eCommerce Market Research: The Ultimate Guide for Beginners

The growth of eCommerce has been extraordinary. More and more new entrepreneurs have started selling products online. But unfortunately, the majority of them don't do proper market research, which leads to the early end of their dream to build the next Amazon, eBay, or Aliexpress.

Following craze can only get you a short way and eventually cause a downfall. In order to build a successful business, you have to find profitable niches or products where you still have scope to shine. Take Leisa Papa’s Little Kids Business or JOSHi as an example.

Thorough market research can help you come up with products that have demands that are not fulfilled by any current market players or products that are still untouched.

In this blog, we will write about a tremendously important guide on eCommerce market research. If you are someone who's planning to open a shop online, this is a must-read article for you.

The Rise of eCommerce

The rise of eCommerce is a long-talked matter. It has come to a point when giant offline companies like Walmart are now forced to sell online because that's where the customers shop! If you look at some stats, it becomes quite apparent that eCommerce is not the future but the present.

This image shows the Global retail eCommerce sales worldwide from 2014 to 2023.
Global retail eCommerce sales worldwide from 2014 to 2023 – Statista

The fact that the eCommerce sales figure has increased by almost 3 fold in just a matter of 6 years is not a surprise. It has been steadily increasing not just in the USA, but all over the world.

Here's a stat from Emarketer, demonstrating the region-wise eCommerce growth, and you can see the number is going upward everywhere around the globe.

This image shows the eCommerce sales growth in different regions

These figures are both inspiring and tempting. So people often want to start an eCommerce website and start earning a big sum without analyzing the market and the product they want to sell. That is where the eCommerce Market Research comes in to save.

What is eCommerce Market Research?

eCommerce market research is not a complex term. The definition is fairly simple. According to the Oxford Dictionary, the term market research means The action or activity of gathering information about consumers' needs and preferences.

So, we can put together that definition with eCommerce, and safely say that eCommerce market research is the process of gathering information on which products your customers want to buy online.

Market research for eCommerce lets you know the demand for which products are growing and which products are losing market day by day. It helps you smarter decisions before you start a new eCommerce or launch a new product.

How Does Market Research Help to Grow and Win

Market Research was not a big thing for eCommerce even a couple of years ago. Nowadays it is becoming essential. If there is anything we can all agree upon, that is –

Data may disappoint, but it never lies.

– Jay Samit 

With market research, you can get real data that can help you decide the market demand for a product. This way you don't need to rely on your intuition or the buzz.

The advantage of not following the buzz all around you is that you get to know what exactly your customers need.

For example, let's say you want to create an eCommerce marketplace and sell Wooden Ornaments as you saw some of the people around you wearing those. But you don't even know if the Wooden Ornaments are popular all around your country.

Now if you do a quick research on Wooden Ornaments on Google Trends, you'll find something like the below image.

This is a screenshot of the Google Search Trend

You can see clearly from the data that Wooden Ornaments are most popular during November-December every year. Now you know that selling Wooden Ornaments throughout the year is not a good idea.

This is how market research can help you choose the demand and potential of a product. Albeit this is just a small part of what we will be going through in this blog. But you got the idea, right?

Choosing the right product to sell at the right time and finding a product whose market is still not saturated with too many providers is the key to being successful for a new eCommerce, and that's what you can find out with market research.

Fundamentals of eCommerce Market Research

Market research is a part of your overall marketing strategy. To know market research from its core, you have to know its fundamentals or basics. Market research can be divided into four primary categories. Which are –

  • Exploratory market research
  • Descriptive market research
  • Causal market research
  • Predictive market research

Now don't get worried, we're going to explain all the types of market research in detail.

I) Exploratory Market Research

Exploratory market research is the preliminary stage of your research. At this stage, you haven't yet decided on a product. In this stage, you will try to find products that you can sell.

Make a list of all the potential products that you can find through several methods, such as Google Search, Google, Trends, Amazon, and even your nearest supermarket.

Next up, formulate a strategy by which you can eliminate all the ideas that are impractical, does not match your available resources and skill set. Now only those are left that you think you're interested and possible with your resource. That gets us in the next step, which is descriptive market research.

