Amazon Product Research: A Step-by-Step Guide (2021)

Alex Stoykov

CEO & Head of Client Success

Alex Stoykov

CEO & Head of Client Success

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Introduction

To successfully sell on Amazon, you have to have a top-notch product, and there enters the need for Amazon product research.

The idea of looking through product after product to find a standout idea might not seem like the most exciting thing, but it should be! Your products are the heart of your brand.

In this article, we’ve set out to make product research a little less daunting by teaching you everything you need to know.

Let’s go ahead and jump right in.

 

 

Understanding Amazon Product Research

Once you’ve decided to capitalize on the massive audience Amazon has built, you’ll have to decide what to sell.

Product research is just that, the process of generating product ideas and then researching those ideas to determine what product has the most potential.

If you are moving an established brand with niche products onto Amazon don’t assume that product research doesn’t apply to you. You might be surprised what you can find to add to your lineup.

Every business utilizing Amazon needs to know how to complete stellar product research.

 

Why Does Product Research Matter?

Most of us have been struck by a product idea at some point, and at the time it may seem genius until we go onto Amazon and see the competition around it.

Ideas are a dime a dozen, execution is what matters.

Part of executing on Amazon is doing the research to find a product with low competition or that you can have manufactured with your brand’s distinctive spin on it.

Without conducting adequate product research, you could be wasting your time and resources on a product with no market to support it, or in a niche that you can’t afford to operate in.

Product research is the difference between hoping you can get lucky and having an actual strategy in place before your product hits your – or Amazon’s – doorstep.

 

Product Research Mindset

Some Amazon sellers absolutely dread product research, but it’s not optional, so instead of going through the motions, you should get excited.

Your products are your business, and there should be nothing more motivating than finding the best products out there for your brand.

This article is designed to take the guesswork out of the research so you can methodically choose your next (or first) product without any headaches.

So, next time you can jump into product research enthusiastically determined to find a best seller.

 

The Differences In Good Vs Not-So-Good Products

Every product has its strengths and downfalls.

You may find a manufacturer that can produce office printers with the potential for massive margins, but can you afford to warehouse and ship those printers? What about the technical assistance they require?

Some products are better left to the big companies that are equipped to tackle the overhead expenses that come with them.

As a general rule, avoid products that are too technical and would require support.

You may also want to avoid selling products with a higher level of liability, like baby items.

Because you don’t know how long your product will sit before you start getting sales, you want to steer clear of perishable items.

Below, we’ve developed a checklist for you to use during product research to ensure you don’t get sucked into a product that could cause more grief than profit.

 

Your Amazon Product Research Checklist

As you’re thinking through product ideas, keep these key product features in mind.

1. Can price between $20 and $100 (under $50 is the best). This price allows shoppers to feel like trying your product is relatively low risk.
2. 10+ sales daily. Even with a lower-priced product, this number of sales will generate enough profit to be worthwhile.
3. Competitors have BSRs below 5,000 in a category.
4. Come with an extensive list of related keywords – both long-tail and broad.
5. Has 2-3 keywords with monthly search volumes around 50,000 (closer to 100,000/month is even better).
6. They are not seasonal. You want to try to find items that people need all year long.
7. Come with reasonable competition. With the size of Amazon, you’ll likely have some form of competition, but if every listing on the first page of the search has 5,000 reviews, then it will be almost impossible to gain traction. Aim for products that have a couple of products on the first page with limited reviews (less than 50).
8. Light and easy to ship, under 2-3 pounds.
9. Sturdy and not likely to be damaged in the shipping process (no glass).
10. Not trademarked but have branding potential.
11. They are in subcategories not already dominated by huge companies.
12. Products that don’t come with a higher probability of legal issues or liability.
13. Can easily be sourced at a price that gives you 3x profit margins.
14. Can identify an area of improvement that customers are looking for in the product.
15. The competitors have mediocre product pages and you could optimize the listing.
16. Products that extend your brand, or there is an opportunity to expand to related products in the future.
17. Promotes recurring purchases or higher LTV.
18. Bonus: Products that you have niche-expertise in. Niche-expertise will allow you to jump on ideas competitors may not come up with and will give you the advantage of testing the product knowing what the target audience is looking for.

