September 24, 2021

What to Sell on Amazon, or How to Find Best-Selling Amazon Products

As 63% of all product searches start with Amazon, it is the most attractive marketplace for sellers of all kinds. And it seems fairly straightforward - you set up your listing, fine-tune its looks and content (known as Amazon listing optimization), and wait for the buyers to flow in.

Yet with almost 2 million sellers currently operating on the platform, Amazon is already pretty crowded, so Amazon sales are more of a fiercely competitive race.

Sellers tend to focus on things related to generating traffic - from nailing Amazon’s internal algos to driving external traffic to advertising - but as with traditional product launches, the most important thing is your product. And this is where sellers and sellers-to-be often get it wrong.

Now, how would you go about choosing the right product for your Amazon launch? Beginners often rely on the wrong things:

  • Anecdotal evidence (“product X seems to be getting some Amazon traction”),
  • Intuition (“this product could be the next POP IT”),
  • Global trends (“everyone’s talking about the new Lego collab, I could sell something related to it”), etc.

Well, you get the gist - assumptions are okay to begin with but not to build a smoothly running Amazon business that generates tons of sales. The real Amazon gem can only be discovered with the help of data and thorough analysis of the existing Amazon landscape.

Doesn’t sound that straightforward, after all? It can be - assuming you know where to start your search for the next big Amazon product and have the right tools at hand.

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What is Amazon Product Research?

To put it simply, Amazon product research is a process of finding a winning product. While many other sellers still rely on hunches and most likely face failed product launches, you can go all data-driven and validate your idea before you invest any further.

Done right, Amazon product research should help you find a product that’s fairly cheap to manufacture/purchase, easy to sell to a large audience, and has few competitors racing for that first Amazon search result.

On the Anatomy of a Winning Product

Before we show you how to actually run Amazon product research, let’s mention some of the most important criteria that make up a winning product (you can, of course, shorten the list and choose the ones that fit your business goals):

On the Anatomy of a Winning Product on Amazon
  • High demand

There's no point in launching any product if there’s no one to buy it. Your job is to find an item that could potentially trigger at least 10 sales a day - this is a very good Amazon benchmark. So, a good approach would be to explore competing listings or to rely on search volumes - any product that gets over 50,000 Amazon searches a month (including few top related keywords) would also be a potentially good fit.

  • Low competition

While the product you’re analyzing may be popular among Amazon surfers and buyers, you have to factor in the competition as well. The fewer listings you find for a given product, the more chances you have at getting the top rankings (especially as a new seller).

  • Mid-range pricing

It may be tempting to go ahead with a top-tier-priced product and worry less about the sales volumes, but try to pick a product within the $10-$50 price range as you probably don’t have the brand authority to sell more expensive products. But don’t go all Aliexpress about it and focus on super-cheap items - profit margin is a very important factor and you’ll barely have any if you go with a product below $10.

  • Not a one-off purchase

It’s always a better idea to choose a product that is likely to be a repeat purchase. If first-time buyers are happy with your product and service, they will turn into loyal customers and repeat buyers - something you will unlikely experience if you focus on a one-off purchase product. So, it’s always better to sell canvas than an easel. The same logic applies to seasonal products.

  • High profit margin

The ultimate objective of any business is to earn money and make profits. So make sure that the margin in your potential product is good enough to make your business run and grow.

Amazon fees (i.e. Seller Account Fees, Referral Fees, FBA, and Variable Closing Fees) are going to vary widely depending on the product dimensions and the category you sell in. So you should be looking at the net from the FBA revenue calculator to see if a product has the potential for profitability.

Use the free FBA calculator in the Product Research for Amazon to determine if a product is profitable.

Simply choose the preferred product, insert the cost of producing or procuring the product, and the price on Amazon. The tool will automatically calculate your Amazon fees, and show you how much you’ll make on every sale (​​Net, ROI, and Profit).

Experiment with different products and categories, and find a winning product at no cost.

  • Lack of competitor reviews

Customer ratings and reviews are a big part of Amazon’s ranking algo. Therefore, it can sometimes be easier to beat competitors if their product listings don’t have a ton of customer reviews.

  • Non-branded or white label

It’s hard to compete for product sales with a famous brand if you're a new product or brand. It is better to start on with a product that has relatively little competition.

  • Product features: lightweight, compact, and non-fragile

If you’re planning on sourcing your product from China, shipping costs can bring all your efforts to naught. To avoid any potential downfalls and challenges, try to pick a product that’s lightweight (under 3 pounds), small-to-medium-sized, and less prone to damage.

Before you make your final product choice, make sure to go through Amazon’s list of restricted products. If you don’t see your product there - BINGO - you might have stumbled upon a winning product.

The Curious Case of Amazon Product Research

Before we dig into how to go about Amazon product research, we’d love to share one story kindly sent by our customer who managed to find a winning product in the most unexpected circumstances.

Quin Amorim, CEO at Prolific Zone, runs a company that manages Amazon Seller accounts for various clients. And here’s his first-hand experience with discovering a winning product:

“Over the years, I sourced hundreds of products, but this particular product was an adrenaline rush from start to finish.

The whole process was different than any other product sourced to date, and to be honest it was a combination of luck, out-of-the-box thinking, and the right timing.

This was late 2016, after Amazon had removed the option to offer the product in exchange for a review.

I was managing a Vendor Central account for a pharma company that had one of the most well-known OTC drugs in North America, and they were unhappy with Vendor, so we decided to move a cold & flu medicine to Seller Central, and do FBA.  

While doing keyword research, we found a search term that was not even closely related to the product, but it popped up constantly - we ranked high for one portable wooden table/tray.

