Case Study: Best Practices for Product Research

How to Sell on Amazon – Best Practices for Product Research

Two Amazon sellers from Singapore share their best practices and learnings for selling on Amazon.
The first-ever product Cyril sold on Amazon was a golf club brush with two variations – a stand-alone brush, and a brush paired with additional accessories – stemming from his passion with learning golf at the time.

Even though he wasn’t a selling expert at the time, he tried his best to carry out some simple research to determine his selling price, mainly by 1) analyzing his competitors’ selling price, 2) accounting for selling fees involved e.g. Amazon professional selling account fee, FBA fees, and 3) calculating his net profit.

At first glance, his simple math made sense. However, he later learned that it was also important to consider other fees and costs to determine the final selling price for his product.

Do’s and don’ts of selling on Amazon

Today, as a 7-figure Amazon seller and Amazon Seller Ambassador, Cyril shares some key learnings and do’s and don’ts when starting out as a seller on Amazon.com:

1. Passion – “I want to sell in a certain niche”
Passionate about golf at the time, Cyril was keen to sell something related to his hobby. He later learned that it was also important to carry out proper product research based on keyword research, revenue calculations and analyzing reviews, to ensure that a product is able to sell well online.

2. Too many competitors = no competitive advantage
Taking his experience with the golf club brush as an example, Cyril realized in hindsight that there were more than 400 similar listings for golf club brushes back in 2018. All the listings also looked similar, with only a slight differentiation in branding.

From there, he learned that it was important to choose a product category that has a unique differentiation to his product so that it stands out among the sea of competitors e.g. creating bundles.

3. Understanding the costs and fees of selling on Amazon
One reason why Cyril did not do so well with his first product was because he did not fully factor in all the costs and fees of selling on Amazon, in order to set a realistic selling price and profit margin for his product.

Cyril emphasizes the importance of understanding the different costs involved e.g. cost of the product, shipping, 3PL (third-party logistics) fees, labelling fees, FBA fees, advertising fees, storage fees, and more, in order to calculate one’s profit margin accurately.

Cost to sell on Amazon

The cost to sell on Amazon depends on your selling plan, product category, fulfillment strategy, and other variables. The options are flexible, so you can find the right combination that works best for you and your goals.

Learn more about the cost of selling on Amazon here.

Key takeaways

1. Sell in a product category that has lower competition, but high demand.

2. Understand the guidelines and requirements for selling in other countries e.g. FDA requirements to sell in the US for certain product types.

3. Learn to differentiate your product.

4. Know your numbers.

5. Have a committed mindset and set goals e.g. when he first started selling, Cyril gross profit margin goal was about 30%, after factoring in the costs involved with selling on Amazon.
As a start, I recommend beginner sellers to not sell in a segment that is too competitive. Try to sell in a product category that has lower competition, but with high demand, which can be identified through carrying out product research.

For new sellers, it might also be easier to sell multiple products in multiple niches. As sellers become more established, they might then want to start thinking about building a stronger brand presence, for example, selling multiple products in a single product niche.

– Cyril
Several factors first pushed Lew to consider selling on Amazon – 1) that it was data-driven and predictable, something that aligned with his skillsets as a digital marketer; 2) he liked the idea of owning his own business and being in charge of his own time; and 3) he felt that it was less capital intensive compared to opening a brick-and-mortar store.

For Lew, good product research was the foundation to his success as an Amazon seller, as he believes this can lead to a higher conversion rate i.e. people buying your products, higher rankings on Amazon, lower ad costs and a good profit margin.
It’s not necessary to find the perfect product to sell on Amazon right off the bat. It’s more important to start selling, gain experience, and leverage that experience to sell your next product even more successfully.

However, my recommendation is to find a product that at least tries to solve a problem.

– Lew

Researching the right products to sell on Amazon

In Lew’s opinion, the right product addresses a problem or need, is unique, and has demand.
Consider the example of a weighted exercise hoop, says Lew. In this instance, it helps to address a problem i.e. health and fitness; it has a unique feature that differentiates it from other regular exercise hoops i.e. its weighted feature; and simple research on Product Opportunity Explorer shows that it has demand among customers i.e. high search volume for “weighted exercise hoop”, and increasing search volume growth quarter-to-quarter.

It sounds like a great product to sell, but Lew also advises doing a patent check to assess if there are existing patents for the product filed and enforced in the relevant country. “That’s not to say that you can’t sell the product, but it’s best to do your due diligence and consult your legal team. You don’t want to run into the issue of ordering X quantities of the product, but end up being stuck with the inventory if you find that you’re not allowed to sell the product after all.”

Key takeaways

1. Use Amazon’s Product Opportunity Explorer to find trending products, search volume and complementary products.

2. Use the Perfect Jumpstart & Launch guide to increase your chances of a successful launch within the first 90 days.

3. Always remember, in order of importance, Product Research > Listing Optimization > Advertising > Scaling

4. Have a rolodex of key contacts ready that is required for your business. For Lew, his rolodex consists of a trademark attorney, sourcing agency, designers, photographer and freight forwarders he can trust.

5. A good product addresses a problem, is unique, and is in demand. However, don’t fixate on finding the perfect product to sell – more importantly, start selling!

Perfect Jumpstart & Launch Playbook

Speed matters in business. For Amazon sellers, the first 90 days of launching your Amazon store is especially critical, where you are conducting product research, deciding on your brand, sorting out trademarks, sourcing for your product, and more.

Our all-in-one playbook makes this journey a bit easier.

Download it today: Perfect Jumpstart & Launch Guide
Note: The information contained in this article does not constitute legal, financial or other professional advice. If you are in doubt as to the action you should take, please consult your legal, financial or other professional adviser. In addition, the content in this article is for information only and must not be construed as a guarantee of future results. Many factors influence the demand for a seller’s products, including price fluctuations, consumer demand shifts, and sellers remain responsible for determining the products they sell and their prices.

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FAQs

How do I find the right products to sell on Amazon?
To find inspiration, try asking yourself:
- What are you passionate about?
- When you look around, what do people need to solve a problem?
- Which types of products are trending and currently popular?
- Could you put your own spin on an existing product and make it better?

Explore what products are selling well on Amazon and see how they rank. Start with the Amazon Best Seller list and consult the Movers and Shakers list for popular products based on sales. Then, dig deeper into product categories and sub-categories.

Read more tips on researching what to sell here.
What products are in high demand?
You can find high-demand products using Amazon’s Product Opportunity Explorer tool*. This is available in Amazon Seller Central and will showcase analytics like:
- How many customers are buying the product
- Customer reviews and ratings
- Seasonality of the product
- How fast products are selling
- Average number of units sold
You can use this information to determine whether a product has the potential to be profitable.

*An Amazon Professional Selling Account is required to access Product Opportunity Explorer
Are there products I should avoid selling?
Products that you may wish to avoid selling are:

- Patented or trademarked products (unless you own the patent/trademark or have the licence or right to sell these products (e.g. you are certified as a reseller))
- Restricted products. There may be restrictions on the types of products you can sell. It’s a good idea to check the restricted products list before you start buying inventory to make sure you don’t run into any unexpected challenges.
LOCATION
Singapore
INDUSTRY
Cyril - Toys & Games
Lew - Home & Garden
AMAZON LAUNCH
Cyril - 2018
Lew - 2021
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