How do you select a private label product to sell on Amazon (or elsewhere online?)
In this post, you will learn about some strategies you can use to make this process as quick and frustration-free as possible.
It Starts with Building a Winning Brand
A Product Doesn't a Business Make…
-Ryan Deiss, DigitalMarketer.com Co-Founder
The key to finding products to sell online or anywhere else, for that matter, is in building a brand.
Successful entrepreneurs understand that the products themselves don't make a business.
To have a sustainable business means you are creating a customer experience that connects people to products that solve their problems and address their core needs, wants, and desires.
A best-selling brand has the following attributes:
- It solves a problem or a pain point
- It satisfies a passion, want, need, or desire
- There is a strong demand
For example, here is this security camera, a best selling item on Amazon in the electronics category.
Example of how a product can solve a problem
Notice that this particular product addresses an immediate pain or problem for the potential customer (“I feel unsafe in my home”) and it solves this problem (wireless indoor video surveillance)
How to Choose your Product Niche
The ultimate crossroads every seller must face eventually is in picking the niche they wish to sell in. For some, this step is easy. They know exactly what they want to sell and who they want to sell it to.
However, for many, this isn't an easy step at all.
There is no one universal, “one-size fits all” way to product selection, but there are techniques you can use that will help reduce your risk for failure at the start.
B.E.V – A Simple System to Product Selection
B.E.V is a process I use to select, evaluate, and evaluate product ideas.
Quite simply, it stands for “Brainstorm, Evaluate, and Validate.”
It's certainly not a revolutionary concept but it is helpful in remembering how to separate the different phases of the product selection process.
Step 1: Brainstorm
Think about what it is that you want to sell.
When brainstorming ideas, it is helpful to get out a piece of paper (or a spreadsheet) and start writing/typing down every single hobby, interest, need, or want that you have or that you know people have.
Avoid the temptation of thinking “Yeah, but that would never work …” – just write it all down!
Keep a running list of ideas until you have at least 20 unique niches and/or product ideas.
If you start thinking of product ideas that are sub-niches, write those down as well – sometimes the real “diamonds in the rough” are the products within these obscure sub-niches.
Step 2: Evaluate
Analyze the Data.
During the evaluation stage, most sellers rely (too heavily in my opinion) on tools such as JungleScout to help them make “intelligent” decisions with regard to selecting a product to sell online.
The primary challenge with using these kinds of tools is that literally tens of thousands of other people are using them as well.
Another challenge is that often these tools give just snapshots of data based on sophisticated, albeit fallible metrics.
Remember – just because a product looks like a great opportunity according to the software, doesn't mean that's truly the case in reality or the reality of the near future.
While these tools can be helpful, they should only be used to accomplish the following tasks:
- Estimate customer demand
- Evaluate competiti0n in the marketplace
- Estimate weekly sales velocity
You should avoid, if possible, using product selection tools to tell you whether or not a product is “good” or “bad.”
Ultimately, it is the consumer who will determine whether or not your product is worthy of purchasing.
Step 3: Validate
Validate your product ideas using the data.
The last step in this process is to validate your product idea.
Product validation is simply the process of running your product through a list of criteria to test against, to make sure it is a reasonable selection.
What makes a product valid or not, however, is not always so “black and white” so it's important that you step back and view your products at a “mid-level” – that is, don't become so married to a product that you succumb to classic “selection bias.”
While this isn't as easy as it sounds, what makes it easier is if you use a defined set of criteria to score your product opportunities.
Some things to look out for when looking for your first product to sell:
- Current marketplace price (what's the average selling price?)
- Current FBA fees and landing costs (how much will it cost you to manufacture, package, and ship the product to Amazon for resale?)
- Marketplace demand (is there enough demand to drive monthly sales?)
- How much competition is there already (do your competitors already have a big advantage?)
- Is the product easy to source (is it lightweight, relatively small, not prone to defects)
- Is the product something that doesn't require special certifications or safety checks (electronic, battery operated, consumable, etc.)
- Can the product be easily modified to create differentiation?
- Free of existing patents
- Can it be easily sourced abroad (from China) or in the USA?
How can you answer these questions?
Look at the data. There are many tools out there to help you “cut through the chatter” but here is a list of my favorite product research tools to help you.
(Note that “*” links are affiliate links – you can thank me with your generosity by using it – since I am giving you this valuable information for nada!)
Product Research & Marketplace Demand
JungleScout Pro Chrome Extension Tool*
Pricing and Sales Rank Data
Keyword Search Demand
Niche Trends and Seasonality Checks
Step 4: Develop Your Shortlist
After you have validated your product, you should cut down your list to about 10 viable candidates to select from.
What determines the final product will have to do with answering some very important questions such as:
- What will your profit margin be if you sell this on Amazon FBA?
- How easy will this product be to modify to address the needs and wants of customers?
- How “problem-free” is this product? Is it prone to a higher breakage/defect or return rate?
- What is the timeframe to source the product and get it produced and to FBA?
- How strongly do you feel about the niche the product is in? Do you have emotional “buy-in” with the niche?
Step 5: Select your First Product
You have made it to the end of your product selection journey and it is now time to select your first product to sell on Amazon!
Now that you have a viable list of candidates to choose from, your main objective is to not dwell on this final decision for too long.
It is important to not become “paralyzed by analysis.” Once you have developed the shortlist, it is now a matter of selecting the product that you like the best, and move forward with confidence knowing that you made the best effort to evaluate and validate it against other products.
When I get to this point, I sit down and I look at all the products on my shortlist. Since all of these products should be in a niche you feel passionate about or have some connection to, now its a matter of determining what product will yield the best profits at the least amount of risk. So what I recommend is looking at profit margin and product challenges as your two main deciding factors here.
For example, perhaps you're in the consumer electronics niche. If one product is battery operated, but the other is not, and both have nearly the same profit margin, go with the product that is not battery operated as your first choice, because battery operated products tend to have more issues and require certifications and hazmat clearance.
Selecting your first product to sell on Amazon is definitely a process, but it does not have to be complicated or frustrating. Keep it simple, follow a clearly defined plan, and you will find this process of selling online a lot easier.
Good luck and happy product selecting!