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What To Sell On Amazon: Product Research 101

So, you want to know what to sell on Amazon.

You’ve decided to jump in on the cash-cow that is Amazon.

That’s great news!

Amazon is an awesome platform with a massive market – millions of people are already there doing their online shopping.

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Why not get a piece of the pie, right?

Unfortunately, we can’t just close our eyes and pick any product from a catalog. A proper product research lets you determine if a particular product is in demand, have low competition, and in short, profitable.

This guide will help you sort through millions of products and figure out what to sell on Amazon.

Product Research: 7 Tips to Help You Decide What to Sell on Amazon

Don’t get too overwhelmed by this decision.

I agree that this is one of the most important decisions of your ecommerce business, but getting ahead of yourself can cause perfect product paralysis.

It’s a very common pitfall wherein people who want to begin selling on Amazon look far and wide, research for months and assess thousands of products, then end up not choosing anything because they’re not the “perfect product” yet.

Follow these 7 tried-and-tested techniques of filtering out products and discover what to sell on Amazon.

1. Find a product that solves a problem

You know why men’s subscription grooming kits exploded?

It’s because the products included in the monthly box are shaving cream, razors, and other grooming items that they’ll be using for as long as they live (or feel like grooming).

While it doesn’t fall under basic needs (like food and clothing), toiletries like these come close. The need will always be there because grooming kits solve the problem of having to remember to change your razor, or restocking shaving cream.

Start with yourself, your friends or family members.

Survey what problems they’re facing daily, weekly, regularly, and you’ll realize soon enough that many other people are having those problems.

2. Find a product you’re interested in

Some would say to choose a product that you’re passionate about, but I think having some kind of interest will do.

This is important because you’ll be working on your ecommerce business for months or years, so it’s understandable to choose something you won’t quit once you get bored with it.

3. Check out your competitors

Having competition is good – it means the market for the product you chose has potential.

But don’t pick a product with thousands of competition because you could drown even before you begin selling on Amazon.

If you do find a product, but it has over 100k search results, you have two options:

  • Skip that niche and find one that has less competition.
  • Or dig deeper into that niche and follow tip #4 below

4. Find a gap in the market

Hope is not all lost if you get stuck in the middle of your research with a good product that has high competition.

You still have a chance of making it here.

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However, you do need to be smart about it and find a gap in the market.

Make your product super-specific.

For example, if you’re interested in selling cooking equipment, you can target a precise group of people if you offer “cooking equipment for lowcarb cooking” instead. Include egg boilers, vegetable steamers, and other commonly-used tools by people who follow a low-carb diet.

Even if you feel a niche is absolutely saturated, brainstorming ideas can help you discover that there are still smaller niches within larger markets that have lesser competition.

Want to sell books on Amazon?

You’d likely face plenty of competition with new books, but if you target hard-to-find books or sell books as a package (grouped by theme), you’re giving customers a reason to check out what you’re selling.

5. Aim for high profit margins

You don’t need to get a lesson in finance to figure out if a product has excellent profit margin and ROI.

You just need to check products of other sellers on Amazon, note down prices from wholesalers, and add all expenses (like Amazon fees, taxes, and so on) to weigh your option.

There’s even a simpler rule of thumb “the 3x rule” that you can incorporate into your product research.

With this rule, your goal is to sell a product 3x its purchase price. If you bought an item for $20, your target sales price would be $60. This rule assumes that a third will go to fees and other costs, while you get 100% return on investment.

6. Check what people are buying

Of course, you’ll need customers. You need to find a product that people want to buy. How do you do this?

Use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest) to see what people are sharing, what products are in demand, and what seems to be the “next best thing.” And while you’re at it, make sure to follow trendsetters (known as influencers) of a niche you’re interested in.

For example, if you plan on selling cosmetics, follow Huda Kattan to see what her Huda Beauty company is doing.

Whenever you see a product heating up in social media, use tools like Google Trends to double-check if that product is hot locally, within a particular country, or around the world.

7. Stick with proven criteria

When deciding if a product can be profitable, these proven criteria can definitely help:

  • Seasonal – If a product is seasonal (Christmas lights, Halloween costumes, etc.), it means your revenue is season as well. Skip seasonal products, if you want year-round sales.
  • Available on wholesalers – If you plan to sell on Amazon, you should also have a manufacturer or supplier in mind to get the products from. (Check this list of private label manufacturers, if you have no idea where to start).
  • Weight and Dimensions of the Product – Shipping fees add up costs quickly. A product that’s heavy or fragile will definitely have higher shipping fees than one that’s smaller and lighter. Look for a product that is simple, easy to pack and hassle-free to ship.
  • Price – Go for products that you can sell for $20 to $75 because aiming for too low makes it hard to earn money unless you’re going wholesale with thousands of inventory. Aiming for too high means you might not have enough buyers.

How to Find Products to Sell on Amazon

People who sell on Amazon and share their journey about it on a separate blog will always have a list of the best selling products on Amazon every so often.

This kind of list is also popular during Christmas season, boxing day, and year-end sales.

Make sure you read these lists.

You can learn a lot by comparing notes between sellers.

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You can also be aggressive with your product research, especially during offpeak seasons, a keep busy by finding products to sell on Amazon with these methods:

Amazon Specific Tools

999 Cart Method

This trick is used for competition analysis.

Once you find a product you’re interested in and is now assessing competition, you simply add that product (from your would-be competition) and continue to the checkout page.

Fill in “999” to the quantity slot, which will trigger Amazon to post this message: “This seller has only xxx of these available. To see if more are available from another seller, go to the product detail page.”

Isn’t it interesting?

Now you know that the competition has xxx (let’s say this is “500”) units of that product.

Check back to this store and repeat this step daily/weekly to see how quickly the competition’s product moves.

Customer Reviews

Read reviews of customers on Amazon.

Even if the review is negative, you can still discover ideas of a product that solves a customer’s problem.

This may require some time to go through reviews, but it’s worth it if you’re digging deep into your product research.

Best Sellers Rank (BSR)

When you search for a product, the results often show you products with the “Best Seller” tag.

Don’t just ignore this when you’re doing product research.

Know that Amazon’s Best Sellers Rank uses both recent and historic sale of a particular item.

This means that if you search a product and it brings back 2-3 (or more) products with the BSR tag, it indicates that the product you just searched is in-demand and that there’s room for more sellers to sell the same thing.

Chrome Extensions

Jungle Scout

Known as the best tool for finding products to sell on Amazon, Jungle Scout gives you details of monthly sales volume of any product and information about competition.

This is a paid Chrome extension though, so it may not be in your budget if you’re just starting out.

Unicorn Smasher

If you don’t have funds for Jungle Scout, use this Chrome extension instead. With this tool, you can check for rankings, monthly sales, estimated future sales, and so on.

Unicorn Smasher is free to use, newer and works similarly to Jungle Scout.

Keyword Research Tools

Once you’ve decided on a product, make sure to let it run through a series of SEO tests.

For example, if you decided on “sportswear,” use tools like Ahrefs to find better keywords that people actually use, such as “sports shorts,” “running shirts,” and so on.

The Bottom Line

Product research is the first thing you should master when you’re learning how to make money with Amazon.

Finding products to sell on Amazon isn’t easy, but it’s a necessary step you should never skip, especially if you’re serious about your ecommerce business. Once you’ve got this phase down to a science, you’re off to the next step – actually selling your items and advertising your store.

If you’re ready to learn step-by-step instructions on how to sell on Amazon, market your products, and get the most out of your business, check out this beginner’s guide to Amazon selling.

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