How do I research products for dropshipping?

How do I research products for dropshipping?

Dropshipping business require continually launching new products to remain profitable. As a result, dropshippers often spend a significant portion of their capital on paid ads just for testing new products.

It has become a common pain point.

Still can’t find a winner even after testing 30 products? You are not alone. Most products you found out there are already saturated.

Facebook Ads allows anyone to quickly scale up their campaign and reach the untapped audience in days. If you test a product and manage to seize only a few purchases, a competitor has probably gotten ahead of you.

In other words, dropshipping is a winner-takes-all game.

The guessing game—what went wrong in my FB campaign

Since 2018, I have helped quite a few dropshippers who struggled with low sales audits their sales funnel.

There are many possible causes for that. Sometimes they need a better ad creative; sometimes, a better landing page.

But I realized that most of the “sales problems” are actually “product research” problem in disguise.

When you try to advertise an oversold product in a saturated market, you will get high CPM and no sales. You may wonder for a long time if there’s something wrong with your ad or your store, but no, it’s your product.

Doing the proper research before choosing a product for testing will help you avoid all these pain points.

To do that, you need the right system or process.

Dropshippers voted “product reseach” as the top challenge

A modern approach to dropshipping product research

I will show you a simple yet powerful method to do product research for your dropshipping store. It will help you to find unsaturated trendy products or products that are just about to trend.

In this approach, I use a set of tools to gather data about a product. Each tool then says “aye” or “nay” about whether you should choose the product for testing.

If there is a strong consensus among the tools—bingo!

In other words, you look for evidence from quantitative data to decide if a product is likely a winner. Unlike the conventional approaches, there are no qualitative criteria used in mine.

Using an evidence-based approach helps you to reduce the time and money spent on testing products. It also gives you better chances of discovering a product before the competition swoops in.

Furthermore, you gain a better understanding of the product and its targeted audience. You can then use this information to plan your marketing campaign accordingly.

(This method I am about to show is most suitable for general and 1-product stores. For niche stores, I will discuss a slightly augmented approach in a new article.)

What types of tools do I need?

You need

  1. a product research tool
  2. Google Trends
  3. (Optional) an ad spy tool
  4. AliExpress platform

A product research tool allows you to search for best-selling products from a database. It should be able to show the market demand for a product.

Google Trends is a tool that shows any changes in the search volume of a product’s keywords in Google across different countries. We will use it to validate the demand for the product further.

An ad spy tool provides you with ad creatives and product page examples. It also serves as an additional validation of the product’s potential.

AliExpress allows you to find a supplier and understand the buyers’ reception of the product.

Our recommendations for #1 and #3

Tool #1: product research tool

There are many dropshipping product research tools available in the market.

In general, there are two types: one curates its products with human eyes using a set of qualitative criteria; another curates its products by automated web crawling of e-commerce stores and platforms.

Choose the 2nd type as their product database is often more comprehensive, and there is no human bias involved in the selection of products.

We recommend our tool Reconnify. It belongs to the 2nd type and does one thing really well: showing the market demand for a product with its unique metrics.

Tool #3: ad spy tool

AdSpy is the industry leader with the most comprehensive ad database. However, their price tag is hefty: $149 per month ($20 per month under Group Buy).

BigSpy is the underdog runner-up with more affordable subscription plans. However, their ad database is smaller, and the information update is less often.

Moreover, their free and basic plans come with a limit on the no. of daily queries you can make. You may have to split your research time evenly across the month to keep using BigSpy.

Ad spy tool is optional if you are just getting started and is tight on budget.

How do I research dropshipping products?

Below is the research process in a nutshell.

  1. Find a product that has an increasing demand from the product research tool.
  2. Validate the demand with Google Trends.
  3. Look for ads promoting the product in the ad spy tool.
  4. Find a supplier with good feedback and rating from AliExpress.

Step 1: Find a product (Tool #1 — product research tool)

The first step is to find a product candidate from the tool’s search function. Usually, the tool would allow you to search for products by a niche or category or product keywords.

Start a search with something you are interested in.

Additionally, you want to filter the search results and rank the products by increasing market demand.

This maneuver is tool-specific. In Reconnify, the filter you need to set is Dropship Rate.

Set Dropship Rate = 7+

Rank by Least Dropshipped first.

Search results

Go through the search results, shortlist a few candidates with a suitable price and rating.

Check the products’ details one by one, filter the list further down by selecting only the products with a recent growing trend in market demand. Specifically, in Reconnify, you want to look for an increasing trend in the Dropship Rate history.

recent growing trend

Pick the first product on your list, and copy the essential keywords in the product title for the next step.

Step 2: Validate the demand (Tool #2 — Google Trends)

Enter the keywords into Google Trends, and check the interest over time.

Here you can set the country filter to “Worldwide” or your target country (e.g., United States). You can also set the time range to “Past 12 months” and “Past 5 years”. It allows you to observe both short-term and long-term trends.

setting the filters

There are four possibilities. You may observe in the chart

  1. an increasing trend 📈.
  2. a flat or random trend —.
  3. a decreasing trend 📉.
  4. a cyclic trend 〰️.

You are looking for either 1 or 4 (only if the trend is going up next in the cycle). If you see these two trends, you have a double-confirmation that the product is a strong winning candidate.

1. increasing trend
4. cyclic trend

The interest by region chart also shows in which countries the keyword search is popular. You can use this information to plan your ad set targeting parameters.

countries with the most interest

Step 3: Look for ads promoting the product (Tool #3 — ad spy tool)

Next, type the same keywords into the ad spy tool. And look for advertisements promoting the product.

There are three possibilities. You may find

  1. no ads promoting the product.
  2. a few ads with good engagement.
  3. many ads with good engagement.

Scenario 1 says nothing. It could indicate that no one has yet discovered the product, or your tool does not have the ad in its database, or the product has no demand.

Scenario 2 gives you the 3rd confirmation that the product is a winner. But it would be best if you move fast to add the product to your store before more and more sellers start to discover it.

ad spy tool search results

Scenario 3 also confirms that you have a winner. However, the product is already saturated. If you wish to sell the product, be prepared to battle against stiff competition.

Now that you have a potential winner. You want to look for an AliExpress supplier so that you can start testing the product.

Step 4: Find a supplier (Tool #4 — AliExpress)

Next, search for the product on AliExpress platform using the same keywords. Sort the results by decreasing order.

AliExpress search results

Look for sellers satisfying the following criteria:

  1. positive feedback >= 96%
  2. store age at least 6 months old
  3. Shipping Speed score >= 4.7
  4. Communication score >= 4.7
A seller satisfying the criteria, possible supplier candidate

You may find additional products to serve as cross-sell or upsell options from the seller’s store page’s Top Selling section.

look for cross-sell products from the store page

Finally, you can use a dropshipping app to import the selected products into your store. You can watch the complete research process in the video below.


Using this evidence-based product research method, we can consistently and accurately find unsaturated trendy products to dropship. As a bonus, we also discover information such as targeting parameter, ad creative, and product description that is very helpful for the product’s marketing.

You can find a list of winning products we have discovered in the past with this method here.

Next step, read up on our authoritative guide to product testing with FB Ads.

Jeff Wong

Jeff has spent 12 years architecting data analytics and offering consultation services for clients in the b2b, telco, healthcare and e-commerce industry. He likes to blog about the problems online businesses are facing nowadays and share creative and inexpensive solutions.

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