All of my Amazon FBA Case Study Updates
- Introduction to the Case Study (Start here if you are new!)
- PART 2 - The Game Plan
- PART 3 - You Are Here!
- PART 4 - How to Find Suppliers on Alibaba
- PART 5 - Info about my first order + How-to calculate Amazon fees
- PART 6 - How I Utilized my Product Sample
- PART 7 - FNSKU Labels and UPC Barcodes
- PART 8 - I Placed my First Order + A Minor Setback
- PART 9 - How to Brand your Amazon FBA Business
- PART 10 - How to Setup your Amazon Sellers Account
- PART 11 - My Product Has Shipped + A Couple of Updates
- PART 12 - The Definitive Guide to Getting your Product Pictures Taken
- PART 13 - My Product has Arrived at Amazon + My Initial Launch Plan
- PART 14 - Results from my First Month Selling on Amazon
- PART 15 - Increased Rankings and Sales + Ordered a New Shipment
- PART 16 - Details of my First 90 Days Selling on Amazon
Welcome to the third update in my journey to try and sell a private label product on Amazon! For those of you that missed the first two updates you can see Update #1 here and Update #2 here. Also if you haven’t already, make sure to join our free Amazon FBA Facebook group!
So far we have discussed a lot of fluff and mandatory stuff to get the case study rolling, in today’s post we are starting to get into the good stuff!
This article will cover the most important part to selling successfully on Amazon, finding a profitable product to sell. I know that many of you have been waiting for this part and have questions regarding this part of the process.
I am going to try and cover all parts of the process the best I can, but please remember that I have never sold on Amazon before, which means all of the information I am providing is stuff that I have gathered across the internet.
I also provide some of my own ideas that I have not tested but feel like they are important. I am in no way calling myself an expert or master, I am simply telling you all of the information I have learned and providing it in an easy to consume resource. That is my goal with this update.
This update is going to be split up into two parts, the first part is going to cover the WHOLE process of finding a good product and then the second part is going to reveal some details of my actual product as well as compare it to all of the requirements that I layout.
I am doing this because I think it is a good idea to show the process that I used to find my product and then show you the details of the product that I am going to sell on Amazon.
This is going to be a very long and detailed post that will take you a while to fully consume all of the information. I have put in a lot of work into this post which included hours upon hours of independent research to find all of this information for free on the internet.
I hope that you will find it useful and a good resource that you will be able to bookmark and keep coming back to when you are searching for a product.
Buckle in and let’s get started shall we!
Amazon FBA Private Label Basics and Outline
I think that it is important to fully understand the basics of how this business model works and the basic outline of the process. This way we will have a solid understanding of what we are going to and how we can go about it in the most efficient way.
This is NOT Retail Arbitrage
We need to clear this up and make sure that everyone is on the same page before we get started. What we are going to cover in this article and in this case study as a whole has nothing to do with retail arbitrage.
Retail arbitrage is where people run around to a bunch of stores and try to find underpriced items that they can sell on Amazon for a profit, that is NOT what we are doing here.
What We ARE Doing
We are going to be finding a product that we can source to China for cheap and then private label that product under our own brand and then sell it on Amazon. We are creating a legit business that is scalable and sellable, unlike retail arbitrage.
Understand the Basic Process of Amazon FBA
I think that it is important to understand at least the basic process of how this whole thing works. It is broken up into a couple of different parts.
The first thing we do is try to find a supplier that will make our product for cheap. This usually happens in China. We are creating our OWN brand and the product that is made in China is going to be your own product.
Once we find our supplier and agree on an order, they will ship it to an Amazon warehouse somewhere in the United States.
Once Amazon has our shipment in the warehouse we can now put our listing live on Amazon and start selling.
This is a VERY basic outline that leaves out 95% of the whole process but you can see how this differs from retail arbitrage and you can see how Amazon FBA works on a basic level. I wanted to highlight the process so that we are all on the same page going forward.
Picking a Product is the Most Important Factor to Having Success
I have heard this from just about everyone who is selling or has sold on Amazon. I can see why, your product determines everything about your business and that is an important decision to make.
Just think about it, let’s say that you picked out a product that was bad(didn’t meet any of the requirements of a profitable product) but then you did EVERYTHING else perfect. Meaning you did every other part of the process perfect such as finding a good supplier, good price, high quality product, optimized listing, etc.
Guess what happens?
Yup, you more than likely will fail and lose money.
That is why it is vital that you spend a lot of time finding the right product that will give you the best chance for success. I am hoping this post will be of help to you all while you go through the process and hopefully guide you to finding the perfect product to sell.
Checklist and Requirements for Finding a Profitable Product
You just got done reading about how important it is to find a good product that you can sell. What we are going to talk about next is how exactly to find these products.
I have scoured the internet and tried to find as many different sources as possible when it comes to the requirements for a good product. I have compiled everything I have found into the list below and I will thoroughly explain the reasoning behind each one.
Quick and Dirty Checklist of Product Requirements
- Average Product Sale Price Between $10-$50
- Lightweight(Preferably under 2-3 pounds)
- Similar Products Have a 5,000 Best Seller Rank or Smaller in Main Category
- No Brand Names within Product Category/Niche
- Simple Item that is not Easily Broken
- 2-3 Products with Less Than 50 Reviews on First Page
- Product can be Made for 25% or Less of Sale Price(Quick Check)
- Room for Improvement and Optimization of Current Listings
- Top 3 keywords have over 100,000 monthly searches in Merchantwords.com
- Product is Easily Outsourced in China
- Year-Round Seller(Not Seasonal)
- Similar Products Being Sold on eBay
- Ability to Expand Your Brand with Related Products
- Can Make a Superior Product over Similar Products in the Market
- Product Encourages Recurring Purchases
- Multiple Product Keywords
Detailed Breakdown of Each Requirement by Their Importance
I am going to breakdown each product requirement and explain the reasoning behind each one. I will categorize each of the requirements listed above by the importance to having success with your product.
Then it will be easy to see what product requirements are vital to have, while some requirements are not as important. Once again, please remember that I will rate them based upon what I have gathered from my own research and my own opinion.
