You can’t build an empire on one product alone, and if you’re being honest with yourself, you’d really like to build an empire…like yesterday.
So how do you find the next product to make a big impact in your ecommerce empire?
In this post, we’re digging into 4 ways that sellers use and helping you vet your ideas.
Top methods for finding new products to sell
1. Extensive product research
When most sellers thinking about finding new products on Amazon, this is the method they typically think about. They spend hours upon hours searching through Amazon for a product with little competition, source it on Alibaba, and then start selling it as fast as possible.
The reason this is such a popular method is that you can minimize your risk by using very specific product-hunting criteria and removing emotion from the process.
Look for products that satisfy these criteria:
- Under 300 reviews
- A price between $20 and $150
- Something that is lightweight
- Low competition
- Not sold by recognizable brand names
With this process, you literally need to go into dozens of different categories on Amazon until you find items that match this criteria. Then you’ll want to track them on an excel spreadsheet and return to your top picks so you can calculate profitability. (More on that in the section “Verifying Profitability” below).
2. Solve a problem
If you don’t have an inventive bone in your body then skip this method and keep on reading!
While the first method is a bit more scientific and strategic, this method is more nebulous and unknown. It’s not easy to think of an amazing never-been-done before product, but if you can, then you can patent it. You might just strike gold.
The best way to solve a problem is to first discover one. Listen to your friends, colleagues, and family as they talk about about hobbies, interests, or everyday household tasks. You might have a very inventive person in your life that doesn’t want to be an entrepreneur.
Don’t attempt a five-hour long brainstorming session to come up with a genius product. You’ll just give yourself a headache. Instead, pay attention, listen, and pray that genius will strike.
3. Survey your friends
You can use Typeform to send a survey to everyone you know. Ask the following questions:
- Name one product you always complain about (ask your spouse if you’re not sure!)
- Why do you complain about that item?
- Name one product you can’t live without
- Why do you love that item?
- What are the last 10 things you bought on Amazon?
- Which ones would you NOT buy again and NOT recommend to a friend?
- Which ones would you buy again and recommend to a friend?
Add whatever other questions you like.
This strategy feeds into the other two methods. You can use this data to start researching within a product category you would never have thought of otherwise. Or you can use the survey responses to find problems and come up with new (or improved) products that resolve these frustrations.
Surveys are essential to so many facets of the business and marketing world, but most sellers still don’t make use of this incredibly valuable strategy. Don’t be one of them.
4. Take a trip to Canton, China (Guangzhou)
Researching products (method 1) is the most common, but it’s certainly not the easiest. Do you really want to review and track hundreds or thousands of products? Do you want to spend dozens or hundreds of hours on research when there are so many other things to do?
Once you find the product, will you be able to get it from a reputable manufacturer and build a long term business relationship with them?
One of the most underutilized methods for sourcing products from China is to actually travel to China and see what’s available. View low cost, lightweight products with your own eyes and touch them with your own hands. Develop a one-on-one relationship directly with a manufacturer, without involving some outside trading company that will mark up your costs.
The Canton Fair is coming up in April and it is the largest import and export fair in all of China. One trip could save you months of research and back-and-forth conversations with suppliers.
What to avoid in new products
No matter how you find your next product for Amazon, there are some things you generally want to avoid.
Avoid products that are patented or trademarked, overly heavy or large (expensive to ship), difficult to manufacture or maintain (like products with corresponding mobile phone apps), have a high return rate, are perishable, or are very expensive.
Avoiding these items will help keep you away from Amazon’s gated categories and products.
No matter how much you love your product idea, don’t go any further until you’ve crunched the numbers.
Don’t just go for the product with the highest profit margin. You’ll also want to consider minimum order quantities, volume projections, and even the level of interest or passion you have for the product.
Expanding the product
Back to the idea of creating an empire…as a private label seller, your business needs diversification. The more successful products you have, the less your business will take a hit when one product starts to sell slower or gets beaten out by a competitor with lots of reviews.
So, when choosing a new product, ask yourself: can this be expanded to a product line? You don’t have to source multiple products at once, but your starting item should at least have “expandability” so to speak.
Consider the audience for the product. Who is the target market? What other products might they need? If you can instantly think of 5 – 15 other items to include in a new brand, then you’re onto something.
If you feel comfortable with one of these product-finding strategies, we encourage you to get out of your comfort zone and try a new method.
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