The Best Amazon Product Research Tips and Tactics
When preparing to do product research for selling on Amazon (Fulfillment by Amazon) there’s a lot to consider – price, source (Alibaba, AliExpress, retail arbitrage, etc) wholesale cost, keywords, product ads, social media campaigns, brand management, and deciding on which tools are best for doing FBA product and marketing research.
Begin your Amazon product research
With so many tools, deciding on where to start can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Many of the most powerful tools are available inexpensively or for free. Try starting with Helium 10’s chrome extension and signing up for a free Helium 10 account.
You’ll be able to try Black Box and gain immediate access to 450 million products in seconds with the ability to discover hidden product niches – search by sales revenue, weight, prices, and reviews.
As you become an Amazon seller, you’ll find that you probably fit into one of three major seller categories. These include resellers, retail arbitrage sellers, and private label sellers. A quick overview of each:
Essentially resellers serve as a middleman between product sources and Amazon. This makes up a massive number of sellers out there. Finding inexpensive product sources (often overseas), resellers will look for untapped opportunities on Amazon and either outprice competitors or sell a product variation previously overlooked.
Retail Arbitrage Sellers
In this category, sellers will scour stores (Walmart, Target, etc) for deeply discounted products and resell them on Amazon. It’s often a time-consuming, very unpredictable process, however, some see enormous success with this technique.
Private Label Seller
A private label seller will take existing products, modify or rebrand them in some capacity as their own. Long-term this can be very rewarding for sellers, as they build their own brand, gain customer loyalty, and build an expanding range of products.
What are common Amazon product research mistakes?
Only focusing on products that you’re passionate about
Sometimes sellers will confine their search exclusively to a niche that they’re passionate about. While there are benefits to knowing the ins and outs of certain trending products and being enthusiastic about what you’re selling, don’t necessarily overlook profitable products just because it’s not something you would use.
Many top sellers have wide portfolios of products spanning across many different categories. This mindset allows these top sellers to cover many markets without limitations, allowing these entrepreneurs to harness opportunities where they may otherwise have blinders on.
This is particularly useful because Amazon is a fluid marketplace with a constantly updating algorithm, new competition, and new possibilities. The notion of a completely passive income on Amazon is a myth – to stay profitable you’ll find that you’re always tweaking, updating, changing, and competing with other sellers.
Not being flexible
It was Heraclitus who once said, “The only constant in life is change.” Even when you find a great product, create a listing, begin selling, and seeing success, there will always be unforeseen changes to your business.
Changes in Amazon’s algorithm, the entrance of new competitors to a product category, and changing inventory availability require successful sellers to be able to pivot and adapt rapidly.
Taking advantage of various resources, including Amazon’s own support can be invaluable when changes or updates take place – as they inevitably do. Learning how to adapt means learning how to thrive.
Assuming a lack of opportunities
Oftentimes when people begin selling they can feel overwhelmed by the amount of commerce already taking place on Amazon. It can feel hopeless at first, as though everything is already taken. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.
“The only constant in life is change.”
In fact, even categories with high competition often have overlooked elements. A color variation of a popular product could remain untapped, or perhaps a category has a supplementary offering that’s being ignored.
Countless niches and specific categories exist where listings are not optimized, often without high-quality images (try Scribbles for ideas on long-tail keywords) even if your competition is offering a solid product. Making sure your own images look great and are ready to increase sales also opens unique opportunities to expand your business, such as being able to sell on Instagram.
Competing / Researching Congested Categories
On the flip side, sometimes new sellers will ignore standard Amazon marketing wisdom, fighting to gain entrance into highly congested or dominated categories. Unless you have a significantly unique, outside the box product, or a substantial leg up on page or keyword listing, many categories are not worth competing for as a beginner.
The key is to narrow down the list to the ones that are worth competing for and to hit those categories hard. Sometimes when a product is written about or mentioned in the press a bandwagon way of thinking takes place. Suddenly a stampede of sellers will find themselves fighting for a category to cash in on a trend.
However, oftentimes the best products to sell are with niches least covered. A less fought over category may have big opportunities where you can offer a coupon or a product launch that stands out from the competition.
The stealthy seller will learn how to operate under the radar – finding and capitalizing on categories overlooked by competition and other product listings. Sometimes these products are not always the most exciting and this ties back into the first mistake of only focusing on products you’re passionate about. If a product’s pricing is too high, or competition is not delivering, enormous opportunities could exist.
Oftentimes, those products will not be written about or covered much, but they’re reliable and deliver real profits. Entire companies have built their business model on this way of thinking with great success, like 3M.
They’re not exactly known for the most exciting products, Post-Its hardly generate the kind of enthusiasm as the latest iPhone, but it’s a reliably profitable, necessary product, along with their suite of countless industrial product ideas coupled with the right targeted marketing strategy.
Why is Amazon product research important?
The research phase allows you to gauge market demand before making a sizeable investment. We encourage users to start at Seller Central and join Fulfillment by Amazon, use Helium 10’s tools to discover potential products, and if possible test a market with a small investment.
Narrowing product categories to discover niches is the logical way to get started. The process includes trying to see where competitors might be under-delivering. Bad reviews, poorly designed profile pages, overlooked variations of a product, etc. all could imply low conversion rates, and great potential as a market to enter.
Digging deep into customer reviews can be a particularly useful tactic when trying to see if your potential competition is living up to customer demand. A category with sizeable demand and few highly rated or dominant players could be a powerful entry space.
Also paying close attention to Best Seller Rank (BSR) is a powerful way to determine what has been and what is selling well on Amazon. This is a term you’ll hear a lot among Amazon sellers.
It’s not the only metric to consider, but a notable one. By finding categories where there isn’t just one product leader implies potential openings, as customers may not be particularly loyal to one brand or offering. Also, determining the seasonality of sales can be a useful part of product research.
For instance, Halloween decorations may look like a fantastic investment opportunity in September approaching October, but might not be such a great category when November rolls in. Using Google Trends can be useful to discover what types of searches are being made at different times of the year.
Where to look for products
Very often, people will start their product research at Chinese-owened Alibaba. It’s basically a massive database of international wholesalers. Even with simple searches, it can be fascinating to find the exact same products you’ll find on Amazon being sold for substantially less in bulk.
Searching for local wholesale markets can be an interesting way to source, learn about possible products to sell. For a beginner seller, it’s also a great real-world, tactile experience. Most areas have local markets which can be found by doing a Google search.
Also, while Alibaba is often seen as a primary source for Amazon sellers, other sites like DHGate.com, Global Sources, 1688, and AliExpress are common as well.
If you’re beginning as a retail arbitrage seller, or even just curious to start researching and sourcing products, a helpful technique can be to walk into stores, see what’s on clearance and observe what’s selling on Amazon.
So while there are many superior research tactics there isn’t necessarily a singular “best” way for finding products that make money. In many ways the true best way is the one that works for you, using a combination of tools, like Helium 10’s chrome extension, Black Box, product sourcing at sites like Alibaba, and seeing what’s offered at local wholesale markets and retail stores.
Paying close attention to key factors like Best Seller Rank (BSR), Amazon listing strategy, search volume, ads, conversion, product demand, positive reviews, and overlooked categories are all key to finding which products are worth your time and investment.