How are you preparing your business for the new year? The products you choose to sell will set the baseline for your growth and margins in 2018—so how do you know which products to choose? How do you find the next hot commodity for your business in 2018?


Should You Sell Trendy Items?


In 2017, the hottest items were natural health and skincare products like detox teas, green drinks, supplements, and organic facemasks. And of course fidget spinners as well.


But just because those were popular doesn’t mean they were the only units that made money. In fact, those 2016 trending products actually have low margins with high competition.


So what does that mean for sellers looking at trending items?


You don’t need to sell the trendiest item in order to make money.


You want to sell the trendiest item with a novel twist as relevant to your industry and audience.


You don’t want the hottest item. You want the hottest item that only you can offer to your customers. If everyone is selling the same trending products, you’re just one in a sea of competitors. But if you use those trends to create unique products and branding, you’ll set yourself apart. The more specific and exclusive the “hot” items you offer, the more likely they’ll sell.


This means you need to combine a knowledge and understanding of the 2018 trend landscape with your own creativity and industry know-how. You need to have a keen eye to see what is trending naturally and how you can optimize on that trend for your specific niche. Look at the hottest products in terms of the potential with your brand and market. As an online seller, you’re an entrepreneur—choosing hot products is just another aspect of your creative, exciting, risk-taking spirit.


Take advantage of trends by being the first and the best.


This means you need to understand trends in order to build upon them. But how do you know what items are trending and which products you sell will be big with your audience?


1. Consider your brand and audience.


What does your brand sell? What is your industry? What niches are related to your private label in particular? Think about your particular business. Consider the next logical step for expansion. If you aren’t yet an established brand, consider those products and industries that you are passionate about.


You should also think about your audience. What would make sense for them as a new product? Who is usually buying from your business? Why are they buying from you? What other pain points do they have that you want to solve?


For example, you may be currently selling diapers to parents. You may be naturally thinking about complementary products like diaper cream, wipes, or even cloth diapers. However, you might also consider a trending stroller that’s indirectly complementary. It speaks to the same audience member to further engender a deeper customer relationship. This is more relevant to your brand than selling virtual reality headbands (which are expected to be big in 2018).


You need a thorough understanding of your market in order to best understand how you will be able to optimize on 2018 trending products.


By the way, you’ll also want to consider potential profit margins and pricing structures. You should ensure that the products you pick have high and flexible margins. Most trending items are low margin, which is not ideal for 2018 growth.


2. Look at online consumer trend publications.


Trend publications help give you a sense of the direction of consumer habits across a variety of industries. It will also expose you to new types of products and niches that you might want to consider for your brand. Publications are an easy way to see global and local trends with regards to overall buying trends, not just individual products.


Some of the top trend publications include:


3. Follow industry influencers.


If you want to know what’s trending in your industry, go to the source. Today’s “influencers” are the reporters and change-makers when it comes to trends. Influencers are always looking for the next hot thing because they maintain their popularity based on their relevance in the market.


You should be watching to see what influencers are talking about and promoting. You can even consider reaching out to certain influencers directly to say, “We make this product that is similar to xyz that you promoted in your video. What other products would you love to see and use?”


If you’re not sure how to find influencers in your industry, do a search on FollowerWonk (by Moz) or search related hashtags on Instagram and Facebook.


4. Search social media.


Social media is a great way to find out what your consumers are talking about. Instagram is an especially great way to see what your consumers are posting about. Check out Shopify’s Instagram as well; they exhibit interesting and unique products from their thousands of Shopify stores. (If you have a Shopify site, your goods can be featured too.)


You should also check out Pinterest; with over 50 million monthly users, you can browse the “popular” section to get a good idea of what’s trending. Curating sites similar to the Pinterest format include Polyvore and Wanelo.


5. Look on consumer marketplaces.


Go directly to the platforms where you sell, like Amazon and eBay. What is trending on those sites? Follow the trends for weeks or months to watch repeat patterns of product purchases. Most marketplaces and sourcing sites have a bestseller list or discover page, where you can see the most popular purchases in the marketplace—sometimes even down to the hour.


Check out:


6. Read science and technology magazines.


Keep up to date with the world. Trends in science, technology, and even politics drastically influence the products your consumers will purchase. For example, mattresses became a top seller in 2017 because research came out that the typical mattress was causing damaging curves in the spine. Again, the moment that a scientist said that coconut oil was good for you, everyone started using coconut oil in their food and skincare.


Stay up to date with what people are reading and hearing about. Keep your products aligned with news topics to be ahead of the trends.


7. Utilize Google Trends.

Google Trends is a free tool that will show you the search volume for a given phrase, product, or trend over time. You can quickly see a graph that shows whether the trend is on the rise or fall. You can even search volume based on geographic location.


Use this to watch the trends of all of your products—new and old—to always ensure they’re are on the rise and not losing steam. If you see a product start to decline in search volume, it may be time to push out that inventory and look towards new trends.

The Bottom Line


Finding the next big item for 2018 doesn’t necessarily mean finding the top trending item… It means finding the hottest, most novel products. You want to provide those products that your audience didn’t even know they needed until you offered it to them. Watching industry trends, complimentary news and consumer habits will ensure you are always innovating, creating, and growing your product assortment.


Not sure where to begin when sourcing products for 2018? Contact Ask Idea Sourcing for a consultation of your business and product portfolio to create a strategy towards exponential growth next year!