The Ultimate Guide to Optimizing Your Listing with Top Amazon Keywords

When it comes to creating a new product listing on Amazon, knowing which keywords to include and where to place them within your Amazon listing can make all the difference. Keywords are incredibly important to your products sales, ranking, and overall success. Properly researched and targeted Amazon keywords are the lifeblood of your listing.

The best use of targeted keywords and keyword variations can often result in improved search volume, increased traffic, longer sessions, and most importantly, improved sales.

Often times you will hear the process of targeting Amazon keywords referred to as Amazon SEO. In broad terms, SEO refers to the process of “Search Term Optimization,” a system of sophisticated techniques used by content creators and marketing teams to optimize the search volume and page rankings for web content, social media sites, or news stories. For our purposes “Amazon SEO” is often used alongside or in place of keyword ranking and keyword optimization.

This guide will take you step-by-step through the procedures used by leading Amazon sellers and keyword experts to get the most out of your Amazon keywords. We’ll cover:

  • Industry-leading keyword tools, which can help take the guesswork out of determining which keywords to target while helping you to understand which keywords are most important for your product.
  • Tips and tricks to improve your keyword rank while exposing some myths and misunderstandings associated with keyword search volume.
  • Key factors when it comes to assembling and arranging your Amazon keywords within the body of your product listing.

So let’s jump in!
PS, if you’d like to check out our video walkthrough on optimizing and writing your listing, check out our video below!

1. Determine Which Amazon Keywords To Target For Your Product

To begin, let’s explore two of the leading keyword software tools available to Amazon sellers, beginner and expert alike. A good keyword tool is vital for sifting through the thousands and thousands of variations which can occur within any given keyword phrase. One of the most common software tools for establishing Amazon keywords is Google Keyword Planner.

Part of Google’s AdWords tools, Keyword Planner is a simple, easy-to-use keyword tool that allows you to quickly establish Google search volume for virtually any keyword phrase or product. Google Keyword Planner features easy-to-read graphs, plus a full breakdown of keyword search volume, and keyword priority.

One drawback to Google Keyword Planner is the broad scope of the tool’s results. Keyword Planner has been designed to collect results from Google’s search algorithm exclusively. These Google-only search trends tend to skew results from groups of exclusively ecommerce keywords, to a broad range of internet content and web searches.

For example if you search “best skateboards” in Keyword Planner, your results will include data for searches referencing popular skateboarders or skateboarding videos. Because of this wide net tendency, you’ll want to pay special attention to your results, being sure to eliminate keywords phrases that involve multimedia, name brands, and specific locations, persons, or businesses.

One way to specialize your keyword searches is to use Amazon-specific keyword software. Doing so allows you to make sure you’re only seeing searches from Amazon, instead of external search engines like Google or Bing. Again, search behavior is very different. An Amazon keyword tool will allow you to best optimize your listing for Amazon search.

For example the Viral Launch Amazon Keyword Tool gives users a huge range of keyword statistics and metrics in one, easy-to-understand place. One huge advantage of Viral Launch Keyword Research is its superior Amazon specific data which gives you extremely accurate breakdowns of the most important keyword insights.

You will see a list of all your product’s relevant keywords, alongside helpful metrics: volume, opportunity, priority, and relevancy. With one search, you have all the information you need to write your listing or optimize your keyword targeting in sponsored ads. 

Check out how to use Keyword Research to ensure your listing is optimized specifically for Amazon.

2. Aggregate Then Curate Your Products’ Top Amazon Keywords

Once you have your list of targeted keywords and keyword phrases, you’ll need to condense your findings down to the highest ranking and most relevant words. This process can be tricky and even experienced sellers often get it wrong. One of the most common mistakes new sellers make is to over-emphasize exact search volume.

Though volume, or the pure number of searches for a word or phrase, is very important, it is not the only factor to consider. You also want to consider metrics such as opportunity, relevancy, and broad search volume. These metrics can reveal a host of chances for you to target neglected keywords and untapped markets.

For instance, you can target keywords with high search volume and high opportunity scores. A high opportunity score means that keyword is being overlooked by competitors and is easy to rank for just by adding it to the title of your listing. You would be surprised how many high volume search terms are not included in your competitors’ listings. By giving these keywords priority in your listing, you can quickly gain visibility and pull in sales from overlooked keyword markets. 

You might also consider looking at broad search volume. Broad search volume represents all of the keyword phrases that contain that keyword. For example, if you are looking at the term “rattle” and see a broad search volume of 76,518, that means that 76,518 searches contain the term “rattle.”

By looking at the broadest spectrum of search rather than just the narrow spectrum of exact volume, you can get a better overall picture of which keywords are most important to your product. A balance of keywords from these different categories is vital for producing a well-balanced listing which targets multiple demographics and search pockets. Read more about the 3 crucial keyword scores shown in Keyword Research.

3. Capitalize On Strategic Amazon Keyword Placement

Once you have determined the keywords or phrases you wish to target, you can begin to assemble your listing’s title and bullet points. It’s vital for you to keep in mind how the Amazon search algorithm places greater emphasis or “weight” on certain portions of your listing. This means that certain sections of your listing contain greater ranking power than others when it comes to customer search. A simple breakdown from highest priority to lowest is as follows:

  • Listing Title
  • Bullet Points
  • Backend Keywords

By far the most important element of your listing is the title. The title is weighted extremely high and constitutes the most powerful search portion of your listing. When beginning to assembling your title, you want to focus the most effort on the first 5 words. These first 5 keywords in your title will constitute what is known as the Canonical URL.

In simple terms, the canonical URL contains the 5 words that are indexed for online search engines like Google. This search engine indexation is vital for pulling in

 outside traffic. A recent Survata study showed that 36% of product searches start on search engines like Google, not on Amazon. If you don’t choose the most relevant and powerful keywords for your title, you put your listing at a disadvantage from being discovered through Google searches.

Next, you want to complete your title keeping in mind that your remaining keywords should be used from left to right in order of importance. The Amazon algorithm reads listing titles with this left to right, making it vital for you to use your highest ranking keywords first.

Once the listing title is complete, you will focus on your listing’s bullet points. The bullet points, or key product features are a chance for you to continue to include relevant keywords and phrases. Many categories have extremely limited character counts for the bullet points, so it’s important to maintain a strategic outlook when building out this section. Don’t hesitate to use various keyword plural forms while including as many keywords gathered from your research as possible without compromising the readability of the bullet.

Pro Tip: Most research indicates that your product description is not affected by Amazon keywords or search engine keywords. This being said, your product description is a great opportunity for you to expound on your product’s unique features and quality. In short, your product description is a chance for you to make a unique and memorable marketing pitch for your product without concern for using the proper ranking keywords or phrases. Use the 2,000 characters allowed in this section to your advantage by creating a unique brand voice and addressing any features that are not covered within the title and bullets.  

