Selling on Amazon is a powerful way to create a stream of passive income. Think about it: If you are interested in breaking into buying and selling, there is no better place than Amazon to get started with a new business. However, you do need to know how to find products to sell on Amazon. Sourcing Nova has prepared this piece for you to do that very thing.
Amazon commands a 50 percent share of the online marketplace globally, and approximately 50 percent of the purchases made on the site come from third-party sellers. This means there is a large opportunity to be found – provided you are willing to do some work for it.
There are close to one million new sellers entering the Amazon site annually and over 12 million products available for sale. Less than 10 percent of sellers reach $100,000.00 in sales, and less than 1 percent reach the vaulted million dollar mark.
What is the difference between success and failure for buying and selling on Amazon?
The products you sell make all the difference.
Like any business, there is hard work to be done to find those products. Product research, sourcing, profit margins and customer demand are all part of that work. The product’s LTV, long term value, is key. It is the difference between decent sales (maybe not the million dollar mark) and inventory that sits collecting dust.
Your selling acumen means you can sell refrigerators to Eskimos and Nebraska beach front property (Nebraska is triple locked – at least three states in any direction away from a beach). That is great but useless if you do not carry products people want to buy.
So, what do you want to sell on Amazon? Cat-themed socks, cast iron cookware, grandfather clocks or some other esoteric product? Good luck. The market for these products is very slim with a questionable profit margin.
What you need is a guide to find the information you need: Trending products, low risk, high profit, easy shipping and a handful of other characteristics to make sure you see success with buying and selling on Amazon.
Sourcing Nova has taken the time to compile research and interviews from leading sellers on Amazon. These tips are what you will need to see the success you want. Don’t forget: Sourcing Nova can find and get products to your Amazon e-store.
Start with the absolute fundamentals of research
You are not going to wake up one day, decide on a product, get them, list them on Amazon and start making money. You have to do your homework and spend some time reading and charting the better options you will have.
Why bother with research anyway?
You are entering the e-commerce world to earn money, so you need to know what people want. If you find a product with high profit and low competition but no customers – you will not be doing much. You may find a product that everyone wants, but there is too much established competition to break into the market.
Setting up an online business is like any business venture. It takes work, planning and research. Leave one of the three out, and you are setting yourself up for failure.
What not to do for your product research
There is not a great deal to say on what not to do, but Sourcing Nova wants to get that out of the way now before getting to the right things to do. These points should not be taken lightly as these can be the difference between a comfortable passive income and significant debt with products you cannot sell.
Remove what you want from this process –
While it is understandable you have a certain product you may like and wish to sell, ask yourself: Do I have a decent chance of selling this to a global audience?
Conversely, if you find a product that will meet everything Sourcing Nova is about to teach you in this piece and it is something you like, you stand an excellent chance of earning some great money. It is fine that you have things you like and want, but the things that other people like and want is what will put money into your pocket.
Going to a deep niche
We all know what the Internet can do to us in terms of going down the Rabbit Hole and getting terribly removed from our goal. The same thing can happen when looking for products to sell. Do not get caught in an extremely tight niche product with little movement.
There are always some products that will be sold at certain times of the year and no other. For example, Christmas wrapping paper sales will spike sharply normally after the Christmas season because retailers are dumping inventory. There will be a huge spike in candies and chocolate before Halloween and Valentine’s Day but will be flat the remainder of the year.
It is always best to find products people want around the year. Sourcing Nova will provide characteristics of these products to sell as you continue reading.
Coming out of the gate with a low price to undercut competition will do nothing in the long run but bolster your competition. Your pricing decision needs to come from your costs and desired profit margin not the arbitrary price of your competition. Besides, a price that is too low does nothing but get customers thinking you have substandard product inventory.
Amazon sellers today understand the importance of differentiating products and product lines. This means having a complimentary product sold along with what you are offering as a primary product. There was a time when selling a single item was effective on Amazon, but it has long since passed.
Amazon does not let you sell at no charge. You will be paying fees to the e-commerce giant for your shop space. This, along with your manufacturing, importation and shipping to the customer needs to be calculated for your profit margin. This is not difficult, just takes a bit of time and perhaps a calculator, some paper and a pencil unless you are experienced with spreadsheet software.
If you are able to be successful with selling your products, it is always wise to reinvest a portion of your profit margin back into your products for development. Constant revision and upgrading keeps your customers happy, money flowing in and your competition scrambling – three things that you want to see every day.
Amazon Best Seller’s List
Now that you know what not to do, it is time to look at what to do. The best place to start looking for products is the site itself.
