So you are learning how to sell on Amazon and have decided that you don’t want to pay for Jungle Scout. Having read the title I’m assuming that you are reading this for one of a few reasons.
The first is that you want to find a product that will sell well on Amazon and make you a lot of money.
The second is that you are on a budget and the expense of product research software like Jungle Scout is not attractive… Or you just want to learn more about product research and the process involved.
Whatever the reason you are in the right place.
Learning how to sell on Amazon has become one of the top ways entrepreneurs can make a good living. This being said it is still one that can go wrong very easily and mostly with product research.
Doing thorough product research is a skill! It’s also something that I recommend doing manually first by using the process covered in this article before moving onto software like Jungle Scout. It’s important that you know and understand what makes a good product and be able to pick them out at will instead of having to rely on software.
Once you have been doing this process for a while it will become second nature and you will always have your eye open for a potential winner. There is still so much opportunity on Amazon and you can still easily make a 6 figure a year product portfolio but it all starts with finding the right products to sell.
The final point I would like to make is to please learn a product research method whether its the ones written on the pages of this website or from another service. Learning how to find products that fit the best criteria to make you the most money with the minimum amount of aggravation is essential.
Also please note that many potential Amazon sellers never make it past the product research phase and either give up or skip over it….
Neither of these are very good life choices.
What Is The Free Product Research Method
I devised this method years ago when I was learning how to sell on Amazon. At the time there wasn’t any software like Jungle Scout to help do the job for you and we used to make do with some eBay sales software that was less than accurate.
What is this method?
This product research method uses a bunch of free tools that are available from various websites to gather all of the figures you require to make an educated decision on what’s hot and what’s not. This is not a ‘push button’ method like Jungle Scout and will take more time and work.
What are the pros?
You get a better insight into the product metrics and how it is performing. You will learn a lot more about sourcing products and the niche/market you intend to enter. This might just be me…. But it’s also more fun! And in case you hadn’t noticed its FREE!
What are the cons?
Well, the main one is this and I feel it needs to be emphasized…
FREE PRODUCT RESEARCH TAKES MUCH MORE TIME AND WORK!
The second is you are not going to get the accuracy and features that are available with a paid tool like Jungle Scout. This is still very shoestring but will give you the required essential information you need.
Over the years I have refined this process and still use to this day despite all the big premium options out there. This really has been quite an unintentional project for me and when you have been through the process a few times it becomes quite fun.
Once upon a time I used to procrastinate from doing product research and hated it, now I enjoy it so much that I procrastinate from doing other things by doing unnecessary product research using this method. 😉
So without further ado let’s get started finding you hot selling products for FREE!
The Primary Goals of Product Research
Amazon product research pretty much comes down to finding products that meet certain criteria. The way to find these products is to grab loads that we know are Amazon top sellers and then run them through a filtration process of checks until we left with a few gold nuggets and the end. It’s kind of like doing what Jungle Scout does but manually.
The following points are what we will be looking for during this process:
Number of Sellers
The number of sellers that are already selling a product is very important. We are looking for other sellers to be selling the product (more on this in a minute) but we obviously don’t want there to be hundreds and none of them apart from the top few making any sales.
The Number of Reviews
Amazon puts a lot of weight being the number of reviews a product has and their quality. Products with a lot of great reviews get ranked much easier and stay in the top slots. Products with lots of reviews can work in our favour. This gives us an inside track on the pros and cons of a product as well as lots of other information that we can use to our advantage.
Focusing on how many reviews the first-page competition has will be our primary focus for this process.
The Number of Sales
A rough estimation can be done with the bestsellers rank. It’s just as easy to see the estimated figure of how many sales are done monthly and i’ll show you how. This can also be used to see how well a niche is performing overall.
Viable Estimated Margin
You can get a great idea of what the margin is going to look like with the free tools we will be covering. Obviously, the actual margin will be defined once you have all the figures but getting an idea early on can save you a lot of time.
The bigger the margin the better but as a rule of thumb, I like to see a 100% markup on the initial price.
What Makes a Good Product?
Through trial and error, pain and heartache I have developed criteria of what makes a good product to source.
These videos below are from my paid training courses, they are very important and will help you dodge a huge amount of headaches and expense in the future.
As we covered earlier all of the tools for this method are 100% free and are located on multiple different websites.
Use our calculators to record and calculate your initial findings and see which products are viable options. The Amazon Price Cost Calculator will give you an excellent estimate on the cost of the project.
It will also show you your total net profit too.
Check out this video for the Product Research Workbook taken from my paid courses and used regularly by my students.
Keepa is one of my favourite tools that you will find yourself using not just during product research but all the time. Because it’s a browser extension its always running when you are on Amazon.
The easiest way to find and get Keepa is Google “Keepa extension Firefox”. You can change the ‘Firefox’ to whatever browser you’re using.
This will bring up a result that looks like this…
Follow the instructions and make sure that it is activated once you have installed it.
