So, You’ve decided that you want to sell a product on Amazon. You’ve gone as far as to look through some articles on the topic, watch a few videos, and talk to some other sellers.
You even have an idea of the kind of product that you’d like to sell. But even still, you’re feeling stuck.
If you’ve started your search for a specific product to list, you’ve suddenly realized just how many products are out there.
May be you want to sell men’s hats – but what style of hats?
Or may be you decided on women’s beauty products, but didn’t realize just how many niches “women’s beauty products” have.
How are you ever going to decide on the perfect product?
The truth is, there is no “perfect” first product to sell.
There’s no magic formula; no single web search that will give you the answer.
However, there are some steps you can take to analyze the market carefully, and find a product that will sell with minimal trouble on your end.
In this article, I am going to break down these steps that I’ve learned from my own trial and error of searching for products.
Download this step by step worksheet to find profitable products to sell on Amazon.
These will help you to go about your product search logically, and bring you one step closer to your goal of listing (and selling!) that first Amazon product.
But first, you have to understand different approaches you can take to select a product.
Choosing Your Search Type
Generally, you can start with one of two kinds of processes to select a product.
These are keyword-oriented searches, and product-oriented searches.
Let’s take a closer look at both.
Keyword Oriented Search:
In this process, you might have a general idea of some keywords you’ll be searching for, but you don’t yet know what your ultimate product might be.
For example, you might want to launch mountain bike gloves, but you don’t necessarily know which type of mountain bike gloves you’d launch.
A quick search shows that there are at least four different types of mountain gloves, such as:
- Half finger bike gloves
- Dirtpaw race gloves
- Silicone gel pad riding gloves
- Unisex downhill off road gloves.
You can chose any of them. Your question is: which one, and why?
We’ll get to that in a minute.
Product Oriented Search:
Product oriented searches come in to play when you’ve come across a product that is selling well, but you’re not sure if you can or should launch the exact item with your own private labeling, or, if you should try to modify it first.
It’s easy to look at the top 500 BSR products in any category and start trying to understand why they’re selling so well.
For example, I randomly came across the following product:
At the time of writing this post, the BSR of the above product is 274.
So, I know for sure that it is selling well, without necessarily thinking about a keyword.
But once again, the question is,“should I copy this exact product? If I so, will it sell?”
What’s even more confusing is that the Amazon search function doesn’t work in the same way that Google’s does.
Amazon Algorithm Dilemma:
In Google, if you rank well for the target keyword, you’ll start getting traffic.
If you don’t rank well in the Google search engine, it is very difficult to get a consistent flow of traffic.
Sure, you can do PPC, but that’s hardly affordable for anyone.
But, in the case of Amazon, your product may sell even if you are NOT ranking well for any keyword.
I’ve come across many such products that aren’t high-ranking for any general search term, but are still selling hot.
So, you know now that you have to look at the product selection process from different angles without worrying too much about ranking.
Analyzing a Product
There are few surefire ways to select a product that will sell well. You have a choice of the following methods:
Method 1: High Selling, but Low Rating:
If you follow this method, your goal is to find products that are selling in high volume but are very poorly rated, typically below 3.5 stars.
Whenever you come across such a product, you should ask yourself the following questions:
Can I improve the drawbacks of this product?
Your first goal is to identify the drawbacks of the product. Let’s look at an example:
Product: stainless steel cuff bracelet
BSR: 55 in Jewelry
The BSR tells you that this product is really selling well. On the other hand, its overall rating of 3.0 says that people don’t like this product.
I read through the reviews to see exactly what people don’t like. Here are some of the negative reviews:
Watch carefully – people are telling you exactly what is wrong with the product.
So take notes of the issues they are complaining about. When dealing with a supplier, you can simply go through this list to make sure your product is better than the one currently being sold.
Before you check any other metrics, always ask this question-
Is it a trademarked product?
This is a mistake that many newbie sellers make. You do not want to mess with trademarked products!
Do a Google search or go to the USPS website to see if there’s any trademark associated with this brand, and stay away if there is.
Method 2: Depth in Market + Add a Differentiator.
To understand this method, you have to first understand what “depth” means. In case of Amazon, it refers to simply this question:
Are the majority of the items in first page selling at least 200 units or more per month?
If your answer is “yes,” then there’s a good depth in the market. 200 is a benchmark figure I use personally, but you can use your own number if you see fit.
In the previous example of mountain gloves, let’s see whether there’s a depth in this market or not.
I ran a JS search for the keyword “portion control containers” and this is the result:
You can see that majority of the first page results are selling well over 200 units a month.
Your next, question is, how do you interpret this data to reach a conclusion?
What you need to understand about this approach is that you can add a variation or differentiator to make your product unique.
To be able to do so, you need to do more research to understand the niche market you’re interested in.
In this particular example, if you go through the individual listings, you’ll see almost all of them are selling the same containers.
However,two of them stand out by a large margin.
First, This listing has added a free recipe ebook and body tape measure.
Also, the price is lower compared to others.
So, in actuality, the seller is adding much more value to their listing than others, and selling it at the same or lower price.
Second, This listing includes a shaker cup and a reusable ice pack, once again making the product unique.
