Have you ever (been) asked a question like this?
We have been asked plenty! Here are a few more…
- What are the best selling categories?
- What is the best product niche for selling?
- Can you help me with a list of gainful products?
- How can I choose the most profitable articles?.
Many people who are about to start selling (or are already selling) on Amazon, often question about how to select the most profitable products. A product is the foundation of a listing, so all the money and efforts you subsequently put on optimizing or marketing of the listing will go down the drain unless the product is actually worthy of it. Good products can earn you a fortune and bad ones will earn you nightmares. It’s thus important for you to reach a sound decision. In this article our intent is to help you understand the nuances and thus ease the process for you.
But first- Relax! You are not alone!
Finding the perfect product to sell is often the step at which most sellers stumble upon. While they all keep stressing on the word ‘selling’ what they must focus on is ‘selling online’. Yes, that matters. Selling something in a store or a physical marketplace is far different from selling online. Some people think it’s as straightforward as going to a couple (or more) of stores and finding discounted or under priced items and then listing them up on Amazon to earn a margin. NO! That’s not how it works here on Amazon. This will become clear to you as you go through this article.
Though we always keep complaining of Amazon being customer centric, at many counts, Amazon is worth praising too! Because it addresses the issue we are discussing in this article very well and offer sellers with a plethora of stats to analyze and anticipate what products are more feasible for earning profits.
Before we start, here’s a brief overview of the course of action to be followed for selling on Amazon:
- Find a supplier – (somewhere in China) who can provide (or manufacture) you the product at low cost.
- Make an order – Make an order and the supplier will ship the order to a US located Amazon warehouse (as provided by you).
- Go live – When the shipment reaches the destination, you can go live on Amazon with your product listing and start selling.
- Create a Brand – You will be creating your own brand and sell the (made in china) product as that of your brand (i.e. in other words through private labeling).
Read further… Getting to your best product(s) is just five steps away.
Step 1: Understand what a ‘Good Product’ is
Before coming to a decision (of what to sell), it is imperative that you clearly understand what the commotion is all about. So we have listed a few fundamental elements to keep in mind while choosing a product. Since these are the basics for selecting a product to sell online, therefore, very reasonably, you need to master them by heart.
For understanding the concepts we have shared below, you are to search for the products on Amazon (or even eBay) with respect to the concept shared.
Now what qualifies as a ‘good product’?
Tip: As you go through the following points bear in mind and make sure that you must ultimately find a product you feel connected with or are passionate about.
*. Small and Lightweight
The lighter the weight and lower the dimensions, the better you sell and save. Size and weight matters, as they affect the shipping charges. From being shipped by the supplier to the Amazon warehouse, to being shipped to the customers address on being bought, and not to forget potential returns back to the warehouse, shipping bills can play havoc with your profit expectations.
Being a starter (or a regular small seller), go easy on weight and size. Look for products that are less than 10 pounds (with 2-5 pounds being the best bets) and dimensions not more than 20” X 15” X 10”. Moreover smaller size and lower weight products add to convenience of picking, packing and managing them.
*. Easy to outsource
Just choosing the product wouldn’t do all. You will gradually have to find a supplier who will ensure you a regular supply. Also you must have the option to get a customized order, if need be. For this you may simply search on Alibaba, by typing in a product name. If a dozen of suppliers are displayed in the result it is safe to assume that you can easily get that product manufactured
*. Simple and Durable
Complicated and fragile products or those with moving/multiple parts are more likely to suffer damage during transit. These products require perfect shipping practices which no one will be willing to promise. Damage could occur in transit from supplier’s end (so you can’t even list the damaged products) or when sending to your buyer (so be ready for returns and refunds). Therefore go for products that are meant for simple tasks, which are durable, and don’t involve moving parts (especially in case of electronics). Moreover, it will be easier to locate more suppliers for simple products at economical rates.
Tip: You may also ignore products which demand high warranties and/or maintenance services.
*. Specific (not broad category) products
Go for products that are very specific in purpose or usage. A very simple example here will be Dog pendants and collars. Now there will be thousands of sellers from small names to big brands, which will be selling such products. But just think over that not all will be selling ‘Stainless steel personalized custom photo and engraved dog pendant with collar’. Here is where you can hit the bull’s eye. A specific sub category might not have much competition and you can soon emerge as the front-runner.