The right product may not hit every checkpoint, but it should hit most of them. If you start noticing the product you are looking at doesn’t fit in these guidelines, that’s a red flag.

 

Key Elements Of Major Product Opportunities

Not every product will require you to enhance it to stand out, but many of them will.

You’ll want to think through what angle you will use that will create an opportunity for your product within the category.

Look for products where you can:

1. Use the same product, but approach it from a different sales angle and ideally with an alternative keyword approach.
2. Manufacture the same product, but in an extended size range or new color option.
3. Design better branding and packaging that makes the product appear higher-end, and possibly better for gifting.
4. Create a bundle of an existing product, but produce an accessory to bundle with that makes the product more useful/attractive.
5. Develop an accessory for an already high-selling product.
6. Manufacture with an added feature you’ve identified as in demand but missing in the current marketplace.

If you don’t approach your product from one of these angles and you simply source an already successful product, the only thing you have to compete on is the price.

That makes it harder to gain traction, and it also gives your product a shorter life cycle because you’ll end up at a point where you don’t make enough on the item to make it worth your time.

 

Using Amazon To Complete Product Research

Now that you understand what makes a good product and the various approaches you can take to set yourself apart, let’s get into how to complete your product research.

You can go the manual route or use an Amazon tool to make the process less labor-intensive if a quality tool is in your budget. We’ll go over a few Amazon product research tools shortly.

Manual Search

When completing manual product research, you’ll want to use the information that Amazon makes publicly available. (There are also a few other places to look outside of Amazon you’ll learn about in the next section.)

Two of the best places to start your manual research on Amazon are on the Best Sellers page and by evaluating competitors in your desired niche.

It’s fine if you have more than one potential niche idea during the product research phase. It might actually work out in your favor. It will just be a little more work because you’ll go through the process for each niche separately.



On the Best Sellers page, you aren’t looking at the top ten products in a category, you want to get more granular.

You’ll want to look within the subcategories starting with the top 100, but ultimately working your way through the top 5,000 potentially.

When going that deep, you’ll want to look for products you see repeatedly on the list. That will give you an indication that the market could handle another similar product.

The next step is monitoring your competitors.

A quick keyword search of related product keywords will show you which sellers/brands are getting sales.

Poke around their product listings and try to figure out what it is that’s making customers choose their product over the other options.

Automatic Search

If combing through hundreds of products one-by-one is not up your alley, you can use Amazon product research tools that will do some of the work for you.

You will still need to have an idea of what niche you want to sell in though as a starting point.

Robust Amazon tools can help you quickly and efficiently evaluate if a product has enough sales, the general price range if there are enough keyword opportunities, among other valuable variables all with a few clicks.

 

15 Amazon Research Tactics To Try Today That Will Generate New Ideas

TRACK YOUR DAY-TO-DAY ACTIVITIES

If you need a product regularly in your own life, there is reason to believe that other people will need this product too.

Any product that has a long shelf-life and will need to be replaced frequently is ideal.

LOOK AT YOUR INTERESTS AND HOBBIES

We already noted that knowing the niche will give you a competitive advantage.

Given that, you’ll want to look at your interests for products that could be improved that aren’t available.

After all, won’t it be more enjoyable to market a product that you want to buy?

AMAZON’S NEW ARRIVALS

Amazon has a page dedicated to newly released products. You should monitor this page for products that may be seeing an uptick in traffic.

AMAZON WISH LISTS AND GIFT LISTS

Amazon also has a page exclusive for products most wished for and popular gift ideas that you can peruse for new products.

TALK TO YOUR SUPPLIER

If you are already selling an Amazon and have a current supplier, you can always ask them what is selling well.

Suppliers are a wealth of information to tap into.

LOOK AT YOUR COMPETITORS’ PPC CAMPAIGNS

For a seller to spend money on ads, you can assume that means the return on those ads is worth it.

Note any “sponsored” products in the search results or on other pages.