As a result, the seller is charging a higher price for their product.
Adding Value to an Existing Product
Adding value to an existing product depends mostly on your industry, because there are so many variables associated with each product.
But value addition doesn’t have to be something complex – there’s no need to reinvent the wheel here.
Sometimes, just changing the color or adding an additional size does the trick.
Do a little bit of research and you’ll begin to understand for yourself.
It’s important not to let yourself fall into a downward spiral of doubt about whether your changes will sell or not.
Just use your own insight and personal experiences, and always trust your instinct.
Method 3: First Page Rankings
This is another way to look at a product’s potential.
I call it “Amazon SEO,”because it is the same process of ranking higher in Amazon search result based on target keywords.
Like Google SEO, you have to identify the demand (search volume) and analyze the competition (first page results) to determine whether you should target a certain keyword or not.
Identifying Amazon Search Volume
Currently, Merchant Words is the only tool I am aware of that provides Amazon search data.
Though there is some debate over the accuracy of this data, you can still use it to get a general idea about the search volume of a certain keyword.
Though there is no set-in-stone cut off, I would recommend targeting keywords that are getting 10,000 searches per month or more.
Once you find a keyword, you have to assess the competition – Amazon first page results.
To do this, there are three major things you should look at:
- Sales volume (Majority sales 200+ per month)
- Number of reviews( At least 5 listings with less than 100 reviews)
- Good margin( at least $8-10 margin )
These are the personal filters I use, but you can modify them as you see fit. The logic behind these numbers is:
200+ sales volume indicates that the products are selling well, and lower number of reviews means that there’s a chance of your product ranking well.
The margin indicates the product is worth targeting, in terms of profitability. The effort you put in is the same whether you pick a lower or higher margin product,so why not chose the latter.
But I will be the first to admit that this is a tedious process. Checking each individual keyword one by one is no joke.
Yes, you can hire a VA, but the bottom line is that it’s still a lot of work. To simplify this process,I use an in-house tool that finds all the keywords from Amazon searches, enabling you to do a bulk check for first page results.
Method 4: Newly Launched, but Selling Hot
In this method, you target hot-selling newly launched items. How do you find this out?
The answer is high sales volume (300+ per month) and low number of reviews (less than 50 reviews).
You can find this using the Jungle Scout extension or the web app, but when doing this, you have to be careful about few things:
The sales volume is just an estimate based on Best Seller Rank (BSR). So often times, sellers giveaway large quantities for reviewing purposes,resulting in a low BSR.
That doesn’t necessarily mean the product is selling well, then. You have to double check these numbers by checking the historical BSR of the product with CamelCamelCamel.
In CamelCamelCamel, you can enter the product ASIN and it will show you the BSR of a product over time.
Typically, you don’t want to see any sudden spikes in BSR.
Let’s take a look an example:
In the above scenario, we can see that the BSR varied between 8,000 to 1,700 for a period of roughly two months.
This is an acceptable range, however, because the graph looks consistent.
If this were only over 1 or 2 weeks time, then I would think again about this product.
But lets look at another case:
Here, you can see a big jump from 200,000+ BSR to 17,000, which is quite suspicious.
There are two possible reasons for this jump:
either the seller is giving away huge quantity to spike the BSR, or they are running PPC campaigns to boost sales.
We want to avoid products like this for the purposes of our research.
We want to find products that are selling naturally with little or no effort on the behalf of the seller.
A consistent BSR for a period of over two months and low reviews tells you that this is a good, stable product to go after.
Be Aware of Common Problems
Copyright issues are problems sellers of any experience level can make, even the pros.
Always, always check whether there is any copyright issue associated with your product or not.
You can easily spot famous brand names like Nike, Adidas, etc., but there are many brand names out there that you may have never have heard of.
So don’t overlook those. Once again, you can go to the USPTO website or just do a Google search to find out whether the product is trademarked or not.
Before you launch a product, make sure it’s not a seasonal product.
There are lots of products that appear to be hot-selling at the moment, but with closer analysis, you can see that it is only hot during a specific holiday or a particular season.
For example, people tend to buy leather gloves only during winter, or they will buy an “I LOVE YOU MOM” mug in the weeks before Mother’s Day.
To avoid these products, check the “trends” option directly on Jungle Scout.
C.Concentrating Unnecessarily on Price
You don’t have to worry much about the selling price itself.
Just make sure your sourcing cost is at least one third of your selling price, and you’re good to go.
For example, if you intend to sell a product for $15, try to keep your sourcing cost at $5 or less per item.
Aside from following the above steps, the best way to lessen your product search time is experience.
Once you launch one product successfully, you will have the courage and confidence to launch more, without spending as much time agonizing over your decision.
So, the bottom line is, take action. Trust your instinct.
Remember not to expect to sell your product right away.
If it does start to sell immediately, that’s great! But you must be prepared to work for it. Most sellers do.
Spend time optimizing your listing, get some reviews, and track keyword ranking.
Always be patient. Gradually, things will turn around, and you’ll start getting more and more natural sales.
Becoming a successful seller is not as hard as you’re making it out to be in your mind – follow these steps, gain some confidence, and try it for yourself!
Questions? Comments? Let me know in the section below!