What to Sell on Amazon: 10 Tips to Find Best Selling and Trending Products
Our Top Ten Tips for Finding Popular Amazon Products in 2019
If you’re anything like the folks we talk to on a regular basis here at AMZScout, you probably have ambitious goals for your e-commerce company, including a vision of products to sell on Amazon.
You’ve probably heard plenty of success stories from friends and family. You might have read a few helpful books and articles. Maybe you’ve even attended a seminar or two.
For many people, though, that’s where things end. They’ve done lots of homework, but they’re not quite ready to make that big leap to get started.
When we ask, what people say is that the hardest part of getting started is figuring out which of the products they’re considering selling would be best for FBA (Fulfilled by Amazon). With that in mind, and as 2018 turns to 2019, we thought we would put together our best tips for finding popular and trending products to sell online.
So, without further ado, here are our top ten tips for finding popular Amazon products in 2019.
#1: Sell something that’s in a trending niche
As you look for an item to sell on Amazon, your goal should always be to find a product that people want to buy. Accordingly, one place to start is identifying those products that people are, all of sudden, buying like crazy.
Maybe it’s a new beauty product that Kylie Jenner endorsed. Or a new toy that everyone’s kid wants for their birthday. Or some fitness gear that LeBron James says is what keeps him in great shape.
In other words, products that are trendy or trending.
Here’s the thing: it can be tough to keep close tabs on what’s trending. For example, who knew that fidget spinners would be such a thing in 2017?
The good news is that there are tools out there that take a lot of the guesswork and legwork out of this process.
The leader of the pack when it comes to these resources is Google Trends. With the help of Trends, you can track the search volume of any keyword, including physical products. This search volume is, in turn, a good approximation for consumer demand for a product. In other words, if people are searching for a product, it’s probably because they want to buy it.
Take a look, for example, at the search results for “fidget spinner” over the past five years:
What do you notice? Beginning in early 2017, there’s an extraordinary spike in searches for (read: consumer interest in) this product. (One note on the scale of the graph: Google doesn’t reveal, in absolute terms, the number of searches for a term, so everything in is listed in relative terms In other words, there were 100 times more searches for fidget spinners in mid-2017 than there were in 2015).
In short, if you were smart enough to start selling fidget spinners online and/or on Amazon in early 2017, chances are you made a killing.
At the same time, this graph also offers a cautionary note about selling trending items. As you can see, interest in fidget spinners explodes in early 2017 but falls off drastically toward the end of the year. In other words, fidget spinners went the way of so many trending items before them: they proved to be a hugely popular but passing fad.
Given that, it is important to be opportunistic but cautious about “chasing” trending items. As we have talked about in other articles, building a durable and successful business on Amazon takes time. Success rarely happens overnight.
So what’s the bottom line? You should, by all means, try to locate trending items, but you should be confident that their popularity will last if you’re going to use them to start selling on Amazon.
#2: The best way to start selling on Amazon is to sell what you know
As you are thinking about what product you should list for sale on Amazon, our next tip is to sell a product that you know inside and out.
Of all the factors that will determine whether you are successful on Amazon or not, perhaps the most important is the number and quality of the reviews that you are generating. In other words, to be successful, you need to find products that customers on Amazon will be raving about.
And here’s the thing: the best shortcut for learning whether other customers will rave about your products is if you yourself would rave about your product. That requires you to be in a position to judge the quality of your own product. And that, in turn, requires that you know a little something about about your own product.
In short, if you yourself would be a customer of the product that you sell on Amazon, then it’s probably a good product to introduce. If you would never be a customer of that product, then it’s probably not a good product to introduce.
What does that mean in practice? Let’s assume, for the sake of example, that there’s a 46-year-old named Frank who lives in Milwaukee and wants to sell on Amazon.
Frank drives a Ford F-150, has season tickets for the Green Bay Packers, and enjoys grabbing a beer with the guys after work on Fridays.
What types of products should Frank sell on Amazon? Well, it’s probably easier to think in terms of what Frank should not sell on Amazon. Frank is probably not the guy to sell a new line of maternity clothes or vegan foods. (Sorry Frank.)
In sum: know thyself. And sell on Amazon only those things thy knows well.
#3: Sell with the help of product research tools
We would be remiss if we didn’t mention the software we’ve built here at AMZScout to help you find the most popular products to sell on Amazon.
We know we’re biased and all, but we think AMZScout is the best product research software around.
