How to Predict Which Products Will Be a Success and Which Products Will Flop

The question of whether a product will succeed or not is an interesting one. It’s something that I question my self on a daily basis.

In short, there is no way to tell for sure what products will do well in today’s market. The current trends, your shop's niche and supply and demand all play a huge part in whether an item will get bought as soon as its listed or never sell. However, you can improve your odds of success by asking yourself a few key questions that I will discuss in this post.

What is the Total Addressable Market (TAM)?

The first question that can aid your decision making process is to consider the TAM, or total addressable market, of the item your are looking to list. Essentially, this reflects all of those people who use the resale marketplace you use, who would purchase the item. For example, if you are looking to sell an XS men's top, the TAM will be all of those individuals that are male, size XS and looking to purchase a top on the marketplace. It is worth noting that the more niche your product is the smaller you TAM will become. A smaller TAM isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially if your shop does well to address the needs of your customers to the extent that they continue to purchase from your shop.

Although, if you haven't built up a reputation for serving a particular niche yet, then you may want to list items that are more accessible to a wider demographic of prospective buyers.

Will this demographic actually want to buy the item?

Following on from the previous section, you then need to ask yourself whether the demographic you are honing in on will be open to purchasing your product. Is this something they would wear, or show off to friends? Is it a staple item that most people need? Will you need to take great photos and write a compelling product listing, or will it sell itself? Again, all these things are important to consider, but you won't really know the answer until you actually list the product.

The last thing to consider before actually listing the item is whether it is congruent with the rest of you shop. Does it fit in with the other items you have listing? A certain style and curation of products on your resale shop can be a valuable tool to achieve sustainable sales. therefore adding clutter with random items may actually lose you sales. On the other hand, some people prefer to list hundreds of items in the hope that it will increase the probability of sales. The approach you decide to take will often reflect the inventory you are intending to sell and the amount of time you are willing to spend on curation.

Are you pricing the item competitively?

We have covered the topic of pricing comprehensively in a previous post, but it is worth highlighting a few points when attempting to predict whether an item will be a success or flop. It is pretty straightforward that an item listed at a price lower than the perceived value it offers will be more attractive to prospective buyers. As such, there will be a higher probability that it will sell.

Since an item that is priced competitively, whether that is the same or lower than comparable products, will have a greater likelihood of selling, you then need to consider whether you are actually willing to price it low enough to sell. The answer might well be no. If you have to drop the price of an item to a few quid for someone to buy it, then you may get more pleasure from giving it to a friend or charity shop.

Are you willing to make a compelling listing?

If you've decided that the TAM is large enough, that your target demographic will be interested and that your price will be competitive, then the final thing that will determine whether your item sells or flops will be the listing itself. If you are happy to write a compelling product description that not only describes the item accurately, but spontaneously causes the reader to imagine themselves wearing it out or showing it off, list the item now and you'll have it sold in no time.

Conversely, if you take low quality photos coupled with a few poorly worded sentences and expect a sale, its probably not worth your time and effort. We typically recommend reviewing the product listings of items that haven't sold every few months, in order to see if you can make the listing any better.

Over time, you will get better at predicting whether an item will sell. You will also find it easier to price items, such that you earn a healthy margin without deterring customers.

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