Amazon FBA: Product Catalog Expansion Guide
Sadly one of the truths of Amazon is that each product you launch has a shelf life, and over time similar and cheaper products will enter the market, and/or your product will start to be out-innovated by your competitors.
If you never come out with anything new, eventually your sales will stagnate, then start to decline, and you’ll have an outdated product catalog no one wants to buy from anymore.
So what do you do about this?
The same thing that allowed you to see success for your products up to this point is the same driving force that will help you come up with new products: Innovation.
The only solution for long term success on Amazon is to continually innovate on your product catalog and always try to launch new products that can perform as well as, or better than, your current best sellers.
That way if a product you sell ever becomes obsolete, there are plenty of products to carry the torch and keep your sales high.
In this post we’re going to go over a few ways you can drum up some inspiration to constantly innovate on and improve your product catalog offerings.
1: Pull From Your Same Source of Innovation
On Amazon today, you pretty much have to offer a really innovative solution to existing products on the platform or else no one will have a reason to buy your product.
Through research, reading reviews from other products, analyzing data from Amazon tools, personal experience within your niche and product category, or some other means, you’ve found a product category you can compete in.
Make sure you know what makes your product (or products) stand out from the rest and enables your sales.
There is a chance that whatever makes your one product unique can be applied to different products within the same category.
Really drilling down into your innovations and using it as inspiration for new products not only keeps your business thriving, but it also is a cornerstone of your brand, as people remember your company by how it innovates in the market.
In a way, your innovations are a major part of your branding.
So take what you’ve done already and keep expanding on it, it’s the best way to have a fresh pool of ideas for new product launches.
2: See What Your Manufacturer is Up To
Most sellers have one main factory they get their products from.
Your manufacturer has many customers similar to you, and they’re making pretty innovative stuff, you just don’t know about it.
The best thing to do here? Talk to your manufacturer! If you’ve been selling for a while with them, you’re likely developing a decent relationship with them, and when they realize your long term potential, they’ll collaborate with you on ideas to take to market.
One great question you can ask them is what kind of products they’re making that they send to countries other than the country you currently sell in. That way you’re not stealing innovative intel from another customer and your manufacturer may be more comfortable with sharing details about other products they’re making.
It all comes down to the relationship you’re building with your manufacturer. If they are warming up to you and willing to help, they’re a great source of knowledge on what’s trending in their product categories.
3: See What Your Competitors Are Up To
If you’ve been selling for a while, you’ll likely be very aware of your competitors. If you’ve launched a successful product, or multiple successful products, be sure that competitors WILL notice.
One thing about competitors is they can be a great resource to know what they’re taking a risk on to launch within your product category. If they went through the trouble of launching a product, they must think it can sell.
Going back to Tip #1, it’s very possible that your competitors don’t innovate in the same way you do, so if you apply what makes your brand unique to newer products they launch, that can be a really easy and simple product idea source.
4: Check What Customers Think
There are a few ways your customers can communicate what they think about your products:
This can be a good and a bad thing, as people sometimes use reviews as a way to air out their frustrations about your product because they had no other way to contact you.
Regardless, reviews can typically be a wealth of information about what people like and dislike about your products.
You should be reading reviews for your products regularly, no matter how painful, to know what you’re doing right, wrong, and what people like most about your products.
With this information you can iterate on your products better with fresh ideas from the people who actually bought and use them.
Bonus: Your competitors’ product reviews are also a great source of the same information.
See What They Message You on Amazon
Occasionally you can receive messages from customers, but this is rare as it’s not a simple process to reach out to sellers.
I’ve gotten messages from my customers here asking for specific sizes and types of products similar to what I already sell, and it’s a great way to get some easy product research going for products you may never have thought of on your own.
You Provided Contact Info in Products
While this method isn’t always advisable for some product types (people will start coming to you directly for customer support issues that Amazon can easily handle), it’s great if you’re within a very specific niche of passionate customers who will go out of their way to give you feedback and things they want (essentially easy product ideas).
Giving your customers an easy way to contact you on your product is a choice you have to make. A lot of sellers think you can prevent bad reviews this way, and they may be right, but there’s the negative possibility that customers will come to you for things Amazon could have easily fixed.
It’s your choice, and see if it makes sense for your product mix. Typically the more niche your product is, the more people will want other unique offerings that may not exist and want to let you know about.
Hopefully with this quick guide you can find a starting point for getting inspiration on expanding your product catalog.
Your ideas and method of coming up with your products is the lifeblood of your Amazon business. Keep that creativity flowing and you will always have a source of new offerings to serve your audience.