How to Decide What Products to Sell on Amazon
The Amazon Marketplace is extremely competitive, and established brands with low prices are usually the ones who win. It's easy for shoppers to compare prices and check product reviews with specialized tools on hand. That means potential sellers have to be careful to pick good items to sell on Amazon.
If you pick the wrong product or category to sell, you could wind up spending a lot of time and money trying to offload a product you'll never get traction on. Before you commit to any products, you need to do some research to make sure you're picking items that will move and not just sit on shelves.
This is what you need to know to find the best products to sell on Amazon.
How to Decide What Products to Sell on Amazon
Use Tools for Researching What to Sell on Amazon
A great many tools can help you pick the right products to sell, though the most powerful tools typically have subscription fees. If you're a serious Amazon seller who wants to know what's trending, it's usually worth investing in software to help you comb through product data. These tools can help you hone in on high-demand items, evaluate the competition, monitor product trends, and estimate sales and revenue.
SEE ALSO: Should You Sell Trending Products on Amazon?
Some services offer select features for free, and most at least have free trials, so you can try them out to see if they suit your needs. Full-featured apps that help you both find what to sell on Amazon and manage ongoing sales typically run around $50 per month if you subscribe month to month, but are often significantly less if you pay annually — as low as $16 per month. Most offer more robust plans that can cost up to several hundred dollars for a monthly subscription, though. More basic services (or basic versions) that primarily help with keyword research or product selection can be completely free, but serious Amazon sellers may find some pricier services to be big time-savers for product research.
Here are some apps to consider:
Cost: $29 per month for Basic plan, paid annually
Jungle Scout is an all-purpose service that can help you with everything from evaluating potential products to managing inventory. Some features, like the Amazon Sales Estimator that estimates the number of sales you could make per month, are free for a certain number of searches.
Cost: $16.49 per month for PRO Extension, paid annually
AMZScout has a browser extension that offers some of the simplest advice, including a product score that estimates how easy — or how hard — it'll be to sell a product, and a simple thumbs-up or thumbs-down rating so you can evaluate data at a glance before you dig in.
Unicorn Smasher is a free browser add-on providing basic product and revenue information on Amazon listings. It doesn't have all of the features AMZScout offers, but it's free. However, the Pro version offers more features via a 1-time purchase from $49.99.
CamelCamelCamel is a free service (with a browser add-on) that gives you the price history for Amazon items. It's designed for shoppers rather than sellers, but it's an easy way to review price fluctuations. That's helpful because Amazon shoppers often go for the lowest price.
Cost: $28 a month for Starter plan, paid annually
Helium 10 is an all-purpose service for analyzing products, improving listings, and managing ongoing sales. Their basic plan is free, though you'll only be able to perform a limited number of searches.
Cost: $13 a month for Growth plan, paid annually
AmazeOwl is a product research tool that helps you spot high-potential products. It's not the most full-featured, but the basic version is free and even higher subscription tiers are reasonably priced.
SEMScoop is a general tool for analyzing keyword popularity. It isn't Amazon-specific, but it can give you a good idea of popular keywords, related keywords, and how much competition there is for something. Note that while there's a free version, it's only for a limited number of searches per day. Paid subscriptions start around $7 a month, paid annually.
Google Trends is an easy way to see search volume for different products. It isn't Amazon-specific, but the general information it provides can give you an idea of how popular different products are.
Amazon Best Sellers lists
Amazon bestseller lists are where you can find the top-selling products in different categories. Browsing these pages can be especially useful in combination with browser extensions, which give you extra sales data as you research.
Regardless of which tools you use, you'll need to be aware of certain types of data in order to find the best products to stock, including:
- Popularity: How many people are interested in a product? You can find this information in many ways, including by browsing Amazon bestseller lists, checking Google Trends or other SEO tools for popular keywords, as well as using a specific Amazon research tool.
- Competition: How many other sellers are there, and how well-established are they? Research tools will give you a look at the competition, but you can also browse other products in the category, and check their reviews and bestseller rankings.
- Sales: What are the average monthly sales for a product? Note that getting this data usually requires a specific research tool; Jungle Scout offers a few free sales estimates every day.
- Price: How much does the product sell for usually? How much price fluctuation is there? Items with prices trending down or that fluctuate frequently suggest you may have lots of sales to compete with, and so they may not be good things to sell on Amazon.
Basically, you want to be looking for products that many people are searching for, but without a lot of strong competition; this will give you the best chance to break into the market. You could find a niche that isn't well-served by existing products, or a product where the competition has poorly optimized pages or few reviews. There are many possible products and product categories that you can find success in — and doing the right research will help you identify them.
Pick Product Categories to Research
You'll want to pick particular products or product categories to research. Your business may already have a specific focus, in which case you already have a place to begin. But if you're just getting started or casting around for growth ideas, there are lots of places to start — and at this point, your brainstorming doesn't necessarily have to be data-driven to be successful.
This is one step of the process that can be considerably simplified with Amazon-specific tools to help you analyze data. Many of the services we've listed above will compile this sort of data, to help you easily identify potential categories to break into. But whether you're trying to avoid paying for software or want to dig in on your own, you can do without.
