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In addition to product research, you also need to look for reliable suppliers, build your online store, develop a marketing plan, and set up payment gateways and systems, among other things. 

So spending enough time to find and choose the products you want to dropship may seem like an afterthought, often pushed to the bottom of the to-do list for new dropshippers.

However, that shouldn’t be the case. The products you choose differentiate you from your competitors. They also determine how much profit you will make, and whether you can sustain and scale your dropshipping business. 

So with that comes one question: How do you establish a reliable process that you can use to find and choose a profitable product to sell? 

In this article, I’ll walk you through free and paid research methods to help you come up with a list of potential products. I’ll then provide you with a handy seven-point checklist to help you choose the right product from your list. 

That way, you’ll have confidence that all the time and investment you pour into other aspects of building and running a dropshipping business won’t be in vain. 

The Dropshipping Process

Dropshipping is a retail fulfillment method where an e-commerce store owner buys products from a third party (usually a wholesaler or manufacturer) and ships them to customers. 

The process starts with creating an online store using Shopify or WooCommerce. Once your store is ready, you decide on which products to sell, a process that involves product research (more on that later). 

Once you’ve chosen the products to sell, you create listings on your store that include relevant descriptions, images, and prices. These attract potential customers to buy. Once a customer orders a product from your store, you receive the details of their order and forward them to your supplier, including the shipping address. 

Your supplier receives and processes the order details, then ships the product to your customer. Suppliers also provide a tracking number that you can share with your customer. 

Profitability in dropshipping depends on the products you choose, market demand, level of competition, pricing strategy, and marketing strategies. Here are some general categories of products that could be considered “unprofitable” or “profitable” in dropshipping:

Unprofitable Categories:

Highly competitive niches: Phone cases, chargers, and cables are often in oversaturated or highly competitive markets with thin profit margins due to many suppliers and price competition.

Commodity products: The abundance of suppliers offering similar items may lead to price competition. For example, vendors having similar skincare and makeup products have trouble standing out. 

Fragile or bulky Items: Shipping costs for fragile and bulky items can be costly, and they may be damaged during transit, which can negatively affect both profits and customer satisfaction.

Perishable goods: Items with limited shelf life can be challenging in dropshipping due to shipping delays and issues with the quality of the product upon arrival.

Profitable Categories:

Niche or specialty products: Focusing on a niche or catering to a specialized audience can reduce competition and profit margin. For example, camping gear or hiking accessories can target a dedicated audience looking for outdoor and adventure gear.

Unique or trending items: Identifying new trends featuring unique items will give you higher profit margins. For example, customized goods, like engraved jewelry or items with a personal touch, usually come with higher price tags because of their unique features.

Low shipping costs: Products that are small, lightweight, and have low shipping costs can help maintain better profit margins.

Products with branding potential: If you can establish a strong brand presence and offer products that are perceived as high-quality, you might be able to charge premium prices and maintain healthy profit margins.

Evergreen niches: Some product categories like health and wellness, fitness, home improvement, and personal care, tend to have consistent demand over time, offering stable opportunities for profitability.

Niche vs. General Products: Where Should You Start?

When you’re setting up your dropshipping business for the first time, you’re better off choosing a specific niche and picking a product to sell before branching out to sell other kinds of products in other niches. 

Narrowing down on one niche makes it easier for you to divert focus to other parts of the business when needed. You’ll have more time to set up your online store, build a marketing engine for your dropshipping business, create and nurture relationships with suppliers, and build a solid brand. 

A niche ‌might feel restrictive because you’re selling one type of product that might not give you sufficient profit margins. However, when you start with one product in a specific niche, you might consider related products in the same niche that you can either upsell or cross-sell to your customers. 

For example, if you choose to sell car accessories, you can start with phone holders, then include cup holders and air fresheners as upsells. 

Alternatively, you can sell cameras and parking sensors, then cross-sell puncture repair kits. 

How to Find a Dropshipping Product: Free and Paid Methods

Free Methods:

These methods help you come up with a list of products fast, and they’re handy if you don’t have money to spend on ‌paid tools. 