Requirements That are Very Important for Success
The requirements that are going to be listed below are considered to be very important for success and I would highly suggest that the product you are going to sell has at most and if not all of the requirements below.
1. Average Product Sale Price Between $10-$50
The selling price for your product is very, very important thing to know and it is something you HAVE to know before you make an order. The $10-$50 price range is the sweet spot for pricing because people will make impulse buying decisions for products in this price range.
Most people will not need to do any further research to make the buying decision because it is a low enough price that they can risk losing the small amount of money if the product is bad.
To further explain this point, think about how much research time is spent before making a large purchase such as a new lawn mower or a new TV? People don’t want to make an impulse buying decision when buying those items because they cost so much and that is why we want to keep our product selling price within the range of 10-50.
Another reason why we want our products to be in this selling range is because a lot of the items within this range will be simple products without much to them. Example, think mouse pad(very simple product, low price) and compare that to a radio(very intricate and a lot of moving parts that could break).
The final reason is because items within this price range allows for a lower barrier to entry into the market. That’s because lower priced items are usually cheaper to make in China than higher ticket items. To explain this idea further let’s take a look at an example of two different products, A and B.
- Product A has a selling price of $22 and you can get it made in China for $4 per unit. For an order of 500 units your order would cost $2,000(not including shipping)
- Product B has a selling price of $150 and you can get it made in China for $25 per unit. If you made an order for 500 units it would cost you a whopping $12,500(not including shipping)!
That example illustrates why picking a product within the selling range of $10-$50 will be a much cheaper, more efficient way to go. It also makes it easier to enter a market if you don’t have thousands and thousands of dollars to spend on inventory.
The average selling price range is important to follow and it is vital to the success of your product. Try and pick a product within this range if at all possible.
Ideally you want your product to be as light as possible. I would say anything over 4-5 pounds is too heavy unless you are planning on selling the product for a higher price.
When I am discussing the weight of the product, I am talking about the shipping weight of one unit. That includes the item itself, packaging and the shipping box.
It is impossible to know exactly the shipping weight of one unit until you can get that information from your supplier. So the quickest way to find an estimated weight of your product is to find similar products with a similar size on Amazon and find their shipping weight.
For example, let’s say you are thinking about selling 1-by-28.5 inch dog collars and you want to an estimate for the shipping weight.
What you would do is search for 1-by-28.5 inch dog collars on Amazon and then find a similar product to yours. Scroll down the page until you see Product Details and then the shipping weight will be right below it.
Refer to image below.
The weight is important because it plays a big role in the shipping cost from your supplier to the Amazon warehouses. The lighter the product the cheaper the shipping cost will be, which means higher profit margins.
The weight also plays a factor in the Amazon fees. Amazon charges around $2 for up to 2 pounds then every pound after that it is an extra $.39.
So if your product weighs 4 pounds then it would be charged $2.78 per unit just in weight handling fees. There are also other fees that are minimized by having a lightweight product. You can see more about Amazon FBA fees here.
Overall, the weight of your product plays a large role in your profit margins and the success that your product will have. Try and go after lightweight products if possible.
3. Similar Products Have a 5,000 Best Seller Rank or Lower in its Main Category
It is very hard to get a good estimate of how well a certain product is selling on Amazon but the best thing Amazon gives is the best seller rank(BSR).
The BSR let’s you see how well that individual product is selling within its category. For example, a product with a BSR of 20,000 is going to sell A LOT less than a product in the same category with a BSR of 2,000.
This is useful for us as sellers because we can determine if there is demand for this product in the market or not.
We don’t want to try and sell a product that will only sell 1-2 units a day when sitting #1 for our keyword. That is why it is vital to go after a product that has demand in the market. That is where the BSR comes in, it gives us a good look at whether there is demand for the product or not.
There are other ways to determine the market demand for a product but this is the quickest and arguably the best as well. We will get into other methods later on!
From my research, people say many different things when it comes to the minimum BSR of a product for it to be viable to sell.
Some say below 10,000 BSR while others say 500-2,000 BSR. I also saw people saying a product with a 5,000 BSR and below is good and that is what I am going to suggest as well since it is a good median.
Ideally, when you search for your product keyword in Amazon the first couple results(2-3) will all have BSR’s lower than 5,000 for the main category.
The more products below 5,000 the better. This proves that there are a ton of people buying these products which means that if you can get into the same position as these products then you will be able to sell a ton as well.
Main Categories vs. Subcategories
Just to clear things up, a main category would be things like “Pet Supplies” or “Home Improvement” while a sub-category would be “Dog Collars” or “Table Saws”. We are more concerned with the BSR in the main category because a low BSR in a main category means it is selling really well.
By making sure that your product has other similar products that have a BSR of 5,000 or lower is very important to insuring that there will enough buyers in the market for you to make some money.
Like I said, there are others ways to determine market demand but this is the quickest way to do it. It is also the most accurate since the data we are getting is straight from Amazon. I would consider this requirement very important!
4. No Brand Names within Product Category/Niche
What this means is that we do not want to compete with brand names when we are selling our product. We want to be going up against weak, no-name brands that carry no weight with their name.
The reason why we want to stay away from brand dominated categories is because when people are deciding between products, they will likely choose a brand that they know over a brand they have never heard of. We want the playing field to be as level as possible when we are entering into a market.
A good way to check to see if a brand dominates your product category is to search for your product keyword in Amazon and see if any brands catch your eye. If you recognize any brands on the first page then it is not a good sign.
It is okay to see a brand on the first page if it is not your exact product. What I mean is let’s say you are going to sell dog collars and on the first page you see a dog bark collar being sold by PetCo.
I wouldn’t worry about this too much because bark collars are not your market, regular dog collars are. That is one example when seeing a brand on the first page can be okay.
Ideally, you want every single listing on the first page to have a different brand behind each product as well as being a random, no-name brand.
I feel like finding a product without a brand dominating the market is very important because it is be hard to compete with the big, well known brands. Find a product where you can come in right away and compete without any disadvantages.
5. A Simple Item that is not Easily Broken
This is very important.
We want to sell a product that is simple and one that we don’t have to worry about arriving to the customer broken. The best way to insure a simple product is to stay away from products that have more than one part or that are electronic.
