So you’re looking to start an online store but aren’t sure if your product idea has legs or not?
It’s true that one of the most critical elements of a successful online store is the product.
Your product needs to have a demand, people need to give you money for it, and when they do give you money for it they need to love it and tell their friends about it.
So, how do you tell if your product is a goer, or not?
The first thing we want to do is start with you.
If you’ve found a gap in the market and are ready to launch a concept that doesn’t exist yet — what’s really important is that there is a market in the gap and that there are enough people who want/need your product to create a viable business.
Regardless of the product, you are launching, it’s important that you remove your ego from this process. Your ego may be so attached to making your idea work that it’ll allow you to spend time and money pursuing something that just simply won’t work. Approach this process through an unbiased, non-emotional lense.
Tip 1: Ask questions and gather feedback
Asking questions is one way to see what people think of your product idea.
But it’s important that you ask the right people.
I’m part of many Facebook groups and nearly every day I see posts asking for advice on the rebrand of product labels, logo design and landing page creation. While sometimes the Facebook group is the right forum, often it is not.
While surveying the right people is a great way to progress in the right direction, surveying the wrong people is a great way to progress in the wrong direction.
So who do you want to ask:
- Ask friends and family. But take their answer with a grain of salt. If they enthusiastically say “that’s a great idea – I love it!” (which they probably will because they are invested in your feelings) ask them to part with money to see if they really think it’s a great idea; Actions – or transactions in this case – speak louder than words.
- Ask lots of strangers. They can provide unattached, non-emotional feedback. They aren’t attached to the idea, and they have no idea how much time and effort you’ve put in.
- Ask your ideal customers. Sounds obvious, but this is often skipped.
- Ask someone who is already doing what you’re thinking of doing. See what challenges they faced and perhaps avoid some of the same pitfalls.
Tip 2: Use Google to research the size of your market
You can also use Google tools to evaluate the size and popularity of your market.
Google receives more than two trillion search queries a year – and as a platform, it provides online store owners with some really powerful data.
There are 2 Google tools we want to introduce you to now.
1. The first is Google Trends.
You can use this tool to identify how popular search terms are by location, category and time. This is great for identifying if your product is increasing or decreasing in popularity, as well as identifying if your product is cyclical where you have high and low seasons throughout the year.
2. The next tool we want to introduce you to is Google Keyword Planner.
Ok, so I’m just going to show you one feature of this tool for this exercise and that’s to see how many searches per month are being made for that term, and how much competition there is bidding on ads for the term.
I just want to quickly explain the difference between keywords and Long tail keywords. Keywords tell the search engine what is on the website. For example Dog Bed.
Long tail keywords are phrases that are made up of 3 words or more and are more specific. For example “how to build a dog bed” or “where to buy designer dog beds”.
How to use Google Tools to validate your product idea:
- Brainstorm a list of keywords and long tail keywords that people might use to search for your product. Include modifiers like “where can I” and “how-to”.
- Use the Google Keyword Planner Tool to see how many searches are being made for each keyword and long tail keyword, and how much competition there is.
The number of searches will give you an indication of the size of your market. And the competition will give you an indication of how many other brands are competing for your audience’s attention.
Now, if there are no searches for your product it may mean that people aren’t using the same language as you, so try variations – for example, leggings, tights, pants.
These tools won’t be able to tell you if your business is going to be a success or not, but you can use them to help you gain valuable insights into the searches and the competition.
Tip 3: See if people will give you money
Markets, popup events and parties are a great way to validate product
You can also make pre-sales, especially if you are tossing up between a few ideas. The way this works is you make the sale based on a concept or mockup and then make the product. So you make the sale without having any physical stock. We have a case study that shows you the exact strategy I used to generate 70 sales in one day, for a brand new product, with $0 ad spend and zero stock.
Tip 4. Just launch!
The best way to validate your product is to make sales and the only way to make sales is to launch.
The worst thing that can happen is you don’t make any sales. If you don’t ever launch, you won’t make any sales.
So, do your research, but the best way to see if your product has legs is to just launch.
Written by Megan Winter
Megan is an award-winning marketer and has worked with some of the fastest-growing eCommerce brands in the world.
Megan loves helping ethically-produced, heart-centred, soul-driven online store owners to make more income and achieve more impact.