Even if you can afford paid tools, you’ll still need to check out a couple of trending products to compare with those results: 

1. Pay attention to ads and organic posts in your feed.

By far, this is the easiest method to rely on. You only need to passively scroll your social media feed, paying attention to the product ads that stop you in your tracks. Here’s a phone holder that popped up in my X feed:

phone holder ad that popped up in X feed

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The tweet received a ton of engagement which suggests that most buyers are interested in the product.

To get a feel for their sentiments, dig deeper to see what people are saying in the quote tweets. You can also visit the website to see the price of the product and related product details.  

If you don’t get as many ads in your social media feed, move on to the next free method. 

2. Use keywords to find trending products.

More consumers are relying on social media channels to find the products they need, with 41% of US consumers shopping online each week: 

US consumers online shopping stats as of May 2022

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This trend isn’t slowing down, as more studies reveal that by 2025, the number of consumers buying through social channels will only increase.

So, that means the products you find from your searches are a reflection of what consumers are looking for. To find them, you need to use the same keywords they use when searching for products to buy.For example, on Tiktok, a search using the term “Amazon Finds” gives me the following results:

Tiktok results of a search using the term “Amazon Finds”

Notice that in addition to the results, you also get terms on your right that other users are using to find products. 

Another phrase you can use is “TikTok made me buy it”  to find products users bought after finding them on the app:

“TikTok made me buy it” search results

Once you find a couple of relevant results, go into the accounts that are promoting these products to see whether they have listed similar products and videos and what users are saying about these products. 

In addition to TikTok, head over to Facebook and Instagram to search for products. Use terms such as “free shipping” or “shop now” to find product ads.

Facebook search results for “free shipping”

The results you get will vary based on your location and search activity. For better results, consider using a paid method to search for ads on Facebook. We’ll cover that in the next section.

You can also get product ideas from curated lists found on popular blogs and YouTube channels that will give you an idea of popular niches and what kind of dropshipping products work:

Dropshipping product ideas from curated lists

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The products you find from these free methods may or may not work, as some of them have already gone mainstream and people might already be able to find them in their local store. 

However, you may come across a winning product from these methods. They could even help you make the most of paid tools as you’ll already have a good idea of products to look for. Let’s go over some of the paid methods. 

Paid Methods

Dropshipping tools help you conduct thorough product research by analyzing various factors such as demand, level of competition‌, and profit potential, to provide valuable insights into which products are likely to be successful in the market.

They also help you analyze different markets and identify trends and patterns related to consumer behavior and preferences within specific niches. These can guide you on what products to pick and what to ignore. Let’s take a look at two paid tools: 

  1. Adspy

Adspy is a powerful tool that has gained popularity among dropshippers as it provides valuable insights and competitive intelligence for running a successful dropshipping business. 

Adspy home page

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One of the key features of Adspy is its ability to spy on competitors’ ads across various platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and more. This allows you to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in your niche and industry and gain inspiration for what products you need to sell next.

Adspy also comes with ‌advanced search functionality that allows you to filter ads based on specific keywords, affiliate networks, landing page URLs, and even the number of likes or shares. This makes it easier to find relevant ads that resonate with your target audience:

Adspy advanced search functionality to filter ads

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In addition to advanced search functionality, you also get detailed analytics on each ad, including engagement metrics such as likes, comments, and shares. This data helps you analyze the performance of different products that other dropshippers are promoting and make informed decisions on what products you want to sell.

  1. Ecomhunt

Ecomhunt is a powerful tool that helps dropshippers find winning products and maximize their online business potential.

Ecomhunt tool that finds winning products

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It provides you with a curated list of trending products, along with detailed analytics and data insights. This saves valuable time and effort by eliminating the need for manual product research.

Ecomhunt also has an active community known as Winners Club where members can share their experiences, exchange ideas, and provide support.

How to choose profitable products to dropship: A 7-point checklist 

After using both paid and free research methods, you now have a list of products you want to sell. How do you narrow down to a list of products that will help you run a sustainable and profitable dropshipping business? Let’s find out. 