The price of the product can play big tricks with the customer’s buying behavior. One commonly practiced pricing technique is to set an artificially high price (say $39.99 for an actual price of $32), then offer a discounted price (say at $28.99). The customer gets attracted to the difference they are able to save and end up buying the product.
To make the most of this method, you need products that you can source at wholesale rates (including order payment and order shipping charges from your supplier) of between $3-50, and can be listed up at the price between $10-70. This is so because the products in this price range are mostly bought under impulsive buying just because of the tempting discounts.
So you can start small and go big later as you gain more and more experience.
Tip: Keep your profit target near 25% after accounting all expenses. This is to make sure that your listing price is at par with the shipping costs and other unexpected or overhead charges.
*. Year Round and Consistent selling
You need products that can not only be sold all the twelve months of the year but also those which will continue being in demand over time. Seasonable products like woolen mittens, Christmas lights, festive costumes etc are sold only at specific time of the year and the rest of the time there will be next to no sales. Also in case of products like latest gadgets (like smart phones and watches), or other hot selling or trending products (like fidget spinners) are more likely to be in demand for a short time period. It is more than likely that their buyer base will go downward with time. Be careful while choose such items and make your decision only after a thorough knowledge of their demand and supply chain.
*. Having Limited Number of Best Sellers
Many sellers are tempted to choose a product which has thousands of good reviews and high sales rank and that’s a big blunder. You need to be humble here because lesser the competition you have, the easier it will be to beat it. The best products are those that are high on sales but low on competition. But easier said than done, its quiet arduous to speculate the sales of other sellers, besides, each category has its own best sellers. Here Amazon comes to aid through the Best Seller Ranks it exhibits for each product listing.
The Best Seller Rank lets you understand the sale-ability of a product (on whole as well as within its niche). A higher Best Seller Rank means more competition, which in turn refers to the fact that lesser units will be sold for this product. You are to focus on selling more units per day not just around a couple of them per day. A moderate rank will ensure demand (so your product sells) and a bearable competition (so that you continue selling). Though you will receive a wide range of opinions for what is the optimal range of the best seller rank for the most profitable products, we say, a rank between 2000-5000 can make you a front runner.
Tip: Please note here that you will have to use your own gut during research to guess the best products with respect to ranking, as it will certainly differ for different products.
See the image above. The Best Sellers Rank for this product is 1558 in the main category (Electronics) which is fits well in the under 5000 range. Thus it’s easier to sell more units.
The rank in sub categories is 26 (for Electronics > Home audio and Theatre > Compact Radios and Stereos > Clock Radios) and 34 (for Home and Kitchen > Home Decor > Clocks > Alarm Clocks > Electronic Alarm Clocks). This again refers to higher demand and easy saleability.
Tip: Though Best Sellers Rank for main Category is to be given preference but the sub categories must not be ignored, as sometimes, the ranking for the main category might be wide but a lower range of ranking in the sub categories may still let you play big.
*. Adequate Customer Reviews
Customer Reviews is one important factor A9 uses for product ranking. While you were suggested to go for lower competition when researching the Best Seller Ranks, in case of Reviews, you need to take a little risk. The ideal number of reviews is between the range of 100 and 500. Compare the reviews of top 20-50 products, if they have reviews below or around just 50, they are considered not in demand. Remember, it’s always more opportune to sell an in demand product (with reasonable competition) than being the best seller in an unpopular category.
In the image above the product is among top results for the search term “pet nail trimmers for dogs”, and the number of reviews is well within the suggested range.
Tip: You may also use the reviews to know about the drawbacks and limitations of products listed on Amazon. Then you can analyse and see if your product can cover these gaps.
*. Optimally List able
There are some important characteristics of a listing which have a great say in the sale ability of the product. For example, multiple product images, keywords, bulleted points in features, product description etc. While you are searching other product listings, see whether they are fully optimized or do they have major drawbacks. If the top results in a category are not optimized or using Amazon Marketing Services, you have a fair chance, to not only give them a tough competition but also to emerge as a fair winner.
- Go for products for which you can use multiple keywords. This will give you better opportunity for ranking.
- Also make sure that the product you are choosing doesn’t limit in any way the completeness and/or the competence of your listing on Amazon.
Click here to know in detail about the listing requirements to rank high on Amazon.
*. Brand Expandability
Your first product will be the root of your future brand which you would like to subsequently branch out into a bigger tree. As you grow as a seller, you will probably have to sell multiple products in order to expand. Choose wisely! Think long term! Have a clear picture of the future prospects of the product, its correlative products and its category on whole. Draw a little blueprint of how you can widen the base for a flourishing business while choosing the product and cross your fingers.
