Full disclosure: One the companies that I own does ecommerce consulting, specifically we work with many clients on their Amazon accounts. This article is in no way a self-promotion to work with my business, but rather an opportunity to share information with you. I will not be sharing any links to my company in this article.
First off, sorry for the month delay in following up with my original article. It has been a crazy month for me as I left Central America to fly home and spend the holidays with my family in Portland, Oregon then flew to Southeast Asia after New Years. I am currently in Bali, Indonesia for the next month and looking forward to putting out content more frequently. Side note, if you’re interested in my travels, my girlfriend keeps a blog up to date at www.homebodyabroad.com. Ok, onto the article.
There are a number of reasons that I say Amazon is personally my favorite place to sell, but the biggest reason is that it was my first place to really make money. You never forget your first right? Sure, I dabbled in a couple different companies through college, but none were close to as successful as what I did through Amazon. So how does it work?
Just to recap for anyone new to this before I deep dive, here’s the basics. Lets say for instance that you really want a shower radio so you go on Amazon to buy, but when it’s delivered and you’re ready to use it the suction cup won’t stick in your shower. This makes it useless right? Rather than just give up hope that the perfect shower radio exists you could find a supplier with better suction cups, manufacture your own radio, market it through Amazon’s network and start watching the cash come in. Get it? Got it? Good! Now lets take a closer look:
Picking Your Amazon Product
In my opinion (and I think most people who sell on Amazon) this is far and away the most important part of the process. This is where you need to decide exactly what product you are going to sell. To do this, most people would open up Amazon, and begin looking at products in the hot new release section. Since they are in the “Hot New Releases” section that means a lot of those products are being sold, so we want to find the products in there that have a low star rating and poor reviews. If a lot of a product is being sold (we know this because it is the hot new release section), but people are generally not happy with it, that means there is an opportunity for you to improve that product to take their market share. Do you get where I’m going with this?
Here is an example: You open up the home & kitchen section of hot new releases and see that bamboo spatulas are selling really well because they are non-stick, lighter and environmentally friendly (maybe?). When you look at the reviews though you notice that there are a lot of complaints that the handles are too short. When people are trying to scramble eggs their hands are getting too hot because they have to be too close to the pan. This is your “ah hah” moment where you realize that if you also make a bamboo spatula with a longer handle it would be a winner!
Amazon Product I Stay Away From
This next piece is going to be totally my opinion and should be used as a recommendation, not the bible.
I will cover more on shipping in part two of this series, but as a general rule of thumb try to only find products that would fit inside of a shoebox. The reason being is because when you go to ship things that are bigger than a shoebox (roughly) Amazon is going to charge you significantly more to fulfill those orders (ship to buyers). Some people may disagree with this, but for me it helps to keep a narrow focus of potential products and keeps cost low.
I also do not sell electronics, anything considered a weapon or any supplements. For electronics I do not trust the quality control of them (especially when shipped from overseas… next article) and I do not want to deal with returns from my customer. Basically there is just a lot more that can go wrong. For weapons, that’s pretty self-explanatory I think, but one thing to think about is that all of these products are probably being shipped in from overseas, which means they have to go through our ports. I don’t want to be on the FBI watch list for importing 10,000 knives. Finally, supplements. This is just more of an ethical thing for me, as they aren’t approved in the US by the FDA and I don’t feel comfortable selling them… many people make lots of money doing this though, so it’s your call.
So in the first part of this post I was explaining how to manually go through Amazon, search for high-performing products, read bad reviews and figure out what you can change. It kind of seems time consuming, right? Well it is, and if you’re like me when I found out about this I thought THERE HAS TO BE AN EASIER WAY. I quickly found out that there is, and it’s called Jungle Scout.
Basically Jungle Scout scrapes Amazon’s website to pull all of the information you need into a searchable database. It has really leveled the field against some of the bigger Amazon Sellers. Here’s how it works:
Instead of going through Amazon, you can just log into their platform select that you want to find a product in the “Home & Kitchen” department that costs between $20-$40, sells more than 300 units a month, has a 3 star rating and fits in a shoebox. Sounds like a pretty good product, right? Once you’ve done that your list will be narrowed down to all of the products that meet that criteria and you’re off to the races.
My last piece of advice here is to try to mix up the criteria that you’re searching with. Last I heard, Jungle Scout has 50k+ customers using the platform who are all searching for winning products so it’s harder to find good ones now. Your best shot at it is to think outside the box with your search criteria.
In the next article, I’m going to explain how you can find a manufacturer for your product, negotiate with the supplier, get samples and finally get your bulk order ready to ship. I’m sure there are questions about what I wrote above, so feel free to reach out to me at [email protected]