By Paul Smithson
You can't sell a product if you don't have someone to sell it to! A good guideline to help you figure out whether Internet surfers are simply doing research - not looking to buy - is the number of words they use in their search terms.
- One or two words ("gift baskets") means they’re probably doing research.
- Three or more words ("corporate gift basket" or "gift basket supplies" or "Orange County gourmet gift basket") means they’re probably looking to buy.
You can supplement the product demand information you gather from your keyword research with the following:
- Go to PayPal.com. Click on the Shops link at the bottom of page. All 42,000 websites that accept PayPal are listed here by category. There's a Categories column on the left side of the page. Click on the category of the product you're researching. PayPal will display the top shops in that category, ranked by volume (the number of sales made through PayPal).
If, for example, you're thinking of selling tooth whiteners, you'd click on the Health and Nutrition category. And one of the things you'd find is a listing for a company that sold 16,736 of their bleaching kits through PayPal. Since that company seems to have robust sales, they're obviously making money. A tooth whitener, therefore, is a good product to sell.
- Go to groups.Google.com. In the search box, type in the kind of product you're interested in selling - let's say, a supplement that has something to do with human growth hormone. The search results will list all the news groups that are discussing human growth hormone (40,200). Click on the links and you'll find out how many people are posting to those news groups. If there are lots of them, that tells you there is a great deal of interest in human growth hormone, and a supplement like yours will probably be very popular.
- Go to Amazon.com. Click on the Top Sellers tab. The items featured there are organized by category and updated hourly. Amazon may be best known for being an online bookseller, but they also sell a wide variety of other products - computers, jewelry, apparel, automotive, personal care, cell phones, and electronics, among many others. This will give you a good idea of what people are buying on the Internet.
- Go to eBay.com. In the search box, type in the product you're interested in selling. eBay will display how many items are available for sale in that category. If you type in "yoga mats," for example, you'd find that 455 such items are available. That's good information, but what you really want to know is how well those yoga mats are selling. So click on the Sell tab at the top of eBay's home page. Then click on the Seller Central link at the bottom of the Sell page. Scroll down the page, and click on the What's Hot link, then click on Hot Items by Category. This is where you find out which categories and products are HOT - and where demand is outpacing supply!