Beginners in e-commerce on Amazon are often unsure about what they should sell on the platform. There is simply so much competition and the market is proliferated with an incredibly wide range of brands, both corporate and independent, all vying for customer’s attention.
So if you don’t have a niche you excel at already but would like to make the most of this opportunity, what do you sell? What’s the least risky industry to enter? What products generate the highest returns?
In this article, we not only discuss some of the popular and overlooked choices there are for you to consider, but we also delve deep into how you can research what to sell on your own. This will further empower you to come up with a brand that’s the unique, versatile, and high-potential product category.
Even if you are to go the tried and tested route, you can gain enough insights that help you navigate the globally interlinked world of e-commerce, where making sales is actually easier than you think.
What are the most popular and trending categories?
Electronics, appliances, and accessories
We live in an age where convenience and staying connected are a huge priority. So it is no surprise that electronics are one of the most trending categories in any online shopping platform. They encompass the broad spectrum of life, from handheld devices like smartphones and cameras to household utilities and appliances like TV screens and microwave ovens.
Currently, more than 40% of electronic products have been bought and sold through online platforms and large marketplaces like Amazon.
There is an overwhelming demand for gadgets as updates keep arriving every year with improved models and better features. There’s a huge demand for audio-visual gadgets with interactive interfaces like smartphones, televisions, cameras and accessories.
Apparel, fashion accessories, and footwear
Pardon the pun, but fashion accessories never go out of fashion. Apparels, clothing and footwear are one of the most popular product categories that offers you endless opportunities in any market, especially when you’re selling online.
There’s so much scope for variety, from different iterations that suit different body types, tastes and choices of shades, to gender-neutral accessories like wallets, belts, backpacks, footwear and so much more.
Many home designers launch their own clothing line on platforms like Amazon. There’s an unbridled scope for creativity in the fashion industry, where you can find a market for any aesthetically interesting or functionally essential products you trade-in.
Whether it is custom-designed T-shirts or branded footwear, there’s always going to be customers for what you’re offering, as long as you don’t run out of ideas. You just need to know how to find them.
Customized and handmade products
Shoppers are often dissatisfied with the limited options and lack of variety that comes with buying branded products. There’s a certain appeal and allure to handcrafted products like jewelry sets, home decor items and others that can’t be duplicated on an industrial scale.
This is why many customers love purchasing an artifact as one-of-a-kind. There’s a huge market for everyday household and lifestyle accessories that are custom-made and unique in their own way.
What makes the custom and hand-made category especially unique and profitable is the freedom of pricing. Unlike branded products where competitors selling the same items can impose certain limits to how much the product can be priced, homemade goods can be priced to offer much better profit margins.
Cosmetics and self-care
“Everyday grooming products” is yet another rapidly growing category. More recently, there is an undeniable surge in demand for naturally produced and wholly organic self-care products such as herbal oils, shampoo, soap etc.
If you have a winning formula or access to natural resources to produce amazing products, then there’s definitely a lot you can offer to customers.
There’s an abundance of variety and a surging growth in demand for everyday staple items like cereals, groceries, food items, and more. It is one of the few categories where consumers tend to repeat purchases they need on a monthly or weekly basis.
The extreme convenience of getting everyday household needs delivered straight to their doorstep makes this a great category for e-commerce sellers, especially for ones who can cash in on the local market. For instance, a good local baker could certainly grow their business capacity by extending it to online shopping platforms like Amazon, going beyond just their immediate local circle.
Whether it is a hardcover or paperback print edition, first or second-hand copy, books are always in vogue and in demand. From the latest releases and bestsellers to the timeless classics, smart e-commerce sellers are able to make significant profits by selling books across every genre. This is especially true when the book requirements are in bulk, such as local bookstores or academic libraries of various institutions.
Toys and games
The toys and games industry has recently exploded to become a phenomenon in its own right. Beyond the traditional classics such as board games and building blocks, parent shoppers are always on the lookout for interesting, fun, and engaging games and toys that can also have a good effect on children.
What to sell on Amazon:
10 Points to consider
Researching what products to sell on Amazon is more than just about finding your niche. You also have to consider the various costs that will arise, such as shipping charges, seller fees, referral fees and so much more. This really depends on the item you’re selling, the quantity as well as the demand that exists in the market for it.
The heavier the product, the more it will cost to ship. On the other hand, if most of your sales are based in domestic areas and not overseas, then you have to consider what appeals to the local audience.
You also have to make sure that the products are durable enough so that they don’t break or become damaged in the course of transportation.
The standard price range for a lot of Amazon products lies between 10$ and 50$. You’d be looking for items that you can sell at an affordable price so that your profit margins are always consistently high.
So after you consider how much you’re willing to pay in shipping charges, the extra costs and the product price range, you can now decide what exactly you should sell on Amazon. Here are a few constructive tips that can help you research and come up with your niche:
Manually research on the Amazon website
What better place to start researching than the site itself. This is your primary resource for finding out which products are regularly popular and which ones are currently trending. You can do this by browsing through the platform’s best-selling category.
As you surf through multiple categories, you’ll discover more and more sub-categories within them. This will really help you in getting an in-depth insight into what customers like and want.
Alongside the best-selling list, you’ll find recommendations for other products that customers have also bought or were interested in. This is a remarkably useful way of mapping out how customers search for products. You’ll be able to spot patterns and sometimes even discover an unspoken demand for a particular product that you can help provide.
