Today I’m going to show you how to conduct Amazon FBA product research without product research programs*.
*Disclaimer: we will include some optional free software in this tutorial 😉
Stick around to get your copy of our free profit calculator that can tell you—with as much certainty as can be had before you launch a product—if your product idea will turn a profit 🤑
Step 1: Navigate to your marketplace’s Amazon Best Seller List.
From Amazon.com, navigate to the three lines that read All in the top left corner.
Under the Trending section click Best Sellers.
From the top menu towards select Gift Ideas.
(You could also do this process with either Best Sellers and Most Wished For.)
Giftable products—products purchased as gifts for people other than the shopper more often than not—are some of the strongest product types you can sell on Amazon, especially as a newer seller. Get our full breakdown as to why that is here.
Step 2: Select your category.
From the left hand menu, choose a parent (broad) category which you want to investigate further. For example, let’s choose Sports & Outdoors.
This shows you the top 100 product gift ideas in that entire category, in order from #1 to #100 most popular.
Step 3: Evaluate the parent category results and niche down.
Many of the products you see on this list come from highly competitive subcategories.
If you will sell in a less competitive, consumer-driven marketplace—such as the UK (amazon.co.uk)—you might be able to conduct your research based on the top 100 products in a parent category.
However, if you plan to sell in a competitive market—such as the US (amazon.com)—you might find that those top 100 products are part of overly-saturated (and highly competitive) markets. It will be more difficult for a new seller to break into those markets successfully.
If that is the case, click on one of the subcategories below the parent category in the left hand menu to narrow down to a more specific subniche. You might need to niche down multiple times. For example, we might select the Outdoor Recreation subniche and then choose to niche down even further to Camping & Hiking.
As you niche down further, the markets will get less competitive. But you also might notice a drop off in demand if you niche down too far. It’s all a balancing act.
Step 4: Use top level criteria to select 5 products.
Now’s the time to find at least five high potential products to consider.
But what does “high potential” mean?
We measure it through two metrics:
You should always aim to find products that can sell for above $30.
Keep in mind that as you assess products from Amazon’s list of top gift ideas by (sub)category, you will likely only see one of each product type per list.
Clicking on a product from that list, however, leads you to an entire market of competing products, some of which may have a higher price point. So if you see a highly gifted product that catches your eye, but is listed for under $30, all is not lost.
Products competing with that $29.99 product may be priced at the $30 mark or higher. There is some leeway with pricing at this stage; at this point you are just looking for indicators towards potentially strong markets.
By “product nature”, I simply mean the product should lend itself to private label: you should be able to build an entire brand around that product (with eventual complementary products), rather than just focusing on selling that one product exclusively.
Thus, you should avoid markets where big brands dominate (that would make it hard for you to compete) as well as utilitarian products (where branding doesn’t matter much).
By both of those counts, you would not want to further investigate the market that hosts these Pampers (huge brand) baby wipes (utilitarian), even though they come in at #7 on the list of top-gifted Camping & Hiking products.
You should instead focus on products/markets where customers don’t necessarily have brand loyalty and there is opportunity to improve existing products in a way customers will care about.
Just One Dime can teach you how to determine the best products to launch in your Amazon FBA store, where to find the best manufacturers to make them, how to ship them to Amazon, and so much more. Visit JOD.com/freedom today to speak with a member of our team and learn how we can coach you through your entrepreneurial journey.
Once you find a product that meets these two high level criteria, right click on it to open it in a new tab. Do this for about five products.
For example purposes, we will examine this Man Box Gift for Men product.
As I mentioned, giftable type products are some of the strongest options for newer sellers. That said, giftable type products are often the hardest to lock down in terms of keywords—words or phrases shoppers use to find what they want to buy.
Step 5: Find the main market’s keyword.
Open the tab for each product you are considering and identify each product’s main keyword. This is typically found at the beginning of each product listing’s title, as that is the number one keyword the seller wants the product to rank for.
Rank refers to how high in search results a product appears when a shopper searches a related keyword.
For example, in this product we can identify at least two main keywords:
- Man box
- Man box gift set
The products you’re considering might use multiple primary keywords. Begin typing each into Amazon’s shopper search bar.
But wait—don’t type each word in its entirety. Amazon will autocomplete the phrase with several keyword suggestions.
The first few autocomplete suggestions are the most common search terms used by shoppers and thus have the highest search volume. Keep in mind that a search on Amazon is a search to buy. So the most high volume shopper keywords are the most shopped for products.
Here we can see that “man box gift set” has the highest search volume and “man box gifts for men” comes in second.
Click the topmost choice for the keyword you’re searching. This will open that product’s market on Amazon.
Step 6: Find the best selling product types or sub niches in each market.
The best selling products in a market will be the top five to ten products in search results that are organic and NOT sponsored (sponsored listings pay for those coveted first few spots; organic listings earn them 💪).
