Product Matchup: HotProducts.io vs ProductList Genie14 min read

Welcome loyal dropshippers!

If you’re like us, you’re ready for some rest and relaxation after a busy few weeks of holiday shopping (ecommerce or otherwise).  Did you find everything you wanted?

Did you, perhaps, come away with some fresh ideas of things you would like to sell on your ecommerce store?

If you are one of those people that have already figured out everything you want to launch over the next twelve months, great!  We wish you all the best! And if we’re really nice, maybe we can borrow your crystal ball this time next year?

If you can’t see the future, however, you’ve probably got some room to mix in some new hot products here and there.  You may have read a few articles, such as our previous post, “Top 30 Winter Products,” to get a few ideas.  And those are some But what happens after that?  Where can you turn when your creative juices run a little low?

Never fear! As you may already know, there are a handful of product research apps you can use to do this research for yourself.  They will help you find the hottest products all year round! In this article we will talk about two of the more prominent softwares available right now: Product List Genie and Hotproducts.io.

We’ll start by reviewing the basic interface (how easy it is to navigate and find what you need). Then we will move on to the real guts of each app: the quality of the data they return and the tools they offer to help you decide which products to launch.  

Finally, we’ll wrap things up with a look at some of their commercialization features, such as Facebook Ads Audience Builder and the Facebook Ads Video Generator.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

Value #1 – Ease of Use

Q:  What’s the first thing most people notice when they use any app or website?

A:  Aesthetics.

It may sound obvious, but it’s true.  First impressions matter. Is the app laid out in a clean, professional manner, or does it look like an a school project? Is the color scheme tasteful or garish?  How cluttered is the screen with ads or other pop-ins clamoring for your attention? In short, does it make you feel like a professional?

HotProducts.io

HotProducts.io is a clear winner here.  The interface is clean and the color scheme is classy, if a bit plain.  On top of that, navigation is (generally) smooth and effortless. No ugly loading sequences, and no surprising pop-ups or unexpected navigations.  Product List Genie, on the other hand, comes off a bit cartoonish. The layered background is a nice touch, but there’s nothing subtle about that genie.  He pops up in all kinds of places, often with an upsell offer. No offense Genie, but we want to focus on the products once in a while.

HotProducts.io - Ecommerce

Then, when you do log in, Product List Genie’s products are just…there.  They dump out onto your screen without a lot of rhyme or reason behind them, and they seem to scream “pick me, pick me!” at the user, again as if to sell you something you may not want to buy.  This isn’t the worst thing in the world. You’re there for products, after all, and it delivers them in spades. But HotProducts.io manages to accomplish the same thing without the circus act. The products it proposes are placed into groups, which you can browse as you see fit, and the app presents the products more than it does sell them.  In short, we felt more in control when we used Hotproducts.io.  And, as entrepreneurs, control is something we like.

Winner:  Hotproducts.io

Value #2: Quality of Product Information

On to the heart of the matter.  A pretty interface is nice, but it is meaningless if the Ecommerce app doesn’t deliver what it promises.  We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: “your ecommerce business is only as good as the products you sell.”  So which app truly finds the best products for your dropship store?

Both apps are able to find products in their own ways.  Product List Genie can be a bit frustrating to use. As already mentioned, the app doesn’t put its products into categories very well.   This means you might see amazing product opportunities grouped products that have been “trending” for a long time already. It’s up to you to figure out which is which.  

Product List Genie provides some interesting analytics to help you understand, but even here you have to be cautious. For example, one product we viewed said it was trending because of one strong sales month.  This product was actually in decline, however. The six months before that were all well below the product’s peak.

HotProducts.io - Ecommerce

Some of their other suggestions are questionable as well.  For example, their “big ticket” items include things like TV’s and computers.

Dropshipping items like these can be risky due to concerns about quality reasons.  We wanted to stick with items we could control and make sure it gets delivered all in one piece.

HotProducts.io, on the other hand, groups its products into several useful categories.  You can start your search by looking for “Hot Products” or “Warm Products.” Then, using the Engagement Calculator, you can see just how hot the product really is (Hot, Super-Hot, Lukewarm, etc.)

HotProducts.io

Why would anyone want to target a product that was merely “hot,” or even “warm,” you ask?  