CHECK OUT GOOGLE TRENDS

Google Trends is a free tool that lets you see what’s currently trending, as well as the history of the search term.

Google Trends can help you identify if an item is heading for a downturn in popularity.

TAKE A PEEK AT THE “FREQUENTLY BOUGHT TOGETHER” RECOMMENDATIONS

Bundles allow you to have higher profit margins in many cases, and can also set your listing apart.

A great place to find bunding ideas in the “frequently bought together” and “customers also bought” sections displayed on product pages.

GO TO OTHER MARKETPLACES

Amazon isn’t the only marketplace out there, and what’s popular on another marketplace would likely do well on Amazon too. eBay is a good place to start browsing.

FIND ALIEXPRESS BEST SELLERS

AliExpress is one of the largest suppliers of goods.

The website displays their top-selling products to let you know what’s popular, and you can sort by rating.

BROWSE BRANDS’ STOREFRONTS

Once you find a brand with a product strategy that works, you can go take a look at their storefronts to view all of their products and generate fresh ideas.

SCROLL THROUGH PINTEREST

Pinterest is often mistaken as a social media platform, but it’s a visual search engine.

People go on Pinterest looking for ideas and inspiration and have been shown to have a higher buying intent.

You never know what idea you might find.

EXPLORE SHOPIFY STORES

Shopify often highlights successful brands, giving you an opportunity to learn what’s working.

Look for brands highlighted in your niche for inspiration.

CHECK OUT AMAZON BRANDS

You may not want to compete directly with Amazon, but if they are selling in the subcategory then you know there is a market there.

If you think there is an angle you can capitalize on for the right price, it may be worth investigating.

HEAD TO NICHE FORUMS/GROUPS

Facebook groups, Reddit, and similar discussion platforms are gold mines for finding ideas.

Most have a search feature that allows you to refine your search to find product discussions to gather feedback.

 

How To Monitor Performance For Amazon Product Research

When you think you have a winning idea, you’ll want to do a little monitoring of the performance before moving forward with ordering 5,000 units of the product.

1. Monitor BSR

Other sellers likely aren’t going to tell you how many sales they are getting a day, but you can get an idea on your own.

If you’ve been selling on Amazon, you may know the “999” trick, if not, it’s time you know.

“999” is the maximum number of units you can try to purchase on Amazon, so you add the product you are monitoring to your cart and enter “999” in the number of units box.

If the seller has less than that in stock, you will receive an error that will tell you they only have however many in stock.

Record that number, then the next day come back and do it again. This will tell you how many have sold in the past day.

You can do this multiple days in a row to get an idea of daily sales.

Note that this won’t work for all products. Some sellers restrict the number of units per customer to a much smaller number that will prohibit you from judging the number of sales.

2. Monitor BSR

Another performance metric you’ll want to monitor is the product’s BSR.

Monitoring the Best Seller Ranking will help you to tell if the product was having a one-off surge or if it is growing in popularity.

If a product you are monitoring is steadily jumping along in its BSR, or if a major trend is coming and you see several of the same product reach the top spots, you know there are sales supporting that ranking.

3. Look for Low-Quality Listings

Too often sellers forget that Amazon is about more than a great product.

A great product is a must, but that product will only go as far as its listing will take it.

Many sellers fail to fully optimize their product listings, and this is where you can take a very similar product and run with it.

If you find a product where many of the listings on the first page of the search results are poor, you’ve found an opportunity.

Low-quality listings often have:

• 1-3 low-quality product photos
• Non-optimized product title
• Dull, feature-focused copy
• Limited product information
• Keyword stuffed descriptions that are hard to read

If you have several unanswered questions after looking through the listing or are just left saying “Huh?”, you have found a low-quality listing.

4. Use Keyword Research

Keyword research is a step that gets more focus after a product is chosen, but it’s just as, if not more important, prior to.

The product you choose will depend on having enough searches to back it up.
Almost every product has a few broad keywords that have a high enough search volume to sustain sales, but those aren’t the keywords you should be looking for initially.

