There are a lot of tools out there to help you conduct market research for your product or business.  But what if you don’t have a product yet and you don’t want to dump all of your resources into a niche blindly without knowing (or at least having a good idea) if it’s going to be profitable or not?  That’s what we’ll be discussing in this article:  How to scout products to sell on Etsy.

Keyword research isn’t just for SEO.  This is an important practice that can help you scout new niche’s and potential products too!  Finding keywords that have good engagement rates and low competition is like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  Maybe it’s a new trend or a gap in the market that has yet to be polluted with competition.  Either way, it’s worth exploring!

Step 1:  Create Boundaries For Your Product(s)

Before starting your keyword research, remember that Etsy is a platform for handmade or vintage items (unless you’ve integrated with a POD platform).  So you either have to have the capacity to create or curate (in the case of vintage stores) items yourself or partner with someone that can do it for you.  You cannot just go on Alibaba, buy products on the cheap and then turn around and sell them on Etsy. 

Step 2:  Shipping Considerations

If you’re going to be shipping the products yourself – you’re going to want to consider the size and weight of the item(s) you’re thinking about selling.  Trust me, from someone that sold LARGE and HEAVY floating shelves on Etsy for a long time – I wish I would have just opted for coasters.  They take time/effort to package, are expensive and sometimes end up damaged and have to be replaced.  Shipping small, light packages is so much easier, less expensive & faster.

Having thought of these details beforehand will save you grief in the long run and help influence your search. 

Step 3:  Brain Dump

In steps 1 & 2 you’ve set boundaries for the types of products you’re allowed and willing to sell on Etsy.  Now it’s time to brainstorm.  Maybe you want to start an Etsy store related to something you’re passionate about like one of your hobbies.  If that’s the case, brain dump all of the topics and niches you can think of related to your hobby!  Take to the internet to help you expand your brain storm if you’re feeling stuck. 

Maybe you don’t care if you find a product related to something you’re interested in, you just want a profitable idea!  One of the easiest ways to do that is to capitalize on new trends early. For example, when we launched our store Delirious By Design, Fixer Upper was all the rage and floating shelves were just gaining traction.  We beat a lot of our competitors to market by launching early in the trend and saw immediate success.  Trends of course don’t stick around forever, so it’s important to have a plan to pivot and capitalize on the traction you gain early on.

Another good way to brainstorm potential products is to solve a problem or find a gap in the market.  You can do this a couple of different ways.  Social listening is one great way.  If people have a grievance, they’re most likely posting about it on the internet.  If they’re not, it’s not a problem.  Reading reviews is also a great way to find gaps in the market and help solve a problem!  You don’t have to reinvent the wheel here, just make a better product that serves your potential customers better than the other guy!

Step 4:  Market Research

Let’s talk about the tools that are helpful in conducting keyword research on Etsy.  eRank and Marmalead are two of the most powerful research tools made specifically for Etsy.  I’ve talked a lot about these tools in my articles relating to Etsy SEO, but we’ve never talked about their usefulness in scouting new products too!

Now that you’ve brainstormed different niches and products, it’s time to validate your potential ideas.  Use eRank and Marmlaead to find out what kind of engagement and competition your products have.  Steady or increasing engagement and low competition?  You’ve got a keeper!  If not, these tools will help you gauge data on related topics too.  Repeat this process until you find the data to support your new business idea.  Then, you’ll truly have a promising start to a profitable idea!