What Is Product Research?
Without a doubt product research is THE most important part of the import process. Thankfully there are tools like Jungle Scout, it has the potential to dictate the future of your business and the levels of success it will see.
Finding products that sell well in a niche you can compete in is essential to the success of your business. That’s why awesome tools like Jungle Scout are so important.
In this and in this blog post we are going to go deep into product research showing exactly how I do it holding nothing back! There will be free downloads on all the spreadsheets, tools and some really helpful infographics to help get the job done.
You will need The Product Research Bonus Pack. Sign up below and take action!
Step By Step Video Tutorials
This blog post has a huge collection of videos that have been taken from tutorials I have all over the internet and some I created especially. On top of that, there will be some awesome downloads for you to read and look over.
Between each of the tutorials, I will give a summary of the video and what’s been said. I’ll also add lots of other tips and tricks to help you out.
So without further ado… Let’s get started!
Like I said earlier I am going to go deep in this post and it is going to be BIG with some long video tutorials.
This being the case you might want to bookmark this page to use as you progress. Either way, you’ll need popcorn and refreshments 😉
What Makes a Good Product?
Before we head off and start searching for products we need to establish what makes a good product to source. This is the part that a lot of sellers fall short on. They start importing wardrobes or mechanical devices with little thought to the logistics, practicality or reliability of the product.
Here are some very important considerations to use whilst looking for products on Jungle Scout.
Keep It Consistent
A common trap is to see new sellers start selling iPhone cases. I see why. They are light, popular and easy to ship. Perfect right? Nope. At the time of writing this the iPhone X is all the rage but in 6 months a new design will be out thus reducing your sales dramatically. Seasonal products are also in this category. The last thing you need is a garage full of Santa hats for 11 months of the year.
Keep It Simple
Having a product with minimal moving parts means less can go wrong especially when you are starting out. The chances are you will not know the factory you are doing business with let alone if they can be trusted and relied upon. Their product quality and service is your reputation. Keeping to a minimal amount of moving parts and being made from only a couple of materials is key.
Being weird is cool! It also makes you stand out from the crowd. I’m sure you have seen long lists of the same identical product offerings on Amazon, Just type in the search “silicone oven gloves”.
Standing out is crucial and weirdness sells. People don’t want to be the same they want to be unique and express themselves.
They also want others to notice they are unique and have quirky talking points around their house. Its what made Etsy.com as big as it is.
A great way to beat the competition is to establish their faults and capitalize on them. Head to Amazon and look for products that have 3-star reviews… or below. Then check out what customers are saying is bad about the product. A lot of the time they are complaining about the same issue. Now see if you can get a factory to rectify that issue, you now have the leading edge.
Make It Small & Light
The bigger and heavier the product the more you have to pay for storage and shipping. Keep your product selection small, light and cost-effective.
Is There Demand?
Are people going crazy for your product? Will it fly off the shelves as soon as you stock it? Make sure there is a healthy demand for your product before you commit.
Get Niche Specific
Obvious choices are not an option. Sourcing mainstream products like clocks and salt shakers with way too much competition will be an uphill struggle. Niche down and get off the beaten track.
Hit The Price Sweet Spot
Anything under $15 you are going to struggle to make any sizable profit. Anything over $200 and the customer is going to have to think about it. You want your purchase to be a good margin and an easy decision for the customer to make.
Making money is what you are here for right? And that starts in the early stages.
Make sure you get at least 100% return on investment and that includes product cost, shipping fees, Amazon fees and anything else.
Finding a product that fits all of this is going to be near on impossible so use this as a guide and combine with what fits best in your business model and let’s move on.
Shipping and Shipping Rates – Things To Consider
I have seen so many blog posts and tutorials about how shipping is such an important factor during the product research phase.
Well, I’m here to tell you they’re wrong!
You see when starting this process it’s about sticking to the above product criteria (which will keep your shipping rates low anyway) and getting as many products down on your initial findings as possible. Once you have a good amount of possibilities then you can narrow them down and pick the best options.
This will be when you consider shipping. If you were to start calculating shipping from the start it would take you forever.
Please leave the shipping until you have a shortlist of products that you researched using Jungle Scout and all the other tools covered in this post.
What is Jungle Scout?
As mentioned earlier the main tool we will be using for this is called Jungle Scout.
Jungle Scout is a combination of a web app and Chrome browser extension. You can use either or both for product research.
