Hunter to give you ideas about current popular trends that you might not have thought of.
6. Use Think with Google's tool for finding 'Rising Retail Categories'.
Checking if your niche is profitable
However you choose to narrow down your ideas of what to sell you’ll want to ensure that there’s interest in the market before you search for specific products. There are some valuable tools on the internet which can help you gauge interest levels in what you're thinking of selling.
Here’s a simple and quick way to establish a good feel for which niche on your list will work best for you:
1. Start by using Google Trends to narrow down your list.
Google Trends shows you data for specific search terms over your chosen time period and location. If you have multiple niches that you’re considering, enter each one individually into Google Trends and choose relevant parameters to see if that niche would work well for you. As an example to show you how this is helpful I’ll use the niches ‘board games’ and ‘sunglasses’ to show what sort of trend patterns can prove to be profitable.
For both search terms I’ve chosen to set my parameters as ‘Worldwide’ and for the ‘Past 5 years’.
This was the data for board games:
From this data I can see that interest in board games fluctuates a lot throughout a year. This means it might not always be the most profitable niche that I could pick, but because there is always a level of interest there is still a decent amount of money that could be made. Interest looks to always be particularly high right around the holiday season so profits can be maximised with the right marketing at that time of year.
And here was the data for sunglasses:
From this data we see that sunglasses have always been a popular trend and as interest continues to increase it could be a profitable market for dropshipping.
This Google Trends data for both of these niches tells us that they could both be profitable niches to explore. But this data isn’t enough to make a final decision.
2. Next we need to see if there are enough of the right sorts of products available on AliExpress. After all, if there are no products worth selling, the niche is useless. To check this you’ll want to enter your niche keywords into the AliExpress search bar and narrow the results down to ones with free shipping and that are rated 4 stars and up.
I’m going to check for my ‘sunglasses’ niche. Using those parameters I receive a healthy 11,828 results:
You'll also want to take a glance through the results of products to make sure that the numbers of orders for products is high (totalling over a few thousand) as this further confirms demand as people are clearly buying them.
3. Finally we need to check out the competition.
There are many methods that you can undertake to explore how much competition exists for your niche. The quickest way to get an idea of how many and the types of sites that exist in the same market as you is to use a website like Semrush. Semrush offers you important SEO research about your niche including how much competition exists for keywords associated with your niche. If your keyword has a high number of results, it’ll be more difficult for you to break into.
Semrush also shows you ‘search engine results page (SERP)’ analysis for keywords, which allows you to see the top results that appear when your keyword is entered into Google. This allows you to check out your competition on all scales. The websites located towards the beginning of the SERP analysis will most likely be big names that you won’t necessarily be directly competing with. Look deeper into some of the further pages which are sites that are more likely to be on your scale when you’re first starting out. Check through these sites and see if there’s a different angle that you could bring to the market that doesn’t yet seem to be covered. This can also be a great way to help narrow down a broad niche. If the market seems saturated in one area of your niche, try thinking of different areas of the niche that you could focus on instead.
I’m going to, again, look into the ‘sunglasses’ niche to see how much competition and what sort of competition exists. Now I obviously would expect the keyword of ‘sunglasses’ to be quite popular so it isn’t too surprising when my results end up being thousands of searches and a high difficulty level for the keyword:
When I check the SERP analysis I’m also unsurprised to find some big names in the first page of results:
But as I look through other pages I start to see fewer names that I’ve heard of before. To decide if I would want to progress with this niche I would then have a look through these other sites to see if they’re sites that I feel I could reasonably compete with or to see if there’s any gaps in the market for something new.
Based on the data for ‘sunglasses’ it looks like it would be a difficult niche to break into.
However, a difficult niche doesn’t mean it’s impossible and that you should give up on it. It just means it might need some really inventive marketing and some good buying incentives to get people interested in buying from you instead of the competition. Whatever niche you decide to go with it’s important to know what your competitors are doing, so you can figure out ways to do it better.
Once you know who some of your main competitors are use SimilarWeb to analyse their website visitor data. SimilarWeb allows you to see how much traffic a website is getting and where it's getting that traffic from. This can help you know where to push your advertising budget as you can find areas where your competitors aren't advertising themselves and also which areas are really working for them which could also work for you. You'll also be able to see which search terms (both paid and organic) are entered into search engines that lead people to the competitor's website. This can help you to know which search words to focus on for your own website.
Finding quality products on AliExpress
Once you’ve decided on a niche you can start looking for specific products on AliExpress. Take time to consider each and every product that you intend to put on your store. It’s a process that might seem slow, but it’s vital to your success. Remember that your store is your brand. If you start selling products that are faulty or low quality then it won’t matter one bit to the customer that it’s not you who created the product. Since you’re the one who sold it to them, it’s you that they’ll come complaining to when things aren’t what they should be.
Do some basic checks
When you find a product on AliExpress that you like the look of there are some basic things that you should first check on the AliExpress website to immediately be able to eliminate any unacceptable products:
Delivery times and cost
For each product you’ll want to make sure that the delivery time and cost isn’t too outrageous. On the product page you’ll see an option for delivery (you might first need to select a shipping country):
Click on the option to open a box with all of the delivery options for that product:
Some products will offer you many options ranging in cost. Free shipping is always appealing as it lowers your costs, but sometimes it isn’t the most viable option. Weigh the benefits of your customer receiving their order quicker against how much the shipping cost would be.
