10 places to look for that perfect e-commerce idea

6 min read
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Woman and boy standing outside yellow food van

That billion-dollar lightbulb moment could strike anywhere – follow these 10 tips and tricks to make sure you're ready to get the ball rolling.

1. Your kitchen. Your closet. Anywhere close to you.

A great idea doesn’t care when it happens or who it happens to. The seeds of it could be lying anywhere. The trick is to make a connection between something in your life (or your family’s) that could be better, and its potential as an e-commerce opportunity. 

2. Trend publications. Yes, they’re a thing.

Browsing the latest trend publications such as PSFKTrend HunterTrend Watching and the weekly AOB news wire here on Discover, shows you the new products coming to market and gives you a sense of what consumers are interested in. It can also spark ideas off the back of other people’s – for example, the growth of smartphones directly led to the invention of the selfie stick. For better or worse.

3. Social media networks

OK, so Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the rest probably might now reveal a brand new product idea to you on day one. But you can work social media to your advantage if you already have a product category you'd like to explore. Regular visits to the explore pages on Snapchat are also great sources of inspiration. “Vision without execution is hallucination.” Arianna Huffington.

4. B2B wholesale marketplaces

These are all about connecting e-commerce wholesalers, distributors and retailers so that each can benefit from buying and selling online. Browsing the sites can be a bit daunting at first as they reveal the sheer size and variety of global online commerce. However, they can make selling your product a lot easier once you've got to grips with each platform.

Alibaba is the Asian equivalent of Amazon.

Oberlo is a Shopify-owned marketplace.

Global Sources is a Hong-Kong based B2B site.

5. Your notepad

Whether you have an ideas notebook, where you regularly write things down, or leave yourself voice message listing your new ideas, US entrepreneur and author James Altucher thinks you should jot down ten of your ideas every morning to start developing your ‘idea muscle’.

The finer details and practicality of each idea can come later; what you’re after is the confidence that you can create on demand. And if you can’t generate ten ideas? “Focus on generating 20,” says James.