4. Repeat Keywords and Use Various Plural Forms

Once you have developed a draft for your product’s title and bullet points you want to scan your listing for missed opportunities. Many sellers neglect to include the plural forms and variations of phrases in the listing. Anytime you can include plural forms or mix-and-match various phrases into new threads, you improve the likelihood that your listing will index and rank for multiple variations. This multi-pronged approach coupled with the strategic inclusion of high ranking keywords gives your listing the best opportunity to stand out from the crowd.

5. Leverage Backend Amazon Keywords

All Amazon listings are allowed 250 bytes to include keywords that are not in the title and bullet points. This is a powerful opportunity for you to include outlier keywords which are not seen by Amazon shoppers. These hidden backend keywords can include phrases or terms that may not make sense in the context of your listing. It also gives sellers the chance to exploit the use of common misspellings or slang used in many searches. These misspellings and common phrases can be singled out when doing your keyword research with either Google Keyword Planner or more powerfully with Viral Launch Keyword Research.

When you are in the midst of your keyword research, start to compile a list of candidates for these backend terms. Once you have drafted your title and bullet points, review your list and compile the top ranking words which you have not included in the listing proper. Take caution to exclude name brands or copywritten material from you backend terms, as this practice can be grounds for your listing’s removal.

Once you have established the highest-ranking keywords that you have not included in your title or bullets, simply copy and paste these terms into the edit listing portion of your Seller Central.

Pro Tip: Our current research is showing an emerging trend of powerful foreign language search terms. These keywords, (often in Spanish for US markets) are many times direct translations of the highest ranking english keywords or phrases. The inclusion of foreign language phrases is a powerful way for sellers to tap into underserved markets and exploit this portion of your listing to its maximum advantage. Note* The foreign language phrases are included within the Viral Launch Keyword Research Tool.

In conclusion, we encourage every seller who is forming a new listing to keep these three principles in mind.

    1. Research: Be sure to take your time and do the proper research to establish which keywords  and phrases to target. No matter what software you end up using, take the time to be thorough and don’t miss out on high ranking words or outliers in your markert.
    1. Target: Always keep in mind where you are placing keywords within your listing. Always remember that your title and bullet points are the key aspects of your listing when it comes to achieving keyword ranking. Always Apply the principles of keyword placement and plural forms to achieve the best results.  
  1. Diversify: Remember to think outside the box for where unused keywords might be used. Utilize the backend terms to the best of your ability to capture these outlie
    rs and put them to work for your listing.

The application of these 3 simple principle coupled with the powerful software tools and data available online can put your listing in a powerful position to start converting keywords to cash in no time.

Pro Tip: Use a Listing Builder, like the one included in Keyword Research, for a seamless experience writing your Amazon listing. Listing Builder allows you to write your listing and see, in real time, which important words you’re still missing. View your optimization score and how many potential searches your could include in your copy.

Is Amazon Removing Reviews? Here’s What’s Happening with Amazon’s Review Chaos

Is Amazon removing reviews? The Amazon FBA landscape is changing FAST. Far faster than we’ve ever seen. And I wouldn’t bet on it slowing down anytime soon. It’s those brands that are willing to embrace change, adapt, and play by the new rules that will always come out on top.

Possibly the hottest topic for sellers—and the area that is seeing the wildest changes right now—is Amazon’s review system. We’ve identified six major review changes over the last couple of months. Some of them have had devastating effects on brands.

Without any formal statement or direction from Amazon on policy or structural changes, we in the seller communities are (classically) left in the dark wondering what’s going on. Some of us are asking what we’ve done wrong, and all of us asking ourselves what’s the best way to move forward.

As always, the Amazon seller forums and Facebook groups are running wild with speculation and questions as to what’s going on with the latest review changes, and few truly have a grasp on the magnitude of some of these changes.

If you’re at all familiar with Viral Launch, you know we are a data-driven company. And you know that we love to answer questions and solve problems with vast amounts of data (I mean how else? 😉 )!

To find out what is happening with reviews, we used the advanced data aggregation of our product and market research tools, Market Intelligence and Product Discovery. These product trackers gather historical and real-time data on well over 100,000,000 Amazon products. So we were able to uncover some jaw-dropping stats. You’ve got to see!

Change 1 of 6: Amazon Removing Reviews or The Great Amazon Review Abduction of 2018

Some of you have likely heard of or experienced a brand or product where Amazon was removing reviews over the last month or two. You—like everyone else—were probably asking yourself questions like, “How widespread is this?” and “Have other sellers lost as many reviews as me?”

We had the same questions. So our engineers started crunching the numbers. And here’s a glimpse of just how widespread Amazon’s latest review removal was. We should note that we are still working through the data to try to make it as clean as possible. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to reviews, including changes and discrepancies in variations. 

For each top-level category in the Amazon US market, we looked at the top 10,000 best selling ASINs with at least 90 days of history. From that set of products, we looked at how many of the listings lost reviews, which listings lost the most reviews, and how many reviews the category lost as a whole.

Here’s a summary of the report showing just how huge and far-reaching this review abduction is:

Reviews Removed between May 1 and May 31

Top 5 Categories with Highest Number of Reviews Removed from May 1 – May 31:

Cell Phones & Accessories: 324,423 reviews removed!

Health & Household:   305,777

Grocery & Gourmet Food: 204,553

Beauty & Personal Care: 193,242

Tools & Home Improvement: 177,375

Top 5 Products Hit With Review Removal:

Etekcity Digital Scale (B073W64CY8): 13,999

Pansonite VR Glasses (B07516YQ59): 10,202

       Bark Solution Dog Collar Training System (B01HSH194S):  6,690

Fox Print Princess Castle Play Tent (B0120XRWLE): 1,710

Amazon Basics Stainless Steel Kitchen Scale (B06X9NQ8GX): 1,472

Top 5 Most Affected Categories by Percent of Listings Affected:

Cell Phones & Accessories: 21.08% of the top 10,000 listings had reviews removed

Camera & Photo: 19.43%

Video Games: 19.05%

Health & Household: 17.66%

Sports & Outdoors: 17.39%

Download the full guide by entering your email in the form below!

The category that lost the most reviews was Cell Phones & Accessories with 2,108 of the top 10,000 listings losing 324,423 reviews. That’s the total number of reviews that we saw Amazon removing between May 1st and 31st. When accounting for the reviews that sellers regained (organically and otherwise), the category still came out with a net loss of 185,302 reviews.

The single listing that lost the most reviews in the Cell Phones & Accessories category was this Pansonite 3D VR Glasses. The listing lost 10,202 reviews taking them down from 10,339 reviews to just 65 reviews at its lowest!

The category that was hit second hardest was Health & Household with 1,766 of the top 10,000 listings losing 305,777 reviews. Accounting for reviews gained and re-gained, the net loss for the category was 177,324 reviews. Of the 10,000 Heath & Household listings we analyzed, the single listing that lost the most reviews was this Etekcity Digital Scale (B073W64CY8) which lost 13,999 reviews. 