If you ship internationally, you should check the delivery times for each country that you plan to make the product available to ship to.
If delivery times are long, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the product is useless to you, but it is definitely something you would want to advertise on the product page so as to not unnecessarily anger your customers. Wherever you can you should use an option that offers you tracking on the shipment as your customers will like to know where their order is, and it’ll always be better if you have some information to give them.
Every product on AliExpress is being sold by an individual store, and when you're faced with two stores that offer you similar products you'll want to know which store will treat you and your customers better.
AliExpress displays details about the store’s reputation right on the product page:
In the above examples, both stores have been open for over a year giving plenty of time for them to have accumulated accurate ratings. Based on these ratings you can easily choose which store you'd rather have dealings with as it has better scores than the other.
Once you've checked these basic ratings you should open the store’s feedback tab and read some of the reviews about other peoples' past experiences with the store. Seek out any negative reviews the store has just to give you an idea of some issues you might encounter by using the store. Obviously, any store with mostly negative reviews is one you’ll want to avoid.
The percentage of positive feedback is important, but make sure you balance it against how long the store has been open. A store that’s only been open a few months might not have enough data compiled for it yet to give an accurate representation of what they’re actually like to work with.
When viewing a specific product pay attention to the product rating and also how many orders have been placed for the item. Products with a small number of orders won't have enough reviews to tell you how good the product actually is. So avoid products that have a rating below 4.5 and an order count below 100.
Then you should always check out the product reviews to learn how consistent the product and the supplier are.
Product reviews give you a great idea of how often the product came as advertised and also if people ran into poor shipping experiences with the seller. Because consistency will be key in building your own brand you'll want to make sure that the suppliers that you choose can offer you and your customers the best possible experience. Examining a product's reviews, as long as it has a decent amount of reviews (over 100 would be ideal), is the best way to check the consistency of the product and the shipping experience.
Some product reviews also show pictures of what the product actually looked like when it arrived which can help you quickly eliminate products that weren't as advertised as they're sure to only cause you headaches with your own customers.
Order test products
Placing test orders and seeing the quality of the product yourself is the most important thing you can do to ensure that the products you’re selling are worth buying. Ordering products to test not only allows you to ensure their quality but also allows you to experience the shipping and delivery process from that seller.
Being able to see/use the product in person also gives you the opportunity to take pictures if the images that are available on the product page don’t look satisfactory.
Talk to sellers
When you find products that you want to sell, talk to the supplier first. Ask them any questions you might have about their product and their shipping process. If they’re helpful and responsive to you, it’s a good indication that they’ll be a store that won’t cause you too much stress to work with. Additionally, if you tell them that you're looking to dropship their product, you might be able to come to some arrangement in regards to pricing and organising a test product to be sent to you for lower cost.
What to know when importing products to DropWired
Importing products from AliExpress to DropWired is as easy as pushing a button on the AliExpress product page:
This button will appear on every product page as soon as you have installed the Google Chrome extension.
Once you’ve pushed the button the product will appear in your import list which you can then use to customise the product details before importing it to your ShopWired website.
You have complete control over how much you choose to customise the way the product looks on your website.
When the product is imported from AliExpress it will be imported with all of the product information that it contained on the AliExpress website. We strongly recommend that you go through every aspect of the product on the import page and change aspects of the import that wouldn’t appeal to your customers.
Title and description
The product titles and descriptions that are imported with the products don’t tend to be well-written or as explanatory as they need to be to make the product seem appealing. You’ll definitely want to change each one that you import.
For example take the title of the the product pictured above: ‘Pandemic Board games Save the Humanity card Game for kids adult party table games entertainment playing cards’ . This is obviously far too wordy for your website. Changing the title to something simple and snappy such as ‘Pandemic: The Board Game’ is much more eye grabbing.
Then you should take some time to think of a product description that will make the product sound irresistible to your customers. Make sure you’ve thoroughly read the product description on the AliExpress page so you know all of the features that you should highlight. This is also where your test product will come in handy as you'll know firsthand the way the product looks so you can fully describe this to your potential customers.
On the categorisation tab you can place the product in one (or more) of the categories and brands that you’ve already created for your website. You can also configure what filter groups the product should be placed in. You'll need to place your product in at least one category in order for it to easily be accessible on your website.
In the pricing tab you can check the price that the product has been imported at. This will be inline with any settings you have configured or just the price on the AliExpress website if you haven’t configured your settings to change the price. You can manually set a different price and set a delivery price if you would like. Check out 'Part 3' of this guide for help on pricing your products to maximise profitability.
If the product comes in different variations on AliExpress, they will all have been imported and be displayed in the variations tab. You can choose which ones to display on your website and adjust the price if you need a specific variation to be priced differently to the base product. On the AliExpress website you should go through each variation individually to make sure it’s one you can offer (based on if it ships to the location of your customers) and to see if the seller will charge you more to purchase it.
The product will import with the product images that the seller uploaded on AliExpress. If these pictures look clear and like a true representation of the product, then that’s great! Use them on your website! But if the pictures are subpar or don’t show the product in its best light, then you should take some better pictures (using the test product that you definitely should have ordered!) to upload instead.
Read the rest of our Beginner's Guide to DropWired series:
Part 1 - What is DropWired?
Part 3 - Maximising your profitability
Part 4 - Gaining and keeping customers