Product research is an important part of running a successful Shopify store because the process helps you understand your customer's needs.
This article is a collection of practical product research for Shopify tips from our product research category.
Before we start, remember that these tips can work for anyone, beginner or pro, and Shopify, Amazon, dropshipping, or general ecommerce businesses.
Therefore, experiment, continue using the tips that work for you, then rinse and repeat with other ideas until you have an effective system that works for you.
8 Practical product research tips for Shopify
Let's dive right into it, shall we?
1. Niche down
We have previously discussed the ins and outs of starting a niche store and the five main advantages of doing so.
As the article above mentions, defining your niche helps you go with products you feel passionate about, which can often be the secret to finding a winning product(s).
Here is a simplified version of a process you can use to research, define, and narrow down to niche products:
- Check market saturation. Is the market saturated with other look-alike products?
- Check whether demand for your potential product is high enough.
- You can also define or choose a niche product based on the problem you want to solve or the market need(s) you want to fulfill.
We have previously discussed how to find out if a niche could be profitable and how to find the best niches.
Related article. How to Find the Best Niche for Dropshipping? (7 Methods)
The important thing to remember about finding winning niche products is that defining your ideal target market is the secret to effective marketing.
If you get this part right, you'll be well on your way to product research success.
2. Determine your customer's lifetime value and map out a customer lifecycle
Customer lifetime value is the sum of money a customer spends with a business throughout the business relationship.
It helps you determine how long the average customer for a specific product will stay with you, which can help you determine which staple and trendy products to sell at different times.
When doing product research for Shopify or ecommerce in general, you can roughly estimate a customer's lifetime value by:
- Determining the average order value. What is the average order for a potential product? What's your profit margin?
- Determining the number of customer orders. How often will customers purchase the product within a particular period, say a month or year?
- Retention. Is a product likely to attract or have repeat customers?
On the other hand, the customer lifecycle is the journey customers take from when they become aware of your product to when they make their first purchase or become loyal customers.
Mapping your customer journey helps you know which marketing strategies to use at each stage of the purchase journey to convert potential leads into paying customers.
The customer lifecycle has five key stages you should know when doing product research for Shopify.
Here is a handy graphic to remind you of these stages:
Here is a brief explanation of each stage concerning product research for Shopify:
- Awareness. How will your target customers learn about your products? Will it be through PPC ads, organic search, social media, etc.?
- Accession. Can you create effective marketing campaigns, ads, and landing pages that motivate customers to make the final purchase decision?
- Potential purchase. Customers will only buy from you if your marketing efforts convince them they need your product.
- Customer satisfaction. A positive experience with your brand/shop will be a stepping stone to creating repeat customers and brand loyalists.
- Royal promoters. Is the product valuable enough to attract first-time, then repeat, loyal customers and brand ambassadors?
When doing product research for Shopify, consider the lifecycle of each product and how effectively you can move customers down the stages.
Ideally, only move forward with products you feel you can confidently market well throughout the five stages.
We have previously discussed how to perform a customer lifecycle analysis for ecommerce.
You can use the guidelines and tips in that article to evaluate potential products as you do product research for Shopify.
Related article. Customer Lifecycle for Ecommerce: A Beginner’s Guide 2023
3. Shorten your list of potential products
Another practical tip to help you do product research for Shopify more effectively and faster is narrowing your product list.
For example, let's say you have a list of fifty potential products.
In this case, you can use tools—like the ones in the next tip—to remove products that don't meet certain criteria.
For example, remove the following:
- Products that won't give you a reasonable profit after all costs. You don't want to sell products that won't give you a decent profit.
- Look-alike or too-similar products. The more similar two products are, the likelier the chance of consumer confusion.
- Remove easy-to-copy or duplicate products. You don't want to sell products competitors can easily replicate.
You can use various tools to make this part easier, which brings us to the next tip:
4. Use product research tools to find profitable products
For example, Google Trends shows you the popularity of a search term over time, and you can even use it to compare sub-niches within a larger niche, as shown below:
It can help you learn what people are searching for and which keywords can drive the most traffic to your store.
We have previously discussed how to use Google Trends for dropshipping and ecommerce, including how to use the tool to find the best products to sell.
On its part, Sell the Trend is a powerful product research tool that uses data from Shopify stores, Amazon, CJdropshipping, and AliExpress to help you find winning products.
Related article. Sell The Trend Review: Best Dropshipping Tool in 2023?
One of the best things about using product research tools like Sell the Trend is that most have many product research features and sub-tools.
For example, besides filtering product research results by category and niche, you can also use the Nexus Hot Explorer tool to find products doing well across ecommerce platforms like Shopify, Amazon, and AliExpress.
The great thing about using free and paid product research tools is that the best ones allow you to do many things from one dashboard.
For example, you can use Ecomhunt or Sell the Trend dashboards to do things like:
- Conduct all-in-one product and market research and find winning products for dropshipping, Shopify, or even general ecommerce.
- Calculate profits and costs, which can help inform your pricing strategy.
- Inspect market saturation, etc.
But you don't need a paid product research tool, especially if you are a beginner.
If you can afford one, great.
However, if you can't, you can still do product research for Shopify effectively using free tools like social media, Google Trends, and more, including free Chrome extensions.