*. Not being sold by big brands
You definitely don’t want to compete with big brands for they will crush you like tiny little ants. You need to compete where your abilities lie, like against other weak sellers or brands that are just so-and-so. You don’t want to be playing against seasoned players,
Step 2: Product Research
Research the following platforms for good products as we discussed hitherto.
The Amazon Best Sellers Lists is the best way for a broad research and study of the products that are selling well. As per Amazon these lists are updated hourly. Here you can discover the best among Amazon Best Sellers, and find the top 100 most popular on Amazon.
Tip: Here again you need to be cautious about the products sold by big brands as not all categories are going to have products sold by small sellers.
Along with Amazon Best Sellers, you will also find following tabs:
- New Releases contains the latest trending products.
- Movers and Shakers are the items quickly selling and going up the ranking.
- Most Wished for are the items people are saving in their wish list.
- Gift Ideas are the products being bought as gifts by the customers.
Google Keyword Planner
Though barely recommended for product search, it is the one where you can get the best and highly relevant product ideas. It’s like brainstorming, where you will come across ideas you might have not even be aware of.
Follow the steps as mentioned below.
- First open the Amazon Best Sellers Lists.
- Click on a Category from the category list displayed on left side of the screen. You will now get a list of sub categories.
- Now, one by one fill in these sub categories into the Keyword Planner Tool and click on ‘Get Ideas’.
As in the image below you will get further knowledge of monthly searches (demand) and competition of the product keywords you search.
Alibaba is another great place for product research as it has a lot of products that are hard to find on other platforms. It offers you the maximum supplier options.
Search Categories, sub categories and further till you get ‘your’ perfect product.
Tip: When searching on Alibaba, select the ‘Gold Supplier option’ to access quality suppliers.
Tip: On eBay make sure you check the ‘Completed Listings’ option under ‘Show Only’ for quality search results.
Step 3: Find Product Suppliers
- Go to Alibaba and again search for the product, except, now you have to select ‘Suppliers’ instead of ‘Products’. Refer to the image below.
- Shortlist around 10-20 best suppliers.
- Contact these suppliers for their minimum order quantity, pricelist, along with any overhead charges (like shipping costs etc) and any other details you seek.
The way they handle your message will speak volumes of their future dealings and practice. The ones who reply back promptly could be serious suppliers.
Tip: Do ask for a sample. You want to be sure of what you will be putting your name on. The quality of the product will also define your sales as well as returns.
- You will start receiving replies within first 24 hours. Go through all of them. Analyse and compare their responses, prices etc and select three best suppliers.
- Now reply back to these three. Negotiate for price etc and ask for samples of the product.
- For payment prefer Escrow or Paypal for safety against scammers and frauds.
- Some suppliers must have already mentioned their Minimum Order Quantity (MOQ). Don’t take them seriously. Contact the supplier and ask if he can change the MOQ as these are mostly flexible.
Step 4: Test your product samples
As soon as you get your product samples from the supplier, test it.
Firstly, check it physically for quality and aesthetics. See if it had any shipping related damages. For example if you ordered dog collars, check if it has proper finish, strong thread and buckles and related aspects.
Secondly, create a seller account on Amazon and eBay and list the product samples. This is like a hit and trial method. You will gain knowledge of how soon the product sells, customer feedback etc, using which you can estimate the efficacy of listing the product in bulk.
Step 5: START SELLING!
Once you have sold the product samples and you are happy with the sales and reviews plus your overall experience with the product, you can start selling it in bulk.
Now as your business grows, you will meet and greet many new sellers for same or different products. This will help you grow and get better connections for your business. All this is possible with a good start, which in turn narrows down to you choosing the perfect product. So some hard work at this particular stage can take you a long way in your Amazon selling journey.
All the Best!
Here are a few links to assist you through…
- How to Get Started on Amazon: A Step by Step Guide!
- The Absolute Guide to Rank High on Amazon
- What are Super URLs and do they still work for Keyword Ranking Giveaways?
- The Power of Keywords on Amazon: A Success Blueprint!
- Proven Tips for Handling Amazon Negative Reviews like a Pro
- Four Points to Remember While Handling Amazon Returns and Refunds
- A Step by Step Guide for Amazon Marketing Services