Two words:  risk and exclusivity.  A “Super Duper Hot” product has arrived.  People already know about it, and its engagement numbers are off the charts!  There is still time to get in and ride the wave, but you need to act fast, and there will be a lot of competition.

A “Warm” product, on the other hand, has not yet reached its potential.  You can get it in on the early stages. The product may never take off like a “Super Duper Hot” product, but it can still be good for your dropship store.  There is less competition, so these products are usually safer bets, especially for sellers who are just starting out. And who knows? With your savvy marketing you might be able to turn it into next month’s “Super Duper Hot” product!

Winner:  HotProducts.io

Value #3:  Features & Integration

Now that you’ve found the product(s) you want to list, how will you make it happen?

An important part of any product hunt app is helping make this process easy.  Both apps do this in different ways. Product List Genie has a cool “Google Ready” link associated with many of its product.  This feature makes it easy to view ad copy, choose keywords, and can even preview your ad for you! You can download this information into a .csv file and import it into your ecommerce store quickly and easily.

On the down side, some of the copy is pretty generic.  The images, too, are often really cheap and unattractive.  Anyone who has spent ten minutes in Photoshop can (and should) make better pictures on their own!

HotProducts.io offers all these features too, of course.  The app includes a tool called Facebook Ads Audience Builder to help you target groups you think will be interested in each product.  It also has one called Facebook Video Ad Generator, which can help you create a killer Facebook Video Ad campaign. (For more on Facebook Video Ads, see our previous article here)

HotProducts.io

HotProducts.io also offers a clever 1-Click Shopify Import too.  If you are listing on Shopify, this feature allows you to list the products you select with a single click of your mouse.  You will probably still want to review the listing, of course. You might choose to customize the headlines or the ad copy, or you might use a different photo.  But the guts of the listing will be done for you in just a few seconds.

Winner:  Tie

The real winner here depends on what you want to do with the app and aligning it with your ecommerce store.  If you’re listing on Shopify, the 1-Click Import feature makes Hotproducts.io a clear winner.  The same goes if you plan to take advantage for HotProducts.io’s customization tools. If you aren’t working with Shopify, however, and you don’t really care about customizing your listings or unique marketing, then Product List Genie might serve just as well.

Value #4: Dashboard Features

We touched on this a little bit already when we talked about aesthetics, but it’s worth mentioning again.  Which app is easier to navigate from the home page? Which one offers an ‘at-your fingertips’ dashboard so you can get where you need to go, no matter how deep into your research you get?

The dashboard in Product List Genie is built around different product types.  You can jump to Winning products, or you can focus your search on products sourced from the United States, or you can dig into High Ticket items (if you dare).  Some of these options, like the US sourcing, can be interesting. But that’s pretty much what it gives you – products.

HotProducts.io - Dropshipping

The dashboard in HotProducts.io is built around functions more than products.  Yes, you can jump to product searches in a couple of different categories. But you can also switch over to engagement metrics, or advertising copy, right from the dashboard.  You can also submit your feedback to help improve the app if there are any features you want to see, but don’t.

Winner:  HotProducts.io

Value # 5:  Other Pros and Cons

Here is where we’ll evaluate all of the little plusses and minuses that didn’t seem to fit into any of our other categories.  Rather than compare directly and pick a winner, we’ll just list a few things from each app. These are the things that were either pleasant surprises or areas we thought could be improved.

Product List Genie

Pro:     Comes with a series of helpful “how-to” videos for a variety of topics useful in the e-commerce community.  If you find yourself stuck on something and you think “I can’t be the first person that’s had to deal with this problem,” odds are good there is an answer somewhere in the how-to videos.

Pro: Includes the US Sourcing and High Ticket searches at no extra cost.  This can be a great way to find products that fit your personal value set.

Con: You have to deal with ridiculous upsell tactics when you sign up for your membership or trial.

Con: The upsell feel continues through the product listings.  We felt like it was trying to convince us to list the products it found.  Our goal was to be informed about a product’s performance, not to be convinced to sell it.

Con: Short trial period (more on that later)

HotProducts.io

HotProducts.io - Ecommerce

Pro: It has the handy Hot Requests feedback option.  We like this feature more for what it represents than for what it actually does.  It shows a commitment to improving the app, which seems to suggest that this app is going to grow and adapt.  It isn’t something the developers launched with the intention of making some fast cash and then never working on again.