You can see the spikes and drops in their review count using Market Intelligence. It’s crazy to look at the review graphs for some of these listings that lost a ton of reviews. You can see where Amazon removed the majority of their reviews and that they quickly got them back. Then Amazon removed them again, and the seller recovered the reviews again. This Etekcity Scale is an excellent example!

These graphs show you just how crazy things are right now. You can see these sellers fighting for the life of their listings. Losing that many reviews changes a product’s star rating, drastically affects the product’s perceived popularity, probably forfeits Best Seller and Amazon’s Choice badges, and just, in general, destroys a listing’s credibility, which we know affects sales.  

Change 2 of 6: Reviews Being Blocked.

*The specifics of this section seem to currently be in a state of change, so depending on when you are reading this, it is possible that changes may have come about. Some of the tests were limited in scope as we wanted to leave reviews in an ethical fashion. The concepts and context are what’s most important.

From our perspective, this was the scariest change of the six we’re listing here.

To summarize, Amazon seemed to have put proverbial speed limits in place when it comes to review acquisition velocity. For the month of May and into June, it seemed as though Amazon was limiting the number of reviews a product could obtain in a day. If you exceeded the threshold/speed limit, the product would be punished with a review block for some period of time ranging 3 to 7 days.

Two very interesting facts from this finding:

1) unverified and verified reviews were treated separately

2) the review limit was a static number.

Let me explain.

After a bit of testing and observing, we noticed that receiving 3 unverified reviews in a day would cause Amazon to block the ASIN from receiving any additional unverified reviews. Similarly, after receiving 6-8 verified reviews in a day, Amazon would block the ASIN from receiving any additional verified reviews. And customers would see some form of this message:

PRO TIP: Unverified reviews are reviews in which the reviewer has not purchased the product on Amazon, or has purchased with a heavy discounted code

From what we could tell, the first time a review block was initiated, the product was put on a 7-day review block (for both verified and unverified reviews). We believe that during this time Amazon conducted an audit, combing through the account to try to develop an understanding of the authenticity of the reviews. We believe Amazon would look at things such as the content of the seller’s email follow-up sequence, the referral path of the reviewer, etc. If everything checked out, the product’s review block would be lifted (meaning it was again eligible to receive reviews), and if things did not check out, the account was suspended.

But passing the initial suspension did not mean you were completely in the clear! The majority of products that continued to exceed the Amazon imposed speed limit would have the review block reinstated. If a product reached the limit of 3 unverified reviews in a day, it would be blocked from receiving any additional unverified reviews. But it could still receive verified reviews. Similarly, if 6-8 verified reviews were left in a day, then the ASIN would be blocked from receiving additional verified reviews. These blocks seemed to last for 1-3 days at a time. We saw several listings cycle through this process multiple times.

For our clients with products selling 1,000+ units per day, receiving 6-10 reviews in a day is not uncommon. It was quite surprising that Amazon would choose to use a static number versus a percentage of sales. And it creates a very frustrating experience for sellers.

This review blockage was not exclusive to ASINs offered by third-parties. Many of Amazon’s own high-volume products had review blocks in place at one point or another.

At the time of this posting, here is a high volume product (#3 best seller in Beauty & Personal Care category) that currently has a block in place for unverified reviews. When you click on the star rating, you will see a pop-up stating that your review cannot be accepted at this time.

While review blocks are still happening, from what we’ve observed, as of mid-June, there have been far fewer than in May. We don’t yet have the answers as to why. Perhaps Amazon has adjusted the speed limit to a percentage of sales rather than a static number. Maybe they decided that one account review analysis was enough. Only time will tell.

We are grateful to Amazon for stepping up their game in terms of monitoring and enforcing the rules when it comes to reviews. A lot of the existing rules harm the ToS-abiding sellers while bad actors gain a competitive advantage by cheating the system. We really hope that, at the least, this is an indication of Amazon beefing up security and enforcement of their inauthentic review policies and programmatic monitoring.

Why this change was so scary.

This change challenged some of the fundamental dynamics of being a third-party seller on Amazon. The very reason our customers have been able to build successful million-dollar businesses (and sometimes tens of millions of dollars) is they are able to develop competitive advantages in their market. Those advantages range from the ability to drive keyword ranking in organic search results, drive better conversion rates through product photography and better listing copy, having a better product and so many others.

A seller’s ability to drive quality reviews faster than their competitors is an important advantage in a savvy seller’s toolbelt. Being able to drive reviews faster than your competition allows you to enter an existing market with 0 reviews, strategically drive reviews to catch up with competitors that may have hundreds or thousands, and achieve maximum sales potential. If you and your competitors were restricted to driving no more than 10 reviews per day, it would be impossible to catch up to existing players and obtain a relatively competitive number of reviews in a market, which could severely inhibit your ability to ever drive meaningful sales volume in that market. If this change came to fruition, it would not be as impactful if Amazon made the systemic review change we anticipate them to make, which we talk about in a podcast episode here.  

The opportunity for success as an FBA seller exists in the competitive advantages. Any erosion of opportunity for competitive advantage will make it more difficult for new products and new sellers in existing markets. We firmly believe that the high degree of competition on Amazon has been key to Amazon’s success as well as our clients’ success, so any potential infringement on that is intimidating.

Change 3 of 6: Reviews Split By Variation

The way that reviews are being attributed to variations is also changing. It used to be that if you had a listing with variations a, b, and c, the reviews for each of those variations would be aggregated for a total review count and star rating that applied to each variation on the listing. So the total number of reviews for the each ASIN would be the same. That means if someone bought your purple flashlight and left a review, that review would apply to the red variation, the black variation, and the green variation.

Not so in the new world of Amazon reviews! Amazon is slowly making a switch in the way that it handles reviews on listings with variations. Instead of applying a review for a variation to the whole listing, if someone leaves a review for, say, that purple flashlight, it will only show up on the purple flashlight variation.

So as a shopper is clicking through the product variations, the star rating and the review count under the title will change. That means if no one has leaves a review for your green flashlight yet, it will show up as having no stars and zero reviews!

Here are a few examples:

This change in the way that Amazon is handling reviews for variations also means that if someone does finally leave a review for your green flashlight and it’s a 1-star, your rating for that variation is going to be really low. Even if you have a 5-star rating for the other variations. This is potentially bad news for sellers. It means that every variation you have is going to have to be top quality. And your strategy for providing stellar customer support and preventing bad reviews has to be good. 

Change 4 of 6: Seller Feedback Lost to a New Rolling 12 Month System

Have you ever jumped in your car to go somewhere and realized that you don’t have your cell phone with you? You run back inside and spend the next 15 minutes tearing your house apart trying to find it? Yeah. This is nothing like that.

This is like realizing you don’t have your cell phone, and running back inside to look for it except now your house is gone. And so is your cell phone, which you left on the kitchen counter by the way.

Seller feedback is being moved into a rolling 12 month system. This new system is especially significant for Retail Arbitrage, Online Arbitrage, and Wholesale people. Seller rating is a big part of what allows RA, OA, and Wholesale sellers to win over customers.

