What Products Sell Well on the Internet?
By Ann Rusnak
Your ready to become a Netpreneur. All those Internet success stories have you eager to jump on the success bandwagon. Why not? Why should someone else make all the profits.
There has never been a better time in history to start your own business. An Internet business can be started with very little capital.
What are you going to sell on the Internet?
If you have a product or service, your already doing something you know and love but can it sell on the web? Suppose you don’t have a product or service, you need some ideas. You need a product that will sell well. The success of any small business starts with the right product.
Which brings us to the Most Important Two Questions—What Sells Online? and How do you know if you have the right product? Some products are very well suited for this new electronic commerce, others will require a lot of hard work and some won’t even work at all.
So what is selling? An Ernst and Young study found that the most popular online purchased are:
Computer related products (40%)
Recorded Music and Subscriptions (6%)
Also the products and services that take advantage of the convenience of the net sell best. For example – You’re selling a book online. Offer it in a download version and your customer doesn’t have to wait for its arrival by mail.
In Make Your Site Sell, there is a 16 point product checklist. Let’s give your product the nickel tour…
When considering a product for Web sales, use these sixteen factors, listed in approximate order of importance…
1) Product Quality -- Does your product solve someone's problem, or deliver a benefit, in a high-quality way? If not, STOP -- kill this product. Everything becomes a lot easier if you are selling a great product.
2) Competition -- Consider the competition. Don't enter a crowded field if you don't have some kind of unique edge (for example, a unique product or a unique approach).
3) Market Size -- Wide appeal is great, but the Internet is ideal for niche products, as long as that market is on the Net in sufficient numbers.
4) Promotability -- Can your product be promoted at low-or-no-cost?
5) Profit Margin/Pricing -- Even though the cost of doing business on the Web is low, a product with a great profit margin is still a wonderful product to sell.
6) Supply and Exclusivity -- If you develop your own product, you're 100% sure of your supplier... you! Exclusivity on a product is the next best thing. Otherwise, make sure that you are protected.
7) Advantage for You to Sell Via the Web? -- Evan Schwartz, in his wonderful book Webonomics, describes information-rich products as being the ideal ones for the Web. By that he means videos or software, but not Tide detergent. Is your product information-rich?
8) Advantage for Customer to Buy Via Web? -- Is there an advantage to the customer to buy via the Web? For example, availability, price, convenience, or speed of delivery.
9) Sizzle Factor -- Does the product lend itself well to some marketing "sizzle?"
10) Support Required? -- Is the product basically "plug and play." If your consumer can use it immediately with no special help, this is a big plus.
11) Legal/Regulations -- Make sure it's safe and legal in every jurisdiction where you'll be selling it, including a trademark search to be sure.
12) Cost of Transportation -- The product must be cheap to ship (as a percentage of the cost of the item).
13) Cost of Inventory -- It should be cheap to maintain inventory.
14) Potential for Repeat Purchase? -- Your product must have the potential to develop repeat business.
15) Community -- Does the product lend itself to building community? Perhaps via a newsletter? Or through a Chat Room or E-mail Discussion List?
16) "Fun" for you? -- Does selling the product give you pleasure? Your Web marketing efforts will suck a lot of your time, and will require a lot of creativity. If you enjoy it, time and creativity both come easier.
If you can give all the above 16 factors high or perfects scores, you’re all set. If you can’t or the product your considering doesn’t, the reposition the product or start over. If your product is not solid, everything else becomes 100 times harder.
The Internet is a fabulous place to change your life by building your own online business. Your product is your foundation. DON’T set it on quicksand!
The nickel tour version of the 16 point checklist was reprinted with permission from the November 4, 1999 issue of Site Sell eZine.
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