What to Sell on Amazon
I want to know what to sell on Amazon but how do I find the product that will make me a profit?
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a one sentence answer to this? Or if there was a single tool dedicated to finding products to sell on Amazon? Well in the spirit of being a true writer, I can’t give you a one-sentence answer. But, I can make good on that second question. More on that later…
Some of you may have been selling with an Amazon business for years and are looking for your next big score. Some of you may be dipping their entrepreneurial toes in the water for the first time as a new Amazon seller and don’t know where to start. Helium 10 is here to bring these groups together, as we believe both ultimately strive for the same goal: profit.
If you’re a nature-loving hiker, you may live by the creed, “It’s the journey, not the destination!” This is inspiring on the trail, but let’s be honest… for an Amazon seller, that would be like saying, “It’s about struggling to rank, not the money!”
In this article we will breakdown:
- What it takes for a private label product to be profitable
- Finding a product to sell on Amazon by giving you examples of some of the most successful product listings and categories on Amazon
- Some of the tools and strategies you can start using today to make money selling through Amazon
Begin With a Winning Mindset
Making the decision to start an Amazon business (at any level) is a feat unto itself. If you are reading this, chances are you’ve already or have almost mustered the courage to become an online seller – for that, we congratulate you. Your next step, concocting the right product idea and choosing a profitable product to sell on Amazon, is perhaps your most important. So, if you don’t know what to sell on Amazon, we are here to help.
Nike says “Just do it.” Helium 10 says, “Just do it right.”
Below are some of our top tips on finding the best things to sell on Amazon to make money, and taking those first few steps to own the Buy Box.
What Makes a Profitable Product?
If a profitable product listing was a cake you wanted to bake, you would need to know the ingredients first. So, let’s bust out the cookbook to understand which are the best products to sell on Amazon.
Problems require solutions. Therefore, a profitable product requires a problem that needs solving. When you are tracking down what to sell on Amazon, ask yourself the following questions so you’ll be able to choose the right product for your Amazon store:
- Is there a gap in the market for a product that remedies a popular problem? Once you’ve chosen your niche/category, create a list of the top issues within the industry (hint hint: negative Amazon reviews are a great place to start… we’ll cover this shortly).
- If a product category is already saturated with enough “good” products, take a look at the average cost. Are they pricing out a significant amount of their customers? Is there a cheaper way to manufacture the same product to sell at a more affordable price point?
- Is there a niche that’s not properly satisfied by a winning product? Sure, these may be smaller ponds to fish in – but collect enough ponds and you’ll eventually have a lake. A good place to start when niche-hunting is within some of your own unique interests and passions. What would you buy if you were searching for a new product?
We mentioned finding market gaps as a great entry point to find products to sell on Amazon as an e-commerce seller. One of the best ways to do this is through product research, with a focus on product reviews specifically. You can achieve this data several ways – I am going to show you an example using our Amazon product research tool, Black Box.
Searching within the category of “pet supplies,” I specified filters to only display product listings on Amazon with the following:
- Minimum monthly revenue of $10,000
- Maximum selling price of $70
- Minimum of 5 reviews
- 1,000 monthly sales (units)
- Maximum review rating of 3 stars
Here’s our results…
Now we have a snapshot of trending products that are selling relatively well, but with customers who are a little less than ecstatic. This is your market gap. Visit these product pages and start going through their negative reviews. Take note of any patterns.
As an example, it looks like this fetch game for dogs may have a problem with its tennis balls, particularly being too small.
These review results are courtesy of Review Insights, part of our free Amazon chrome extension.
Since you now know this is a potentially profitable space within Amazon, ask yourself:
“How can I take what these products are doing wrong and do them right?”
A profitable product listing (and Amazon brand) begins with a high traffic keyword – scratch that – multiple high traffic keywords.
This traffic will help you three-fold:
- Rank Higher in Amazon search results
- Streamline PPC ad campaign efficiency
- Drive Amazon sales
Great – but how do you find those tantalizing keywords? At Helium 10 we never condone cheating, but I’d be lying if I said using a keyword research tool like Magnet didn’t feel like cheating. Simply plug in a starting keyword and click “Get Keywords.” Conversely, use Cerebro to perform an ASIN search to get much of the same data.
It’s like getting the answers to the test before you walk into the classroom.
One instant search gives you access to valuable insights such including:
- Monthly search volume
- Total related keywords
- Top trending products for the given keyword
- Most frequently used words in similar key phrases
- Competing products for each keyword variation
- An exclusive “Magnet IQ” score for each and every keyword (ratio of est. search volume to number of competing products)
Using Amazon tools like Magnet gives you an automatic leg up on the competition, presenting you data that would normally take weeks to gather in a matter of seconds. If you are stuck not knowing what to sell on Amazon, data is usually a good place to start.
