An introduction to selling physical products

Jul 29, 2016 by
An introduction to selling physical products

Whether you’re monetising a blog or creating an entirely new business, deciding whether to sell physical or digital products is a big concern.

In previous posts, we have covered some of the common digital monetisation strategies, such as getting your blog sponsored or creating digital products such as ebooks. While digital monetisation strategies appear to be relatively safe, creating your own physical products can be extremely lucrative. If you’re able to come up with a product that people really want and you have enough capital to design and manufacture it in bulk (without bankrupting your business), physical products might just be for you. Here are the steps to creating your first physical product.

1 – Research

The prospect of blowing large amounts of money on creating a new product, manufacturing it in bulk and then selling next to nothing is a very real fear for many entrepreneurs. This is why research is absolutely paramount before you dive into selling physical products. Is there evidence that people will actually buy what you want to sell? Google Product Search is an excellent tool which will let you know which products are popular at the moment, as is the Amazon Bestseller Page. Also, you may wish to commission a market research report into your desired niche to find out more about consumer desires and behaviours.

2 – PrototypingAn intricate 3D printed ball

When generating a prototype, whether for showing to potential investors or to assess the manufacturing, it’s important that you don’t go over budget. Fortunately, with manufacturing methodologies such as 3D printing now widely available, you can manufacture a one-off prototype for an affordable rate. With 3D printing, objects are additively manufactured layer by layer (making this technology perfect for prototyping). This is unlike subtractive methodologies, which require expensive tooling and are not recommended for novice entrepreneurs.

3 – Manufacturing

For simple promotional products, such as branded t-shirts and mugs, you may wish to seek out a local screen printer – this will save costs on shipping and will be beneficial for communications. However, for more complex products, Alibaba is an excellent place to look to find offshore manufacturers who can create your product at an affordable cost and ship it to you. When choosing a manufacturer, don’t just go on price, always ensure they have plenty of positive testimonials and are prepared to take the time to really get to understand your company, niche and mission.

Additionally, packaging is also something that is worth considering seriously. Jon Wheatley, inventor of Peel, a slimline iPhone case, advocates spending a lot of time choosing the packaging for your product. He states:

Having nice packaging really seems to change the perceived value of a product. We spent the first few months just sending out loose cases in envelopes which makes me cringe when I think about now. Presenting your product professionally also opens other doors to wholesalers and distributors.

4 – Create a store

If you have the capital, you may wish to hire a web designer and coder to create a comprehensive e-commerce store for your new product. However, for those just getting started, Shopify is a much safer bet. For an affordable monthly fee, you can create your own webstore using Shopify’s easily navigable interface and start selling your own products within hours. Most importantly, Shopify will take care of the payment processing which is one of the toughest parts of selling physical products if you’re a beginner.


Although selling physical products can be a daunting prospect, it doesn’t need to be. So long as you take your time with research, perform proper prototyping, manufacture using a reliable supplier and stay conservative with your budget, you can have massive success selling physical products!