A generic product that that has one job are the type of items we want to pursue. Some good examples would be something like a yoga mat or mouse pad. Both have one use and they are generic to the point where anyone can get them made.
Another positive for going after a simple product is that you will have a much better chance of finding a supplier that makes the product. Simple products are also going to be cheaper to get made compared to intricate products.
Simple Product Checklist:
- Easy to get made in China
- No electronic parts
- No moving parts
- Can be used without the need for an instruction manual
- Made for doing one job
6. 2-3 Products with Less Than 50 Reviews on First Page
I feel like this is a really important requirement for your product because this will be a good measurement of the competition.
Items with less than 50 reviews are generally considered to be easy to beat. That is why we want to see at least 2-3 products with less than 50 reviews on the first page. This means that there is a good chance that we would be able to reach the first page for our product.
The more listings with 50 or less reviews the better chance we have to get to the first page.
It is even better if there are listings with 30, 20, or even 5 reviews. If you find a product with high demand and a listing with only 5 reviews on the first page then you have found yourself a good looking product.
The amount of reviews is one of the best ways we have to gauge the level of competition for a product. We know that reviews for a product is one of the main ways Amazon ranks products. That is why we look at the # of reviews so closely before entering the market for a product.
There are other methods we can use but this seems like it is the quickest and easiest way to check.
7. The Product can be Made for 25% or Less of Sale Price(Quick Check)
This is a way to quickly estimate that the profit margins will be good on a potential product. There is a much more exhaustive process that you should go through to calculate the profit margin before you make a product order, but we will cover this in-depth in another update.
For now, we are just going to concentrate on how to check if a product can be made for less than 25% of the sale price. How you can do this is search for your product on Alibaba and check to see what price suppliers are making your product for.
Many suppliers on Alibaba will give you an estimated price per unit cost on the product page. You can use this price to check if it is below 25% of the sale price or not.
Why should we do this check?
We should do this check because if we can get a product made for under 25% of the sale price then that leaves us 75% profit margin left. Now, we should remember that there are going to be shipping costs, Amazon FBA fees and an Amazon selling fee that will cut into the profit margin as well.
The 75% profit margin should be plenty to cover the shipping costs, Amazon FBA fees, Amazon selling fees and still leave a healthy profit margin once everything is all said and done.
Like I said, there is a much more detailed process that we will use to get a more accurate profit margin estimation. This is just a quick way to filter through products.
Somewhat Important for Success
The product requirements in this section are not vital for success but having the requirements below are still important to helping you have a more profitable product.
8. Room for Improvement and Optimization of Current Listings
What I mean by this is that there are listings on the first page that are not very well done and are under optimized. Some things that make a listing under optimized include:
- Zero or Only One Product Image
- Low Quality Product Images
- Short/Non Descriptive Title
- Weak Bullet Points
- Minimal Description
- Important Information Left Out
If there are listings on the first page for your product that are not fully optimized then that is a good sign. That generally means that the competition is going to be weak and that it will be easy to reach the first page ourselves.
9. Top 3 product keywords have over 100,000 monthly searches in Merchantwords.com
I go in depth about how to go about checking the top 3 product keywords and why it is important a little later in this post. For now, just know we use this to make sure that there is demand for our product within the market.
If our top three product keywords get over 100,000 monthly searches then it is a good sign that there is enough demand for us to sell.
10. Product is Easily Outsourced in China
Being able to get your product made in China is important because if there is no one making your product then you can’t sell it, simple as that.
The quickest way to check this is to head over to Alibaba and type in your product. If a bunch if suppliers pop up with your product then it is safe to assume that you can easily get it made.
I go into a little more information about how to do this later on in this post.
Not Necessary but a Bonus
The requirements listed below in this section are nice to have but they are not vital to the success of your product. The more of these your product has the better and I like to consider it a bonus if my product has any of them.
11. Year-Round Seller(Not Seasonal)
It is not vital but I prefer to sell a product that sells year round compared to seasonally. Later on in this post I talk about how to determine if a product is seasonal or not.
Personally, I would rather go after selling a product that I know will sell fairly consistently all throughout the year so that I can make money each month. Some people don’t mind making the majority of their money during the season of their product but I think it is smarter to go after year-round products.
12. Similar Products Being Sold on eBay
If similar products to your product are being sold on eBay then you can assume that the market for your product is big. It is a good sign that there is demand for your product if people are selling similar products on platforms other than Amazon.
This isn’t a major requirement to determining the success of your product but like I said, it is a good sign to see similar products being sold on eBay.
A quick way to check is to head over to eBay and type in your product keyword. If you see sellers then you are good to go.
A little later in the post I will cover in depth how to use eBay to determine product demand but for now a quick check is all you need!
13. Ability to Expand Your Brand with Related Products
This is important if you are planning on creating a brand around your product.
What this means is that we want to go into a niche that allows us to create multiple products that are related to each other. We will sell all of these products under a single brand.
If you are only planning on selling one product then you don’t have to worry about this.
I am going to opt for the route of selling multiple products under one brand(hopefully) so this is important to me.
An example of this is if I was going to sell a silicone baking mat. I can easily sell other products related to a baking mat and create a brand around these products. A baking mat is a categorized under cooking so I could sell anything related to cooking. This would give me plenty of room to work and find other products.
I think that it is smart to try and find products where you can expand into other related products because that is how you build a true brand which in turn will create a real business. That is exactly what I want to do, especially since I am planning on selling the business at some point down the road.
14. Can Make a Superior Product over Similar Products
I talk about how to check if it is possible to make a superior product below in the post but if you can make a better, more unique product compared to other competitors in your market then you can get a huge advantage over them.
What a superior product actually entails is seeing what the other products in your market lack and improving upon these weaknesses. This will give your product an advantage and will make your product better than everyone elses.
It is not vital to be able to improve upon a product but it will make it easier to have success selling it.
A lot of the times it is not possible to make a superior product and that is okay. I will cover this idea in more detail below, so if this is something that you want to learn more about continue reading! 🙂
15. Product Encourages Recurring Purchases
This is not a major requirement in my opinion and is only an added bonus if possible.
An example of a product that requires recurring purchases would be something like vitamins. Since vitamins run out after a period of time they are going to have to buy more somewhere, and hopefully they buy from you again.