You know how when a shopper clicks on New (10) from $5.90  they are taken to a page with all the offerings on that listing. And each of those offerings is being sold by a seller with a rating. Well now instead of seeing that seller’s overall rating, Amazon is showing customers a rating from “over the past 12 months.”

So if you got four 1-star reviews in the last 12 months, those hold a lot more weight than they used to. Let’s say you used to have 2,000 seller reviews and 5 of them were 1-star reviews. That probably wasn’t pulling down your overall rating too much.

But now that Amazon is only looking at that last 12 months, it’s only looking at the last 500 reviews that you got. And four of those 1-star reviews happened during that time. Now you’re feeling those 1-star reviews in your rating.

But this change is not happening across the board. We’ve only seen certain seller accounts where the change has been implemented. So if you haven’t been affected yet, consider yourself lucky. This inconsistent introduction of a new system could end up being totally unfair to those sellers who have been pushed in already and whose star ratings may look less favorable than their competitors who are still part of the lifetime review system.

Under the rule of the new 12-month rolling reviews, consistency is the name of the game. You have to deliver an awesome customer experience with every single product on every single order if you want to be among the top-rated sellers on the platform.

Change 5 of 6: “The Great Amazon Reviewer Purge”

Amazon is getting rid of thousands of top reviewer accounts. After Amazon banned incentivized reviews in October of 2016, top reviewers started being kicked off the platform if Amazon suspected that they were not complying with the changes.

Amazon has been purging their Top 10,000 reviewers, banning them from the platform. In the subreddit The Great Amazon Purge, you can track how many reviewers have been removed so far. The subreddit has actually been tracking the number of removed Top 10,000 reviewers since February of 2016.

At the time of this posting, 4892 of the Top 10,000 reviewers have been removed.

Change 6 of 6: Suspension Changes And Account Bans

While the majority of Amazon sellers cite their number one fear as having their privileges revoked from selling on Amazon, we have very rarely seen this actually happen in the private label world (and for context, it was one seller of the 10,000+ we’ve worked with and was due to continued review manipulation).  An Amazon account suspension is incredibly scary and can be devastating to monthly financials too. From our limited experience, intuitively, we’d guess the average account suspension lasts no more than a week (would love some data on this if anyone wants to share!). From our sources, there is a new rule for suspensions due to review manipulation, and it comes in at whopping 21 day minimum suspension! That is tough!

From what we know, if there is an additional review manipulation infraction, the seller account will be BANNED. The kiss of death.  Unfortunately, we’ve seen this happen to two major accounts and I imagine many others (we did not dig into the data around account suspensions/bans, we’ve merely heard of these instances through the grapevine). Unfortunately, we do not have any specific information around the why behind these accounts being shut-down by Amazon.

How To Move Forward With Reviews

The problem with any definitive suggestions in moving forward on Amazon, especially when it comes to reviews, is that we are not 100% confident in where the line of appropriate behavior versus non-ToS compliant behavior falls. If all of our questions could be answered, or the ToS was completely comprehensive, then as a company, we’d feel much more confident in providing a “best review strategy”.

The short answer is that right now, we suggest being conservative in your review acquisition strategy. This is especially our advice if your account has been suspended due to review manipulation. Over the next few months, we’ll start to develop a better conceptual understanding of what Amazon deems acceptable and what they view as unacceptable.

Some account managers for our largest clients have even made the suggestions to stop sending all email follow-ups that mention the words review, feedback, etc. We are not saying that well-worded email follow-up sequences will lead to suspension, we just want to provide you with as much information as possible so you can make the decision about what activities to leverage in your review acquisition strategy.

It should go without saying that as a company, our suggestion is to abide by Amazon’s TOS when it comes to obtaining reviews. Knowing exactly what is and is not within TOS is another question. We still see many sellers participating in review groups (predominantly those in Facebook groups), and we cannot encourage you enough to stop this. We have strong evidence that a number of these groups have had the brands participating in these groups suspended. For those that are unfamiliar, there are secret Facebook groups in which a buyer offers to purchase a product at full price and leave a review, and the seller reimburses the buyer through a payment provider such as Paypal.

As our understanding of what is/is not acceptable in terms of review acquisition strategies, we will be sure to post updates. Reviews are a critical component of Amazon success and can be a major competitive advantage. We want to make sure that you are best equipped to avoid unintended suspensions and gain a competitive advantage with the most powerful, yet TOS compliant, review strategies available.

For more Viral Launch, data-driven insights. Subscribe to the blog. We’ll notify you whenever we have a piece of big, impactful information, like this, so you can stay on the cutting edge of Amazon seller success.

 

 

Selling on Amazon vs Ebay

Online Shopping is seeing year after year growth.  In fact, Retail e-commerce sales worldwide are forecast to nearly double between 2016 and 2020.  If you’ve thought about selling online, now is the time to ride the e-commerce wave to boost revenue.  But which online marketplace should you invest your time, resources, and products?  Should you diversify or go all in on one?  While there are several online marketplace options to sell, we’ll specifically be comparing selling on Amazon vs eBay in this post.

AMAZON SELLERS VS. EBAY SELLERS

In this year’s letter to shareholders, Amazon announced that, “Over 300,000 U.S.-based SMBs started selling on Amazon in 2017.” That’s a lot of new sellers on the platform, and that doesn’t even capture the individuals sellers and larger brands who are all rushing to list their product in Amazon’s ecommerce catalog.

Amazon Sellers

Amazon’s brand awareness as the go-to online store with lightning fast deliveries and excellent customer service draws shoppers like a giant consumer magnet. And that makes it very appealing for sellers. So appealing that many sellers on the platform do not sell their product anywhere else. But with more and more sellers jumping on the platform, competition has increased. And that means customer expectations have increased too.

It’s not enough to ship a product from your garage and have it arrive a week after purchase. Customers want their orders at their doorstep tomorrow. And they want that product to be quality. If it’s not, one bad review can knock down your rating and potentially your conversion rate and your ranking.

Overall, what this more competitive landscape means for the type of sellers on Amazon’s platform is that they are becoming more and more higher-caliber. They are becoming more and more competitive. Those who succeed and win a good ranking position know how the platform works, and they know how to succeed.

eBay Sellers

eBay sellers on the other hand span a wider range. Unlike Amazon, there are not large brand names on the platform. But there is a wide spread of seller types from large, competitive sellers with some brand recognition to the online-yard-sale individuals who are selling single items they are trying to get rid of.

While Amazon sellers battle the high expectations of customers on the Amazon platform, eBay sellers battle quite the opposite: the idea that all items on eBay are used or second-hand. This is probably one of the reasons that eBay sellers list their products on multiple marketplaces. eBay attracts a different kind of customer too, which lends it to certain products more than others.

AMAZON CUSTOMERS VS. EBAY CUSTOMERS

In the selling on Amazon vs eBay discussion, both have unique customer bases that set them apart and make them more or less favorable to certain products. Before you decide where to list your product, you’ll want to make sure that there is good demand for it with the customers on the platform.