Pro: It comes with an In-depth Facebook Ads Audience Builder feature.  Shame on us for not bringing this up earlier. It’s a really interesting tool you can use to target custom audiences based on their interests.  Interests, in this case, are identified by the types of websites they have visited. Think your product will appeal to gearheads? Build a custom audience made of people that visited your favorite auto parts website.  

Have a product that fits neatly in the health and beauty space? Focus your engagement efforts there. Looking to list a wine or whiskey accessory? There are dozens of different alcohol-related partners you can choose from to help you build your audience.  Its reach isn’t endless.

If you want to build an audience of international consulate members, for example, the app probably can’t help you. But most mainstream markets will find some clever ideas you probably wouldn’t think of on your own.

Con: It often takes an extra click or two to get where you want to go.  Some of the analytics, for example, don’t appear as part of the product information.  So you need to navigate to analytics separately.

Con: It does not have easy to use Google Ads info that gives you another source of advertising. But unless you are a massive dropshipper, Google Ads is something that would make even the most experienced marketer sweat.

Winner:  Tie.

Like we said, these features aren’t directly comparable.  They are merely presented as an FYI to anyone who is interested.

Value # 6: Pricing and Commitment

In this case the term “value” is more literal.  For some people it may not be very important. If you’ve already applied the secrets from our previous article, Three Secrets to a Six-Figure Hot Product, you may already have a handful of successful products.  A small monthly fee might not matter much to you in this case.  But if you are just starting out you probably want to watch your expenses.  Let’s take a look at how each app impacts your wallet.

Product List Genie is definitely on the pricey side at $97 US per month.  This is a great deal, according to their website, since it is reduced from $195!  You can delay payment if you sign up for their free trial, but it only lasts seven days.  So you’ll have to work pretty hard if you want to experience all areas of the app before your trial runs out.

HotProducts.io is a little more reasonable.  Basic membership is less than a third of Product List Genie at only $27 / month.  The Elite membership is a bit more expensive, but still about the same as the cheapest option for Product List Genie.  And, at the moment, there is an end-of-year sale going currently which allows you to upgrade to an Elite membership for no extra cost.  We know a lot of people who get turned off by different levels of membership. But when the price is the same they like it just fine!

HotProducts.io doesn’t offer a free trial. It offers a money-back guarantee instead, which is good for seven days after you sign up.  So, in that regard, it is similar to Product List Genie.

One extra bonus offered by HotProducts.io is their loyalty program.  If you keep your subscription, you can access exclusive features after 60 days, 90 days, and 120 days as a reward.  You can also earn cash if you refer the app to some of your friends. You can learn more about the affiliate program here.

Winner:  HotProducts.io

Summary

If you’ve made it this far the conclusion should be no surprise.

HotProducts.io is either equal to or better than Product List Genie in almost every category we evaluated.

Its classic feel and smooth navigation instill confidence in the user.  Because of this, it doesn’t need to sell itself with overt tactics or attention-grabbing graphics.  The product information is generally more in-depth than Product List Genie and its analytics seem to be a bit more relevant to users’ decision-making process.  On top of that, many of the integration features are more helpful than those found in Product List Genie. You may have to move around the app a little more to use them, but they help customize your listing in ways that Product List Genie doesn’t.

HotProducts.io vs Productlistgenie
  • Starts from US$27 per month
  • Easy to navigate layout
  • Hot Requests
  • Video Ads Generator
  • US$97 per month
  • High Ticketed Items
  • Google Ads Template Import
  • Campaigns To FB Ad

HotProducts.io wins even without the price comparison.  But price doesn’t change the story. The basic plan for Product List Genie is three times as expensive as the basic plan for HotProducts.io.  And the loyalty program of Hotproducts.io only makes it that much more attractive.

In short, Product List Genie will serve you well enough in certain situations.  If you’re just looking for a quick list of product ideas to add to your store without much customization – maybe during your free trial – then by all means rub that Genie’s lamp.  If your plans are more long-term, and you want some help setting your ecommerce store apart from everybody else’s, HotProducts.io is the way to go.

I hope this helps

As always, happy selling!

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