Instead of people buying from you once, you could have the same people buying again and again from you which is awesome. The hard part is finding a product that is like that without there being too much competition.
Like I said, this is not a vital requirement to have for a product but it sure does help if it does.
16. Multiple Product Keywords
I did not read or hear anything about this while I was researching but I feel like it is somewhat important to have more than one product keyword. If you have 3 or 4 keywords for your product you have a better chance at least ranking for one of them instead of everyone fighting to rank for one keyword.
Also, the more keywords there are the more demand there is for the product usually.
There is a reason why this requirement is under the “Not necessary but a bonus section” because I don’t know if this really matters but I feel like it does so threw it in here!
I cover some ways to dig up potential product keywords in the sections below if you are interested.
How to Brainstorm Potential Products to Sell
This can be the hardest part of the whole process, especially if you have no idea where to start. I am going to cover some of the different ways that you can come up with product ideas.
There isn’t any exact instructions that you can follow to come up with good ideas and this process is kind of random. You will have to test and test and test until you find a good product, it will take some time but with the the help of this article it should help you out.
Amazon Best Seller Lists
I personally think using Amazon Best Seller lists is the best route to go when looking for a new product. You can see what products are selling well and see if there is an opportunity for you to enter into the market with your own product.
To visit Amazon’s Best Seller List click here – http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers/zgbs
Once you get to that page, you will want to go through each category and sub-category until you find some products that catch your eye. If you find a potential product make sure to it fits all of the requirements for a successful product, which we discussed earlier in this article.
Not every category is going to provide you with good ideas for products. Some categories are dominated by brand names or they do not lend well to private label products.
Categories to Avoid:
- Gift Cards
- Grocery and Gourmet Food
- Kindle Store
- MP3 Downloads
- Movies and TV
- Prime Pantry
- Video Games
All of the other categories are good ones that work well for private label products. Just go through each category and really dig deep into them, find products that are buried deep into sub-categories but are GEM products.
It will take some time but if you put in the effort to research a product you will be rewarded with finding a great product.
All of the potential products I find while searching I like to put into a notepad file. This wast I can go back later and see if they pass the requirements needed for a successful product.
Video: How to Best use Amazon’s Best Seller Lists to Come up With Product Ideas
To further illustrate how I use Amazon Best Seller lists I have recorded a video below that you can watch. I take you through how I scour each category and try to find good products. Enjoy!
Overall, I have to say that I like Amazon the best when it comes to finding product ideas.
We will be using eBay later on to determine the product demand, but for now we are going to use it like we used Amazon’s Best Seller list.
Visit the link here – http://www.ebay.com/sch/allcategories/all-categories and it will take you to a page that looks like:
From there, you can start looking through each of the categories and try to find products. This process is going to be very similar to how we sued Amazon’s Best Seller List but there might be some different products on eBay that you didn’t see on Amazon.
All we are doing is brainstorming ideas and creating a list of potential products that we can run against the requirements to see if it could be a profitable product or not.
Search Alibaba Products
Again, this process is going to be similar to using Amazon and eBay but Alibaba has a TON of different products that we might not have seen on the other sites.
One positive thing about searching for product ideas on Alibaba is if you find a product then you know for a fact that there is at least one supplier which can make the product.
To get started with Alibaba, head on over to this page – http://www.alibaba.com/Products and you will be greeted by a page that looks like this:
Once there, you can start the same process as I have covered before. Go through each category and just look around. There will be something that catches your attention while you are doing this.
The best categories on Alibaba to look through are:
- Bags, Shoes and Accessories
- Gifts, Sports and Toys
- Health and Beauty
- Home, Lights and Construction
- Machinery, Industrial Parts and Tools
For the best ideas, you will want to click on a subcategory title that is highlighted in light blue. An example of where to click can be seen below.
After you click on the subcategories you will see a screen like the one below. This page acts like the homepage for all Toys and Hobbies products.
If you scroll down on this page you will be presented with a ton of different ideas for products. I will highlight some of the places where you could get ideas from on this page below.
The week’s best performing products, all possible ideas!
The most popular products within the Toy niche = a bunch of ideas
Popular products in the toy niche for 2014(little outdated, oh well)
Last but not least, my favorite section of the page. It shows a TON of great ideas that you can explore
All of the above screenshots were taken from ONE page only and you can do the same thing for every single category. Alibaba really is a great resource for finding products.
To explain this process even more in depth, I have recorded a video that shows my process of going through Alibaba.
Alibaba is a great tool that I feel is underutilized when finding a product. While I was trying to learn how to find product ideas for myself I never once saw people using this method. I figured it out by myself and it is a pretty good resource to use to find potential products.
Google Keyword Planner
Using Google’s keyword planner is a good way to get some ideas flowing if you are stuck. This method of finding products isn’t as good as the other methods in my opinion but it still can usefull.
First thing we want to do is go to Amazon’s best seller list again – http://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers/zgbs and once you are there click on a category that you like.
After you click on a category then you are going to see a list of sub-categories on the left side of the screen. Plug each one of these sub-categories into Google’s Keyword Planner.
Once you are at the google keyword planner just plug in one of the sub-categories into the search bar
After you search, you will see a bunch of information pop up. Scroll down the page and take a look at all of the ad groups and related keywords. A bunch of possible products to search through.
The other thing you can do is click on the “keyword ideas” tab. This will bring up a ton of similar keywords that you can look through and see if anything catches your eye.
This process can take some time and there are a lot of bad keywords that you have to sort through. If you keep looking there will be some good ideas for products that pop up. Once you find some possible product ideas you can check them out by searching for them on Amazon.
This is a good exercise to get the ideas flowing and you might just find a great new product!
I used this method to help come up with some different products and I found it useful so I thought I would include it. Hope you enjoyed this method for finding products.
Video: How to Use Google’s Keyword Planner to Product Ideas
If you would like to see me run through this process myself then you can watch the video below.
Think About your Everyday Life
A good exercise you can do to come up with awesome product ideas is to think about your everyday life.
What do you like to do? Are there any products that you could sell?
What do you buy on a regular basis? Is this something that you could sell?
Just think about your passions and what you spend your money on and you might be able to think up some ideas for a cool product.