The best way to learn more about it is to take it for a test drive and see for yourself. (Just click on the “Try for Free” button to install the browser extension, and you’ll be off and running).
AMZScout is designed for anyone who is selling physical products online, but we think it’s especially useful for individuals that are figuring out how to start selling on Amazon.
Let’s refer back to our friend Frank and assume that he was getting ready to sell online. Based on our recommendation, let’s also assume that Frank has wisely decided he should launch a line of football equipment, rather than vegan food.
With the help of the AMZScout extension, Frank can identify what products he should sell on Amazon just by trying a few different searches in that product category.
First, Frank tries searching for “football tees,” only to discover that’s not a great niche in which to operate:
From there, Frank tries searching for “football display cases,” which looks to be a much more promising niche.
So, in just a few clicks, with the help of the software, Frank was able to find out what he needed about the niche’s product listings, shipping costs, product costs, and Amazon fees. With that information in hand, he can be confident about starting to sell on Amazon.
#4: Sell something that can become a line of different types of products
Our next tip is that you should sell something that you can build into a line of products.
That is not to suggest that you should launch an entire line of products right away and simultaneously.
There’s simply too much risk associated with doing so. You cannot be absolutely certain that there is a demand for one of your products, let alone an entire line of them. You cannot have perfect confidence that your supplier will be able to deliver in the way that it committed to when you forked over your money. You might run into an issue trying to label and categorize multiple SKUs properly.
For all those reasons, the best approach for anyone who is new to selling on Amazon is to launch a single product, see how it performs, and expand from there.
With that said, it is imperative, even at this early stage, that you begin thinking about how you can expand your set of product offerings. The reason? What you’ll find as you sell on Amazon is that there are lots of little economies of scale that add up, in the aggregate, to make a big difference.
For instance, if you have a single variation of a product that is performing well and want to introduce a second variation of that product, you can leverage the positive reviews you’ve already built up for the first variation. Often, if you run lots of paid advertising campaigns for one product, you already know what types of ads will perform well when you introduce comparable products. It’s also sometimes the case that you don’t need to shoot brand new product photography if you’re launching products that are similar to one another.
Given all that, when you are evaluating your first product, you want to be thinking about how easy it would be to create a second, third, fourth, and even fiftieth variation that is comparable to, but slightly different from, your initial product. You want to think, in other words, in terms of collections of product lines, rather than groups of unrelated single products.
To be clear, these product variations need not be radically different from your first product. It may be as simple as tweaking the product’s shape, color, or size. Maybe there’s one core feature that you want to add to future product variations. (In fact, you’ll find that the simpler your variations are, the easier it will be down the road when you’re working with your supplier to make tweaks to your product).
In short, as you think about what to sell on Amazon now, keep in the back of your mind what you may want to sell in the future.
#5: Sell something by improving a decent product to make it bestselling
The most popular products are those that solve a clear problem that customers have. And that brings us to our next tip: identify a popular product by looking for what Amazon customers are asking for.
In most start-ups, product development goes something like this: A company has an idea for a product. The company then goes and talks to groups of customers who might use that product to get their feedback. The company builds a product based on that feedback. If all goes well and the company has taken customers’ feedback into account, customers buy the product that the company has built.
It might seem that doing this market research is a lot more difficult if you are selling online. After all, in e-commerce, you never really meet your customers. In some sense, from the point of view of the company, they are only a name, a shipping address, and an order number. So how can you go about gathering feedback from them?
In fact, Amazon has already built an extraordinary database of user feedback just waiting to be mined by sellers like you: their customer review system. To be sure, the feedback system is not built with sellers in mind; the intent of it is to help other buyers make informed decisions. What’s more, before you launch your first product, you will not be able to get feedback on your product per se, but will instead be relying on feedback about products similar to the one you’ll be launching.
Even so, customer reviews can provide new sellers on Amazon with a wealth of information. More specifically, they are a great source of inspiration and idea generation for those who are looking for products that may sell well on Amazon.
Let’s take Frank and his football equipment as an example again. (Remember Frank?)
Let’s assume Frank believes that, based on his own expertise and with the help of AMZScout, football display cases are a good potential product niche.
How should Frank move forward from there? In other words, what type of display cases should Frank look to bring to market?