The Best Seller’s List, BSL, breaks down products into categories and allows you to find products you would like to see. The primary categories are going to be highly competitive and not a great idea. Instead, tunnel down. You will find low competition but high demand. This is where you want to start, so get pencil and pen for a list.
You can also find related products, products that tie closely to the BSL list leaders. These are certainly something to consider and is frequently seen with some products combined.
To the extreme
There are some products that are going to appear moving and moving well. Look carefully at these, as they could be highly seasonal products and will only move during certain times of the year. Additionally, like we said previously, the really popular products will have high competition. The other extreme to avoid are high, narrow niche products. You may like high end fountain pens, but the number of people with an interest in them is small.
Too competitive or not enough buyers – this is the difficult part, but this is why you are reading this piece.
Product seller ranking and sale history
It is important to see these two things for one simple reason – it will help take the growing pains out of getting off the ground with your business. You will be able to see how your competition’s products stand up and how well the seller has faired across a large time.
Amazon itself notes that less than 20 percent of the customer base will take the time to leave a review.
Reviews are an important part of the entire research process. Reviews can give you an idea of where your products may stand in comparison to your direct competition.
The number of reviews is very important – thousands of reviews points to a market with too many sellers. Products with very few reviews mean no demand for the product sold.
Product reviews show the pain points – continuous, unresolved problems with products. Use this to create products that lack these and add to the positive elements of the product. Not all reviews are negative.
The magic number is 200. The top sellers should have about 200 reviews with less than 100 ideal. If you see a high moving product with around 200 reviews, it is reasonable to guess sales of this product in the 3,000 to 4,000 piece range. You want to break into sales niche.
This data is certainly not perfect, but it can help create a picture of how well the product moves.
The Best Seller Rank – BSR
This ranking system gives you an idea of a product in the most recent and historical sales categories. A high BSR means this is a good product, but if it is a single product in a category, the BSR does not mean much.
Here is an example. You are interested in fishing reels. You find the category for fishing reels has a great BSR, but it is a very large BSR. Therefore, you begin to tunnel into some different options. Under ‘bait casting reels’ are find several different brands and successful selling products. This is great – there is not one reel to choose from but a variety for a buyer to make a selection. It is also a chance for you to break into the arena.
BSR by the numbers
The when of a product sale is difficult to track. Instead, we have to look at the rank of the products inside their category. That is where the BSR rank of the main category becomes important.
The BSR rank is a number, and anything under 10,000 is great with under 5,000 as ideal. The products ranked under 5,000 mean there is tremendous sales opportunity. If you can manage two or three products in the sub-5,000 range of the main category of fishing reels, you will stand a very good chance of making excellent sales.
BSR sudden changes
In the process of your research on reels, you see there is a huge jump in sales. This is significant. It is a chance to see why this is the case and if there is room for private labels (more on this in a bit) or arbitrage (more on this as well.)
One of the more powerful commercially available tools for finding products to sell on Amazon, Jungle Scout consistently ranks highly desirable products. Each of the characteristics recommended with the Jungle Scout tool are also included later in this blog.
AMZ Scout is another powerful tool to look where to find products to sell on Amazon. The tool has a Chrome extension, complete toolset and several different pricing levels for various types of sellers.
Other selling details
There are a few other details to consider for selling products on Amazon. Specifically:
1. Amazon is not on the listing. The product is sold by an independent business owner.
2. There are minimal sellers. Anything under 10 is great. Anything under five is a hot product to consider strongly.
3. Low number of FBA sellers (more on this later). Zero is the goal, but anything under five is acceptable.
What makes a great product to sell on Amazon
So, you have completed your research, found a potential product and are ready to contact Sourcing Nova about your first order from your Chinese manufacturer.
No, you are not.
Are you absolutely certain the product you want to sell will be profitable when factors are taken into consideration? There is more to a profitable product than finding a niche. This next section is going to discuss all of the characteristics of a good product.
$10.00 and $50.00 – The Golden Numbers
If you notice in your local supermarket there are a variety of snacks, drinks, magazines, tabloid papers and other minor products placed near the checkout stations. There is a good reason for this – impulse purchases.
Finding, sourcing and selling a product with a sale price between $10.00 and $50.00 means the customer will not spend a great deal of time mulling over the purchase. They are much more likely to select, put into their shopping cart and check out without much thought or consideration.
Prices below $10.00 have customers thinking the products are sub-par. Prices above $50.00 leads to a lower conversion rate – the number of sales you successfully make.
You can expect at least 10 sales per day
Ten sales a day is about 300 sales a month. Assuming your products have a profit rate of $5.00 after fees, shipping, promotion and the like, you are still pocketing $1,500.00 a month. This is not bad money for passive income.