There really isn’t any more to this method, it all depends on what you like to do and your own life.
How to Verify Demand for a Product
You could find an awesome product that has great profit margins and low competition but it won’t matter if there is no one out there looking to buy your product. That is why it is very important to figure out if there is any demand for your product.
There are a couple of different methods we can use to measure the demand for a certain product and we are going to cover each one of them. We have already touched on Amazon’s Best Seller Ranking(BSR) but we will go into more details in this section. I will also talk about other useful ways to measure demand.
Think About the Niche
A good way to quickly determine the demand for a product is to think about it. Ask yourself some questions and you will normally be able to tell if there is demand for this product.
Is this product in a passion niche? What I mean by that is the product something that someone would use for their passion? If so then people will likely pay money to buy this product. Everyone has a passion and they are usually willing to fork up money if there is something that will make their passion better or more efficient.
Another thing that you can think about is whether or not people will want/need this item. People are willing to spend any sort of money on items that the feel like they need. So if your product falls into the “need” category then you will have a nice advantage over the products that aren’t neccesssraly needed.
Is there Year-Round Demand?
This is important information to know about any product that you are planning on selling. Do you have a product that is only purchased in the winter or are people buying this product consistently throughout the year?
The best way to determine this is to head on over to Google Trends and type in the main keyword for your product. Once there you will be able to see if your product is seasonal or not.
If your product is seasonal then you will see big dips in the line graph, an example of a seasonal product is pictured below.
An example of a non-seasonal product is one with small swings and consistently bought throughout the year.
Determining if your product is seasonal or not isn’t very hard but it is important to make sure that you know before you make an order. Some people don’t mind selling seasonal products but I would rather sell all year long.
How to Use Amazon’s Best Seller Rank to Determine Product Demand
I mentioned earlier in the article that we like to have a 2-3 similar products that have a BSR of 5,000 or lower in our market. This will help insure that if you get your product to the first page that you will be selling a good amount of units each day.
From what I have found there is no way to determine how many units a product is selling each day unless it is your own. So the next best thing we have is Amazon’s BSR. You can get a pretty good estimate from a cool tool called Jungle Scout that I will talk about later on in this post.
We want a BSR under 5,000 within the main category, not a targeted category. For example, you might see a product with a BSR of 4,500 in “Pets and Supplies” but then a BSR of 25 in “Small Dog Collars”. We want to focus on the main category which in this case was the “Pets and Supplies” category.
Using eBay to Determine Demand
EBay is a huge online seller but many people forget about them now with Amazon but we can get some useful info from eBay. In this case, eBay will help us see if our potential product is selling or not.
We get to actually see how many units are selling on eBay which is information we can’t attain from Amazon. To get started head on over to eBay and search for your product. For this example I am going use silicone baking mats as my product.
Just from searching for “silicone baking mats” I was able to find a TON of information about the demand, let’s take a look!
We are able to see how many units each listing has sold and it seems as if this product is selling pretty well. Some have sold over 300 units, close to 400! This is a great way to quickly see how well something is selling.
The next thing we can do is check out the completed listings for the product. This is helpful to see how many units have sold recently on eBay. The first thing we have to do is modify the search settings, we do this by clicking on the “Advanced” button.
This will bring us to another page where we will change a couple settings. The first thing we are going to do is check the “completed listings” button. This will show us all of the recently completed listings on eBay for our product.
The next thing we want to do is put in a minimum price for the completed listing. This will sort out any products that are too cheap to be our product. In this example since a silicone baking mat sells for around $10 we will put a minimum price of $8. After you get the settings all set you can search.
You will now be presented with a page that lists all of the recently completed listings that fit your criteria. You are now able to see what items sold vs. what items didn’t sell. The listings with green on the sale price means it was sold.
You can scroll through the listings and compare the ones that sold to the listings that didn’t. Is there a pattern that you can see? If so then you can use this information later on when you sell your product.
It is hard to gauge demand for a product by looking at the completed listings but you will get an idea of what is selling and why. I think it is very useful.
Monthly Google Searches
Using google’s keyword planner we can put our product keyword into it and see how often our product keyword gets searched for on a monthly basis.
The more searches the better, at least when we are trying to determine the demand for the product. It only makes sense that the more monthly searches in Google the more the demand there is for the product. The more people searching = more people looking to buy.
I don’t know what the minimum monthly search volume would be or if there is even one. I would take the results with a grain of salt.
Use Merchantwords.com to Determine Product Demand
Merchantwords.com is a site that will tell you how many searches your product keyword gets on a monthly basis from Amazon. This tool is very useful and this data is much more important than Google monthly searches.
This tell will show you exactly how many people are searching for your product each month, THIS IS YOUR MARKET!
If you are selling on Amazon then the people searching for your product on Amazon are the people that could buy your product. The more the better when it comes this.
It is suggested that between the top 3 keywords for your product combine for over 100,000 monthly searches. This will insure that there is a big market that is looking to buy your product. This is one of the product requirements that I listed in the beginning of the article.
Just head over to MerchantWords.com and type in your product kewyord. Sort the results by the highest search volume and then take a look at the results. Do the top 3 keywords add up to over 100,000 searches?
My example product of silicone baking mats looks like it does not reach 100,000 monthly searches. This does not mean I could not pursue this product but we would like to see more searches. There is still plenty of customers for this product and it seems like there are a ton of different keywords for this product which could make up for the lack in volume.
If you have the free version of MerchantWords like I do then you will only be able to see the top 5 keywords. That is all you need so I wouldn’t pay to get the full version of this tool.
Video: How to Verify Demand for a Product
I go through this whole process of verifying demand for a product in the video below, so if you would like to watch me go through the process then you can watch below:
Paid Option – Jungle Scout
Jungle Scout is a chrome extension that you will have to pay for to get access to, it costs $67.00.
Please note that you will have to use Google Chrome to be able to use this extension!
What Jungle Scout does is give you an estimate for monthly sales, monthly revenue, # of reviews as well as a bunch of other helpful stuff. It is a great way to quickly and easily check out the niche for your product.
All you have to do to use it is type in your product keyword into Amazon and then click on Jungle Scout in your browser. You will then see a page pop up with all of the information, you can then export this info to an excel doc if you want!