The customer reviews for comparable products can provide Frank a lot of clues about this. When you search for football display cases, Amazon returns the following results:
Note that there is one item - the Ultra Pro Football Clear Square Holder - that is listed on the first page of the search results but has a customer rating of just three-and-a-half stars. This suggests that the item is selling well even though customers are not totally satisfied with it. In turn, this indicates that, if you can sell a similar product that improves on some of the defects of the existing product, your product is poised for success.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the reviews for this item and, specifically, the negative reviews. (To get there, scroll to the bottom of the page, click on the link that brings you to all of the product reviews, and then click on “See all critical reviews.”) When you do so, you get something like this:
What do you notice? It looks like customers have a few main complaints about the item:
It looks cheap/shoddy
The ball is hard to position in the case
The ball doesn’t fit properly in the case
The product often seems to arrive broken
Think about this: customers have, in this way, basically told Frank exactly what they’re looking for in a football display case. They want it to arrive in one piece, of course, and when it does, they want it to be high-quality and easy to set up.
Now Frank knows exactly what kind of football display case would be popular on Amazon.
#6: Sell something with “sales depth”
We’re halfway home! Before the clock strikes midnight, a few more tips to think about.
Our next piece of advice as you’re looking for popular products to sell on Amazon is to launch a product that has “sales depth.”
“Sales depth” is a term we came up with ourselves, so let’s explain what exactly we mean by that.
The easiest way to tell how well an item is selling on Amazon is by looking at its “Best Seller Rank (BSR). A product’s BSR is located about halfway down a product’s detail page. For instance, here is the BSR for that football display case we were looking at earlier:
Amazon does not share exact sales information about its products, but a BSR can give you a pretty good idea of whether a product is selling well or not. The lower the BSR (i.e., the closer to #1), the more popular the product.
So when you’re looking through product listings to find a popular product to sell on Amazon, it will be helpful to refer to a product’s BSR.
But you also want to carry things one step further than that. There are a lot of product niches--called them “lopsided” niches--where there is one seller with one product that is absolutely crushing the competition.
But there are other niches where there are lots of different sellers offering different products that all have a low BSR and are all, therefore, selling multiple units per day. This is what we mean by “sales depth”: products and product categories where lots of sellers have the opportunity to succeed. In general, these types of products are the best to pursue.
(By the way, AMZScout can do a lot of the work to help you evaluate product categories in this way, but you can always check BSRs manually to confirm what you’re seeing on the software.)
#7: Repeat after me: I shouldn’t sell on Amazon any kinds of seasonal products
If you are looking for popular products this time of year, chances are you’ll find that Santa costumes, Christmas lights, and advent calendars are all flying off the shelves.
Based on that, you might conclude that the product you should start selling on Amazon in 2019 is plastic reindeer.
Our advice: don’t. Cancel that inbound shipment immediately, before copies of Dasher, Donner, and Vixen start piling up in Amazon’s warehouses.
Why? Products like this have a high degree of seasonality, which is just a fancy way of saying that they sell better in one part of the year than in others. Christmas paraphernalia is by no means the only product category with high seasonality. Think beach towels, sunscreen, or swimming trunks. Or rakes, leaf blowers, and jack-o’-lanterns. Or red roses and greeting cards with Cupid on the front.
As you’re thinking about what types of products to sell on Amazon, think about whether the product might have seasonality and, if at all possible, stay away from it, at least while you’re getting your feet wet.
The reason is twofold. For one thing, if a seasonal product is in its peak selling season, it’s easy to get fooled into believing that a product is more popular than it actually is. In addition, even if you have a clear idea of how popular a product is, it is very difficult to manage your inventory when there are so many peaks and valleys over the course of a calendar year.
#8: Sell something that’s on the Amazon bestseller list
Tucked away in another corner of Amazon.com is another great resource for finding popular product ideas: Amazon’s lists of what is selling well on the site.
The most straightforward place to start is with Amazon’s Best Sellers list. Here you’ll find a catalog of the most popular products on the site, helpfully broken down by category and sub-category. Here, for example, are the best sellers in the Sports & Outdoors category.
If you want to take a slightly different angle, however, another approach is to look through Amazon’s Movers & Shakers list. Here, you’ll find products that have shot up the charts over the course of the past 24 hours. What once were run-of-the-mill Amazon products have, all of a sudden, seen a surge in demand.
While this list is a great way to spot popular products before others do, it is worth adding a quick note of caution about how to use this list. In particular, if you are using this list as inspiration for a product you want to launch on Amazon, make sure you’re clear on the reason for the product’s spike in popularity.