II) Descriptive Market Research

Descriptive market research looks deeper into your selected products and helps you finalize the ultimate niche. In this phase, you will have to find answers to questions like

  • Who are the potential buyers of the product?
  • What is the demand for the product?
  • When does the demand hit its peak?
  • Who are the potential competitors?
  • What are their specialties?

These questions can help you find your long-sought answer, the perfect product to sell, when, and to whom.

III) Causal Market Research

Casual market research is the next step of descriptive market research. It basically deals with the aftermath of one decision to another. For example, let's say you decided to sell Wooden Ornaments. Most of the competitor sells Wooden Ornaments made of ‘X' trees. But you think ‘Y' tree would be more cost-saving.

So, if you go with the ‘Y' tree, what impact it would have on product quality? Or, you decided to use a new type of color on the ornaments, what would be the effect of that? These are the things casual market research helps you find.

After you choose your product finding a cost-saving way of production becomes a big challenge and casual market research is necessary for that.

IV) Predictive Market Research

As the name suggests, predictive market research is about predicting or forecasting the future growth opportunity of a product. But prediction these days is not all about your gut or intuition, we depend more on data gathered from sources like Google trends, and statistics than our sixth sense.

Predicting the growth of a product perfectly can essentially help you make a better decision on a product.

How to Conduct an eCommerce Market Research: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

This is the feature image of the blog- Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Market Research

We have all the basics of how market research works, and now is the best time to get to know how to conduct one. Now, there are four different parts of eCommerce market research, which are –

  1. Discovering Products
  2. Understanding Consumer
  3. Analyzing Industry
  4. Analyzing Competitors

In the next few paragraphs, we will show you how to perform the four different parts of market research for eCommerce. Without further ado, let's get started!

Step 01: How to Discover Products

Discovering products is the first and foremost thing to do while you're performing market research. You can try out several methods to find and seek the values of a product. Some of the most popular tools to do that are Amazon's Most Wished-For List, Keyword Research, Google Trends, SERPs, and Social Media.

a) Amazon Most Wished-For List

Amazon Most Wished For

Amazon's most-wished-for list is extremely useful when it comes to finding products that have high demand. You can choose different categories after visiting this page of Amazon Most Wished For List. You will have all sorts of products to choose from and get the perfect products for you to sell.

b) Keyword Research

Keyword research of Google Ads

Keyword Research is a broad field and we will not get into the cores of it. But to find products that have good demand, keyword research can come in very handy. There are many tools to help you do keyword research, but we will only talk about Google Keyword Planner.

It works like this, you either enter the name of the product to discover related keywords that people search a lot about, or you can get search volume and probable search forecast for a certain product. If you already have a list of products and you're now scrutinizing your options, keyword research, especially Google Keyword Planner, can help you do that.

c) Google Trends

Google Trends is a great way to find new products and check whether the interest of people increased or decreased in the last few years or so. The way it works is fairly simple. Visit Google Trends, and search for any product it'll show you something like the image below.

This is a screenshot of the Google Trends

You can easily determine from the result whether the interest has increased or decreased over time for that specific search term. You can also filter your results with your preferred country.

If you are not yet sure of a product you can use another smart feature from Google Trend.

Google trends

The above page will be shown when you visit Google Trends. You can see there are three options down below that can help you know top interests worldwide and country-wise. From here, you can easily find some products that you can sell.

d) SERPs

SERPs or Search Engine Result Page can also be a great option for discovering products. In the image below, you can see that we searched on Google with the term “products for car” and scrolled to the bottom of the page, and as you can see it is showing search terms like best car cleaning products, best car wash products, best car detailing products.

Got an idea of how it can help?

This is a screenshot of the Google SERP that shows related keyword list

e) Social Media

The main purpose of Social media is not to do market research but to connect people. Yet, there are no better places to know people's interests, psychology, and everything that has to do with market research.

Facebook groups, in particular, can be very useful to know the interest of people in a product. You can also try researching the most popular hashtags. You will be amazed at how much data you can get from social media for your market research.