But if they are combined you get an extremely powerful product research tool that has never let me down.
The reason we use Jungle Scout over other other tools is that it’s just better. I’m not going to say its the cheapest but when it comes to something as important as product research you should really be looking at the best options.
To start with I will cover all of the features and tools we will be using in this process, what they do and why we are using them.
This will make it much easier when we come to the process as you will already know what everything means and how to do it.
Check out this video on how and what to install on Jungle Scout
The Jungle Scout Tools
The Jungle Product Database
The main purpose of this tool is to present the products that are for sale on Amazon in a clear way so we can see gauge the market and see if there is any potential there.
Jungle Scout does this by gathering all the products from nine of the Amazon marketplaces and compiling that data into its web app. Now I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that that is a lot of data making it already an extremely powerful tool.
Now that you have all of that at your fingertips you can filter it down to super sub-niche categories with defined metrics and logistics. Basically, you can go from seeing every product to a specific niche of products that are selling hot with little competition.
Jungle Scout Product Tracker
So you have found some products that you think might be winners but what’s next?
Enter the Jungle Scout Tracker!
In this tool, you can easily add products to be tracked over a certain period of time. I usually recommend at least two weeks to get some good data on how a product is performing.
The product tracker will show the history of how a product has performed in the past right up to the current day/week. This information is extremely powerful and will remove any doubt as to whether you can sell your stock once ordered.
Check out this overview of the Jungle Scout Product Tracker.
The Jungle Scout Chrome Extension
To get a bird’s eye view of the product search you are looking to enter there is a better tool than the Jungle Scout Chrome Extension.
By entering the search term for the product you are interested in into Amazon. You can then hit the J.S extension button and it will bring up a whole array of figures and metrics about the competition on that page.
This information is essential for not only making a product selection but seeing how your competition is performing and how strong the market is for your chosen product.
Here we will cover the extension and all of its features.
The Jungle Scout Product Research Method
By this point, you should be a Jungle Scout super knowledge and be chomping at the bit to start finding products. We have broken the product research process down into 4 stages to be worked through consecutively.
Once you get to stage 4 you will be left with 1 or 2 premium product choices you can then get samples and move on with the importing process.
Stage 1: Finding Products With The Product Database
To get started we obviously need to find some products that fit our criteria. If you have not downloaded the product criteria infographics then please do below.
This will make it much easier to find suitable products as you can have the infographics printed out or in a separate window for reference.
The Jungle Scout product database search options provide you with an unlimited amount of variations that you can use. We will cover some different search variations at later but for now, we are going to use a pretty standard search format.
Firstly you will need to choose your filter options. In the video below I choose a pretty standard set of options that will give the safest options. But this part is really up to you and the business that you have or are starting up.
Do try to keep as close as you can to the product criteria to avoid unnecessary stress.
The next stage is the filters. I have chosen the 3 main ones you will need to ensure your product has a good profit margin, is making good monthly sales and is not too competitive. I highly recommend that you change and add to these settings to see what you get.
Finally, we have the product tiers, again these are not set in stone and you can choose whatever fits your search and the type of product you are searching for. Once you have decided on your search criteria hit the button and have a scan over what comes up.
If you are not happy with the results then some adjustments might have to be made or you might have to broaden your search.
Check out this video as I take you through the process in detail.
Stage 2: Sorting Products With The Chrome Extension
Now that you have selected a gang of products that you are happy with and the tab bar on your browser is overflowing we can now sort the good, the bad and the ugly using the Jungle Scout Chrome Extension.
This process can take a bit of time especially if you have selected a lot of products from stage one but it is totally worth it as by the end you will have some top performing products that can be added to the Jungle Scout Product Tracker.
The first thing to do is select a product and try to establish its main search term.
For example, the first product we cover in the below video is a Copper Non-stick Frying Pan and that was the keyword I used. Looking back now it would also be a good idea to have searched for just “Non-stick frying pan” too as that would have given a different set of results. Please feel free to experiment with keywords but stick to the most obvious and searched terms for your research.
We Use The Chrome Extension To Analyze The Following Fields:
We are looking at the all of the product listings and seeing if the price fits our criteria. Sometimes when looking at a product in the database its price is higher than the others in its niche. If all of the products in the top 10 are priced roughly the same or higher then good news.