For one thing, a single Instagram post from a celebrity is sometimes enough to send demand for a product through the roof. (Remember Oprah’s annual Favorite Things list?) The problem with chasing products on this list, as we talked about above, is that the demand for faddish items tends to dissipate as quickly as it comes.
Second and related, seasonality can be a bigger driver of changes to the Movers & Shakers list. And seasonal products are a big no-no (see tip #7). It’s no surprise that ski goggles, an insulated mug, and a flannel shirt are the best sellers in the Sports & Outdoors category during the winter. Good luck to anyone who tries to launch a new line of flannel shirts during May.
So if you’re going to use these lists as a tool to find products, particularly the Movers & Shakers list, try to ensure that the changes you spot are the beginning of a durable change, rather than a short-lived trend.
#9: Sell something that is not quite as popular
Our second-to-last tip for finding popular products to sell on Amazon is to identify products that are not quite as popular.
Let us explain what we mean by that. It’s now been more than a decade that Amazon has allowed third-party sellers to offer products on its platform. In that time, especially over the past few years, things have gotten competitive, and fast.
What that means is that the most popular products niches are, at this point, pretty well saturated. In some cases, that’s because the big brands have taken them over. In other cases, there’s a third-party seller that has built up such a head start that it would be hard for a new seller to catch up. In still other cases, lots of new Amazon sellers all flock to the same niches, leaving little room for new entrants.
The upshot of all this is that, now more than ever, there is a benefit to targeting smaller rather than bigger niches. Think of it this way: would you rather have a tiny share of a big market or a huge share of a smaller market? While the devil is in the details, the answer, on Amazon, is increasingly the latter.
So how can you find these smaller niches? Once again, Google and Amazon have an answer ready and waiting for you.
Both sites now offer an “autofill” feature on their search results. That is, when you start typing a search, the search box populates with search terms that you may be looking to type. Importantly, the results from this autofill feature are determined by what other individuals have searched for. In this way, on Amazon in particular, experimenting with the autofill feature can help you figure out exactly what customers are looking to buy.
Let’s visit Frank one last time. Let’s also assume that Frank has successfully launched his display case for footballs (way to go Frank!) and is now looking for another adjacent product to launch.
One way Frank might answer this question is to type “display case” into the Amazon search bar and see what comes up. Here’s what he finds:
Look at all the valuable information contained in this autofill. It looks like Amazon customers are also looking for display cases for their football helmets (makes sense), their baseballs, and for their medals and ribbons.
It’ll take some digging to determine which of these niches offers the least competition and the most opportunity, but this simple search offers a great place to start.
#10: Sell products that, based on your testing, meet key qualities of top selling items
Our final tip for finding popular products to sell on Amazon is to test them before you launch them.
So far in this article, we have discussed lots of different ways we can look over the shoulder of our competitors to determine whether a product might sell well on Amazon. We’ve mentioned looking at competitors’ Best Seller Rankings. We talked about how you can scroll through existing product listings to determine how to improve upon existing offerings. We’ve referred you to the “Movers & Shakers” page that Amazon assembles for its customers.
The truth is, though, that there is sometimes no substitute for testing out a product’s popularity yourself. In other words, rather than taking Amazon’s word for it, there is often a benefit to learning for yourself whether there is a demand for a product.
Of course, the only true test is when you actually launch a product on Amazon and customers, for the first time, are making a decision as to whether to buy or not. But there is a lot you can do before that step to learn what is likely to happen when that product goes live.
Let’s say that, with the help of this guide, you’ve done some initial research and you think you’ve identified a few products that would perform well on Amazon. At that point, you could validate this assumption in any number of ways:
Launching a Google AdWords campaign and seeing what click-through rates you get for those ads
Running a Facebook campaign and seeing which products result in the highest engagement
Creating a simple dropshipping site where you’re selling the potential product without having purchased the inventory
The sky is the limit. The bottom line is that, if you want an extra proof point before you consider selling on Amazon, there are many low-cost tools at your disposal.
We hope this guide provides you that extra little bit of motivation to help you stick to your e-commerce resolutions for 2019. If you’re looking for additional resources to help you with getting started on Amazon, also be sure to check out our free e-book on selling on Amazon.
We’d love your feedback on this article and on the AMZScout software. Get in touch with us by dropping us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org