Now when you go to Amazon and check out a product listing page you should get a chart that looks like this…
Here is a video rundown of what everything means on this chart and how to use it.
This a great free tool from Jungle Scout and using the sales rank on your chosen product from any Amazon marketplace will give you a pretty accurate estimate on how many sales are being made by that seller for that product.
I have tried this with some of my products to see how close it and it’s not too far off the mark.
You can find the Jungle Scout product estimator here or through the Product Research Tool Box Page
Check out this video of me using The Jungle Scout Product Estimator and all its features.
CamelCamelCamel.com is popular tool amongst arbitrage sellers and deal hunters, it will give a detailed price history of Amazon products.
The charts on here look a little similar to Keepa but CamelCamelCamel has much superior price history charts so that is why we use it.
If you would like to double check a sales rank on a particular product then this is the website to do it on.
You can find the Camels here or through the Product Research Tool Box.
Check out this video of my using CamelCamelCamel.com and going through all of its features.
The Amazon FBA Calculator
Use this to quickly calculate how much a potential product is going to cost when sent to Amazon FBA. This is essential when doing your product research as FBA fees will take a significant chunk out of your margins.
You can find links to the UK & US FBA Calculators here.
Check out this video of me using the Amazon FBA Calculator and its features.
Amazon Best Sellers Page
This is a section on Amazon’s website where they list all of their bestsellers in every category and subcategory. Strangely enough, at the time of writing, you can’t access this part of the website from the Amazon Marketplace and will need to Google it.
Enter into Google “Amazon Bestsellers” and you should see a result with the green URL ending in ‘zgbs’.
You also access the US and UK Bestsellers pages through the Product Research Tool Box Here.
The Product Research Method
- Head to The Amazon Best Sellers page and start to niche down into the sub-categories. This can take a while but try to stay off the beaten track as much as possible. Keep in mind the ”what makes a good product” video then select something that looks to fits that criteria.
- Now that you are on the selected products page take a look at the Keepa chart and see how the product has been performing in terms of its sales rank. Remember that the closer the sales rank is to 0 the better. Due to the fact your selected product was in the bestsellers, there is a strong chance there will be a lot of competition but it doesn’t hurt to check.
- Open a new tab on your browser and load up the Amazon marketplace again type in the main Keyword for your selected product. Make sure the search is selected to ‘All Departments’.
- Now head back to your original product listing page and scroll down to the “Customers also bought” section. Often you will find a lot of products that are related to the best seller product and will also be getting a lot of sales too. Select all the ones that you like the look of and open them all up into new tabs.
Check the Competition
- You should now have a lot of tabs up in the top of your browser with lots of different products in them. You should also have another tab with the search results from your first product selection. We will use this as our example…
- Take a look at the search results. The first thing to look at is the reviews. Are there lots of sellers with hundreds or even thousands of reviews? If so then the competition is way too high but fear not we have lots of other more niche products in other tabs to check. Go to the next tab, figure out what the products main keyword is and then search for that. If the reviews are in the double digits 50’s 60’s 70’s then that is not too bad as you will have much more of a chance to compete with that.
- Next is to check the number of sellers. Start going back through the pages and seeing how far you have to go before the results start to show other products. Also, keep an eye on the number of reviews these sellers have got too. Ideally be looking to not go back further than 4 – 5 pages but this will vary with each product.
Check the Figures
- Take a few products from each page where there is competition and run the Jungle Scout Sales Estimator. You can find the sales rank details half way down the Amazon listing… This may take a bit of time and it will be best to have Jungle Scout open in a separate window so you can speed things up. If you are seeing lots of sales that increase as you head to the first page that is a very good sign. If there are only sales in the top few listings that would suggest a very dry and saturated market.
- An important aspect to take into consideration is the price history. Even if a product looks like its selling at a good price, has that always been the case? Take the products ASIN number and paste it into the search bar in CamelCamelCamel.com. You can find the ASIN number halfway down the product listing….
- If the product has a manageable amount of competition, Is making good sales and the price is in the sweet spot and has a good history then we are good to move onto the next phase.
Starting with a lot of products in tabs is good practice as most won’t make it very far. But once done you will be left with an ideal product and have the figures to prove it.
The Final Cut
- You should now only have a couple of products left and can head over to Alibaba.com to find suppliers and prices. Remember that all you are really looking for is the unit price and the MOQ (minimum order quantity). There are some other search filters that you can use and I cover all of them in the below video plus some details on what exactly Alibaba is and why we use it.
- Time to fill out your spreadsheet. Start adding all the details and figures you have acquired on winning products that have got this far. Just concentrate on the first section and put enough to get an initial net profit.
- For the AMZ Est Fees on the spreadsheet, use the Amazon FBA Profit Calculator. FBA fees can be a nasty surprise if not worked out early.
