With the ecommerce space becoming populated in Nigeria, chances are you may need more than low prices to drive traffic to your site. One of the ways to maintain relevance is by your unique product offerings. So how do you come up with a product idea? The first thing to note is that coming up with a great idea for a product to sell online will occasionally strike when you least expect it. Many times though, it’s something you need to be proactively on the lookout for. The internet contains a wealth of ideas and inspiration, but as a new entrepreneur, where do you begin? We have compiled a list of some of the best places to get product ideas. However, it is important to note these two points;

  • Look beyond the Product: while searching for new product ideas, make sure to look beyond the products themselves. There is heavy competition in the most common and popular product categories, if you go to Jumia or Konga, you’d see almost exactly the same product categories, no difference. Choosing a different or unique angle can be instrumental to your success. Try not to just look at products, rather look for potential in the product category. Consider new markets, new features and new ways to use the products. 
  • Smaller Product Categories: Don’t be afraid to look at smaller product categories and niches. A niche product might get small traffic, that’s granted. But it makes up for that by way of less competitors and a more targeted audience. Less competition makes it easier to get to the top of Google, and is usually more cost effective and efficient to advertise to your customers.

Once you’ve got these two points factored in, here’s what you need to do next!

Start With What You Have

Before you begin searching the depths of the internet and the ends of the earth for product and niche ideas, it’s always best to start with the ideas you already have. Maybe it’s a product or idea you have had for years. Maybe it exists in a half written business plan sitting in a folder somewhere on your computer. You can simply start by asking yourself one question; what products, niches or industry are you and your friends particularly passionate about or interested in?

Local Community

Sometimes, you don’t need a new idea at all. Traditional brick and mortar businesses have been around much longer than their ecommerce counterparts. Paying attention to trends in brick and mortar retail and adapting them to ecommerce can be just the ticket you need to create a profitable and unique business. Look around your community and take note of what new or interesting retail concepts people are talking about. Take Debra’s Grace for example

Debra's Grace, Yaba

PHOTO CREDIT: amillionstyles.com

Online Consumer Trend Publications

A great place to start your search for product ideas is to look at some top consumer product trend publications. Following trend publications is great way to begin getting a sense of the direction consumer products are going and the ideas other entrepreneurs are introducing to the market. These publications can also expose you to new product categories and industries that you previously didn’t know about. It can helps you to dream up new goods, services and experiences for your online business. There are several popular trend publications online to follow, like Techpoint if you’re into Technology; StyleVitae if you’re into Fashion, and a host of others.

Here’s a post on Osaze’s website for example, that talks about some of the most popular products being searched for on the web. Here’s a small snippet from that infographic

infographics

 

Industry Leaders

If you know the industry or niche you would like to be in you can use various tools to discover the influencers in the industry. Following the right people on social media can help inspire new ideas via a constant stream of carefully curated content from the people in the know. It’s up to you to uncover the opportunities. Our digital sphere in Nigeria is pretty much enclosed, so it’s easy to follow anyone across their channels.

Product and Trend Discovery Review Sites

Product review and discovery sites can also be a fantastic source of ideas and inspiration. Sites like Techcabal (technology) and StyleMeAfrica (female fashion) are great ways to see new curated product trends daily. What better way to get inspired than to get a daily glimpse into the new and interesting products other entrepreneurs are bringing to the market. Here’s an idea from TechCabal, it kinda suggests that the Note 3 is probably in trend now

techcabal

 

Online Consumer Marketplaces

Another rich source for product ideas are online consumer marketplaces, like jiji.ng, OLX, Efritin, Jumia Market, etc. You’d find millions of products on these sites so you may want to begin your search with some of the popular and trending items and branch out into other interesting categories that catch your eye from there. Here’s an example from Jiji

trending-on-jiji

 

Instagram

Instagram isn’t just pictures of food and dogs, it is also an interesting option for inspiring product ideas. Because it’s photo based, it makes it easy to scan through many ideas and photos quickly. There are a few ways you can use Instagram to search for product and niche ideas:

  • Hashtags: Once again, if you have a particular interest in a product category or industry, you can try searching for applicable hashtags. Another great option is to do a search on Instagram for applicable hashtags that insinuate buyer interest and intent like #want and #buy. Here’s an example of what I get when I search for #iwant
    instagram-hashtag
  • Product Curation Accounts: There are many accounts on Instagram that post curated product content. Like many other examples above, you’ll likely want to search for and find accounts within the niches you are particularly interested in. As an example, there are food blogs all over IG, may be worth keeping an eye on if you’re into the Food industry, it might just provide the idea or spark for your next product.

Go through this list and you’re sure to get at least one idea that’s in trend. Do you have any other way to get product ideas? Let us know