How to Find Products for Shopify

Shopify Products
Table of contents

Table of Contents


Ecommerce is always a fast moving and competitive world. Businesses that sell through Shopify know this well. Shopify sellers need to stay ahead of the competition, and sellers that don’t want to compete simply on price need to sell the best products. They need to sell products that occupy a unique niche, have a fresh design, have innovative features or offer something else extra. Products that are the same as hundreds of others on the platform just face a pricing “race to the bottom.”

Finding good products is a big challenge for lots of businesses. Entrepreneurs with unique or tweaked products ideas don’t face this issue. The challenge for them is finding a good product manufacturer to bring their product to life. For other businesses, however, finding and developing new products is an ongoing challenge that needs to be continuously tackled to stay in business.

In this article, we’ll look at how those businesses can find ways to offer the best quality, most useful or otherwise most unique products by developing their existing products or finding new ones to sell.

Overall, What Makes a Good Shopify Product?

A good Shopify product is one that has market appeal and can be cost-effectively manufactured and brought to market.    

The basic things that make a good Shopify product are:

  • Uniqueness and Market Appeal: This important and difficult area is the focus of this article. Products can be unique and appealing by solving a new problem, by performing better than other products, by appealing to a niche interest group or in many other ways. Finding a product with these qualities requires either hard work or inspiration, but it stops a Shopify seller from being just another “cookie-cutter” store.
  • Value Proposition: Off-the-shelf products generally have to be price competitive as there’s too much competition on the market, which allows for easy online price shopping and a “race to the bottom” approach to pricing. Unique or innovative products that offer real value, on the other hand, have more space to charge a premium over their competing products. That value can be excellent design, new features, improved performance, etc. If the customer agrees it is there, then real value has been added.
  • Reasonable Startup Capital Requirements: Limited investment capital in the early stages of product development is a common problem for Shopify sellers, as many are early stage entrepreneurs or small business owners. Product development and the initial manufacturing process needs to be achievable within the budget available. This generally means limiting the amount of capital required for new mold manufacturing, testing and certification. This can mean working with an ODM/OEM who has existing tooling that can be repurposed (though there is a degree of IP risk here), or with a flexible contract manufacturer who can provide advice about material and process choices to reduce costs.
  • Additional Factors: There are lots of other things to consider as well.
    • The long-term appeal and possibility of copyrighting a product are examples of other product related considerations.
    • Speed of production or environmental sustainability are other manufacturing issues that might need to be considered.
    • Having affordable ongoing manufacturing and shipping costs is also another important factor.

Komaspec: Expert Sheet Metal and Plastics Manufacturers

Leverage our experience with Shopify brands for custom product design and efficient manufacturing processes.


How to Actually Find Products for Shopify

The key thing to keep in mind is that products need to be validated for sale in the marketplace. Developing new products or searching for new ones to sell may be interesting, but making an accurate assessment of the level of demand is what’s important.

We’ve divided the ways of finding or developing new products between those which are more direct and those which are more creative. 

Direct Methods of Product Development:

  • Develop an Existing Product (OEM) - Companies often work to develop already existing products to perform better, look better or function in a different way. Products are constantly being developed over time. Further developing an existing product, whether it’s one of your own or a competitor’s, can be a way to get ahead through Shopify. If an existing product is given new, modern features or simply improved it may become the best product on the market.  A common approach is to work with an OEM or ODM manufacturer to tweak an existing design on the market, say, by updating the user interface, or adding extra functionality. This helps to limit capital requirements, reduce time to market and overall project risk, as you are starting with a product that already “works.”
  • Consider Personalized Items - Personalized products are popular at the moment, and offering personalization options can be a good way to make a product stand out. Products that come with a choice of colors, features or accessories can be made to match exactly with what a customer is looking for.  This can often be done fairly simply if it is products like personalized badges, stickers, stationary or other items which can be personalized easily or at low cost. Using flexible manufacturing processes like laser engraving, digital printing and 3D printing, are one way to achieve this.
  • Consider White Label ProductsWhite label products are products that a manufacturer creates to be rebranded and sold under another company’s name. This is also known as private label manufacturing, and the suppliers are called Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs). These might be common products like baseball caps or water bottles, or they might be something more complex, such as appliances, electronics, power tools or other items. White label manufacturing has been around a long time, but when done right, however, it can generate a lot of attention.