- Speed is the key! Try to add only the information you need into the spreadsheet and keep drilling down through the “customers also bought” sections in listings. Don’t be afraid to drill down through multiple listings and keep adding your findings to new tabs and running them through the selection process.
DO THIS PROCESS UNTIL YOU HAVE AT LEAST 50 PRODUCTS ON THE SPREADSHEET
Shipping Calculations, Duties, Customs and Taxes
By now you should have at least 50 final cut products that have made through the selection and are all on your spreadsheet. You should also be able to see who the clear winners are in terms of net profit.
Pick out your preferred 3 or 4 products, it’s not really necessary to work out the shipping for them just yet but there might certain circumstances where it’s necessary
You can use the first two services below to record those figures into your spreadsheet.
This is by far the best website for calculating estimates on shipping and customs charges. At the time of writing, you were able to get 5 free quotes before they started charging you so use them wisely.
The other website that will give you a ballpark figure for shipping is the UPS website. If you just Google “UPS Shipping Estimate” in there will be a get a quote search result where you can enter in some details and be quoted a price.
Its very common around this time for students to freeze, start over thinking things and need an answer to every single question and scenario before they will take action. The fact of the matter is you will only get the answers once you take action and it’s very unlikely the situation will be perfect all the time. You will have to step out of your comfort zone at some point.
Trust the figures, leave yourself enough in the bank to fall back on, take action and keep moving forward.
Amazon Cost / Price Calculator
So now that you have your final 3 – 4 selections from the workbook spreadsheet it’s time to take it up a notch and really figure out which one is going to be your final choice.
To do this we will be using the Amazon Cost / Price Calculator and working on all the additional costs and fees that you may need to take into consideration depending on your product and what you want to achieve.
You can download the Amazon Cost / Price Calculator HERE.
Below are details on some of the features. In the next section, we’ll talk about communicating with factories for better pricing on your project.
No problem if you don’t have the figures yet, they will come as you communicate with factories.
Firstly open one Calculator spreadsheet for each of your final selected products and give them each a name.
- Wholesale Price: The unit price on Alibaba.com.
- Unit Amount: Is the agreed amount to be shipped or the MOQ.
- Shipping Cost: The estimated or quoted shipping cost.
- Duties and Taxes: Is relevant to the import tax of your home country. If you Google “US Import tax percentage” it will give the correct figure to enter and the spreadsheet updates automatically.
- This section is if you want to add extras to your product for uniqueness or you are bundling products. Feel free to add any other additional product expenses in here like modifications or fancy product inserts.
- Product packaging might not be something you’ll do straight away but is definitely an option to take into consideration. Having your own packaging adds value to the product and can instantly add brand identity.
- Be sure to add any additional costs, no matter how small as they quickly add up.
- Shipping can get expensive quickly so be sure to mark down every expense to get an accurate figure.
- It’s normal for a factory to quote you for shipping and take care of everything from there end. If that’s the case then all you need to do it add the figure at the top of the section.
Communicating With Factories
For some of the final details and figures for the Calculator, you will need to contact the factories. This sounds quite daunting if you have never done it before but trust me, its fine.
They deal with enquiries all day long, are normally very friendly and professional.
Before sending off some emails here are some very important points:
- Create a new email address. If you use your own it will be nuked with sales enquiries the world over.
- Read my blog post Import From China – How to Sell on Amazon & Build an Empire. This will give you a great understanding of whats involved.
- Feel free to use the sample email below to alter and edit to fit your needs.
Here is sample email that I use to send out to factories. It may not be exactly what you are looking for but everyone’s needs are different.
Please feel free to copy this and use it as a starting point.
Hi there, My name is Danny from Craft Kitchen. We are looking to purchase Silicone Oven Glove for the US market. Please see attached photos. Our primary sales channels will be online. We estimate up to 20,000 to 30,000pcs annual purchase volume once fully established and after a trial order of 500 sets plus samples for evaluation. Specifications: Size – 9in x 5in (22cm x 13cm) Should have cloth sleeve 100% In colours Orange, bright green and purple. High Quality required. Do you manufacture silicon oven gloves to this specification? If so, please provide the following: 1/ Photo, specifications and shipping quotation 2/ Are you a manufacturer or Trading Company? 3/ What is the lead time for samples and trial order? 4/ Can we add a logo to this item? If so where can the logo be added? 5/ What is the sample cost including shipping, by express to the USA? Appreciate your reply. Thank you. Danny Guerin Craft Kitchen
That’s about it!
After communicating with factories, negotiating on prices and packaging. Add it to the Cost Calculator and you’ll have an excellent idea of all your required expense.
If you still feel like you need more guidance or just want to learn more then check out this free weekly webinar below, hosted by the StartupBros.
This is where I started and I can’t recommend them enough.
I hope that you have either found a great product to sell or just really enjoyed the read, if so please share this with your friends on social media and feel free to ask questions and comments below. I shall do my best to reply to you as soon as possible.