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Get Started Selling on Amazon: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide (Part 2 of 12)

26
Aug

Read time: About 9 minutes!

Part 2: Researching Hot & Profitable Products To Sell on Amazon

In Part 1, we covered how to open a few accounts that you need to create in order to lay the foundation for your Amazon selling income stream.

In this part, we will cover one of the most crucial parts of any undertaking- research.

Fair Warning: This is a long one so grab a cup of coffee or your favorite drink- and sit back 🙂

As you may know, good research will set you on a path to success while bad or no research means you’re going in blind hence more likely to fail. It’s a good idea to form a habit of always researching before moving forward.

But, the fact that you’re reading this post means that you are doing your due diligence to educate yourself (a form of research) before diving in- so kudos to you!

End Goal

By the of this post, you should have learned how to identify a hot product to launch your Amazon selling stream and be able to determine how well the product will do.

We will also briefly look at finding whether we can find a supplier for the specific product- in part 3, we’ll cover how to narrow down all the suppliers we find so we can go with the best.

Ok, let’s jump right in!

(Assuming you’re ready to have like a hundred tabs open- jk!)

Step 1: Have your Spreadsheet Ready

Remember the spreadsheet we created in step 1? Create a new tab and call it “Best Selling Products Research” or something that you will remember.

You can also view or download a template copy I made available for you that will contain everything you need to carry out your research and analysis.

Click to view/download my Google Spreadsheet Template (contains analysis formulas).

Step 2: Set up columns

Add the following columns (as shown in the screenshot below) Product Name, Selling Price (+shipping), Amazon Fees, Shipping, MOQ, Unit Cost, Profit Per Unit, Total MOQ Cost, Total Profit, Total Profit, & Potential.

selling-on-amazon-research-products-spreadsheet-screenshot

Here’s the explanation for each;

Product Name- Put the product name as listed on Amazon

Selling Price (+shipping)- This is the cost of your selling price including shipping, it’s the amount charged to your buyer.

Amazon Fees- Each product has a different fee depending on category and selling price (you can calculate fees by using the FBA Calculator)

Shipping- This is the actual cost you will incur for shipping, it will help us calculate our expenses

MOQ- Minimum Order Quantity as per supplier or how many units we are willing to buy.

Unit Cost- The amount the supplier is selling item for including freight cost.

Profit Per Unit- Will show how much after shipping and Amazon fees we’ll make.

Total MOQ Cost- Snapshot of how much we’ll need to invest to purchase our inventory.

Total Profit- Snapshot of profit we stand to generate.

PotentialSimple formula to calculate the possibility of making a decent profit. If it’s under -60 % stay away from the product. Although you’ll make money, it’s not worth your effort.

Step 3: Find products

Now that we have a system set up to help us quickly determine whether a product will be a good fit or not, we can get started.

I have stayed away from fancy costly softwares for this process and used my brain and free tools instead.

There are 3 methods I use to find profitable products (all self-taught) so if you have a better method, feel free to leave a comment and let me know.

  • Method 1: Going through the Bestseller List
  • Method 2: Using a free tool called Profit Spotlight
  • Method 3: Gut feeling (we will cover this on a separate tutorial)
Action: You don’t have to but, there’s a new tool I recently found and it’s been very helpful in saving time. It’s called the AMZ Sellers Browser (Chrome Extension) install it on your Chrome browser. Here’s link (non-affiliate link)

AMZ-Seller-Chrome-Extension-Screenshot

As you will notice above, every time you perform a search on Amazon, it displays some extra helpful information on each item. It shows you the item ranking and tells you under which category, gives you the ASIN (number you’ll need to list the item), tells you who’s selling it and if there’s any FBA sellers (Fulfilment by Amazon) etc.

Method 1: Going through the Bestseller List

1. Go to Amazon Best Sellers here

amazon-best-seller-list-screenshot

2. Click on one of the products listed.

I chose the Roku Top Box. I notice that it’s doing well (over 800 positive reviews, over 250 questions (meaning people are interested enough to inquire), there’s only 27 other sellers I’ll be competing with) so this is a good candidate.

roku-amazon-selling-screenshot2

3. Now, let’s see if we can find a decent supplier.

Open DHGate or Alibaba and perform a search on both using the title listed on Amazon.com. AliBaba has some but they don’t show the pricing, so since I don’t have much time to place an inquiry and wait for the vendor to respond, I’ll just go with DHGate. There’s a price of $46.60/unit.

roku-dhgate-screenshot

4. Now plug in all that information into your spreadsheet.

a31d7d79fd5b1d95b1c80811df39f5bc

You’ll notice that even though the main price is $89, I listed it at $85, that’s because that’s the lowest offer from a different seller and we want to be competitive.