Step 02: How to Understand Consumers Needs & Wants

As of now, you already decided which product you want to sell, right? Now it's time to know the people who are going to buy your products. There are several ways you can try to understand your customer base. Some of the most effective ones are –

  • Survey
  • Consumer Report
  • Facebook Audience Insight

Now let's discuss each of the above points!

a) Survey

The consumer survey is one of the most common practices of knowing your customer better. There are many online platforms like Google survey, to do surveys. Apart from that, you can also conduct surveys on big Facebook groups that share the same interests with permission from group owners.

b) Consumer Report

Sales reports can bring out some very key information for market research, such as;

  • Does free delivery influence purchase decisions?
  • Is Instagram more important than Facebook to run your ads?
  • Which platform saw the highest conversion rate?

These are the things that you'll get to know from consumer reports. You can find many of them just by searching on Google.

c) Facebook Audience Insight

This is one of our favorite ways to gather customer insight. Facebook audience insight can provide data like your potential audiences' demographic overview, other interests, and even their lifestyles.

Step 03: How to Analyse Industry

Analyzing an industry is a crucial step in conducting eCommerce market research. To begin, it's important to gather data on the size and scope of the industry, including market trends, key players, and potential growth opportunities.

This can be done through market reports, industry publications, and government data. Next, it's essential to analyze the competitive landscape, including the strengths and weaknesses of existing businesses and potential barriers to entry.

Additionally, understanding consumer behavior and preferences within the industry is vital for developing a successful eCommerce strategy. This can involve conducting surveys, studying customer reviews, and analyzing social media trends.

Finally, it's crucial to stay updated on industry news and developments to ensure that your eCommerce business remains competitive and relevant.

Step 04: How to Analyse Competitors

There is no business without competition. To step up your growth, you have to keep a close eye on your competitors and what they are doing. Luckily, we have a complete guide on competitor analysis. You can check that blog for an in-depth review.

In short, competitor analysis is about knowing your competitors. Understanding your competitor analysis can help you make your business strategy more easily. Thus you can choose how to market a product in a better way than your competitor.

Finalize Your Market Research Outcomes

Every operation has a result. Market research is no different. In fact, proper market research creates a good foundation for a long-standing business.

After completing market research, you will get to know the following things and get your business started.

  • The right product to kick-start your eCommerce business.
  • Best time to sell your product.
  • Insights into your potential customers such as their age group, location, and interests.
  • Information about your competitors to give you an edge over them.

Experts Suggestions for a Successful eCommerce Business

Every successful eCommerce has two things in common, proper strategy and hard work. But some extra tips from experts can enhance the chance of making it successful.

We have years of experience helping people making successful marketplaces using Dokan. Very few can help you with effective suggestions than us, so let's get to it.

Suggestions from Expert

i) Think How a Customer Would

Whether you are still deciding on a product or you are convinced with one, there is one thing you must keep on doing. Think like a customer. Ultimately it's not about what you like, but what people like. So be sure to choose a product that most people prefer. Otherwise, nothing can stop a pile of never-ending inventory.

ii) Try, Try, and Try

No matter how much you read, you can't possibly know everything before you experience them. Whether you are a new entrepreneur or, launching a new product, experimenting with different things is a must.

If something doesn't work, move on to the next plan. An advertisement doesn't work, move on to a new one. A strategy failed miserably, form a new one. This is the only way you can eventually see the lights of success.


eCommerce Market Research- Final Words

Market research has been a norm for large companies for a long time. But day by day it is becoming essential for newer eCommerce businesses as well. Great market research will not create immediate value, but you'll start to experience benefits as your business grows.

Often eCommerce owners select a trendy product that ultimately results in devastating failure. These things can easily be stopped by performing market research.

If you are also an eCommerce owner, there's a good chance you have heard of a multivendor marketplace. Given the popularity of Amazon, eBay, Etsy, Aliexpress, it would be no wonder if you'd like to build one yourself.

Trust us, it's relatively easy to start one! If you ever wondered about how to build a multivendor marketplace, we have a link for you below, do check it out!

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Faisal Sarker
Written by

Faisal Sarker

Faisal is a tech blogger who excels at WordPress Content Writing. Apart from sharing useful info pieces that helps people around the world, he also likes to travel and read books of all genres in his leisure time.

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