Anyone who uses Amazon either as a buyer or seller will have to deal with product research. For instance, if you are looking at buying a lawnmower, you will have to choose from dozens or hundreds of brands out there as well as the thousands of people selling the same products. This does not even include the multitude of people who sell their own products under a private label.
As a buyer, you would want to filter the endless clutter of products littered on the platform to find the best deal. This would mean looking out for products that have the highest possible quality but with as low a price as possible. For sellers, it is similar but in the opposite direction.
Amazon Product Research for Sellers
Amazon had long introduced the FBA (Fulfilled By Amazon) programme to enable merchants carry out ecommerce activities smoothly on their (Amazon’s) platform with little to no stress. Basically, FBA sellers simple have to promote their listings and investing advertising. Once an order is placed on their Amazon store, Amazon handles the rest of the process down to the shipping of purchased items to buyers. Amazon earns from its fees and the FBA sellers makes profits too. This is what it means to be “fulfilled” by Amazon.
But is it really this easy?
Not by any chance. Success as an Amazon seller begins with having an idea of what to sell. This is where product research comes into play. Product research on Amazon is as simple as finding a product that has a very high demand in the market, has decent profit margin and devoid of terrific competition. These kinds of products are by default next-rated but not very popular. They will become the trending products a couple months down the road and you are one of the early adopters who will cash in when the rest of the world is still waiting for the next big thing.
Your ultimate task as a seller will be to identify the best product that you can sell profitably. Miss this step and nothing else will work. This means you should be looking out for the following factors in your research for a good product:
- Size: Is it a kind of product that can be easily packaged and transported? The more flexible and portable the product is, the better.
- Weight: Light weight products will cost way less to ship to buyers in comparison to heavier products. So, is your target product going to be easy and cheap to ship?
- Profit Margin: Stick to products that have higher profit margins than the usual. You would want your efforts to be worth the stress you go through in your ecommerce adventure.
- Branding Possibility: Can you possibly brand this product you are looking at selling? If it becomes such a big deal, can you make a brand out of it?
- Demand: While you would not want to start selling products that everybody else is selling, you need to be certain that your choice product is not a product that nobody is buying.
On the flip side, stay away from the following types of products if you want to avoid frustration:
- The hottest products in the market, since everyone else will be selling those products
- Avoid branded or patented products because people would rather buy from manufacturers themselves or well-known major dealers than you and the thousands of sellers like you who compete to sell these products.
- Avoid products that will be expensive to ship or too bulky to easily handle.
- Also avoid basic retail products which people can easily get from the grocery store down the street.
- Stay away from electronic products as they can be a big problem to handle if they don’t reach the buyer in good condition.
- Avoid products that have a short lifespan such as food and other perishables.
- And lastly, avoid products that people don’t want to be associated with
Now that you have an idea of what to sell and avoid, let’s get down to the actual methods for researching products on Amazon.
A system I like to use is the 3-Questions System of product research.
- What kind of products do I like or what kind of problems am I passionate about solving?
- What is my competitor selling?
- What would my existing customers want to buy?
For option #1 above, you would want to take a look at good products that are somewhat related to your hobbies (such as gaming, hiking, swimming, cooking etc), interests (such as basketball, skydiving etc), passion (such as movies, live events, photography etc) and more.
This technique is pretty effective but it will take a lot of time. You will be faced with far too many options and may be too confused to make a choice. Another challenge you will encounter with this technique is that your passions, interests and hobbies may not present you with plenty interesting products options. You will find some products nonetheless.
For option #2, you will have to study your competitors. If you are just getting started in business, it makes perfect sense to learn the ropes by spying on your competitors because they aren’t going to teach you how to compete with them. Pay particular attention to the kind of products they have listed in their catalogs. And when you do a simple Google search of products in your chosen niche, pay even closer attention to those ones that are being promoted through Paid Per Click (PPC) advertising.
Keep in mind, however, that the success of this technique depends on the competitor. If they know their onions and have probably been in the game for a long time, it is safe to spy on them. If they are inexperienced or failing at what they do, avoid this method.
The last method is to ask your existing customers what they like or want, and give it to them. While this will work best for merchants who have already been selling to an audience, even newbies can try it. Ask your audience what they want and sell it to them. This audience could be your email subscribers, blog readers, members of your online community, podcast listeners, video viewers and even friends. Create an email or poll and find out what works for you.
But There’s Another Way
A better way, actually.
What you’ve been reading are ways you can manually research products on Amazon. In reality you can use an accurate Amazon product research tool to filter through the multitude of products till you find what sells well.
A research tool guarantees speed and accuracy. But what is perhaps more interesting in this situation is that a research tool gives you “emotionless” results. You get to see products that are already selling well; not the ones you think are selling well. You also get an idea of products that have the potential to sell well; not the ones you believe to sell well in the future.