You can see all of the useful information that it shows you in the picture below:
As you can see, ton of useful information. It will find the top 25 results and fetch all of the details from each listing. This is a huge time saver and a quick way to get an overview of the market.
This tool is by no means necessary but it will make your life easier. I have included a demo of how it works live in the video below.
Video Demo of Jungle Scout in Action
UPDATE: Jungle Scout is longer $67, the price has recently gone up to $87. When I made the video it was still $67
Can You Make Your Product Better/Unique?
In this section of the article I will go over some cool ways we can get into the heads of our potential customers and see what we can do to make a superior product compared to similar products.
When you are looking at a potential product to sell you can get an advantage over other products if you can improve on an aspect or do something better that your competitors aren’t doing.
For example, let’s say that you are looking at selling silicone baking mats and you want to set yourself apart from everyone else. You do some research and you find out that all of the other silicone baking mats are too small and a lot of the customers wished it was just a little bigger. What you can do is get your silicone baking mat made a little bit bigger than everyone else’s which will make your product superior over all of the other ones.
I will go over how we can research the product and market to try and find these areas where we can improve a product. This process that I will be explaining is one that I came up with while researching my own product.
How to Find out if your Can Improve a Product or Not
The first thing to do is go on over to Amazon and search for your product. Click on the first listing that comes up and go to the reviews for the product. Click the link that says “See all xxx customer reviews” to take you to all of the reviews.
After you click on that link you should get taken to a page where you can see every single review ever left for this specific product. This is where we will start to really dig in.
Right off the bat, the best way to see what everyone is complaining about is to take a look at the most helpful critical review. This is a review that was negative but a bunch people agreed with the review which means we should take notice. In the picture below we can see that 112 out of 116 people agreed with the review.
If 112 people agree with a negative review then I think it is safe to assume that it is a common complaint among the customers. Write this complaint down and keep track of it. We will come back to it later on.
Next, we want to start reading all of the reviews that are 3 stars or below. The reason why we want to do this is because this is where we will find all of the negatives about the product. Take notes of some of the negatives that the customers are talking about and see if there is a common theme amongst the reviewers.
A quick way to filter the reviews by stars is to click on the “1 star reviews”. This will bring up all of the reviews that were 1 star. Do this for 2 star and 3 star reviews.
Go through all of the 1-3 star reviews and keep some notes on what they are complaining about. If they are leaving a bad review it is usually for a specific reason. If you see people complaining about the same thing over and over then you can assume that it is a common problem.
If you find a common complaint about the product after reading the reviews and reading the most helpful critical review make sure that your keep note of it somewhere.
Once you have done this for the first product, keep going through the rest of the listings on the first page. By the end you will hopefully find one or two complaints that are common in a lot of the items being sold in the niche.
Are these complaints something that you could take advantage of?
This is where you can set yourself apart from the rest of the competition if you do solid research. For this example let’s say that after reading all of the reviews for the silicone baking mats I find out that everyone is complaining about the size being too small to fit various baked goods. The mats are usually sized at around 17×11 inches.
Then when you go to get your silicone baking mat made in China you can tell your supplier to make the mats 20×13 inches, which will be bigger than your competitors.
I will then have a product that is superior to everyone elses in the market since my product has what everyone elses lacks.
You can do this for almost every product but you won’t always be able to improve a product for a variety of reasons. It is a good idea to do this research on any product that you are considering selling because it might give you that advantage you need to become the authority within this niche.
Also remember that it isn’t always as easy as making the product bigger to improve the product. Sometimes you might need a different material or change the design or even completely reconstruct the product to your liking.
Whatever you wish to change on the product, get in contact with some suppliers and see if they can do the changes that you want.
Extra Production Cost vs. Extra Value
Just because you found a way to improve a product does not mean that it is in your best interest to do so.
You are more than likely going to have to pay extra money to get your product made in the way that you like. Sometimes, this cost is too much and not worth it in the long run. Also, just because you improve a product it does not mean that you will always be able to sell it for more. Remember that.
The best way to find out is get in contact with some suppliers for your product and see how much extra it will cost you. This way you will be able to get a base cost and then compare that with how much extra it will cost. Do this with a couple suppliers to find the best supplier.
This Will not be Possible in Every Niche
You will not be able to make a superior product in every niche and that is okay. Just because you can’t improve a product does not mean that you can’t still sell it. It would be a benefit if you could but it is not the end of the world if it’s not possible.
In some scenarios you will be able to improve a product but due to high costs it would not be the best decision to do so. If the extra cost to improve a product is way too high then you are better off not making any huge changes.
Video on How to Check if You Can Create a Superior Product
I have put together a quick video where I walk you through the best ways to see the pain points of your customers and the best ways to take advantage of this. Watch below.
In Depth Product Keyword and Niche Research
With a background in making niche sites, keyword and niche research is what I am really good at.
While I was doing my research to sell on Amazon I didn’t see anyone mentioning that you should do keyword/niche research before you enter a market. In my opinion, I feel like it is very important to fully understand your market.
A few of the things we will learn about our product/niche while doing this research is product search volume in Google, related keywords that we didn’t know about, similar products that we can sell later on, and keyword competition. All of this info is good to know before you go out and buy your product.
Find All Related Keywords
It is good to know all of the keywords that are related to your product so that you can target them all. I have no proof of this theory but I have a feeling that people usually skip this step and end up only trying to rank in Amazon/Google for their main keyword.
Normally we can find a handful of related keywords that people are searching for to find your product. The more keywords that are found, the more keywords we can try and rank for.
Since I have been using it throughout most of this article as an example product, I will be using “Silicone baking mats” as my main keyword for this example.
There are multiple ways to find related keywords but we are going to use our trusty friend, Google Keyword Planner.
Plug in your main keyword into the google keyword planner and search. Click on the “keyword ideas” tab and you will see a list of all related keywords.
Scroll through all of the keywords and put all of the keywords related to your product in a notepad. This way we can keep track of all of the keywords that we find and go back to them later.
Not every single keyword is going to be related to your product, matter in fact most won’t be but there will be at least a handful. For example, you can see below that “silicone baking cups” keyword came up but that is not something people would search for to find a silicone baking mat. It could be a related product that we could try and sell later if we wanted though!