A business that suddenly finds that it’s very fashionable may do well introducing branded, white label products in niches it doesn’t normally sell to, for example. The business’ fashionable name will make the products appealing and open up sales in new markets.

Shopify Product

Fig. 1: Sheet Metal Product by Komaspec

How to Think of a New Product / What Type of Product Should You Develop?

Try to Predict Market Trends

Shopify brands sometimes try to predict trends ahead of time and introduce products just as they become trendy. This may need knowledge of a niche area, but often people use social media, publications relevant to a particular industry or tools like BuzzSumo to help themselves make a prediction.

Look at New Markets

Some companies have success taking their existing products and selling them in new markets. For this to happen, a product may be given a new use, or it may be found to be useful to a new group of people. Not only does this method get more sales for an existing product, but it also gets the company behind the product attention from a new audience.  

If a company can find an outlet for its products in a particularly niche market, they can earn a lot of brand loyalty and customer retention from customers dedicated to that particular niche.

Think About Environmental and Social Causes

Modern shoppers, particularly those from younger generations, are increasingly concerned about the environment and social causes when they shop for products. At the very least, consumers want products that don’t damage the environment or have any other negative impact. Consumers are even happier if products are linked to positive environmental or social initiatives.  

Redesigning a product to be made from more sustainable materials is one idea that might win new customers.   

Look at Foreign Markets

Another simple idea is to look at foreign markets and see if there are any popular products sold overseas that might be a hit in your own domestic market.

Creative Methods of Product Development

Other ways of developing or searching for good products are more open and rely more on inspiration.

Solve a Pain Point

The newest and most innovative products come from looking at problems that exist in the world and finding ways to solve them. Entrepreneurs, for example, often start businesses after they have a new problem-solving idea. For existing businesses, it will be best to look at the market in which they already exist for problems to solve.

Read more about custom product development for Shopify on our blog. 

Where a new product idea is born, designs will need to be finalized and a manufacturing process will need to be created. Komaspec are experienced in custom product development.  

Think About What Your Company Has Learned

Another thing that existing businesses can do is think about what they’ve learnt from their market segment since they’ve been in business. A business may have gained useful insights into what it is consumers in their sector want the most. This coupled with knowledge of design and manufacturing processes might give rise to product ideas.  

Ask Your Manufacturer

It may be that your manufacturer can contribute ideas to your company. Manufacturers have in-depth and up to date knowledge of production processes. It may be that they have ideas about how to improve or adapt a product through design alteration or by introducing new technologies. Manufacturers also work for businesses in lots of different sectors and may have ideas from other sectors that could be useful to your company.

Look at What’s Happening on Social Media or in Popular Culture

Social media and popular culture are good places to look for product inspiration. Hearing a particular story relevant to the interests of a Shopify brand might give rise to a product idea. If a brand has a presence on social media, it can also use this to research ideas. Asking people about their likes and dislikes within their niche can point towards possible product innovations.

Understanding the Different Types of Manufacturers

Broadly speaking, there are three main types of manufacturers that Shopify brands might use to manufacture a new product. The choice mainly depends on the type of product the company will need to produce.

  • Custom Product Manufacturer: If a Shopify seller will introduce a new, original design from scratch, they will need a contract manufacturer that can handle the entire production process and assist with design. The best manufacturers are those that offer a turnkey service covering everything from design finalization right through to product delivery.
  • Original Design Manufacturer (ODM): If a Shopify brand wants to introduce a white label product, they will need to find an original design manufacturer. These are manufacturers that produce white label products. They will be able to accommodate branding or other brand related design alterations on request.
  • Original Equipment Manufacturer: Original equipment manufacturers are the best option for tweaking or iterating already existing designs. These are manufacturers with the production facilities needed to put designs supplied to them by a client into production.


