Finding the right products to sell on Amazon

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When you’re looking for products to sell as an FBA seller, you’re looking for products that will make you money. Being an FBA seller isn’t like being a craftsperson on Etsy, in which case, you sell the things you already make, and perhaps try to make them a bit more market-orientated. It’s not like running a hardware shop, in which case you have to sell all the bits and pieces people want. You just want to choose products that are profitable.

But how do you find them?

First of all, you want to look for products with consistent demand. Rule out fads. Remember fidget spinners? The craze didn’t last; within a year, it was over, and while the first guys into the market had made a lot of money, the last ones in were left with a lot of excess stock.

So you need to check sales of similar products on Amazon. You want them to be doing some real volume; that is, you want the products to be selling several unit a day, not one a week. You might look for at least 300-500 a month as a reasonable basis, particularly with inexpensive items.

You also need to look for products that are easy to distribute. Fragile items are not good news on Amazon unless you have really excellent packaging; remember that you’re judged on your return rate, even if you weren’t responsible and USPS managed to back a truck over the package. Complex items with technical knowledge required from customers can also be difficult to sell on Amazon. And oversize, heavy items will bump up your Amazon storage fees considerably.

Watch out for regulations, too. For instance, if you sell toys or vitamin supplements, you have various regulations you’ll need to comply with, both as regards your product and as regards the way you describe it on your product page. If you want to get into the area, fine – but if you sell mainly jewelry and purses, getting into cosmetics (yes, they’re regulated too) might not be the easiest step to take.

Look for products with less competition. If there are 30 or 50 sellers all competing with each other, with similar products, and selling mainly on the basis of price, this is a market where you’re going to find it difficult to get traction without your margins getting squeezed. If there are three big and well known sellers who share the market between them, they might have the firepower to make your life unprofitable.

Check roughly what price you can source the product for, and then work out how profitable it will be once you’ve also paid freight, any import duties, and Amazon fees. If you can’t sell for more than $18-20 it’s unlikely your product will make a profit, unless you can multipack or bundle the products. Higher priced products can make a lot more profit, but of course you’ll need to ante up more capital to buy your initial inventory.

If you’ve got this far, there’s one other thing you ought to think about, and that’s how you can improve the product. It can be particularly good to look for products where none of the existing sellers are consistently getting four and five star reviews; look at the customer reviews and work out how you could offer a product that scored higher. You’d quickly be able to top the rankings there.

Even if you already specialize in a particular area, this process will show you which products are going to do best for you. For instance, a cat-focused brand can look at catnip stuffed cat toys, cat harnesses, and cat carriers, and work out which of those products is most likely to make them money. If there are already dozens of catnip toy sellers, with low prices and high review scores, but the whole lot of them only appear to sell a hundred cat toys a week, there’s not enough profit to go around!

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