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Small business ideas

Where to Find Ideas For an Online Store

10 min read

Ideas are a dime a dozen. They can come from anywhere, at any time. The key is being able to decipher which ideas can make you money, which ones can make you a lot of money, and which ones will leave you a broke laughingstock of the entrepreneurial community.

Keep reading below as we discuss different ways to get your creative juices flowing and to generate viable money-making ideas.

How to sell online
Tips from e-commerce experts for small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs.
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Identify Pain Points in Your Own Life

Train yourself to constantly and productively find happy solutions to everyday problems. If you can solve them reliably and gracefully enough, then you’re sitting on nothing less than a completely worthwhile business idea.

That exactly happened to Donna and Andrea, the founders of Flipzeesglasses, unique glasses for putting on makeup. They figured out what to sell online by creating a solution to their own everyday difficulty:

“We both are ladies of a certain age. And when you get to a certain age, you have to wear reading glasses… But if you like to wear makeup as well, when you’re trying to put your makeup on, you can’t see without your reading glasses. And then when you put your reading glasses on, you can’t put your makeup on, because the glasses are in the way. It is a problem because obviously, we don’t want to give up wearing makeup. So that’s how it (their product) came about really. The initial idea was we need to come up with something that actually works.”

Get yourself into the habit of not only noticing when things don’t go as well or smoothly as they ought to, but also immediately following this up with a potentially aggressively priced viable alternative.

A great example of this would be the reCAP mason jars. We all have mason jars lying around that simply serve no purpose because there is no convenient way to repurpose them (other than simply storing and canning). The reCAP allows you to repurpose them for almost anything, on-the-go drinks, decorative dressing containers, the possibilities are almost endless. Someone successfully identified an issue and came up with a creative solution.

This is a great example of someone identifying an issue and coming up with a creative solution.

Look for Ideas from Those Who are Also Looking for Ideas

Follow the specialized media covering the space most relevant to what you sell.

This is where something like Product Hunt comes into play. Every day, Product Hunt publishes dozens of rising or debuting services and applications, with the readers voting for the best and most unique entrants.

Fitness trackers for dogs, new collaboration apps, an app that turns your iPhone into a hidden camera; the products and ideas coming from Product Hunt are nearly endless. It is well worth your time to bookmark Product Hunt and browse through it every day to see what other people are also dreaming up.

You should also look to the real world for inspiration. Magazines like Entrepreneur and Forbes consistently feature compelling products and ideas that may trigger something inspired for you.

Whether an elaborate description of a uniquely 21st-century problem (such as having too much digital information on cancer research) or a profile of someone changing how we look at marketing and selling razor blades, the content of these sites and magazines is diverse. There’s a good chance something will help you in your journey.

Browse Crowdfunding Sites

Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and IndieGoGo are great places to go for inspiration. Crowdfunding is the definitive testing ground for modern entrepreneurs and startups that lack seed funding.

There are thousands of products to browse through on these sites; they range from amazing to truly terrible. All of them seeking the funding to become real. Study them, note what works. See what you would do to improve on an idea or its marketing.

business ideas on kickstarter

Take notes and pay attention to campaigns that reached their goal and ones that didn’t. Try to derive what the successful ones did differently.

Use Social Networks Wisely

Products are easily found wherever people congregate, and people live in the social sphere nowadays. Obviously Facebook and Twitter are great ways to accumulate ideas and see what others are creating, but there are other sources that can tickle your brain even more deeply.

Even niche interests and tastes can probably find what they’re looking for on pinboard link-sharing site Pinterest. Get an account and subscribe to themed boards that jam with your ideas. Interested in selling custom shoes? Follow a board like this that accumulates what others are doing with custom footwear.

Instagram is also a great place to connect with others and see what is hot. Subscribe to a couple of relevant hashtags to see what’s popular on the social medium. Consider ways to make photosharing unique to your business—what can you do differently?

Subscribing to Instagram hashtags

Follow hashtags like this one to get new product ideas

Check Out Public Events

Conferences and other public events are a great way to check in on the present state of given topics and interests. Whether hobbyist gatherings or prestigious professional events, such assemblies will be populated with people situated somewhere on the spectrum of interest in a topic.

By using simple Google searches, or apps like Eventbrite, you can rather easily find lists of such events in your area.

With a list of clubs to join and events to attend, you’re in a much greater position to intermingle with people that can help bring your ideas to life, and even get noticed in the process: investors, experts, and journalists in given spaces can be found at these events.

This is your chance to rub elbows with giants in your field. Take notes on who you meet and Google them later, and make sure to give your card to anyone you find interesting.

Conferences and trade shows are too easily dismissed as boring, stuffy affairs.

While this sometimes holds true, this neglects the wide variety of experts who share your interest that you have the opportunity to learn from.

These are your opportunities to learn from others what works and what doesn’t. Let your ideas intermingle with the ideas of others to make for all kinds of new ideas for everyone.

Inspire from Big Retailers

Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, Etsy — all these websites have a section with bestsellers. By browsing these products, you can find out the latest trends and сustomer needs. Don’t forget wholesale websites like Alibaba или Wholesale Central.

Amazon best sellers

Amazon bestsellers by category

Study the Local Market

Sometimes a good idea is literally just around the corner. Examine local products and services and keep an eye on city mass media. There might be enough bakeries in your area, for example, but what about farm products?

Developing a vacant niche in the local market is a good alternative to being just another business in a competitive industry.

Here are just some benefits of selling locally:

  • Simplified delivery
  • Eco-friendliness
  • Easy to collect feedback and improve service
  • More room for testing business strategies.

Check out more tips for selling locally:

Ideas are Everywhere

Setting up your online shop is usually the easy part. Gathering ideas, planning your marketing, and generally settling on an idea to sell is the hard part.

Most likely, you’re not going to get as lucky as Sir Isaac Newton and have the idea simply hit you in the head. Good ideas come from a plethora of places, not just from within your mind. Keep your finger on the pulse of industry by using some of these tips listed above.

When your mind is in the practice of generating finely tuned ideas, your Internet storefront is poised to thrive.


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About the author

Jesse is the Marketing Manager at Ecwid and has been in e-commerce and internet marketing since 2006. He has experience with PPC, SEO, conversion optimization and loves to work with entrepreneurs to make their dreams a reality.

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