I’ve been spending pretty much every spare moment of my time lately devoted to this whole selling products on Amazon thing. Last post I spoke about the various things I thought I would have to tackle, and number 1 on that list is to find a product/products to sell.
Now many of you will be aware that we are already selling physical products online, and it’s still going pretty well for us, but we need to do more if we’re ever going to hit our goals. So the obvious thing for us to do would be to expand our existing business and list our products on Amazon, and that thought has crossed my mind, however, apparently what we sell is part of a restricted category on Amazon, and i’m not 100% sure i’m ready to take on the extra work associated with that straight away, so instead, we have been looking for other products to sell.
Having not done any of this before, I decided to read up on what others were doing. Unfortunately I have read conflicting advice. Some people say to hit the top 100 or top 1000 items of a category, while others say to stay away from that and to find a niche where nobody else is really playing – so you can dominate it.
Not really knowing what to do, we are now thinking it might be best to trial a few different products and see which is the best for us. So I have been scouring both Amazon, Google and Alibaba for things that I could sell. We are looking for 1 item that will be a top 1000 item, and another which has essentially no competition and another, which has a very small amount of competition, but which I can have my items made quite a bit cheaper than what is currently on offer on Amazon.
Once we understand how the whole system works, then we will look at getting into these restricted categories and expanding our existing physical product business.
Finding a Product
What I’ve been doing when it comes to finding a product is fairly simple. First I dig around in a few of the categories on amazon to get some ideas of things that I would be interested selling. The first thing I look at is the best sellers rank which you can find under the product details. As an example, I have taken a screen grab of the Rubbermaid Configurations Folding Laundry Hamper.
I’ve also been trying to find products that I know people are looking for. So I have been using Google’s keyword planner tool to see how many people are searching for a term. I know this won’t translate exactly, but it should be a decent indicator.
I also look at the results on the first page of amazon for my chosen keyword/product. If the first page is full of products at great prices with great photos and lot’s of good reviews, then I will skip it and look again, but if I don’t see those 3 things, then I will look to see how many results Amazon returns. So if I continue with my laundry hamper example, I can see that there are 2,614 other items on Amazon categorized as “laundry hampers” – you can find this detail at the top left of the page under the Amazon logo.
Considering most items on the first page have hundreds of reviews and are prices at only $10-$20, I’m not interested in entering this market. However, with a bit of searching I have found a few that I am interested in trying out.
Keyword research is pretty easy for me, as i’ve had years of doing SEO – so this doesn’t take me a lot of time. All I do is log all the relevant keywords into a spreadsheet and see which have the biggest volume. Once I have that, I know which keywords I should target on Amazon. Once I have the keywords, I run some tests to see which items come up. The ones with the weakest results, but the largest Google volume are the ones I plan on hitting first.
Once I know what I want to sell, and I think there is room for me in the market, I now head over to Alibaba and see if I can find someone to make me the product I want to sell. I’ll go into this in more detail in my next post, but there are a heap of tricks that I learned when starting our last business, which I will share.
The main thing is to try and get the best product you can, at the lowest price, and without having to spend more than you are comfortable with.
Once you have a good idea of price (and no, the prices listed aren’t a good way to judge, you need to contact the seller to get a real figure) then you need to go back to Amazon and make sure you have enough profit margin to work with – factoring in all the fees and charges between purchasing your product and making the sale.
At the moment I am trying to work on about a 100% profit margin, which after everyone gets their share, I expect my final profit to sit at about 30-35%.