Amazon Customers

Amazon is the most popular online store in the United States, according to Statista. It has by far the largest market share for ecommerce. So who are these Amazon customers? Compared to customers on other ecommerce platforms, they are generally more educated and more well-off than the average American. Here are the four most distinguishing traits of Amazon customers:

  1. Younger. According to Digital Commerce 360, over 50% of Amazon shoppers are under the age of 45. Prime customers tend to be even younger than the average Amazon shopper, with 18 – 34 being the most Prime-heavy age group.
  2. Higher Income. Amazon customers are predominantly male and tend to have higher incomes. Amazon captures 90% of the 50 – 100K income shoppers, and 89% of the 100K+ shoppers. And even for shoppers with an income under 50K, Amazon still captures 73% of the market.
  3. Bigger Spenders. Prime members are especially keen on Amazon’s free 2-day shipping and tend to buy more than non-Prime members. And with Prime membership in 64% of US households, that means Amazon customers are spending more on the platform than ever before.
  4. Trust the Amazon brand. Amazon customers trust the Amazon brand for quality products, timely delivery, and excellent customer service if anything does go wrong with an order. Amazon customers are also sometimes unaware that they are even purchasing from a seller at all. Thinking rather that they are purchasing “an Amazon product.”

Overall Amazon has captured most US shoppers, especially those under 45 years old, making over 50K. And since their customers do tend to be wealthier, they come with higher customer expectations. This is especially true of Prime members, Amazon’s biggest shoppers. The Amazon brand is one that customers deeply trust and masks the marketplace experience for customers by providing them with fast shipping and incredible customer service.

eBay Customers

eBay, though not as popular as Amazon, continues to be a big player in ecommerce. According to Statista, “In the first quarter of 2018, eBay reached 171 million active users.” And though smaller than Amazon’s customer base, 171 million is still undeniably significant. Here are the four most distinguishing traits of eBay customers:

  1. Older. eBay customers tend to be older than Amazon customers, with 61% over the age of 45. Like Amazon, they tend to be mostly male.
  2. Medium income. While an exact income range for eBay customers is hard to pin down, it seems to generally be lower than the average income for Amazon customers.
  3. Deal hunters. eBay customers also tend to come in with the expectation that they will pay less for the item they are looking for. While Amazon used to be a lot more competitive on price, customers, especially Prime customers, seem to be willing to pay more for the convenience of 2 day shipping and a wide-reaching catalog.
  4. Less trust in eBay brand. eBay customers do not trust in the eBay brand name in the way that Amazon customers trust the Amazon brand name. Rather, they trust the brand of the seller they are purchasing from. The expectations for customers satisfaction are put on the seller rather than on eBay as the platform.

Overall, eBay is still a significant size market that is more popular with older shoppers, especially those over 45. Since their customers tend to be of average means, they are more motivated to find the best price and pay less for the item they are looking for.  eBay customers are much more aware of eBay as a marketplace than Amazon sellers and trust the brands of the sellers they purchase from rather than eBay’s brand.

AMAZON PRODUCTS VS. EBAY PRODUCTS

The types of products that customers buy on Amazon and on eBay are different. Each platform has its own strengths and draws shoppers for those specialties. It’s important to know these comparisons when weighing up selling on Amazon vs eBay.  

Amazon Products

Amazon’s catalog has 562 million products in its catalog with Clothing, Shoes & Jewelry being the biggest category by far. Amazon’s top selling categories are:

  • Consumer electronics
  • Home and kitchen
  • Publishing
  • Sports and outdoors

eBay Products

eBay’s catalog has well over 1 billion live listings. According to the site, some of its best selling products include:

  • Electronics
  • Fashion
  • Video games
  • Collectibles

While both sites sell electronics and fashion items, Amazon sells far more books than eBay. Amazon also sells more Sports and Outdoor equipment whereas eBay sells more collectible items. Shoppers looking for unique, vintage, or antique items will look to a platform like eBay. And shoppers looking for books, outdoor equipment, and items that they need to arrive quickly will look to Amazon.

AMAZON FEES VS. EBAY FEES

As we look at fees in the selling on Amazon vs eBay comparison, the associated fees are a crucial factor.  We’ve written a fuller blog focused on Amazon seller fees, but we’ll give an overview of both here.

Amazon Fees

Amazon fees vary depending on how the item is sold. There are two main ways to sell a product: as an individual or as a professional. An individual is anyone selling less than 40 items a month. Think college students selling their used textbooks. Professional sellers are those looking to supplement or replace their income, including retail arbitrage sellers, online arbitrage sellers, wholesale sellers, and private label sellers.

Individual Seller

  • Per-item fees
  • Referral fees
  • Closing fees

Referral fees depend on product category but are typically 15% with a minimum fee of $1.00. See the full list of referral fees by category here. Closing fees are $1.80 per item sold and apply only to media items such as books, DVDs, music, software & computer/video games, videos, and video game consoles.

Professional Seller

  • Professional account subscription
  • Referral fees
  • Closing fees
  • Shipping fees (if applicable)

A professional seller account is $39.99/month and replaces the per-item fee charged to individual sellers. Referral fees depend on product category but are typically 15% with a minimum fee of $1.00. See the full list of referral fees by category here. Closing fees are $1.80 per item sold and apply only to media items such as books, DVDs, music, software & computer/video games, videos, and video game consoles. Some professional sellers use Amazon’s fulfillment program (Amazon FBA) to store, pack, and ship their products to customers. FBA has its own fees, which you can see here.

eBay Fees

eBay fees are seemingly less complicated than Amazon fees. But eBay is set up for individual sellers with individual items more than it is set up for sellers with multiple skus (stock keeping unit) and multiple items for each sku. There are two main fees that eBay charges sellers:

  • Insertion or listing fees
  • Final value fee

The insertion fee works a little differently depending on how you are selling your products. If you are selling individual products auction-style, eBay gives you 50 free listings per month with a $0.35 insertion fee after your 50th item.

If you are listing a product with a fixed price and hundreds or thousands of items in stock, eBay will charge you an insertion/listing fee up front and every 30 days until all items sell out or you or eBay closes the listing.

The amount you pay for this insertion fee is calculated based on what eBay calls the total start price of the listing. The total start price is the sale price of the product multiplied by the number of items available for sale. So if you’re selling a $15 t-shirt and have 1,000 on the listing, the insertion fee will be based on a start price of $15,000.00.

The other main fee that eBay charges is a final value fee. The final value fee is a percent of the final amount the buyer pays, including shipping and handling but not tax. Final value fees are typically about 10% with a cap of $750.00. So if a customer purchases all 1,000 of your $15 t-shirts, your final value fee would be capped at $750.00 rather than being the full $1,500.00.

eBay also charges a few additional fees:

  • Listing upgrades
  • Select category fees

Sellers have the option to pay small fees for listing upgrades like bold font, subtitles, international site visibility, dual category inclusion, Gallery Plus, and Listing Designer. These fees depend on the price of the item and the duration of the upgrade. See all options here.

eBay also charges additional fees for items sold in certain categories, including motor vehiclesreal estate, and select business and industrial items.