The first non-sponsored, organic listing is the top most selling product for that keyword. The second one sells the second most, etc.
Oftentimes you will find product variations and subniches when you evaluate the market as a whole. This is especially true of giftable products because shoppers often search for these items in more varied ways than other products (usually dependent on who they’re buying for).
Identify specific subniche products you could (better) create. For example, in our search for “man box gift set”, we can see that an outdoor gift set, a beard grooming set, a whiskey gift set, or even a bbq accessory set would all be viable options if we were to create our own “man box” product type.
Each of type of box represents yet another subniche within the subniche “man box gift set”.
Step 7: Evaluate a specific product type or sub market.
This is the time to see if a market truly has potential.
And it turns out you WILL need some software here (I know, I know). Don’t worry, this one’s free!
You will use Helium 10’s Xray extension for Google Chrome, which you can install here.
Once your extension is installed, return to your Amazon search results tab. Click the extension to the right of the web search bar in your browser.
Now you will see all of the products listed on that Amazon search results page, but in the Chrome extension.
Check the box to the left of any product that is not part of the specific subniche you’re investigating. For example, let’s focus on survival-esque man box gift sets by removing those that pertain to other subniches.
This is not to say that other subniches aren’t strong or that we shouldn’t investigate them (in fact, we probably should). But in order to understand this one market, we need to only examine that market on its own.
Click the trash can icon in the left center above that list to delete the other subniche items.
This step gives you laser focused data on how well your chosen subniche performs within its larger gift market.
Step 8: Evaluate pricing.
Focusing on the topmost results on the list, ask yourself, “Do customers favor lower prices or product design?”. Your goal should be to find a product where customers will favor innovative design over a lower price tag (and will pay $35+). This is called price maintenance.
In the survival style man box gift set niche, for example, notice that several of our top results sell above $35.
If multiple of the top products sell for $35+, this indicates that shoppers are less concerned with price. If not, however, that market is probably not the best place to start. Toss it aside and move on to the next.
And if you heard “without software” and thought “challenged accepted”, you can evaluate product pricing from the Amazon search results page on its own, without the Chrome extension. Just be sure you’re comparing the top few organic listings that match your selected subniche.
Step 9: Evaluate how customers buy.
Ok: you’ve determined that customers don’t buy from your prospective subniche based on price. So what DOES influence how they buy?
Aside from price, shoppers might make their purchase decisions based on review (count and rating), product design, etc.
Return to your Chrome extension. If the top few products have thousands upon thousands of reviews, that may pose a problem.
Keep in mind that when your product first hits the market, it will have no reviews. If all of your competitors have thousands, it’ll be much more difficult for you to break into that market.
Much like price, you don’t need an extension to complete this task. Focus on the first five organic results (within your elected subniche) on Amazon search results and check their review count.
To discern if shoppers place more emphasis on review count within a subniche, consider how many reviews the top products have:
- 500+ = extreme review relevance
- 300 - 500 = high review relevance
- 100 - 300 = medium review relevance
- Less than 100 = low review relevance
If a market has high review relevance, move on to the next. If it has medium review relevance, consider products further down the page before making a decision.
However if a market has low review relevance, that’s in your favor because it suggests that if you improve an existing product, customers will be intrigued and more likely to buy, even when you’re brand new to the market.
Step 10: Evaluate demand.
Of all the metrics we’ll evaluate, demand perhaps takes the most time…when you’re not using software, although the Xray Chrome extension can give you estimates.
Demand refers to how many customers want to buy within a market. The best product in the world will likely not see strong margins if there is no consumer demand.
To test demand, you’ll use what we like to call the 999 method:
Click on each of the products you’re considering. Add each product to your cart.
Click on the cart icon.
From your cart, change each individual product’s quantity from 1 to 999.
Now, if the seller has more than 999 units in their inventory, this will not work. However, if they have less, your cart will automatically update with the maximum number of units that seller has available for sale.
Jot down each product, the total number of units available for sale, and the time and date.
At the same time the next day (and the following days), repeat this process for all items. The number should drop each day.
Subtract each day’s total from the previous day’s to get each day’s unit sales per product.
For example, on the first day of testing, this product had 372 units in stock. By the same time the next day, it was down to 301. 372 - 301 = 71 units sold that day.
To get the average daily units sold, add all the units sold per day (from your test period) and divide that number by the total number of sampled days.
For example, if this product sold 71 units day one, 58 units day two, and 97 units day three, its average sales per day would look like this: (71 + 57 + 97) ÷ 3 = 75.3 ≈ 75 units/day.
Multiple that number by 30 to estimate each product’s monthly average sales.
In this case, the average monthly sales would be 75 x 30 = 2,250 units sold per month.
Now consider how much monthly revenue you’d ideally like to generate. Let’s say we want to sell $10,000 in revenue per month.