There is more than one road to profit, but all of them are paved with the same concrete: concrete data.
Fulfillment (Amazon FBA)
The last ingredient of a successful private label product is taking full advantage of Amazon FBA (fulfilled by Amazon). This isn’t to say you can’t be successful selling via FBM (fulfillment by merchant, aka you). However, the Amazon FBA business is specifically designed for the Amazon seller who doesn’t have the capital or resources to pack, ship, and store their own products. Fulfillment by Amazon is perfect for the Amazon seller who is new to the game. Just keep in mind, this extra service comes with Amazon FBA fees.
The Amazon FBA process works as follows:
- You send your product from your source/manufacturer to Amazon’s warehouse.
- The Amazon fulfillment center stores your product for a seller fee.
- Amazon distributes and ships your product when one is sold on your behalf.
As you can see, Amazon FBA eliminates the biggest logistical hurdles associated with starting your own online business. If you can afford the fees, this is a great way to focus on product profits rather than wrestling with independent storage planning and shipping hiccups.
What is Amazon Onsite?
If you’re interested in the expansive shipping capabilities that come with Amazon FBA but have figured out how to affordably store your products on your own, you’re in luck. Amazon Onsite serves a flexible middle ground between Amazon FBA and FBM. This is a relatively recent initiative aimed at saving sellers hefty Amazon storage fees while still giving them the ability to ship through Amazon.
Amazon Onsite allows sellers to:
- Save money by removing Amazon storage fees (reducing inbound shipping costs by 70%).
- Have more control over their inventory. Store your products in the most cost efficient way for you.
- Provides a direct line of responsibility (to Amazon) for shipping mishaps.
When looking for the most profitable items to sell on Amazon, don’t overlook your fulfillment system. You could have the most profitable product on the internet, but it can be all for nothing if you’re spending a fortune to ship it.
We have our ingredients for profit – now comes the fun part. Let’s look at some examples of success on the Amazon marketplace.
Amazon Best Sellers (by % of sales)
- Electronics (44%)
- Clothing/Jewelry (43%)
- Home & Kitchen (39%)
- Beauty/Personal Care (36%)
- Books (33%)
- Cell Phones/Accessories (28%)
- Movies & TV (25%)
- Pet Supplies (20%)
- Sports/Outdoors (17%)
- Groceries (15%)
Let’s break this down further to get a better sense of what is selling well within each category. Note, I am only going to include categories that are accessible for the amateur or intermediate seller. If you are interested in going head to head with Roku in the Electronics department well… we will save that for another blog.
Home & Kitchen
Beauty & Personal Products
Cell Phone & Accessories
You can also browse Alibaba when looking for the most popular products to sell on Amazon. Alibaba is the most popular product research and sourcing site in the world with valuable product information such as:
- Price per order amount
- Material/sizing costs
- Customization options
- Sample order quantities and prices
- Shipping time and Lead time from international manufacturers
Do your interests lie more in the creative, crafty side of things? Amazon Handmade is for you. With a selection of authentic, handmade products to rival Etsy, Amazon Handmade may be a place worth looking into. Learn more about Amazon Handmade here.
The Last Tool You Need Before You Build Your Amazon Business
Other than Black Box and Magnet, using an Amazon chrome extension is hands down the easiest way to take a peek behind the curtain of the Amazon Prime marketplace stage. With Helium 10’s chrome extension you have access to the Profitability Calculator. Whether you are a retail arbitrage seller or more interested in producing your own products, Profitability Calculator is one of the best (free!) tools to keep around.
Here’s how it works:
- Go to amazon.com
- Find any product
- Open Profitability Calculator
- Enjoy insights like estimated shipping cost, FBA fee, profit margin, estimated time in storage, and ROI.
So, You Want Your Own Amazon Business?
Finding products to sell on Amazon is not always a quick process. If it was, everyone and their golden retriever would have a successful line of branded workout accessories with Amazon Prime. However, it is still easier than many think.
Don’t forget, there’s more to running a successful Amazon brand than just finding the right product… optimizing your product listing with attention grabbing product descriptions, stellar customer service, and effectively managing your Amazon fees. But, the right product is a wonderful place to start.
Too many people start the journey of passion to profit only to quit because the barriers to entry were seemingly too steep. We get it, logging into Seller Central for the first time can be intimidating. With the above tools and strategies, we encourage the hobbyist – the everyday entrepreneur, to dedicate one week to product hunting. You don’t have to manufacture anything. You don’t need an Amazon seller account. You don’t even have to leave your house. Take one week to identify if there is a space on Amazon that sells well, has a need for better quality products, and can be easily produced on a budget.
You may be surprised by what you find.
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