Tip: When starting out, you want to list your item as the lowest price to attract bargain shoppers as you gain credibility (ratings, volume etc) since you’ll be fairly new.

As you can see from the screenshot, although we are making a profit of over $2,000 our potential indicator shows -56.37%. This is not horrible, although it’s cutting it close to our -60% “no-no zone.”

So, I’ll look for another product.

This time I’ll use method 2.

Method 2: Using a free tool called Profit Spotlight

1. Open the Profit Spotlight (non-affiliate link) website on your browser. It will ask for your email- just put a fake one for now, as of the time of me writing this post they won’t need to confirm it. It’s pretty straight forward, so play around with it. I’ll consider creating a tutorial if I get enough requests.

Profit Spotlight is a pretty cool because it pulls and aggregates data straight from Amazon and presents it in a well organized form that you can easily analyze.

I’m not sure that the data they pull is in real time but I know it cuts it close.

Under “Top Picks” I have spoted a very interesting product- the “Emson 9663 Car Cane Portable Handle”

amazon-selling-top-picks-screenshot2

It’s “hot”, has an amazing opportunity score of 94% and generates sales of over $10,610/day– nice!

2. Find suppliers and add numbers to our spreadsheet

Just like we did with method 1 above, plug the data in and look for a supplier on DHGate or Alibaba.

Tip: To get numbers on Amazon Fees be logged in to your seller account as you perform this research and when you see a product that you are interested in digging deeper on, add it to your inventory and put your desired price. Amazon will give you the exact fee amount.

3. Analyze Suppliers

Ok, now there’s quite a few sellers on AliBaba, I’ve selected one who has a good reputation and a good price (I’ll cover more on the supplier analysis process in part 3)

ali-baba-screenshot-selling-on-amazon

4. Analyze Numbers

It looks like we can get them at $3.99 (after negotiating down from $4.50). This is great, let’s plug that last number into our spreadsheet and plan to buy 400 units.

AMAZING!!! The numbers are looking really good GREAT! The profit potential is a whopping 213.28% with a profit of $5,000. For a $1,600 investment, this is not bad at all!

As if that’s not enough, there’s only 7 sellers to compete with.

selling-on-amazon-screenshot

This one’s a winner!

Rinse and repeat to find as many products as your budget allows.

NOTE: A good rule of thumb when trying to figure if a product will be a good fit for you without doing all the math is by making sure your total unit cost (including shipping from the supplier) is a third of your selling price on Amazon. E.g. If a product is selling for $24 on Amazon, you want your total unit cost to be $8. So that can be $6.50 (product cost) + $1.50 (shipping cost) max. Anything above $8 will start take away from your margins.

In part 3, we’ll analyze this supplier and make sure they’re the right one. We’ll also go into how to negotiate and ensure that you get the best deal as far as price, turnaround and most important quality.

I know this was a long one, so if you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment below.

FUN FACT: This is an actual product that I am trying out on my Amazon store. I debated whether or not to share it in fear of having too many competitors join and flood the marketplace but I quickly brushed that thought because it goes against my purpose for this blog- to share all my knowledge experiences with you so you can get closer to your goal of creating multiple successful passive income streams.Thank you for giving me your time.

If you have any questions or are stuck and need help completing any of the steps outlined here, leave me a comment below or email me and I’ll be happy to help.

Keep Reading 

Up Next, Part 3: Finding the Right Suppliers for Your First Amazon Inventory Batch

This post is a part of the ongoing Get Started Selling on Amazon: The Complete Step-by-Step Guide series, follow the links below to read them:

Part 1: Creating Buyers & Sellers Accounts for Selling on Amazon
Part 2: Researching Hot & Profitable Products To Sell on Amazon (Current)

Part 3: Finding the Right Suppliers for Your First Amazon Inventory Batch
Part 4: Getting Ungated for a Restricted Amazon Categories
Part 5: Listing Your First Product on Amazon
Part 6: Testing the Market Before Making the Big Purchase
Part 7: Purchasing Stock to Sell on Amazon
Part 8: Shipping Your First Amazon Order, YAY!!!
Part 9: The Magic in Positive Ratings & How to Get Them
Part 10: Improving Your Seller Ratings & Ensuring Your Account is Not Suspended
Part 11: Moving Up to Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA) (Coming soon)
Part 12: Scaling Up Your Amazon Operation (Coming soon)

amazon-selling-business-in-a-box-tims-30-streams-passive-income

27 Responses

  1. adrian

    Thanks for sharing your experience and ideas Tim!