Once you have a notepad full of similar keywords we can start gauging the level of competition for each keyword. My tool of choice for checking the level of competition is Long Tail Pro which is awesome!
It let’s you easily do keyword research and see the difficulty for ranking each keyword. This tool is a paid one and costs $17 a month, you don’t need to use it but I would suggest it.
Below is my list of related keywords that I came up with and these are the keywords that I am going to try and target. I will use this list and check each keyword in Long Tail Pro to see the competition in Google.
Put all of the keywords into Long Tail Pro, click add your own keywords and paste all of the keywords into it. Then generate keywords. See below:
What I like to do is calculate the keyword competitiveness(KC) which will give us a good idea of the level of competition in Google for the keywords.
The lower the KC the better chance we have of ranking for it in Google. I LOVE to see keywords below 30KC because that usually means that it is easy to rank for. I wouldn’t worry too much about the KC right now because we are only going to be selling on Amazon for now.
At the moment we are focused only on selling on Amazon but later down the road I am going to try and sell from my own website so knowing the level of competition in Google for my product keywords is important.
Also by finding all of the related keywords for your product we can use these terms when we are creating our listing and make sure that we use these terms in our title and description.
There are a lot of good reasons why you should do this type of keyword research before diving in and trying to sell a product. I believe that one should know every single thing about a market before it is entered and this is part of the process.
How to Check for Suppliers for your Product
At this point, you probably have a product that you are thinking about selling but now we have to make sure that there is a supplier that will produce your product for you.
Even the best product in the world is useless if you cannot get it made. Without the ability to get the product made there is no way to sell it, simple as that.
That is why it is important to be able to find good suppliers for your product.
Also, not every supplier is equal. Some will be much better than others and it is your job to be able to find the best one. There are some things that you can do to insure a good supplier and I will be covering that next.
Some people that teach how to sell on Amazon prefer using US suppliers but I will be using a supplier from China. That is why I will only be covering how to use Alibaba to find suppliers for your product.
The goal of this section of the article is to make sure that there are suppliers that make your product. We are not covering how to find the best suppliers or how to contact them, this is solely to check to see if you can get your product made if needed.
Using Alibaba to Find Suppliers
Alibaba is a great resource when it comes to trying to find a supplier for your product. They have huge variety of different products and countless number of different suppliers. Alibaba is your best choice for finding suppliers in my opinion.
The first step is to head on over to Alibaba and search for your product.
After your search, you should see a screen like the one shown below. Make sure to check the “Gold Supplier” filter to make sure that you are only dealing with reputable and legit companies. After you check the “Gold Supplier”, search again to refresh the results.
Scroll through all of the suppliers and save all of them that offer your product. If there are a bunch of suppliers offering to make your product then you are good to go. If there aren’t any then you might have to think about trying to find another product. This might be a pretty big list depending on your product. To save a supplier, click on the listing and then select “Add to favorites”.
Once you have the suppliers added to your favorites you can go back to them whenever you want. The main thing you want to accomplish is to confirm that if you choose to sell this product that there are ample amounts of suppliers willing to make this product.
You can also get a rough estimate for the price per unit cost by looking at the FOB price of each listing. Most of the times the FOB price listed is higher than what you will be able to buy it for.
Often times you can negotiate a lower price with your supplier. Remember that we want to be able to make a product for 25% or less of the sale price.
I have found products before that I thought might be good to sell but then I couldn’t find a supplier to make the product. That is why it is important to make sure that you can find suppliers for your product.
I will get into discussing MOQ, price per unit, how to contact the suppliers and overall the whole process on how to find the best supplier in another update. Right now all we are doing is checking to see if we can get our product made or not, that’s it.
Video: How to Use Alibaba to Check for Suppliers
How My Product Stacks up Against All of These Requirements
Now that I have covered the whole process of finding a profitable product I am now going to see how my product stacks up against all of the requirements.
I will be giving away as much information as possible about my product without actually giving away what the exact product is. I think that it is important for you all to know a lot about my product so that you can see if a product like mine will be a success or not.
I know that you are all eager to see some details about my exact product so let’s not waste anymore time and hop right into it!
Very Important for Success
1. Average Product Sale Price Between $10-$50
My product passes the first test, according to Jungle Scout the average sale price for the first 27 results is close to $20. You can see the proof below:
The average sale price is $19.58 which is above the minimum of $10 and below $50, so in this aspect my product is looking good so far. I like this price range because it is not super cheap but it also allows for some good profit margins.
Most of the listings on the first page have a shipping weight of somewhere between 1.5lb. to 4lb.
This keeps us under the max of 5lbs. even on the heavy side. I am assuming that it will weigh around 3lbs. for me to ship my product. The product itself weighs 1.15kg according to my supplier which is around 2.5 pounds. I am thinking with the packaging it should easily weigh under 3 pounds when it is being shipped.
My product passes another requirement, onto the next one!
3. Similar Products Have a 5,000 Best Seller Rank or Smaller in Main Category
You can see below that my product easily passes this requirement with 14 out of the first 15 listings have a best seller rank below 5,000.
One thing that I wanted to make sure before I entered a market was that if I was able to make the first page for my product keyword that I would be selling a good amount of units. I didn’t want to enter into a market with low demand and low sales. I want to make sure that all of my effort to get it to the first page is worth it.
According to the BSR, there are tons of products on the first page that are all selling a good amount of units each month. Another requirement passed!
4. No Brand Names within Product Category/Niche
I can’t show you all the actual brand names because that will be an easy trail to follow so you can figure out my product. But I am happy to say that there is ZERO brand names within the first 15 products on the first page.
Most of the people selling these products seem to be individuals like myself who outsource the product to China like I am going to do. This is a good sign because I feel like I can outmarket them and get my product to the first page fairly easily.
Another requirement that my product was abke to pass, onto the next one!
5. Simple Item that is not Easily Broken
This is also something that I am not able to actually prove, but my product is very simple and it only has one part. It is made out of a material that will not break and it is durable enough for even the harshest of shipping conditions.
The products itself is very simple and does not need any instructions for the customer to know how to use it. Very straightforward and intuitive.
