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4 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Select a Product to Sell on Amazon
Before Deciding on Your Amazing New Amazon Product Ask Yourself 4 Important Questions.
We have been selling on Amazon and Amazon FBA for just around 10 years now.
It is an excellent platform to make money quickly.
But the bad side of selling on Amazon is that many new sellers lose thousands of dollars selling on Amazon.
And most of the time it is because they choose a product that many sellers are already selling.
Just because a product is popular doesn’t mean it is guaranteed to be successful for you.
In fact, it often means the opposite.
Over the years, we have seen thousands of people start selling on Amazon to try and make their dreams come true.
Some even join programs that promise you that you can get rich (just like they did, right?). All YOU have to do is follow their exact steps for guaranteed success.
But sometimes it’s impossible to get your product launched before someone else lists the exact same product. Even when following the exact steps outlined for you! (You are not the only one using these programs and getting the same advice, after all.)
Some new Amazon sellers do amazingly well. And major kudos to those that do. (WOOHOO!)
But the key to most sellers’ success is picking the RIGHT product to sell.
One of the biggest reasons people struggle is because they find it hard to pick a product. Yeah, I know how hard can it be to pick the next million dollar product. It is, after all, the most important part of the entire process.
This article is aimed to give you a little bit of insight to make that (hopefully) a little bit easier for you, boosting your odds of success.
What are some common problems when picking an Amazon product?
One common problem we’ve seen is that a seller takes a lot of time and effort to pick a fantastic product. THEN you have to contact manufacturers, and get your stock into Amazon warehouses. And in that time someone else has picked the SAME product and was able to get the listing on Amazon first. (Maybe they did the same program you did and just happened to get on Amazon faster.)
Or, in many cases, you carefully choose a product that already has GREAT sales on Amazon, recommended by a program that evaluates the sales and demand of Amazon products to help you get an edge on choosing successfully. There’s even high-tech algorithms analyzing Amazon sales to boost your success.
But when your product actually gets to Amazon, you don’t get the sales that the algorithm says you should be getting. Often, you get little to no sales at all.
That’s because you picked a product that someone else already sells. Someone else has Amazon ‘ownership’ over that product (and sometimes over the listing). YOU are just another competitor against an already successful seller.
Your listing is at the bottom of the search results, and you climb that list slowly (if at all) at the cost of high advertising dollars, low profit margins, or both.
To pick a successful Amazon product, you should start by asking yourself these four questions:
- Is this something I am passionate about?
- Is this a product I could sell even if I did not have Amazon?
- Is this something I can make my own, something unique?
- Is this a product that others will want to buy?
These questions will help you find products that will stand out in the marketplace, and help you sell them more successfully.
1. Pick something you are already passionate about.
Ensure that “YOU” can sell this product personally.
Even if you are not a salesperson, picking something you are passionate about will make it easier for you to ‘become’ a salesman.
Believing in the product helps you have the passion needed to get other people excited about buying your product!
Selling something you love will help you be able to sell the product just by talking about your passion.
Why does this matter?
Because to sell successfully on Amazon, you have to put in a LOT of work. COUNTLESS hours of marketing, online promotion, generating social media buzz, setting up ads, and so on and so on.
Picking something in a subject you already love will make it feel more FUN to put those hours in, and less tedious as time goes by.
This is a critical part of being successful long-term, after the newness wears off and the excitement dies down.
2. Pick something you could sell WITHOUT Amazon.
Where else can you sell this product? Can you sell it to friends, neighbors, local businesses, on other selling platforms, in facebook groups?
I pose this question this to ALL of the people I work with, because there may come a time when you have tons of inventory that Amazon will not sell.
And BELIEVE me, there’s lots of reasons this happens, and often without warning.
You need to be able to sell these products anywhere and everywhere possible, just in case.
You NEVER want to put all of your eggs in one basket.
Even if your product is sitting in Amazon’s warehouses, you can drop-ship your product anywhere else you like.
3. Find ways to have it personalized to your brand or business.
Making the product your own is vital.
We (and many other sellers) find success in their products because they are hard to duplicate.
Yes, there are listing highjackers and pirates on Amazon that will steal your product and sell it cheaper. Yes, it is wrong, but it still happens more often than not.
You can help prevent this by picking a product that is customized in some way.
For instance, let’s say you have a drawstring sack you want to sell, that can hold your running shoes when you go traveling.
Adding your brand on the outside, or even having it come with a small accessory will help set you apart.
You can even find a manufacturer that can personalize your product and packaging for you.
But keep in mind- if there’s 5 sellers with a purple watchband on Amazon, selling a purple watchband with your logo on it won’t be enough.
You WILL need to find a way to be different. Find a feature, an accessory, or something else that sets you apart and above everyone else.
Otherwise, you’re competing against established sellers and often end up struggling, with only price (and ad dollars) to give you any edge.
4. Ask people if they would buy the product before you commit.
Market research is invaluable. It is easy to get caught up in the excitement of a new venture and completely forget to gather any outside perspective.
So before you purchase hundreds of units on inventory, first make sure other people will want the product.
Ask friends or colleagues (don’t worry, it is unlikely that they will take the time to steal your idea) if it is something they would actually buy.
Or ask in a facebook group if people would be interested. But DON’T ask for product advice in Amazon Selling or Business groups. They are far more likely to steal your idea and run with it.
Find people related to your product. A perfect place to get market research on that running bag I mentioned above would be Facebook running groups.
There’s nothing worse than spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on inventory to find out that no one really wants your product.
Trust us, we’ve learned this first hand. We’ve totally ran with an idea without ever stopping to consider how many people would be interested. We just assumed that if we made it, people would buy it. Ha! Not so much.
Doing a bit of research beforehand is a free and easy way to set yourself up for selling success. There’s really no downside.
Before you select your first product to sell on Amazon, remember: do not just pick one that is already being sold, or one that is ‘recommended’ to be successful by some mass-produced selling program.
If you do, you will be fighting for the product rank, fighting for the buy box, and your advertising will get costly, fast.
It is much more cost-effective to find a product that you are passionate about, unique in some way, and with some (independently verified) demand.
It will be much easier to sell your product with these considerations, especially in the event that Amazon does not work out.
After over a decade of business experience, and after helping dozens of other small businesses, I can promise you that there are times when things go wrong. Sometimes through no fault of your own. Amazon might close your listing or mix up your inventory. And yes, they can do that without warning or without making reparations. Your listing might get hijacked, or pirates might steal your product.
Utilizing these four questions before choosing your product helps you limit some of the problems. At the very least they give you more opportunities for recovery in case something does go wrong.
Don’t worry, you’ve totally got this! But if you ever want our advice on a product you’re looking into, please feel free to reach out to us for a consultation. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our main goal is to help businesses be as successful as possible, and learn from our mistakes whenever they can.
(I can’t imagine where we’d be if we had found articles about this when we started out a decade ago! Wow!)
Hopefully, we’ve helped give you some great insight- so good luck, and happy selling!
Related Information from OWLlytics:
If you have picked a product and are ready to sell, please check out this article on understanding your product cost. It will help you master the basics of some common costs associated with selling products, especially on Amazon FBA and Amazon.
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