The rule of thumb is to see a total amount of sales in the top 10 results of between 1000 – 1500. I also like to see those sales spread across at least a few listings and not just one. This suggests that the market is strong and your products are going to move.
The revenue is very much related to the sales metric and is just something to look over and give yourself an idea of the earning potential that can be made with your chosen product. It is also handy if you have other logistical expenses to take into consideration.
A products reviews are extremely important and gauge how easy it will be for you to compete with the products in the top 10. The lower the number of reviews the easier it is to get ranked higher in the listings. Avoid products that have hundreds/thousands of listings. If there are a couple of big ones that is ok but you’re really looking for lots of low numbers like 60 or less.
The rest of the figures on this table will then give you an even better idea of how good this niche is. Coupled that with the overview at the top and you should have a good idea as to how well a product will perform.
Check out this video on the Jungle Scout Chrome Extension where I evaluate the products we chose in the last video and add the hot ones to the Product Tracker.
Stage 3: Using the Jungle Scout Product Tracker
The Jungle Scout Product tracker is not only a great place to shortlist and store all of the products that have made the cut but also monitor their day to day activities on Amazon.
I recommend that you leave all of the products you add to the tracker for at least 2-3 days before analyzing the data. Doing this will give you a much more refined and detailed set of figures to work with.
BUT this does not mean that you have to wait 2-3 days before you can do anything. Keep adding more and more products using the process we have just covered and you will quickly see that the best product options will stand out.
Sort all of your product choices out into tabs at the top of the tracker. This is very handy if you are sourcing from multiple marketplaces and want to keep them separate or you have some products that you are still not sure about and want to have a maybe pile or sort them to the individual user.
30 Day Avg. Figures
The figures on the tracker are shown as an average over 30 days. This will give you a broader spectrum of how the product is performing and if tracked for a while you can see if it is consistent too. The Units Sold Per Day field also gives you great idea as to how many units to order from the factory. If you order too many you might never sell them or if you order too few you will leave money on the table and it will affect the products sales rank.
Product Page, Trash and Detailed Chart
The 3 tabs on the far right of each tracked product will show the product page on Amazon, you can trash the product if no longer needed and expand to see a more detailed history of the product and its performance.
All you need to do now is take these final selections and add each of them to out product calculator to work out the final details.
Check out the case study video of our product research process here:
Stage 4: The Product Cost Calculator
As covered in the video above the Product Cost Calculator will pretty much work out every single deduction and cost you will incur and give you the total landed price (landed price = the cost of everything including the shipping)<
Here are some of the main features of the spreadsheet, how to use them and where to get the information from.
Be sure to get the final agreed upon price before adding in this figure. If one has not been agreed upon yet I always put in the most expensive possible price so that anything else will be a bonus. This spreadsheet is perfect for when your supplier gives you a price and you can now check to see if it will work and how much you can make.
This will again be something that is negotiated with your supplier. Remeber when looking at listings on Alibaba that the MOQ shown is just a starter figure and can probably be reduced if needed.
Duties & Taxes
These can be worked out using world freight rates and Googling “import tax” and the name of your country of residence. For more information on this check out our full import guide here.
In this section, you should add everything that is going to make your product stand out from the crowd. Like we covered earlier, be sure to check the reviews of 3-star products and see what needs improving or adding to. Another good tactic is to add a bonus product preferable from another supplier. This can be an extra hassle to pack the products together but it gives your offering huge value and really makes you stand out from the crowd.
The packaging and its cost will probably grow over time as your product gets more established and branded. Be sure to keep this spreadsheet updated as you progress. To start with try to keep the packaging simple, clean and professional. I have seen some products have such poor packaging that it actually devalues the product more than if it didn’t have any. Ensure your factory sends you pictures of the packaging and your order in the packaging.
When first sourcing a product get quotes for a few different shipping options from a few different agents and the factory you are dealing with too. As with packaging shipping is something that can be negotiated with your supplier. For more details on negotiating with suppliers check out our comprehensive blog post here.
If you have followed this blog post and taken action then you should have some very viable product options to forward with. Congratulations!
Product research is one of the hardest things for beginners to master. Once you have a product that is going to perform there is a lot less uncertainty about the process.
Being cautious and just reading through this and watching the videos? I hope you liked what you saw and will take action.
Download the bonus pack with two alternative methods of researching products that help you find bigger sellers with little competition.
Thank you so much for checking this out, I hoped you like it and please leave a comment question below.