There are no electronics involved with this product and it is a very generic product. I would say that this is another requirement passed for my product.
6. 2-3 Products with Less Than 50 Reviews on First Page
Note: I had picture proof of the reviews but I don’t want people to be able to find my product.
In the first 15 listings there are 3 products with less than 50 reviews with another 3 VERY close to the 50 review mark.
I also like that the number one product only has 42 reviews!! That could mean that if we get over 42 high quality reviews then maybe we could take the number one spot?
I am confused about the fact that there is a product sitting at number two with over 3,500 reviews, why is it second?
I am thinking since the product that is ranked first is an Amazon seller might have something to do with it, maybe Amazon is favoring their own over FBA sellers?
It’ll be something interesting that I will find out! Nonetheless, my product passes this requirement since there is over 2-3 listings that have under 50 reviews.
7. Product can be Made for 25% or Less of Sale Price(Quick Check)
We have already established that the average sale price is around $20 so I need to be able to get my product made for $5 or under.
I have negotiated a price of $2.52 per unit with my supplier so this easily falls under the 25% mark. I am able to get my product made for around 12% of my sale price, which is awesome and will make it much easier to get good profit margins after all of the other fees are added on.
Since I can get my product made for $2.52 per unit, which is around 12% of the sale price, I can happily say that my product passes another requirement!
Somewhat Important for Success
8. Room for Improvement and Optimization of Current Listings
There are some listing on the first page that are well done and optimized well but there are also a good amount that aren’t. There are some listings with only one low-res image or only 2-3 images.
About half of the listings on the first page have a very, very weak description with only one sentence and I can take advantage of this.
Many of the listings are not very clear on the size of the product and there are always questions asking what the size is of the item, I can take advantage of this as well by making sure that the size of my product is clearly stated.
There are also a couple of images that are clearly photoshopped and they look very bad.
Overall, I think there is room for me to improve over the current listings in terms of optimization. Obviously this is an opinion and there is no concrete evidence but I believe that my product passes this requirement as well.
9. Top 3 keywords have over 100,000 monthly searches in Merchantwords.com
This is a very easy requirement to see if my product passes or fails, take a look at the image below:
The top 3 keywords for my product have over 139,500 monthly searches according to Merchantwords.com which is more than the reccomended 100,000.
This is a good sign and means that there is a good amount of demand for my product. This also means that my product has passed another requirement for it to be successful.
10. Product is Easily Outsourced in China
My product has a ton of different suppliers that could make my product and I have already found my supplier for my product so this requirement doesn’t really apply to me.
If I hadn’t found my supplier yet then I would say that my product is easily outsourced in China, which means I pass another requirement.
Not Necessary but a Bonus
11. Year-Round Seller(Not Seasonal)
Just by thinking about the type of product it is I can say that it is NOT seasonal and it should be a year-round seller. To add some proof to this you can see the Google Trends of the main keyword below:
For some reason there is a huge spike in the searches for the month of April and I am not sure as to why. But, you can see that this product doesn’t seem to have any sort of seasons and sells pretty regularly throughout the year. It also seems as if the overall trend for this product keyword is trending up which is a good thing to see!
I think it is safe to say that my product passes this requirement. My product is looking good so far in terms of meeting the requirements.
12. Similar Products Being Sold on eBay
There are a ton of different people selling a similar product to mine on eBay. It also seems as if they are selling quite a bit as well, I might think about trying to sell on eBay at some point.
I don’t know how I would be able to do that but it might be something that I should look into. Good thing is that I passed another requirement.
13. Ability to Expand Your Brand with Related Products
You may or moy not have noticed by now but my product is in the Pet niche which means there are a lot of different products that I could sell later on and I would be in the same niche.
I actually already have a couple other products that I have already found and I am planning on selling them once my first product gets established on Amazon.
I really wanted to make sure that I was going into a niche where I would be able to expand my product line and I found it.
14. Can Make a Superior Product over Similar Products
The products in the market actually have a common thing that they lack and I am going to take advantage of this by making my product better.
I was able to talk with my supplier and get my product made so that it does not have this flaw that all of the other items have. It did cost me a little extra to get it made but I think that it will be worth it in the long run.
Since I am making my product better than my competition I am now able to charge a little more than what they are charging, so that makes up for the extra cost.
I will go into more information about how I am going to approach this in a later update but for now just know that I am able to make a superior product over all of the other products in the market.
15. Product Encourages Recurring Purchases
This is the first requirement that my product does not pass.
My product is the type of product that people buy once and do not buy again. They might buy one or two of them but they will usually only make one purchase.
I am not too worried about this and I still think that this product can be very profitable.
So unfortunately my product does not pass this requirement.
16. Multiple Product Keywords
I think that my product has a good amount of keywords and a couple of them have very high monthly searches.
I also like how my keyword for my product is a couple of words which means there are more long tail keywords that people use to find the product.
For example, instead of my keyword being “canes” which is a very broad and highly competitive keyword my keyword would be something like “Mouse running wheel” where there are multiple words within the main keyword.
I would say that my product passes this requirement as well.
Does my Product Pass the Requirements?
My product passes 15/16 requirements and the one that it doesn’t pass is not a very important requirement.
So according to all of those requirements I should have a successful product on my hands and I am hoping that is true. I spent a lot of time finding this product and I think that I found a very good one.
It will be a good test since my product passes all of the requirements let’s see if this means that my product will be profitable or not.
Wow…. this post has taken me over two weeks and at least 20 hours of work to put this whole thing together. This doesn’t take into account all of the hours I spent researching all of this information in the last couple of months. I really wanted to create the ultimate free resource when it comes to finding a profitable product to sell on Amazon and I think I might have done it.
Thank you all for reading and if you made it this far it probably took you a while to get here. I hope that you found this useful and my intention was for this to be something that you could come back to again and again while you are looking for a new product to sell.
This was the first post where I gave information out about my product and there will be more information about it coming out in the next couple updates. The next update is going to cover how to find suppliers and everything that comes with that.
In the meantime you can join our free Facebook group where there are other people looking to sell on Amazon and they are all there willing to help people out of there are any questions. If you are thinking about selling on Amazon I highly encourage you to join!
UPDATE: Read the next case study update here!