Who Should Sell on eBay

Because eBay is a smaller marketplace, it is a great way to get your feet wet with e-commerce. You can start selling on eBay with a lot less money, and drop shipping is a viable option. Customer expectations on eBay are lower, and eBay as a platform is more lenient when it comes to requirements for listing your product and customer satisfaction.

Who Should Sell on Amazon

Because Amazon is a bigger marketplace, it is more competitive. That means the cost to compete is higher but also that the reward for success is higher too. There are thousands of product markets that see healthy sales every month where competition is still low. And if you are lucky enough to find one of these markets, the rewards for performing well on Amazon are greater than they will ever be on eBay.

If you have a smaller budget and are thinking of drop shipping, Amazon is probably not the place for you. With high customer expectation, Amazon has strict requirements for their sellers. If you find yourself with too many unhappy customers and late orders, you could be off the platform.

But if you have a bit more of a budget to work with and are looking to sell a large volume of products to a large audience (especially if you are looking to utilize Amazon’s FBA program), selling on Amazon is the way to go.

Recap

Selling online is a huge opportunity for business entrepreneurs.  As you research selling on Amazon vs eBay, you’ll want to know the buyer demographics, marketplace strengths, fee comparisons, and the seller options available to you.

  • Amazon buyers have generally higher income and are younger while the average eBay buyer is older and looking for a bargain.
  • eBay is more lenient with a lower barrier of entry while Amazon is more competitive but with a higher potential for sales
  • eBay has fewer fees than Amazon and will generally be more profitable but requires you to be more hands on with the whole process.
  • Amazon buyers expect higher quality and faster shipping while eBay buyers sometimes assume the products are second hand or less quality.

 

Already Launched A Product but Need to Optimize Your Listing?

Once you’ve got a product up and selling, it’s time to think about optimizing your performance for increased sales.

And that means keyword ranking. Make sure you have all the most relevant keywords for your product with Keyword Research.

What is Keyword Research?

Watch this quick explainer video for an overview of what Keyword Research is and how it can help you increase your sales.

Now that you understand what Keyword Research offers, it’s time to start using it to optimize your listing.

Keyword Research Tutorial

Join Amazon Expert Cameron Yoder for a quick tutorial of Keyword Research.

Once you’ve got the hang of using Keyword Research to find the highest volume, highest opportunity keywords for your product, it’s time to start writing your listing.

Keyword Research Listing Builder

After the initial launch of Keyword Research, we added an awesome new feature to help you write your listing. Check out this blog about Keyword Listing Builder and find out how to use it.

Still have questions about using Keyword Research or your Pro Subscription? Login to your Viral Launch account and live chat with a coach! Just look for the chat symbol to start a new conversation.

Have Products in Mind But Need to Check Their Markets?

If you’re at the stage where you have product ideas in mind, you may feel nervous about jumping into the market. Or maybe you feel really confident but haven’t actually done your due diligence to research the product market. Either way, before you place an order for inventory, it’s important to know how much you can expect to sell and how difficult it will be to compete.

What is Market Intelligence?

Check out this quick overview of Market Intelligence to better understand the questions that the tool helps to answer.

Now that you know what Market Intelligence is, you can start using it.

Market Intelligence Tutorial

Watch this brief tutorial with Amazon Expert Cameron Yoder to see just how to use Market Intelligence to do your market research.

Market Intelligence is different than other market research tools, providing the most accurate sales projections and historical trends.

The Most Important Metric for Your Market Research

Market Intelligence looks closely at the ROI metric, or sales-to-review ratio, for a market to give you a good sense of how competitive the market is.

Find out exactly what the ROI metric is and why it matters in this blog post.

Still have questions about using Market Intelligence or your Pro Subscription? Login to your Viral Launch account and live chat with a coach! Just look for the chat symbol to start a new conversation.

Getting Started and Need to Find a Product?

Looking for a product? Product Discovery is an extremely powerful tool with endless capabilities. But figuring out how to use it to its full potential can be tricky. Here are some resources to help you get the most out of your subscription and, more importantly, to help you find the right products to sell.

What is Product Discovery?

An Introduction to Product Discovery Keyword Search

Figuring out how to use Product Discovery? Here’s a walkthrough of Keyword Search for beginners

Now that you know what Product Discovery is, you can start using it to find products.

Product Discovery Tutorial

Watch this brief tutorial with Amazon Expert Cameron Yoder to see just how to use Product Discovery Keyword Search to do your market research.

Keyword Search is the best way to search as a beginner because it shows you markets and not just individual products. And now that you know how to use Keyword Search, you can start pinning product ideas and exploring product markets.

How to Find Products to Sell on Amazon

With Product Discovery finding a product sounds easy enough. But it can be hard to jump into the sourcing process without really knowing where you’re headed.  Check out this overview of how to find products to sell on Amazon.

It’s important to know where you’re headed in your sourcing process. And it’s important to know the current Amazon landscape as well.

How to Find Non-Competitive Products and Fight the Growing Competition on Amazon

Selling a product on Amazon in 2018 is different than selling on Amazon in 2016 or 2010 was. As more and more sellers join the platform, it’s important to be savvy.

Check out this guide to finding non-competitive products and fighting the growing competition on Amazon.

Still have questions about using Product Discovery or your Pro Subscription? Login to your Viral Launch account and live chat with a coach! Just look for the chat symbol to start a new conversation.

New Amazon Listing Builder Tool in Keyword Research

Keyword Research just keeps getting better. The most powerful keyword tool in the galaxy now features an integrated Amazon Listing Builder Tool. Find the most relevant, high volume, high opportunity keywords for your product, and create a new listing or add to an existing listing.  This blog will focus specifically on our new listing builder tool.  If you’re looking for a general introduction on Keyword Research, click here.  

How the Amazon Listing Builder Tool Works

After running a search, simply select the high-volume, high-opportunity terms you want to use, and click the Create Listing button to get started. Selecting your keywords allows you to weed out any terms that may not apply to your specific product.

A hyper-relevant keyword list will be important as you write. Not sure which words to keep and which to save? No worries. You have the option to remove keywords within the Amazon Listing Builder Tool as you work. 

Inside the Amazon Listing Builder Tool, you’ll see Total Search Volume and Used Search Volume for the keywords that you’ve selected. You’ll also see an Optimization Score for the keywords you’ve actually captured in your listing and their placement. 

As you write your listing, your Used Search Volume will change and so will your Optimization Score. If you have really solid, full keyword integration, you’ll see an Optimization Score of Perfect, Exceptional, or Great. And you should be capturing most, if not all, of the Total Search Volume for your product.

If your keyword integration is lacking, you’ll see a score of Good, Average, Mediocre, or Needs Work. Click into the score to see a breakdown of the calculation including how much search volume you’ve captured in your title, bullet points, search terms, and description. 

