What Products Sell Best on the Web?

  • Added:
    Jan 01, 2013
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Products can be

  1. Known brands that customers can see in shops on the street, or on the manufacturers' websites.
  2. Unknown brands that customers can see in known shops on the street.
  3. Unknown brands that customers cannot physically touch before they buy.

Services can be

  1. Trade services that customers know, e.g. plumbing.
  2. Professional services that customers know, e.g. physiotherapy.
  3. Personal services that have no recognized accreditation, e.g. guidance to happiness.

How do you choose?

In each of products or services categories above, the item 3 will be the hardest to attract customers and the item 1 will easily attract customers.

Anyone starting a business online with item 3 of either category will need to do a lot of work. First hurdle is getting found on page one or two of Google. E.g. search Google for "guidance to happiness" and there are already fifteen million results, all striving to be on page one.

When looking for something on a search engine, you generally don't look past the first three pages. So where do you start in getting your product found?


Select products that are frequently replaced, instead of products that may be replaced once in a lifetime, or after several years. Frequently replaced items are also known as consumables.

Short-term consumables

Examples are foods, drinks, clothing, paper and office supplies, books or items that wear out or go out of fashion. Items that need to be replaced can mean repeat business to the seller.

Long-term consumables

Examples are ovens, stoves and clothes washers. These do require replacing eventually after a few years but do not as a rule mean repeat business to the seller of the original item. It is likely the original seller has been forgotten over the years.

Repeat business

If you can sell products that are short-term consumables and your customers return to you for replacements, that is repeat business. If customers return to you they are also likely to tell their friends about you. To earn this business, you need to provide prompt attention to your customers needs and deliver on time. When you get repeat business you know you have arrived.

Selling Unknown brands

There are exceptions of course. While unknown brand clothing in general is not as easy to sell online as known brands, some items are not generally branded anyway, so can sell based on photos and descriptions. An example is baby clothing. However, a search of Google for "baby clothing" lists 248 million results.

Selling Known Brands

On the other hand it is very easy to sell known brands on the web, as a lot of work has already been put into making the brands known and popular. You only need to get a good position in Google.

Which brand do you select? It's possible to sell all brands from the same website, once you have selected your niche in the market.


It is important to start your business with products that will sell quickly. You put a lot of effort into starting an online business and getting it found on search engines, so don't start with the wrong products. Research, ask friends and strangers.

Whatever the product, show as much information about it as possible. This will help Google index it well. Above all, select products that you will be proud to sell.

Author's Profile

Ken McKay is an Australian Web Developer at Platypus Websites who specializes in small business

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