Cyber Monday brought in a record $11.3 billion in sales this year, and final holiday shopping numbers are expected to be strong as well. Online selling has certainly been having its moment since the pandemic lockdowns, and joining in on the profit-making is easier than ever with the plethora of ecommerce platforms available to list your products for sale.
While there are definitely specific product categories that sell best, there is still a lot of untapped potential when it comes to things you can sell online. In fact, there are a host of products that have dedicated customer bases you may not have even thought of before. Looking for niche markets is a great way to ensure that you have a steady stream of profits, so we’ve compiled a list of some of the most obscure products you can successfully sell online.
1. Vintage keychains
Remember all those trips to theme parks you took as a kid (or perhaps as a grown-up kid)? You likely purchased a couple of keychains along the way. It turns out there’s a market for those old keychains—or at least certain ones. Disney keychains that are in decent shape are for sale out there for anyone keen to relive their childhood memories touring the home of Mickey Mouse.
Another late-2022 trend evident from a quick Google search of “vintage keychains” appears to be retro motel keychains. Take a look through your childhood boxes or hit resale shops near you—vintage is in, and the right kind of vintage novelty items can net you a pretty penny.
2. Empty toilet paper rolls
Believe it or not, these small, cylindrical pieces of cardboard are a treasure for crafters—and are available for purchase in bulk online. Who says your next empty roll can’t live a second life as a chimney that Santa Clause squeezes through to deliver presents?
Selling large amounts of crafting supplies born from normal, everyday objects of all kinds can be a great way to make money online. Remember the plastic grocery bag rug-weaving trend from a few years ago? There are so many different plastic grocery bags crafts that customers can take advantage of, and selling them the bulk of free bags in your cupboard might be just what they need.
3. Sea glass
If you’ve ever noticed those frosted, rounded off pieces of glass scattered amongst the sea shells on shorelines, you’ll be happy to know there’s a market for them. Known as sea glass, these are pieces of broken glass that have been tumbled in the ocean’s waves for years, giving it that rounded, worn look. They can be used to make jewelry or create a seaside-themed décor for any home.
Other items from nature can be sold in bulk as crafting supplies as well. The plethora of acorns coating your yard may be a crafting treasure trove for customers who don’t live in an area with oak trees, and even specific shapes of leaves—four-leaf clovers, anyone?—can be valuable to people who don’t see them everyday.
Parents are always on the hunt for new products that will distract their children and give them some peace. One popular product that you can make fairly easily and sell to them is homemade play-dough or slime. While its simple-to-make nature may make it seem like a miss—as parents may use “making slime” as an afternoon activity—remember that there are always parents and children who prefer things pre-made and packaged nicely.
There are many ways you can set your slime apart from the rest, such as including glitter, glow-in-the-dark coloring, or pom-poms. You could also opt for a recipe for guaranteed kid-safe products or include small toys/figurines in your slime for an extra surprise—the possibilities are endless.
Customization is key these days—there is nothing consumers love more than getting exactly what they want. For that reason, buying pre-made products and customizing them is another great way to sell online without too much effort (but likely some creativity).
There are tons of products that are “typically” customized online, like monogrammed towels, hand-painted shoe art, and more. But if you’re good at thinking outside of the box, you can sell almost anything in a customizable and profit-making way (trash cans with your customer’s ex’s photo on them, anyone?). There are so many off-the-wall options, and yours could be the next viral product.
6. Unique subscription boxes
Subscription boxes are nothing new, but most of them fall into similar categories: product samples within a specific vertical, mini-activities, geo-specific products, etc. But again, thinking out of the box can give you some pretty unique ideas that can become hits online.
You can put together a subscription box for anything quality—for example, monthly original poetry written in calligraphy that can be sent as greeting cards—or you could even put together gag gift subscription boxes, like a “Crazy Hat I Found at Goodwill of the Month” box. You can create a subscription box out of anything you want, which makes for some interesting choices as a consumer looking for something new.
Online selling doesn’t always have to involve creating new, innovative products from scratch—sometimes you can find the most obscure things to sell in your own storage closet or yard without much effort at all. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, so if you can find value in any obscure item or product, there will likely be an interested customer somewhere in the world.