Keyword planning and optimization
In many respects, Amazon has streamlined the entire customer-business experience by allowing sellers access to feedback, reviews, rating, ranking and so much more. This empowers e-commerce sellers on the site to find various product niches where they can enrich the customer experience, which in turn, leads to more sales and growth.
E-commerce sellers can now perform a simple check on something like Google Keyword Planner to know the search volume for certain products compared to others. The higher the search volume, the higher the demand. This can help you actually narrow down your choices to the most popular, in-demand product categories with immense potential for growth.
Find a gap in the market
Oftentimes, some beginners take an uninspired approach when they search for potential product categories. Remember that as a globally accessible online shopping platform, there’s no shortage of product categories on Amazon. Just about every conceivable item may already be covered broadly.
However, this doesn’t mean there’s no room for new entrants. In fact,the key isn’t to look for obscure categories, but to recognize and explore gaps in the market for specific product varieties. Eg: Let’s say there are over 200,000 product results that show up organically for men’s socks, but only around 1,000 for custom fluffy men’s socks.
This is a sub-category that we perceive as a gap in the market. It is an opening for inventive brands to make their foray into, depending on the demand.
Essentially, your goal is to look for sub-categories and unique niches where there’s high demand and low supply. This gives you an opportunity to become to fulfill that demand and grow as a business
This example is a bit oversimplified but this is how it works in theory. Making an impact on Amazon can be difficult at first, but it isn’t for lack of options or opportunities. Over time, the more you do research, you’ll be able to find what’s missing in certain markets, which could be turned into a great opportunity.
Organic search results analysis isn’t the only way to find out what customers need or want. Sometimes the best thing to do is the most obvious: simply listen to them. Hundreds and hundreds of reviews flood every product category on Amazon every hour. Customers state their grievances with the product, ways to improve and what they liked about the product they bought. These are all highly useful insights that any layman has access to. You don’t even have to pay for it.
Sure, not all reviewers are honest or reliable. But your goal isn;t to focus on isolated feedback but rather to look at the responses as a whole. Find out what the common complaint is, or what the most problematic feature is. Try to understand what the majority opinion is.
Find products with minimal competition
As we discussed earlier, the key is to find product niches that are specific. Any generic or general category is bound to have unfathomable levels of competition. Fashion a genre for yourself. That’s what helps make you stand out. Find ways to emphasize how you’re unique.
For instance, a seller might promote their brand that sells custom leather footwear for men, as opposed to simply marketing it as footwear.Your goal isn’t to expose yourself to any random audience group that might not even be interested in footwear. Rather, you’re trying to target a specific sub-group that’s actually searching for what you have to sell.
Best Sellers Rank (BSR) list
Another important thing to do is find a category that at least belongs to or has multiple products listed in the Best Sellers Rank. This means there is more demand for the product because a multitude of customers is buying from competing brands. This is actually a good sign because it indicates that no single company or brand has a monopoly over the category, so the pricing will be reasonable to an extent.
Size, weight, and reviews
This is just a general guideline for starters. If you’re completely at odds about what to sell and need to test something before you get seriously involved, try searching for popular products that are small in size and don’t weigh much.
The key point here is popularity. Look for products that have more than a hundred reviews. These are the types of products that are likely to find an instant audience.
Ideal price range
Ideally, most trending products on Amazon fall between the price range of $25 and $50 (per individual item). Not only do they make better sales, but they’re also best suited to cover all direct costs, seller fees while still retaining a certain profit margin.
The higher the product is priced, the more variable its conversion rate into sales becomes. In other words, there is a gradual decline in sales the further up your product prices go.
Ease of production
Figuring out how to produce your own goods or outsource them affordably is a key part of winning the game of sales on Amazon. Production costs can seriously tie up your funds if you don’t find alternate or affordable options. A successful strategy isn’t all about selling at a higher price to make huge profits, rather it involves minimizing the cost of goods so that you can sell at an advantage.
Let’s say, for instance, you’re able to get locally available T-shirt cloth materials at a super attractive wholesale price and custom printing costs are quite cheap where you are based. In such a case, you’d definitely have an edge over a lot of your competitors who don’t have such advantages, even if you’re both selling at the same price. You could actually be a successful custom T-shirt seller online at just a fraction of the usual costs.
In short, focus on products that reduce costs and expenses, as much as they have the potential to maximize sales and profits.
Consistency of sales
A lot of e-commerce sellers try to cash in on seasonal opportunities. However, this is a strategy that rarely works for beginners who don’t have an already established brand. Most customers might shop from brands that they are already familiar with, often ignoring others.
If you’re just starting out, it’s better to have a long-term goal when you use Amazon. Seasonal gift items, costumes and accessories are great to give as add-ons as part of a special deal, but they are not ideal choices for a core product.
Scope for improvement
An important thing you can do when you’re selling a generic, easily available product is to go through your competitor’s website and Amazon page. Check out the reviews they are getting. Pay special attention to the negative ones, because these often indicate what their product is lacking. These are all areas where you can improve. It also helps you avoid the mistakes that they are making.
If you want to make a significant profit from your sales, you’re bound to pay attention to what you’re offering. It isn’t enough that you set up an account and simply list any random product. The commerce market, both online and offline, is oversaturated with highly competitive brands that barely give small businesses any wiggle room to make an entrance, let alone gain a share in the marketplace.
So how do you deal with such a dilemma? The solution is obvious. Make sure that you have something of real value to offer. You have to be willing to do enough research on customer feedback, shopping patterns and behavior to intuit what’s lacking and what you can improve.