    I’ve been doing some research these days and after reading this post I still have one question about selecting the products.

    The product that you analyze has a brand (Emson) but the product from alibaba seems to be like a “white brand” (although they both use the same pictures…). The question is: how do you manage this situation? Do you care about the brand?

    Maybe it’s a coincidence and in this case the brand doesn’t matter. Almost everything comes from the same place nowadays…

    Thanks again for your generosity,
    Regards!

  2. You’re right Adrian, the two are the same.

    From what I gather, the Emson guy is private labeling the Car Cane from one of the manufacturers in China (e.g the one listed on from Alibaba.com)- I know this because I have been in touch with them and they are the ones that developed that product.

    So in this case, it doesn’t matter the brand name because it’s the same product.

    This specific situation is a give and take type- meaning, we benefit from the sales volume that we will get by selling our product under the Emson brand, and the owners of the brand benefit because their brand gains more popularity.

    The only downside for them is that they now have to compete with us for sales. This is normally the case when you private label a product that can be readily available for others to private label.

    I’ll posting my progress with this specific product in the near future so stay tuned.

    Stream on,
    Tim

    1. Sean Campbell

      Hello Tim, I’m really intrigued by your guide, and I thank you for it by the way.

      I was wondering though, wouldn’t the customer care about the specific brand name of a product?

      Say for instance that my research had informed me that the Fungus-bone pepper grinder was selling like hot cakes. However, I can only source a Mangle-pow pepper grinder – the same product, just with a different logo and brand name due to the tinkering of a private label fellow. (Fictional brand names by the way.)

      Might not the majority of buyers solely be interested in the Fungus-bone product because of the reputation of that brand name? They may deem it trustworthy perhaps, and may furthermore be distrustful of “pretenders”, even if a seller were to explain to them that the products are identical except for the logo.

      I would be most grateful if you could enlighten me as to whether this would or would not be a sound assumption to make in this example. And whether there are conditions under which the assumption is/isn’t applicable.

      My best compliments to you Tim Maina, keep up the good work!

      1. Thanks for your kind words Sean!

        In the case of a established brand names, I would stick to the same brand when reselling even if you are able to find an identical product with a different brand. In some instances where the product is a “no-name” brand you MIGHT be able to get a way with selling a product with a different logo but this will depend on the specific customer you sell to. You don’t want negative ratings/reviews.

        So it’s safe to say stick with brand-specific items for your resales.

  3. Annalise, I personally haven’t had any negative experience on DHGate. If anything, I’m more cautious of Alibaba- I’ve at least 5 people on there try to scam me.

    Where are you seeing these positive reviews? Please share so we can all be aware.

  4. Tariro

    Hi Tim,

    You have no idea how this post has come at the right time for me! I am currently in university and looking at ways to make passive income before I graduate . This has just opened a new opportunity for me, you have no idea! Wish you all the success

  5. Sean

    Hey Tim,

    Found your blog through Reddit because I am interested in generating a second stream of income as well. Thank you for the write-up and I look forward to more of your insights. Great work!

    Cheers.

  6. Joshua

    Hi, Tim.

    I just read part 2 of your amazon instructions. Great stuff.
    I’m trying to figure out the numbers for a couple of products,
    but I can’t find where to get Amazon’s costs, e.g., shipping, fulfillment, etc.
    Could you explain that a little more?
    I can’t see where to add a product to inventory even though I am signed into my seller account.
    Thanks.

    1. I’m glad you found this post helpful. I’ll actually be covering how to add products on the next post due tomorrow (part 5)
      However, in the meantime do this;

      Go to Inventory > Add a Product > Search ASIN

      Find the ASIN from the product listing page on the front end of Amazon, reference this GIF I created for you
      https://i.gyazo.com/649149845671056d72648bbc16342ff8.gif

      For more info, check out Amazon’s detailed guideline here: https://sellercentral.amazon.com/gp/help/help.html/ref=ag_200220550_cont_51?ie=UTF8&itemID=200220550

      Congrats for taking action!