Fig. 2: Assembly Lines at Komaspec

Pros and Cons of Each Manufacturing Option

While the choice of manufacturer depends mainly on the type of product needed, it’s worth thinking about the pros and cons each type of manufacturer offers.

For a good overview of what each type of manufacturer might offer you, have a look at our comparison article.

  • With a contract manufacturer, you will be able to create a unique product that will stand out in the marketplace. Not only will the product stand out, but the company selling it will have more freedom over how they price it compared to less unique products. The main downsides are the higher cost of initial investment and longer lead times.
  • With an ODM manufacturer, a smaller initial investment is needed, and lead times are minimal. The main downside is that the product will be less unique and may have a shorter shelf life.
  • OEM manufacturers offer somewhat of a compromise between these two options. Products may be less unique than with a contract manufacturer, depending on the amount of design alteration. The cost of producing a unique product will be significantly reduced, however, and lead times will be much shorter.
Provides ready-made products with customization options X    
Specialized in certain product categories X X  
Customer provides input on design / product specifications   X X
Producing product from scratch based on customer design requirements     X
Offers greater supply chain transparency & consigned component options     X
Greater transparency on subassembly and component specifications, cost, quality, etc.     X
Buyer needs to invest time & money in product design, research, and testing   X X
Gives customers a say in the choice of material supply     X
Assumes manufacturing liability X X X
Assume Product Design Liability   X  
Provides customer control over product IP   X X

Table 1: A comparison of ODM, OEM and CM manufacturing models.

Finding a Manufacturer for Your Shopify Products

It’s essential that you find a good manufacturer to work with on any production order. You need to find the manufacturer that is the right fit in terms of cost, quality, reliability and time to market for the particular product you have in mind.

You should compare manufacturers, speak to them and vet them closely before you enter into a partnership. The best thing is if you can start a relationship that lasts long into the future. You should look for a manufacturer that offers help with everything from design right up to product delivery, communicates well and has the right expertise.

Shopify themselves have a Shopify guide on how to choose a good manufacturer.

If you need a contract manufacturer, we also have a step-by-step guide to finding a contract manufacturer here.

Komaspec’s Custom Manufacturing Solutions

Komaspec have worked with Shopify sellers for a long time, helping them get the right products in front of their customers.

The main product categories we work in for Shopify sellers are:   

  • IOT Products: Bluetooth enabled devices.
  • Automotive: Aftermarket accessories, restoration project parts and unique customization solutions.
  • Transportation: Bike racks and accessories, innovative cargo solutions and safety and visibility enhancements.
  • Recreational: Sporting equipment parts, custom safety gear and outdoor equipment components.
  • Fitness: Fitness accessories and training equipment.
  • Motorcycling/ATV: Accessories, protective gear and performance parts.

Explore our Shopify manufacturing services here.


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Frequently Asked Questions

Are there any apps or websites for sourcing Shopify products?

There are apps and websites where Shopify sellers can find readily available products to sell on their stores. These are less geared towards innovation, but good white label products may be sourced, inspiration may be drawn from searching, or good products may simply be found.

Look at the Shopify App Store.

What Shopify products are best for drop shipping?

When it comes to drop shipping, the arrangement you have with the manufacturer or supplier of the product is key in the drop shipping arrangement. You should find a supplier or manufacturer that is geared towards drop shipping arrangements and work with them to supply products directly to your customers.

If you plan on shipping products yourself, have a look at this guide.

Can Komaspec help with new product development?

Komaspec are experienced in contributing towards product design and development. We have a team of engineers who can assess designs for performance and manufacturing. Our expertise is in manufacturing, however, and we can contribute a great deal towards designing products for faster and more efficient manufacturing.  

What kind of tools can I use to help me with product design?

Nowadays, lots of people use CAD tools to help with product design. Modern CAD tools can be used to produce highly sophisticated designs, evaluate in-use performance and also evaluate how easy designs will be to manufacture. 

FreeCAD is a well-known, free-to-use CAD software suite.