Import an Existing Listing

Our Amazon Listing Builder Tool provides sellers with an awesome opportunity to optimize existing listings. Using the Import Listing button, you can see how optimized your current listing is, find missing high opportunity, high volume keywords, and easily add these terms to your listing.

To import a listing, simply click the Import Listing button, and enter the ASIN of the product you’d like to work on. Your current listing content will appear in the corresponding sections. And you can see your current Used Search Volume and Optimization Score.

Not getting a very good score? Sort the keywords in your bank by Volume to see if there are any high-volume words you’re missing. Then add them to your listing. Keep an eye on your score to track your improvement. Then, once you’ve captured most of the search volume, sort by Opportunity to look for words with little-to-no competition. 

Customize Character Limits

If you’re starting a new listing from scratch, make sure to adjust the character limits for your listing according to your Seller Central Account. To change the character limits, select the settings icon beside the section header and enter the character limits for your product. Not sure how to find out what your character limits are? Check out our quick and simple guide.

Organizing Keywords in the Word Bank

Once you have adjusted your character limits, you’ll want to organize your keywords in the keyword bank. Sort by Priority Score, Exact Volume, and Opportunity Score so that you see the keywords you want to prioritize first. You also have the option to toggle between Phrase View and Unique View, which allows you to see individuals terms or complete search phrases.

When in Phrase View, you have the option to remove terms that do not apply to your product by clicking the trash icon. But be careful. There may be individual words within that phrase that are still important to your product. And that’s where Unique View is really helpful. Make sure you’re seeing and using every last keyword you can by scrolling through individual terms. You’ll see the number of times that term was used in a search phrase to help you determine how important it is.

 

Using Keywords from the Bank

As you use the terms you collected from your search, you will see them grey out in the word bank on the left side of the screen. And once you use a term, for example first aid kit, it will grey out and cross out in all other phrases that contain it. So first aid kit for car will be partially greyed and crossed out, letting you know that you still need to use for car in your listing.

Ideally, you would use for car somewhere after the term first aid kit to maintain the phrase order. That’s why we offer Phrase View, so you can see the phrase order and hopefully keep your keywords in that flow. For example, let’s say you want your title to start:

Travel First Aid Kit

You can easily add in for car and get the whole phrase. And as long as first aid kit is used early in the title, you can fit the second half of other, similar phrases like first aid kit for kids

Travel First Aid Kit for Car: Emergency Kit for Kids and Adults

You can get the most ranking power when you keep a phrase completely intact. Maintaining phrase order is the next best option, but eventually even that becomes an impossible puzzle too. You’ll have to make choices about which phrases to maintain and which to split up. 

These difficult choices are why creating an elegant, optimized listing that is still readable for your customers is so hard. And it’s why we offer professional copywriting services. You can get the most effective listing for your product and the power of Keyword Research in your listing without spending hours deliberating over which keyword to use and where to use them.  

Backend Search Terms

Once you have finished writing the visible content for your listing, you can add any terms that remain in your keyword bank to your backend search terms. Simply use the Move Unused button in the header of your word bank. Up to 250bytes of unused terms will immediately copy over into the Backend Search Terms section.

By default we only show one field for Backend Search Terms. Amazon is only indexing 250 bytes for this section, which can all fit in the first field. Based on our research into Backend Search Terms, there is no benefit to using the additional fields.

Saving and Exporting

Our Amazon Listing Builder Tool continuously and automatically saves your work. You can see the last time your work was saved under the Import Listing button. If you want to leave and come back to a listing, you can find it in the History tab under Keyword Research on the left-hand navigation inside the Launchpad. 

If you are ready to use your listing, you can copy all content to your clipboard with the Copy Listing button below your Optimization Score or download the content as a CSV file. And if you decide you want to start over, you can delete the content from all fields with the Clear Listing button. You also have the option to copy or delete individual fields with the clipboard icon and the X at the far right side of each field.

How Do I Get the Amazon Listing Builder Tool?

The Amazon Listing Builder Tool in Keyword Research is available to all subscribers on Intermediate, Advanced, and Pro plans. Subscribe today, and start setting your listings up for optimal traffic and sales on Amazon with the most relevant, high-volume and high-opportunity keywords in the galaxy.

SUBSCRIBE TO KEYWORD RESEARCH

Already subscribed? Login to your account and check out Listing Builder

 

Is It Too Late to Start Selling on Amazon?

Without a doubt, Amazon is now the go-to ecommerce platform. With over 40% of ecommerce market share in 2017, Amazon emerged as the clear (and growing) choice for online shoppers.  Because of its popularity among online shoppers, Amazon is a great place for merchants to sell their products. As Amazon’s popularity has grown, more and more sellers have jumped onboard to take advantage of this incredible selling opportunity.  But is it too late to start selling on Amazon? 

In their 2017 letter to shareholders, Amazon shared, “For the first time in our history, more than half of the units sold on Amazon worldwide were from our third-party sellers, including small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) … Over 300,000 U.S.-based SMBs started selling on Amazon in 2017.”

With so many new sellers listings products, is it too late to take advantage of this income opportunity? Yes, certain markets are becoming overcrowded. And yes, shopper expectations continue to climb.  It might seem like it’s too late to start selling on Amazon, but there is still plenty of opportunity.  

How to Find Non-Competitive Products to Sell

In the early days of Amazon, finding a product to sell was easy. You might have taken a sip from your water bottle after a workout, and thought: “I wonder if water bottles are a good product to sell on Amazon?” Upon investigating, you would have found a handful of sub-par listings on Amazon with very little product information.  These would be accompanied by one blurry image taken with an iPhone and only a handful of reviews.

Well, it’s 2018 now, and gone are the days of just happening upon a profitable product market after your morning workout. But that doesn’t mean these markets are gone or you’re too late to start selling on Amazon. They’re just harder to find. In order to discover the markets with good sales and low reviews, you either have to spend a lot of time sifting through products on Amazon or use a product finder.  

Product finders, like Product Discovery, make it easy to uncover the best product markets. You can filter the Amazon catalogue to show you only the products, markets, categories, or brands with a certain number of sales or a certain number of reviews. Filters like Average Revenue, Average Price, and Average Monthly Sales allow you to find products that meet your ROI goals.

Not sure where to start? Use one of the Product Discovery presets like Low Barrier to Entry, Quick Wins, or High Margin Markets. These pre-made searches will show you products with low competition and high profit without having to input much information.

Many new sellers may start out by looking for products that sell for $15 – $30 in markets that have about 1,000 average monthly sales per product and less than 100-300 reviews on average per product. But the best product for you depends a lot on how much you have to invest and your profit goals. Click here to learn more about how to use Product Discovery to quickly find your next great product idea.  

How to Fight the Growing Competition

The best way to combat growing competition on Amazon is to out-market your competitors from the start. From the moment your product arrives in Amazon’s warehouses, you need a strong Amazon SEO (search engine optimization) listing that compels shoppers to purchase. You need product photos that clearly display your product and increase their desirability. And finally, you need a strong promotion strategy to gain initial ranking.