  7. Simon

    Hi Tim,

    I love your blog and what you are trying to do. I am a university student looking to make some extra income 🙂 I’m having a similar problem as Adrian. I’m using product spotlight as well as Amazon best sellers and I can’t seem to find any of the brand names on DH Gate or Alibaba like you were able to with Roku. What would you recommend in this case as most of the results are generic brand items that we can’t list under the brand name items on Amazon?

    Thanks,
    Simon

    1. Simon,

      I apologize for taking 7 days to respond to your question! It’s actually not a bad thing not to find brand names. While they may have name recognition and more sales, they are normally stricter on who they let sell their products and 9/10 times they are going to be counterfeit products.

      I learned the hard way when I bought a brand name product back in August and it got me suspended in September.

      So, I would advice you to search for less than brand name products and source suppliers for those. There are a ton of products that have almost zero name recognition yet are doing extremely well on Amazon. Which is a good thing should you decide to private label in the future.

      I hope this answers your question.

      What university to you go to?

  8. Irene

    Hello Tim,
    Thank you so much for sharing all your knowledge and experience!
    I’m gonna try your advices hope I can be as successful as you!

    Best Regards!

    1. You’re most welcome Irene.

      I wish you all the success! I’ll be here if you have any questions, need any help or when you have some new info to share with me.

      Stream on!

  9. Hello Tim,

    After your comment on Part 1: I managed to open all accounts in gmail,buyers accounts(DHGate, Alibaba,AliExpres) , amazon seller account and Spreadsheet .

    Now as in Part2 : Resaerching about the products. I have a doubt.

    1) As i said i am from INDIA, Do i need to research the Indian market or can i go with US too? If So, when we buy a stock from DHGate, Will the whole stock comes to our given address(i.e INDIA) from the supplier ( DHGate or Alibaba) ? If it is the case then, how can i sell the products to US market? I will end up shipping the products to US with extra courier charges.

    As i am not interested in touching the product , What should i need do at this point of time? I don’t have any space for keeping the stock in case if i am ordering more than 100+ products.

    2)Is there any other tools for checking the best seller on Amazon INDIA ?

    Hope you can help me regarding this.

    Thanks

  10. Hi Tim,
    Thank you for such a detailed write-up on the steps you’ve taken to successfully start your Amazon business! One question, though; when I click your link to Profit Spotlight their website gives me a message that registration has closed. Is there some way to still use Profit Spotlight or do you know of any similar services?

    Thanks!

    1. Derek,

      Yeah, sadly it looks like they have closed registration for now. I don’t know any other free tools but here are a few paid ones (some with free trials) which is sometimes enough time to identify a few products you wanna go with.

      Amazon Research Tools
      Sellics: https://sellics.com/amazon-product-research-and-detector
      AMZTracker: https://www.amztracker.com/
      Seller Labs’ Scope: http://www.sellerlabs.com/scope
      AMZShark: https://amzshark.com/

      More focused on Ebay but also works for Amazon
      Terapeak: http://www.terapeak.com/

      I hope you find the resources helpful, I’ll be here if you have further questions.

      Stream on,
      Tim

      1. Thank you for the response. I will have to check into these as I am having a hard time manually finding a profitable product to get started with.

        Thanks again,

        Derek

  11. Jon

    Tim,

    Just discovered your blog today. Thanks for the effort that you are putting into this.

    My question is how do you determine if the product is doing well enough to sell through the MOQ stock in a reasonable amount of time? Do you hope to sell the MOQ in a month or do you usually carry product/inventory over from month to month?

    1. Jon, it varies from one product to the next. Sometimes I have products carry over to another month or two. The Profit Spotlight tool I used to use would give you a sales volume estimate e.g. Product X sells 10 units/day. Based on that, you can make wise estimates on how much inventory to carry.

      Keep in mind this varies from one season to the next for each product but in general it’s safe to assume that Q4 will have the highest sales volume than all the other quarters.

      Now in Q2 is a great time to start so one can get a feel of how demand for different products normally is so that when Q4 rolls out, you’re good to go.

      I hope this helps.

  12. Roberto

    Hi Tim,
    great work, thank you. One question – can you please explain a little bit more in detail this “Potential” column… what is exact formula and how to interpret that indicator? (because, it looks like there is something wrong in google spreadsheet template formula for the “Potential” column (on the link above)… the result is 101.52% and, if I am not wrong, it should be 1.52% – that is huge difference… one could use that as a template, and get false picture… so, I would like to clear this up… thank you).

    Best,
    Roberto

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