Not only that, but after a while, the tray showed up within the “frequently bought together” space.

Our conclusion was that people who were sick with cold and flu liked to have their meals served to them in bed or on the couch, so a loved one would order these trays.

We researched the demand, checked out the competition (at the time only a handful), and realized it was oversized by a couple of inches. A simple inquiry was sent to the manufacturer, who said he could downsize the exact same tray by 2". This helped us take the product out of the oversized category, and save $4 per unit in FBA fees!

I'm happy to say, the first "test order" was 600 units, and they all sold in 5 days. By February 2017, we had the highest daily sales, with a casino ordering 1900 units in one day to offer trays to their guests for Valentine’s Day.

All thanks to keyword research for an over-the-counter drug”.

5 Ways to Figure Out What to Sell on Amazon

Now that you have an understanding of a winning product and how Amazon product research can help you, we will finally reveal how to find relevant data to discover a winning product and become a successful Amazon seller.

There are a few tested and proven methods for revealing products that have a high sales potential. Without any further ado, we will list the most popular (and efficient) approaches.

Discover Amazon's best-selling items in a specific category

Amazon itself features a selection of current best-sellers across every product category imaginable - from personal care to electronics. And this list gets refreshed hourly.

This would be a good start for figuring out which product categories get top sales, although it is most likely impossible to beat well-established rivals in the same niche, so you will have to look outside of that particular best-selling product. Take a look at similar searches or keywords, and check out the “customers also bought section” for more ideas.

Amazon curates a “Most Wished For” list for each product category - meaning that you can see which particular goods customers tend to add to their wish list.

This info can help you pinpoint demand for a specific product. And note that the wished-for list doesn’t necessarily imply that the product has top sales, it simply indicates high interest. So, maybe if you can offer a better deal, price, shipping policy, or some other promotion, your listing might trigger those sales.

For a more sales-driven approach, you can also check out Amazon’s trending items. Any product that’s marked as trending has the top sales and demand spike in its category.

3. Identify successful sellers’ products

Moving away from product-specific research, you can also drill into the product range of the most successful sellers.

You can simply search for top Amazon sellers - Google is filled with various lists that feature hundreds of high-earning Amazon entrepreneurs. You can then find them on the marketplace and analyze which products serve as their key success drivers.

4. Pinpoint which products are getting the biggest traction among Amazon affiliates

Another non-product-oriented approach is to find out which products get featured the most among Amazon affiliates.

As affiliates get a share of the products’ sales every time someone makes a purchase using their affiliate link, it’s fair to assume that they will only run an affiliate program for a product with high sales potential.

Once again, you can do a manual Google search for the top Amazon affiliates and explore their sites/content.

Or, you can use a more advanced method that will require some savviness with digital tools. For instance, Semrush’s Traffic Analytics* will uncover the key platforms/sites that bring traffic to Amazon. Then, you can pinpoint what kind of content acts as the biggest traffic driver to Amazon and explore which products are being mentioned on these pages. These could be products with potentially high sales and demand.

*Note: This is not a free tool.

5. Simplify and automate the entire Amazon product research process with the help of the product research tools

While all the options we’ve mentioned above can serve as great product idea generators, they all have two key downsides:

  • They require a lot of manual work and research, which is both time and resource consuming.
  • They are unable to deliver the full picture about the product as they only take into account the two main criteria of a winning product - demand and sales potential. It will take some manual effort to see if the product meets all the rest of the criteria - competition, costs, and others.

This is where Product Research tools  enters the stage. Product Research for Amazon allows aspiring Amazon sellers to:

  • Find the most up-to-date information about the demand for a given product.

We update this information on a regular basis so you can accurately choose the product that's currently gaining some traction among Amazon shoppers.

  • Discover a winning product right off the bat with the most intuitive and user-friendly Amazon product research tool.

Product Research lets you forget about the learning curve and challenging setting. Thanks to its intuitive interface, the product research process will be as smooth and straightforward as it can be. Even for Amazon newbies.

  • Unwrap the most profitable products.

The tool comes with automatically applied smart filters that factor in competition, demand trends, and pricing - all to make sure you are choosing the most profitable product on the market.

Filters can always be tweaked manually, so you can experiment with the settings and see which products come up next.

  • Estimate your costs and profits.

Product Research will help you estimate the Amazon fees when selling one product over another. You will also see a prediction of the number of sales for each product per month.

How to unleash the full power of Semrush’s Product Research tool

The tool’s setup is as straightforward as it can get:

  1. Select as many categories as you like. You can pick main categories or narrow down your selection to three further subcategories. Alternatively, you can search for products by keywords. The tool will showcase a list of products that contain your keyword in the product title.
  2. Choose a product price range based on your budget. If you haven’t decided on this yet, just leave the field blank. Experienced sellers recommend starting with products within the $10-$25 price range as this is the most comfortable price range for buyers.
  3. Choose the right products based on their characteristics. By default, the tool applies additional filters to show the best-selling items for resale, but you can deselect them.
  4. Add the products you like to “Favorites” for further comparison, or export the results to Excel.

The tool is completely free.

Over to You

We hope that the entire process of Amazon product research doesn’t seem all that overwhelming now, so you can go out in the world and become a successful Amazon seller.

As you can see, the quest to find that cash-driving Amazon product doesn’t have to take up too much time and resources. So you can keep your intuition and hunches for other activities and leave your Amazon success to data-driven product research methods.

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Read further:

Are you about to establish your business on Amazon and are struggling to understand how to start? Learn how to start selling on Amazon in this article, where we talk about how the marketplace works, the required tools to get started, and finding suitable suppliers.