As Amazon sellers, we have one thing in common; we’re always searching for products that deliver a profit.
The problem is, many of us still use outdated product research techniques. While old methods worked in the past, today you need sophisticated and creative solutions to take your Private Label Products to the next level.
I’m going to show you how with a fresh perspective and a lot of elbow grease, how we find products that haven’t been taken over by competition in years. You can find great products to sell on Amazon, all with the help of Egrow.
These are methods suitable for both new and established Amazon sellers.
About the author
Nils O is an Amazon Sourcing Expert based in Shenzhen, China. He moved to China in 2013, sourced over 1,000 products since then, and launched more than 200 items on Amazon with his partner. He helped numerous sellers find the right manufacturer in China.Nils provides invaluable Amazon Sourcing insights and tutorials for beginner and advanced Amazon Sellers on the Easy Peasy Sourcing Podcast.
Introducing Amazon Product Common Criteria
When I started as an Amazon seller, I spent a long time searching for the perfect first product.
Like a lot of people, I believed that the secret to Amazon selling success was sticking to the proven recipe of Common Criteria:
- The product must be lightweight
- It should fit in a shoebox
- There can’t be any moving parts
- It mustn’t be fragile
- It needs to be easy to manufacture, so there are no concerns about quality control
- It must sell between $10 and $20
- It must offer a $10 profit margin
Don’t get me wrong, these criteria make a lot of sense.
Who wants a product that’s expensive to ship, takes up a lot of warehouse space, is prone to breaking, and is difficult to sell?
The problem is that sticking to these criteria doesn’t always work. In fact, they could actually be damaging your business.
Thankfully, I discovered this early on.
The Problem with Common Criteria
My first product wasn’t minky baby blankets, luxury pillows, or bamboo cutting boards.
It was a pouch designed to carry refuse bags for cleaning up after dogs.
Yes, my perfect product was a dog poop bag holder.
The product’s design was simple, and it was made out of silicon. That meant it was lightweight, easy to manufacture and definitely not fragile.
Amazon listings reassured me that similar products were selling for $20, and after a few initial inquiries, I discovered that it could be produced, packaged and shipped for a mere $10. More, at the time of research, it was a great example of a high demand, low competition product.
Everything was great. However, just before I ordered a batch, I was saved by my first hustle.
Before getting into selling, I’d worked as a Product Sourcer in China, helping Amazon sellers find the best Chinese manufacturing partners for their Private Label Businesses.
After finding my perfect product, I kept it under wraps. However, I was surprised when new clients seeking my Product Sourcing services started to ask my help to find a manufacturer for their own dog poop bag holders.
By the third call, I knew I had to go back to the drawing board.
However, despite abandoning the product, over the next three months, I kept tabs on the dog poop bag holder’s performance. I saw a steady increase in the number of sellers, and a steady decrease in the product’s sale price from $20 to $10, wiping out any potential profit.
I wondered what the problem was.
Had my email been hacked?
The answer was much simpler. By matching all of the common criteria, sourcing, this product was just too easy. Anyone looking for products using the common criteria technique was as likely to find it as I was.
That brought me to the first and most important lesson you can learn as an Amazon Seller: products are only successful if they’re making you a profit.
If your product researching criteria don’t help you make a profit, then it doesn’t work.
Amazon Product Criteria Reimagined
I went back to the drawing board and had a crazy idea. Maybe I could get ahead of competitors by revising the Common Criteria.
Funnily enough, it worked.
Despite what other Amazon gurus may tell you, the obstacles avoided by sticking to the common criteria are actually easy to overcome.
You just need to put in the legwork. Here’s what I found worked:
- Embrace higher prices. Don’t restrict your products to the $10 to $20 price range. Many Amazon “experts” will tell you that low selling price ranges are the best way to keep your manufacturing costs down. They’re not always right. Higher value goods often require lower minimum orders, and they can deliver much higher profits.
- Stop worrying about products breaking. Amazon customers buy fragile products. They don’t break because they’re fragile, they break because they’re not packaged properly. With the right sourcing approach, you can find effective local packaging solutions that will minimize breakages.
- Size isn’t everything. It’s cheaper to ship and store products that fit into a shoebox, but there are enormous opportunities in selling oversized products. While the cost of shipping can be inhibitive, you can always reduce your costs by transporting goods by sea or rail. This can be intimidating for first time sellers, but with the right sourcing agent, it’s not impossible to achieve.
- Wisdom isn’t always simplicity. Don’t avoid complex products. A lot of Amazon’s best-sellers are electronics and products with moving parts. Instead of worrying about faulty products, have a third party perform a quality control before committing to bulk order. Review samples and get electrical certifications independently verified. The low costs for that will surprise you.
By disregarding restrictive Common Criteria, you can and will find products that your competitors would never dream of considering. More importantly, you can use this method to establish long term revenue streams.
Your New Product Criteria
Now the myths of common criteria have been deconstructed, you can start leveraging your competitors’ lack of creativity to your advantage.
I’ve found that one of the easiest ways to do this is with this New Product Criteria. When you’re searching for a new product, do the opposite of what the Common Criteria recommend.
- Find a product that is not easy to manufacture or copy
- Consider it even if it doesn’t fit in a shoebox
- Don’t limit yourself to durable or light goods
- See if it’s complex enough to put off your competition
- Go for products with a higher price point
- Make it something that you’d never think up without a lot of research
Using the method, my partner and I launched over 200 products over the last four years that competition did not even consider taking over.