Amazon Product Research: What should I Sell on Amazon.com?
This is a question for the ages, and one that clients ask me on a very regular basis. The bottom line Is that your average person doesn’t know how to scout the site for niche opportunity and the most common strategy is to follow someone else. The herd mentality product development; or buying something off the shelf because you think the product type is popular, is the wrong approach to provide development. The key to being successful with a new product launch on Amazon is to solve a new product, develop a niche, or improve on a popular product by adding extra value.
How do we add value?
Let’s first discuss the concerns relating to adding value. Value is defined by usefulness. The more useful something is, the more value it has for its user. The key to developing a new or successful product for sale on Amazon Is to maximize its value and or use value as the primary differentiator. You should be asking yourself how can I make “XYZ widget” better or different, not how can I sell the same thing as my competitor but for less money (which creates a margin race to the bottom).
Value comes with solving more problems, or multiple problems with one product or adding in product features not encompassed under one like products from your direct competitors. One of the easiest analogies is peanut butter that includes the jelly swirls in there. Most people buying peanut butter also buy jelly. Rather than just sell peanut butter, you are now adding value by also including the jelly.
How do you define a niche product?
Niche items are essentially specialty products, the consumer has a very specialized need or search inquiry and a finite or small group of products satisfy the search results. With niche searches the search frequency rank may be much higher, but because there are fewer products service this pocket, your product has higher odds of appearing on page one organically. You can make a very nice business out of selling niche items on amazon.com.
What products should I avoid?
The types of products which you should avoid include commodity products or products which are quickly becoming commoditized. Unfortunately, this is where a lot of amateur sellers make mistakes. They use software that tells them the types of products which have high margins and a lot of sales, and they get into these categories not realizing that there are already literally dozens of comparable products. If you start to see a sea of the same product but with different brand names, that product is commoditized and you shouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole. This includes charging cables, zip ties, bamboo paper goods, napkins, toilet paper, etc. Once you start to see every Tom, Dick, and Harry piling into a product that is your sign to avoid that product category. Don’t be a follower, and to not buy off the shelf products from factories. If you have easy access to it, everyone else does too. You want to innovate, not duplicate.
Do I need my own brand?
I am a huge advocate for private labeling on Amazon, and I think it is important to have your own brand for a number of reasons. The most important reason being access the tools that you are going to want in order to supplement your sales; A+ Content, Video upload, Brand Analytics, a Brand Page, Vine, and other programs exclusive for brand owners. Another important aspect of owning your own brand is Brand Registry, which provides protection against people violating your trademark, copyright, or patents. Without these tools you have no defense against nefarious activity and it can leave you very exposed. A Trademark is easy to acquire, I own two myself and have filed them on my own. One required a lawyer intervention, and the other did not. The costs to file the trademark is low, it just takes about a year from start to finish. Brand registry and all of the tools allowed for brand owners come totally free, yes free. Amazon also has a really nice service now called IP accelerator, so if you use one of the Amazon approved trademark attorneys you can be granted access to all of the brand owner tools in advance of your trademark finalization. To learn more visit www.brandregistry.amazon.com and https://brandservices.amazon.com/ipaccelerator
What is a good product to sell?
Earlier we talked about niche products, personally I am a big advocate for development of these types of products. At this very moment there are likely dozens of people looking at developing products to sell in really high traffic terms, counting their chickens before they hatch. So much traffic = so much sales, right? Wrong! This is where people make mistakes, that is low hanging fruit. This is a house flip, but instead of buying a dumpy house and renovating, you want to look for average traffic keywords and renovate the traffic. People will avoid or miss these important terms because they feel they don’t rank high enough, and they do not realize you can take a mediocre keyword and create a category. Do you think 10 years ago people were looking for wireless doorbells? I think I’ve made my point.
Think of products that solve a problem or solve several problems and then do some research on Amazon.com and see what products fill that void. If you think you see a number or auto-populated terms appear, but nothing that is really an exact match for the product type, then you may be onto something. Even if your search results provide a handful of exact matches, you have still located opportunity and you can compete by offering more value, a larger size, or some extra features that the other options do not have. Developing winning products on amazon requires Differentiation. How you differentiate ultimately is up to you, and requires additional research. Do not jump into anything just because you feel like you have to get in now. The front-end research is as important to your success as the product quality and content.
How do I know if my item will be profitable?
Your best friend for determining whether an item will be profitable with Amazon FBA is with the revenue calculator that Amazon created below:
This tool will give you a fairly accurate estimate of what you can expect your gross and net fees to be. You can play with several price points, and as long as you know the expected product size the rest of the fees can be calculated with this tool. Profitability needs to be considered before investing in any product to sell on Amazon, not afterwards.