1. Is the product hard to find in stores?

When a product is hard to find or limited in availability, it creates a sense of urgency among potential buyers. 

This urgency may prompt them to buy immediately fearing that they’ll miss out once the product isn’t available anymore. A sense of urgency also increases demand for the product and customers are willing to pay more to get it. 

Besides, products that aren’t in local stores create a perception of exclusivity. Consumers often look for unique products that others don’t have. 

2. Does the product solve a problem or fulfill a desire?

When looking for products to buy, your customers are driven by their goals, fears, frustrations, and desires. The products you sell need to either cure a frustration, help them achieve their goals, or do both. 

For example, if you’re selling pet products, a litter box that isn’t an eyesore will solve a problem for your customers.

Rifiuti Litter Box Enclosure

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On the other hand, selling luxury grooming products ‌fulfills a desire they have. 

John Paul Pet luxury grooming products

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So, you’ll need to conduct audience research to understand what products your customers want and need and what is driving them to buy. When starting out, consider selling products that cure frustrations, calm their fears, or solve any problems they have before you transition to other kinds of products. 

3. Does the product have a wow factor?

Most of your target customers will be looking for products on social media channels and they need to be ‌unique (i.e., their features) or have a surprising element (product presentation such as sound effects or engaging videos) to stop them scrolling past your ad. 

Products with “wow” factor are memorable and your potential customers are likely to remember your store and the products you sell. These products also appear more valuable so you can also command higher prices, increasing your revenue and profit margins. 

4. Does the product appeal to the broad market?

  • A product that can appeal to a broad market has the potential of helping you acquire a large customer base and increase your sales through upselling and cross-selling opportunities. 
  • Focusing on a broad market also helps reduce the risks associated with over-relying on a specific niche. If one segment of your customer base fails to buy, you’ll still have other segments to rely on.
  • Choosing products with a broad appeal allows you to adapt to changing market trends easily as you can introduce new products or adjust what you’re offering to meet evolving preferences.

5. Is it a high-quality product?

The products you sell need to meet the needs of your customers without any major challenges. Some products have defects that affect how they work and even cause damage to the end user. Since you’re not the manufacturer, make sure that the products you sell are of high quality to avoid returns, lawsuits, and chargebacks. 

Start by checking reviews on Amazon or AliExpress for the products you want to sell to see what customers are saying about the products. You can also read through social media comments on ads promoting the products you want to sell. 

This helps you get a feel of what other customers think and feel about the product. If possible, avoid beauty, skincare, and baby products whose quality and reliability can’t be determined.  

6. Are other people selling the product?

Having competitors helps you predict demand and also identify how you will stand out. For example, if other dropshippers are running Google ads, you could study their copy and landing pages and write better ads that will increase your conversion rate. 

Alternatively, you might even consider referral marketing to acquire customers in addition to running ads to help you make more sales from new and existing customers. 

7. Can you have a good profit margin? 

Evaluating the profit margin of the products you want to sell helps you identify products that can provide a healthy return on investment after considering all costs involved in dropshipping, such as product cost, shipping fees, marketing expenses, and operational overhead.

Products with a good profit margin ensure that your business is financially sustainable as it allows you to cover not only the direct costs associated with the product but also other operational expenses like website maintenance, customer support, and marketing efforts.

A good profit margin also provides room for error, acting as a buffer whenever unexpected costs arise or if a product doesn’t sell as well as anticipated. 


Dropshipping is a great way to make money online. However, you’ll need to find and choose profitable products that will help you build a sustainable business. 

Having provided both paid and free research methods plus a seven-point checklist to help you choose the right products, you can now focus on other aspects of building your dropshipping business such as building relationships with suppliers and building a marketing engine.

Cass Rosas

Cass is a content creator at DemandPlaybook, she is passionate about creating human-centric SEO content, she also covers topics such as search engine optimization, content operations, e-commerce, and social media marketing. In her spare time she likes listening to music, doing oil painting and watching SciFi movies.