If you can market your product effectively, you can earn keyword ranking in search and build up a strong sales history that will be difficult for new sellers to compete with. With good ranking, you will sell more products. And the more products you sell, the more reviews you will likely get. Reviews are a huge advantage for your product over new sellers coming into your market further down the road.

Especially if you’re just starting out, spending money on marketing your product may seem frivolous. But, promoting your product is just as important to your success as finding the right product or shipping it to Amazon’s warehouses.

If your product doesn’t have good Amazon SEO, no one is going to find it and you won’t see sales. Which is pretty much the same thing as not shipping it. And if your product photo looks bad on a search result page, you’ll see fewer clicks and less traffic. Your marketing budget is not frivolous. It is vital.

Recap

The window of opportunity is still open! It’s not too late to start selling on Amazon, though success today does look different than before. You need to carefully and strategically identify product markets that still have low competition. And then you need to execute on a solid marketing strategy in order to curb future competition. That marketing strategy includes an Amazon SEO listing, stunning product photography, and product promotions that can push your listing to page 1 of search results.

For more on how to sell on Amazon, subscribe to our blog, podcast, or YouTube channel.

How to Find Products to Sell on Amazon

Amazon’s FBA program provides an incredible opportunity for driven individuals to make money online with a small upfront investment. Amazon is a well-established platform where hundreds of thousands of shoppers go every day to purchase products.

If someone buys your product, Amazon will pack and ship the item with their guaranteed 2-day delivery. All you have to do is find a product to source, list it on Amazon, and convince shoppers to purchase.

Sounds easy enough. But not all products are created equal. The price point might be too low or competition too high.  These factors can leave you stuck paying Amazon’s storage fees for inventory that won’t sell.  If you want to reap all the rewards of the Amazon FBA program, you must pick a product with potential. Here’s how to find products to sell on Amazon.

1. Generate Ideas for Products to Sell on Amazon

Before you can dive in and start evaluating potential profit for a market, you need a handful of product ideas. Think of small items that are within Amazon’s standard size requirements—18” x 14” x 8”—and are mechanically and electronically simple.

PRODUCT MARKET: A product market refers to the products that appear on a search result page for a keyword.

Most people want to start with something that is easy to manufacture and lightweight to ship. You also want to find an item that sells at a good price point between $15 and $30. Don’t feel boxed in by these criteria, but this is a great first step to find products to sell on Amazon.

You can walk around your house or the store to look at the items and start writing a list. You can also browse on Amazon to try to find ideas to add to your list. Or to quickly find a list of profitable ideas, you can use a product finder tool, like the Viral Launch Product Discovery tool.

Product finders are really helpful because they allow you to filter for the kind of product you want to sell.  For example, you can filter a product in a certain category or one that sells about 1,000 units a month.   It allows you to specify several filters within the tool and see catered results that are much more likely to be favorable markets.

You can get a pretty good list going by just looking around your house. But when you do your market research, you might find that all of the ideas on your list have too low of a price point. And then you’re back to square one. With a product finder, the product ideas that you’re starting with are much more likely to end up being ideal markets. For more information on how to use Product Discovery to find product ideas, check out our Product Discovery strategy guide videos.

2. Do Market Research

Once you have a list of product ideas, it’s time to do market research to make sure the market is favorable. You can try to do this manually, but with affordable tools like our market research software, Market Intelligence, there’s really no reason for the extra work.

A market research tool will quickly gather all the data for an Amazon product market for you. You can see estimated monthly sales, price point, number of reviews, etc. And with Market Intelligence, you can see sales, price, and review trends as well. Trends are helpful because they can show you whether a market is on the up and up or if it’s declining.

Market research helps you ensure success for your products to sell on Amazon. You want to know that you will achieve sales and make your money back multiple times over. As you look at the markets for the products on your idea list, here are a few things you’ll want to look for:

    • Monthly Sales: Typically, well-priced products with about 1,000 monthly sales per product provide great revenue for someone just getting started. However, if you are looking at a product with a higher price point, lower monthly sales may be just as lucrative.
    • Price: Products that sell for about $15 – $30 are the sweet spot for new private label sellers. They offer a healthy margin as long as the product is mechanically and electronically simple and easy to manufacture. This is just a guideline, and products to sell on Amazon outside of this range can be profitable with the right margins and sales numbers.  
    • Sales Distribution: By looking at estimated monthly sales for page one products in the market, you can see sales distribution. Sales distribution is how often shoppers purchase products on the lower half of the first page of results for the product’s main keywords. Design-oriented products typically have better sales distribution because shoppers browse for the product that is the color, pattern, or design they prefer. Distribution matters because the more shoppers browse, the easier and cheaper it is for you to win a sale without having to fight for that very top slot.
    • Number of Reviews: The fewer reviews top sellers have, the easier it is to launch a new product in that market. Shoppers look to reviews for social proof of a product’s desirability and quality. If you can get a competitive number of reviews in your market, your product can quickly sell competitively.
    • Product Ratings: If the average rating for top products in a market is low, there is likely room for product improvement. Read customer reviews and find out what the common complaints are. Then ask your manufacturer to make changes to your product to address these pain points. And, continue to make product quality your number one priority with regular inspections. If your product is the only 5-star product in the market, you’re going to win the majority of the sales.
    • Sales Trends: Using Market Intelligence, you can see sales, price, and review trends. Trends help you understand the trajectory of a market. For example, if you look at the sales estimates for beach towels in the coming months, they will be much higher than if you had looked in January. Make sure you know what to expect from the market you’re getting into. Most new sellers want a product that sells consistently all year around. You’ll want to beware of fad products that are seeing  recent spikes in sales and drop in price. You don’t want to have to sell your product at or below cost just to get rid of it.
    • Other Obstacles: Don’t forget to consider your competition. Take note of whether or not Amazon is an active seller in the market. Make sure that the main keyword for your market is not trademarked. For example, Band Aids is a trademarked term, and the top seller in the market is a recognizable brand. Do your due diligence to ensure you understand the market that you’re getting into as you’re finding products to sell on Amazon.

 

3. Calculate Upfront Cost and Profitability

Once you’ve narrowed down your product ideas, calculate your upfront cost and potential profitability. To help with this step you can use the free Viral Launch FBA Calculator. Just plug in a competitor ASIN and edit the weight, dimensions, and unit cost for your product. You can get this information from prospective suppliers before you purchase.

Remember to err on the side of pessimism with your profit projections. Just because the top product in your market sells 5,000 units a month doesn’t mean you can replicate those numbers. They could be running constant promotions or using black hat tactics to drive sales. Don’t base your projections on a single listing. Look at market averages, and be realistic.

You’re well on your way to FBA success!  Remember to put together a good list of product ideas, do thorough market research, and calculate your costs and profits. 

For more information on finding profitable products to sell on Amazon, download our guide: 3 Steps to Finding Your Next Great Product

 

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