Consider your potential sale price. Divide your goal in monthly revenue by each prospective sell price.
For example, if we price our man box at $35, we must sell around 300 units/month ($10,000 ÷ $35 = 285 units), whereas if the price is $50, we only need to sell 200+ units/month ($10,000 ÷ $50 = 200).
As for those products you’re testing in your cart?
You must ensure that the majority of the top-selling products in each subniche sell as many or more units as you would need to achieve your monthly revenue goal. If not, the demand in that market may not be strong enough to be worth your while.
So if you would theoretically need to sell 290 units per month to make our goal, and most sellers in a prospective niche sell 350 units/month, that’s a strong market.
Step 11: Shortlist high potential niches.
We’ve created a pre-formatted spreadsheet to help you calculate just how much profit you could make from any given product. Grab your copy at JOD.com/calculator.
Note all of the subniches you’ve evaluated with price maintenance, low review relevance, and strong demand.
Add that product’s name to your calculator along with each of the top 5 sellers’ average sell price and monthly sales.
This will help you make a data-driven decision when it comes time to pick your final product.
Step 12: Evaluate improvement opportunity.
One of the most important parts of selecting and building your product is your ability to differentiate it—to make it different from, and in most cases better than, your competitors’ products.
The good news is this definitively does not require any software. That said, there is no metric for this. You just have to read.
Visit the listing of the top products for each subniche you’re still considering. Check out their reviews.
Pay close attention to the two and three star reviews: they’re likely chalk full of product grievances shoppers would like addressed (which you can with your product).
You should also look at the four and five star reviews: these tell you what customers love about a product and would want to see continued in your version.
As for the one star reviews, those tend to be from customers having the worst day of their lives.
As you evaluate what could be made different (better) about existing products, consider what changes would be visual. You’ll be able to better drive sales if you include an image showing what sets your product apart. For example, if you were to create your own man box gift set, a visual improvement might be the addition of another item in the box, whereas a non-visual improvement might be sourcing higher quality items for the box.
Based on your research, rate each subniche’s differentiation opportunity from 1-10 where 1 is few differentiation opportunities and 10 is dozens. Add that rating to your product evaluation spreadsheet.
Step 13: Evaluate profitability.
If differentiation is one of the most important factors when selecting your product, profitability is the most important factor.
Search each product’s main keyword and find three suppliers who could make it.
Get each supplier’s estimated manufacturing cost per unit based on the number of units you might order. We suggest you order at least 300 units to keep your cost per unit fairly low.
If we were to order 500 units of this product, for example, we would pay $9.90 per unit. Since we’re making modifications, however, let’s round that number up to $12.00.
Keep in mind that you will make changes to the base product you order on Alibaba, so your per unit cost will likely increase.
Next, determine the size and weight of your prospective shipment. You can either find the carton packing information on the product’s Alibaba listing or contact the supplier to get it.
In this case, there’s 50 units per carton where the cartons measure 61 x 43 x 36 cm and weigh 30kg each.
If we order 500 units, that’s 10 cartons (500 ÷ 50 = 10).
Additionally, note the supplier’s general location, in this case, Ningbo, China
Now go to freightos.com. Input the shipment’s size and weight, the supplier’s location, and the address of a random Amazon fulfillment center in the marketplace you will sell in. Freightos will then give you quotes to get your order from the manufacturer to Amazon.
Pick one and divide it by the number of units in your order.
For example, if we were to select the option for a $315 shipment, our per unit cost would be $315 ÷ 500 = $0.63/unit. Let’s say $2 just in case.
Total the per unit costs to manufacture and ship your products. This is your landed cost per unit, what it costs to make the product available for sale.
For example, if it costs us $12 to manufacture each item and $2 to ship it, each unit’s landed cost would be $14.
Add your goal sell price (for this example, we’ll say $39) and other details to the spreadsheet. The calculator will then tell you what the potential profit margin is. Aim to find a product with at least a 40% profit margin. In this case, we got a margin of 64%...before Amazon FBA fees. That’s a strong, high potential market!
Remove any products/subniches with less than 35% estimated margin.
Step 14: Select the best product niche.
You’ll need to repeat everything we’ve just done at least three times. Each time, evaluate five products and move the best to your shortlist. You may only find one high potential product each time, resulting in three high potential subniches for you to build your product.
Once all is said and done, your product research spreadsheet should give you a clear picture of which product is the best for you!
Everything we’ve just covered comes from the 100+ videos included in our Amazon FBA Mastery membership, our ultimate ecommerce school, where we help sellers from over 150 countries build and grow their Amazon stores, so that they can work on their schedules, work from anywhere, and most importantly, build margin to do the things they love with the people they love.
Visit JOD.com/freedom to book an appointment to speak with a member of our team to learn how we can help you achieve your entrepreneurial goals.
What other ways do you like to conduct product research? Let me know in the comments.