These examples will help you get started, but the bottom line is that you can use the information you get from such tools in several ways:
- You can use the data as an indicator of demand.
- You can use Google Trends data as an indicator of risk: if there's low interest in specific keywords, maybe those keywords aren't profitable enough for your business.
5. Always do a competitive analysis
Conducting a competitive product analysis involves looking at your competitors' products, prices, and marketing strategies.
As you research the competition, remember that competing with the big players on price alone may be challenging as a beginner or in some niche. But there are ways around this.
For example, you can:
- Visit competitor stores and compare their design, products, product page design/copy layout, etc., with yours (and vice versa). We have an article that will help you learn how to find Shopify stores in your niche.
- Is there anything you could do to improve your store and products to stand out from the competition?
- Check if the competition has special offers, discounts, or product bundling strategies you could use to remain competitive in the marketplace.
If you will compete on price, know the average price of similar products. After all, you don't want to undersell yourself and lose money or overprice your product.
You can also learn more about beating your competitors in this article!
6. Use Google tools to learn more about consumer behaviors
Google Analytics is a free tool that helps you understand how people interact with your store or website.
You can use it to learn which pages on your store are popular, the content your audience loves, what customers click on after visiting your store, and more.
The Google Analytics interface shows you a lot of data, including traffic sources (search engines, social media networks, etc.), the most visited pages, the time of visit, and much more.
When you connect your Shopify store to Google Analytics, you can use data from this convenient tool for product research.
For example, when you notice that certain landing pages keep attracting the most traffic, you can look into cross-promotion and bundling opportunities.
We've previously discussed everything a beginner would need to know about Google Analytics for ecommerce. You can learn more about that from the informative article below:
Related article. Google Analytics for Ecommerce: A Beginner’s Guide 2023
On the other hand, Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a completely free tool you can use to find the best product/niche-related keywords.
With this tool, you can get data on how many people search for a specific keyword and how much competition there is for it.
You can also use the tool to find related keywords that might be good additions to your marketing campaigns.
Google Analytics and the Google AdWords Keyword Planner combine very well to help you discover product keywords and new product ideas.
For example, you can use Google Analytics to learn which keywords drive the most traffic to your store and your traffic sources.
You can then use this data in AdWords Keyword Planner to find similar product keywords and learn more about search volumes, competing advertisers, and more.
If you're like most people, you probably spend a lot of time on social media.
According to Statista, the average internet user spends approximately 145 minutes daily on social media.
Because social media had an active user base of over 4.26 billion between 2021-2022, it's a great, free product research tool. For example, you can use social media to find and jump on viral product trends.
However, social media as a product research tool is more than just about finding what people want or are buying.
You can also use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to test product features.
We've previously discussed using various social media platforms for product research.
Our product research on Pinterest guide goes over some key ways to use Pinterest for product research, including how to use Pinterest to:
- Discover product trends.
- Research product and product ideas using keywords.
- Research and spy on the competition and competing products.
- For consumer insight and so much more.
Our product research on Instagram guide discusses everything you would need to know to use Instagram for product research, including:
- How to use Instagram hashtags to find popular products.
- Using Instagram to look up and research the competition.
- How to use the emoji slider to understand which products people follow, and more.
Finally, we have a very informative product research on TikTok guide that covers things like:
- How to use TikTok's Ads Creative Center for product ideas.
- How to use tools like Minea to spy on competitors' ads, and much more.
Overall, the take-home message here is that social media platforms should become part and parcel of your ongoing product research for Shopify.
8. Use free and premium browser extensions to do faster product research
Free and premium Chrome extensions are another great way to do product research for Shopify easier and faster.
Some of the best free and paid product research Chrome extensions you can use for Shopify and ecommerce product research are:
- Ali Insider
- Jungle Scout
- My Ad Finder
- Commerce Inspector
- Thieve AliExpress Tools
We have previously discussed these nine product research Chrome extensions, including their pricing, features, and what you can do with them.
You can read that article by clicking this link here!
There you have it: eight practical tips you can use to do product research for Shopify and find winning products.
Before we get to the conclusion, here is a summary of everything we have discussed so far about product research for Shopify:
- Niche down.
- Determine your customer's lifetime value and map out a customer lifecycle.
- Always research and narrow down your list of products.
- Use various product research tools, including free and paid ones.
- Always analyze the competition.
- Use Google tools for consumer behavior analysis and keyword search volume research.
- Use social media platforms, including Pinterest and TikTok, for product research.
- Use Chrome extensions for faster product research.
To conclude, the tips discussed in this article are not the end all be all of Shopify product research. They are simply pointers to get you started.
With that said, remember to experiment with different ideas to find what works best for your store.
More importantly, remember that product research, whether for Shopify, dropshipping, or general ecommerce, is an ongoing learning process.
If you keep this in mind, we're sure you'll eventually have an efficient product research process for your business.
Want to learn more about Shopify?
Would you like to learn more about Shopify? Check out the articles below:
- The History of Shopify (+ Who Owns Shopify Today in 2023?)
- How to Display Your Shopify Product Reviews on Google 2023
- What Happens When Shopify Trial Ends? (Do They Delete Your Store?)
Plus, don’t forget to check out our in-depth how to start a Shopify store guide here.