You need to hone in on a product with low competition, long-tail keywords that you can utilize to gain traction with your product.

Not all products will be able to support that strategy, you need to make sure yours can.

 

Things To Avoid When Doing Product Research

You don’t want to pick a product without being sure you can build the right strategy around selling it. Here are some additional things you need to keep in mind once you have developed a shortlist of products.

Don’t Go Too Narrow

While it’s important to niche down and not go too wide in your product hunt, it’s also important not to go too narrow. If you go too narrow with your products, there won’t be enough of an audience.

No audience means no sales and no profit.

Even an audience of superfans will only need to buy so many products. Don’t put a ceiling on your sales by creating a tiny niche market.

Don’t Price Too Low

Amazon prides itself on offering products at low prices. But you also have to make a profit otherwise you’re not running a business.

Don’t just choose products because you can sell them at a cheap price.

Often those products will come back to bite you.

Also, don’t think that you need to price your products for less than every other option on the marketplace. Customers will pay more for a product that solves their problem and is going to last.

Don’t Forget About Your Profit

You want to set a fair price so that you can provide a quality product to your customer and keep your business running.

Without factoring in your profit and your marketing cost you are shooting yourself in the foot.

It takes time and effort and often money to get a product rolling. When you don’t factor that in you have no chance of success.

Don’t Forget to Set Your Product Apart

Due to the number of listings on Amazon, one small feature may not be enough to set your product apart from the rest.

Especially if you don’t build your messaging around what is unique in your product.

Sometimes to set yourself apart all you need is better branding and packaging, and other times you need to make major product adjustments.

But most of all, you need to be able to get your customers excited about what’s different.

Think about how you can improve what’s currently available and build your selling proposition around that.

You can have the best product available, but you have to be able to explain it to your customers for it to matter.

 

Amazon Product Research Tools

We talked about using tools for automatic Amazon product research previously.

There are several options on the market, but the tools below are respected tools by Amazon pros:

SellerApp
Jungle Scout
AMZ Tracker
Helium 10

These tools will help you through every step of the product research, but also well beyond that.

The tools can help you identify:

• Broad and long-tail keywords
• Current and historical trends
• Optimal product listings

The tools will significantly cut down on the time you invest manually searching and monitoring products, but there is no automated way to develop a custom marketing plan.

 

Next Steps After Choosing Your Product

So, you’ve picked your product, but what’s next?

Once you’re sure you’ve found the right product, and you’ve got an order into your supplier, you’ll need to finalize a plan to market your new product.

Your product’s chances of success improve dramatically when you’ve nailed your marketing before you’ve even launched.

You’ll want to combine your organic keyword strategy with your PPC campaigns, and of course, have your listings fully optimized.

We’ve compiled helpful guides around each topic that you can check out if you want to try to tackle each step on your own.

But if you want to kickstart your product sales with confidence, we offer done-for-you, customized marketing plans ideal for brands who don’t want to waste time or resources fighting the learning curve.

Amazon is competitive, and the longer your product sits without sales, the harder it will feel to gain traction. We can help you avoid that.

 

Final Thoughts

Now that you know exactly what to look for in a product and where to generate a long list of ideas, you’re probably itching to find a new product.

Just remember to follow the checklist and do your due diligence before jumping in headfirst.

Amazon product research can be a lengthy process if done right, but knowing how to choose and source the best makes all the difference.

Alex Stoykov

Alex Stoykov

Over his career, Alex has developed and marketed millions of dollars of successful products. He lays awake at nights figuring out new marketing tactics and is constantly upping clients' marketing game.
Alex Stoykov

Alex Stoykov

Over his career, Alex has developed and marketed millions of dollars of successful products. He lays awake at nights figuring out new marketing tactics and is constantly upping clients' marketing game.
Alex Stoykov

Alex Stoykov

Over his career, Alex has developed and marketed millions of dollars of successful products. He lays awake at nights figuring out new marketing tactics and is constantly upping clients' marketing game.

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Get in touch with us and receive your free marketing proposal. We’ll only offer you our services if we believe that we can help your business growth.

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