Remember: You cannot sit back and be idle even though sales are coming in. You have to be on top of things, working with updates and continually redefining your product image to continue meeting that 10 a day sales average.
Small, lightweight and shoebox rule
It is much cheaper to source small and lightweight products for sale than large products for a variety of reasons. The two biggest – shipping and storage charges are greatly reduced.
What you want to do as you completing your product research is apply the ‘shoebox rule.’ The shoebox rule means your product or products sold through Amazon can fit into a shoebox.
Products of this size will have low importation and shipping costs. This translates into a higher profit margin for you.
Sturdy, durable and certainly not fragile
We have covered weight and size. There is one more physical element to take into consideration – can your products withstand shipping from China to its ultimate destination?
Products for Amazon sourced from China are going to cross many hands and many different points. The products are likely to be loaded with less than gentle care and often moved within large shipping containers. These large containers are not handled like glass when moved from point to point.
Durable products that stand up to shipping and transportation will mean happier customers. Sellers who FBA (more on this later) must have all products in top condition. Amazon rejects any damaged goods.
Products sourced from China
Most may consider products coming from China as being inferior or cheaply made. This is absolutely not the case. In fact, more than a few major retailers, including Wal-Mart, routinely source from China. This includes everything from toys to large scale equipment.
Products coming from China are relatively inexpensive, even when shipping is taken into consideration, because of a variety of factors including an abundance of labor.
Sourcing Nova is a sourcing company. This is what we do for you.
We mentioned above about funneling some of your profits back into your products and for good reason – it keeps your customers returning. When we say innovation, it does not mean you take your product and completely revamp it from the ground up (although some will do that.) Rather, consider what customers have said negatively about your competition and build from that. For example:
· Number – Can you increase the number sold in a pack?
· Color – Can you change, or offer color variety?
· Design – Can you make design improvements?
· Size – Can you increase or decrease the size?
Of course, each of these will depend on the needs of the customer not what you think or want for your products on Amazon.
The days of selling a single product to a customer are long gone. Today’s Amazon e-store will have a primary product, like our fishing reel from before, and a complimentary product offered along with it. This is a perfect way to increase your bottom line without having to do extra work.
There is value beyond in doing this:
· It opens up additional keyword search opportunities
· You expand your brand beyond one product
· It provides the customer something over competition
· It creates customer loyalty
There are some products sold in Amazon that do have legal issue and potential for legal issue. Anything with a variety of moving parts, designed for safety and the like are not ideal for you as a small business owner. These products are better served by large corporations with legal and research/development departments specifically designed around keeping products from causing legal issue.
Additionally, any product that has a brand name or trademark associated with it should also be avoided for the same reasons as above – companies that can afford either will have legal departments on staff and standby.
Create a return customer
Sourcing Nova has covered a few products that will eventually need replacement – wigs and candles. While both are great sellers, each will not last indefinitely.
Some products bought on Amazon are not designed for return customers. Some electronics, gardening tools and the like are frequently one time purchases. You want a quality product that customers will specifically return to you to buy and buy again.
Your fishing reel customer may not come back for a new reel but may come back for fishing line, lures and other tackle.
Create yourself and your brand – The private label seller
Sourcing Nova has covered private label sales previously with candles, but this is going to take the concept of private label sales and selling on Amazon a bit more deeply for a better understanding.
A private label seller purchases directly from the manufacturer, puts a personal label on the product package and sells under that brand name.
Finding a product for private label
If you elect private label selling on Amazon, finding a product to sell is even more important. The goal is to find something that is: not found on, has a large number of sellers, could use improvement or is a niche that needs filling and private label this product.
There are plenty of options available to you. The biggest areas on Amazon for private labels include:
· Kitchen, dining and home
· Lawn and garden
· Sports and outdoors
· Pet supplies
These are the biggest. A bit of research can turn up some high interest niches ideal for private labels. Sourcing Nova has a much more in depth look into private labeling here.
The actual selling process
Once you have found your products, contacted Sourcing Nova to get your products to you and have set up a payment system, it is time to sell your products.
One question remains: How will you get those products to your customers?
Answer: There are two ways. Both ways have their advantages and disadvantages.
· FBM – Fulfilled by merchant
· FBA – Fulfilled by Amazon
Sourcing Nova has compiled a complete piece on both options for you. This way you can make the best decision for you and for your products.
Sourcing Nova hopes this particular blog will help you as you begin your journey to passive income with Amazon. Now that you know how to find products to sell on Amazon and have selected your specific products, let us know how we can help you. We have a huge network of manufacturers across all of China and can find virtually any product you like. Leave a comment below, and we can get you started.