You could also get started with a list of products you're familiar with, or ones that interest you. Having product expertise can help you make excellent product pages that can stand out to potential buyers — but familiarity with products isn't necessarily a requirement for success, and the products you're passionate about won't necessarily be the best options. Still, it can be a good place to begin for ideas.
You can do some simple internet browsing to see what people are interested in, too. Check out trends on social media and think about related products, or look for hot search topics and keywords. You could also head to Amazon's own bestseller lists and review top products in each category. Then, you can drill down through subcategories, browsing for potential opportunities and scoping out the competition.
Or you can start looking for the best products to sell on Amazon by browsing Amazon's most successful categories. According to Jungle Scout's 2022 State of the Amazon Seller report, the most popular product categories for sellers are:
- Home & Kitchen
- Beauty & Personal Care
- Toys & Games
- Clothing, Shoes & Jewelry
- Health, Household & Baby Care
Picking potential products is simply a starting point. Just because product categories are popular doesn't mean they're the right place to begin selling. Popular categories can have a lot of sellers competing for the top of the bestseller list, and heavier competition means it'll be harder to find success. That's why these ideas are just jumping-off points. Once you've picked out some products or product categories of interest, you can start considering products in-depth.
Search for Products and Categories That Aren't Highly Competitive
The most important quality in a successful Amazon product listing is low competition. You want to find categories that are easy to break into, so your items can more easily find their way onto bestseller lists and product search pages.
SEE ALSO: These Are the Best Products to Sell Online Each Month in 2022
That means you want to avoid products that do the following:
- Directly compete with big, established brands — particularly Amazon's own house brands. Major brands will be difficult if not impossible to beat, making it much more challenging to move products.
- Have competition with lots of good reviews. A high number of reviews — anything more than a few hundred — means you'll have a lot of catching up to do before your products are likely to show up for shoppers. Products where top sellers have under 100 reviews are easier to compete with.
Good product and category choices will have the following things in common:
- Top products with under a hundred reviews
- Top products with poor reviews
- Top products with low-quality Amazon pages
Competing with these kinds of products — or even products with one or two of these qualifications — will be much easier than trying to beat out more-established brands.
This kind of data is easy to find on Amazon without any special tools. Simply search for products you're considering selling, and evaluate the information that comes up. Check the number of reviews — and how good they are — then scroll down the product page to see where the item ranks on bestseller lists; this should give you a good idea of an item's popularity. You can also browse related products in the "Frequently bought together" and "Compare with similar items" section of the page to find similar items that may offer sales opportunities.
Study Amazon Customer Reviews
Beyond checking the number and quality of reviews to evaluate the competition, you should browse reviews of products similar to what you plan to sell to find any pain points. What do reviewers love about the products? What do they hate about the products? What problems do they mention?
You can learn a lot about how to improve your own offerings by doing this. Perhaps you can sell a product that avoids a common problem, or perhaps you can forestall complaints with a clearer product description. Your competitors' reviews give you a sneak peek of your own future reviews. That means you have an opportunity to improve your offerings before you even start selling.
Look for In-Demand Products
It's not enough to have low competition — you need products that shoppers want. You can check the Amazon Best Sellers Rank on product pages to see how well each product is doing, but that doesn't give you a clear picture of how many units are selling every month. For that, you'll want to grab one of the research tools mentioned above, as those can provide details — or at least estimates — of monthly sales numbers and potential monthly revenue.
Another — but less specific — way to evaluate demand is to examine keyword popularity. Product keywords with higher search volumes tend to mean more popular products. Despite not being Amazon-specific, Google Trends is a good free tool to review keywords; it can tell you exactly how many people have searched for different keywords every day via the Trending Searches section, plus you can search the interest over time for any keyword and compare multiple keywords to see which ones are more popular.
Review Amazon Fulfillment Costs
It's important — particularly for Fulfillment by Amazon sellers — to consider all of the fulfillment costs. Large and heavy products, for example, will cost more to ship and store, and that'll eat into your potential profits. Even an item that meets every criteria for being a bestseller may not do well if it adds on too many FBA fees.
SEE ALSO: 7 Smart Ways to Reduce Shipping Costs as a Marketplace Seller
FBA sellers should avoid products with dimensions beyond 18" x 14" x 8" — Amazon's largest standard box size — or FBA fulfillment costs will increase significantly. Lightweight items also have lower fulfillment fees, so it's smart to keep your products under 3 pounds. FBA storage fees are another reason to avoid stocking bulky items. Amazon bills for storage based on the number of cubic feet your products take up, so large items can leave you with higher FBA fees than expected.
Check Amazon's FBA fees page and policies before you choose what to sell, so you can be sure packing, shipping, and storage costs won't eat up too much of your profits. Even if you aren't an FBA seller, you should review your costs for packing and shipping, which can get out of hand for particularly large items.
And now you know enough to pick out the best products to sell on Amazon and guide your store to success. Happy selling!
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