Most people end their Amazon FBA journey right at the start.
I’ve heard the story too many times:
“I really wanted to start selling on Amazon, but I couldn’t figure out what product to sell.”
“It’s too hard to pick the right product.”
“Amazon seems too competitive.”
They never find a product they believe they can sell successfully, and just like that, they don’t even make it out of the gate.
I can sympathize, selling on Amazon can seem extremely daunting.
There are over 75 million unique products on Amazon (okay, 57 million of them are books, still huge). Such a large product pool is guaranteed analysis paralysis.
There are 36 categories (well, 27 worth selling in) on Amazon breaking down into hundreds of sub-categories.
On top of that, only 1 million out of 6 million Amazon seller accounts are active.
Even more than those 5 million inactive accounts are untold millions who never take the first step of finding a product to sell.
From the outside looking in, it’s not surprising for people to get overwhelmed.
When they get overwhelmed, they never truly start.
Where others failed (aka quit), this post will try to empower you with knowledge about the best products to sell on Amazon, the type of products you should probably avoid when starting, and some mindset advice to keep you in the game long enough to see success.
Before You Start Looking for a Product to Sell
First things first, if you are going into selling on Amazon with the wrong mindset, you will fail.
There are a few things to know to
Committing to Success is a Must
To invoke an old cliché, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Perseverance may be the only requirement to be successful selling on Amazon. Everything else is trivial and easily learned.
No matter how well you plan, events out of your control will happen.
Amazon can pull your product listing, surprise problems with your product can come up (such as certification requirements), or maybe your product simply isn’t selling like you thought it would.
When these moments happen, you can either choose to keep going or end it all abruptly.
To invoke another cliché, you only fail when you quit.
Sit any successful Amazon seller down and they’ll all tell you the same thing:
They’ve had products fail, they’ve all made rookie mistakes, and they’ve all contemplated the appeal of quitting.
None of that ever stopped them.
You need to adopt the mindset that no matter what setback you face, you will see things out to the end.
So, when you’re researching and figuring out what to sell, if you never quit you’ll eventually arrive at something that feels right and you’re confident in pursuing.
You think Amazon is a fast-moving business? Think again.
Every step in the process can take weeks and months.
- Finding a product category and deciding on a product to start with
- Vetting suppliers
- Getting samples and finalizing your first product
- Negotiating with suppliers and getting your first batch made
- Figuring out sea-shipping and general logistics
- Setting everything up on Amazon
- Launching products
Each of these steps can take days, weeks, and months.
If you’re not seeing progress as fast as you like, understand that everything in the eCommerce world takes time.
If you adopt an attitude of patience, you won’t feel like it’s taking too long figuring out a product to sell.
Your First Product Might Fail, And That’s Okay
No Amazon seller has a perfect record.
Even online gurus, bloggers, influencers, and YouTubers that teach people how to be successful and make millions on Amazon have a few product failures under their belt.
Failures, setbacks, mistakes. These are all unavoidable and expected when running an Amazon business.
Don’t let this dissuade you, learn from any mistakes, and always press on.
If your first product isn’t a smash hit, use all learnings and apply them to your next product.
There Will Always Be Unknowns
You can only read so much, watch so many videos, estimate potential profits, pore over demand data, read 1 star reviews, etc. before you finally decide on a product to sell.
Actually taking action is where most fail.
There comes a point where learning theory will no longer help, and you have to actually enter the process of launching a product.
There’s always risks and things you’ll overlook, but the worst of all is never starting.
That gets mindset out of the way, let’s get into actual products
The Best Type of Products You Should Sell Amazon FBA
Most articles on this topic will just talk about trends and profitable product categories.
While that is helpful, it’s not the only place to find inspiration.
Sometimes the best product to sell isn’t purely based on data and trends (but you should always validate any product ideas with data).
Sell in a Product Category You’re Passionate About
When it comes to selling physical products, a lot can slow your business down.
Running a business can be a grind. You have to constantly stay on top of people and solve problems as they pop up.
There will be times if you wonder if it’s worth it to keep going.
During those times, a labor of love has more staying power than a series of tasks designed to eventually make you money.
This is why, when possible, I advocate that you sell products in an area you are passionate about.
If you sell a product related to a hobby you’re interested in, a sport you play, a game you enjoy, a topic you love, it can be extremely motivating and allow you to push through the tough times.
The more niche and specialized your passion is, the more likely you’ll be able to find something people need where competition is lower.
Example: You love coffee. But, oh man, is coffee a competitive space!
If that’s the case, keep getting more niche.
How do people make coffee? There’s classic drip coffee machines, espresso machines, Keurig pod style machines, manual pour-over, etc.
This particular seller created a caddy system for Aeropress that holds all its uniquely-shaped parts in an appealing way.
People love it, it has a solid 4.8 star rating, and it sells for $47. Not bad.
Being passionate about your product category is a competitive advantage, as you innately know how to innovate in the space, and you can draw upon your own personal wealth of experience to come up with product ideas.
Leverage Your Expertise for Product Ideas
Similar to the above source of inspiration on creating products related to your passion, there are things you may be knowledgeable in that you aren’t necessarily passionate about.
Example: You work with houses in rural areas that have big yards with lots of trees. Then you sometimes notice trees have boxes on them but don’t know what they’re for.
After doing some research, you find out that they’re houses for bats to help with eating bugs and pests.
Product inspiration can come from the most unexpected places.
If you’ve worked in any industry or career path for a long time, you’ve picked up knowledge in the space that will allow you to navigate and discover any product opportunities within the field.
Sell a Product That Solves a Problem You Personally Experience
Any time you’ve had a problem that needed solving and couldn’t easily find a solution for, there’s a product creation opportunity.
Have you ever been frustrated with a product you own?
Do you have a friend or loved one who is frustrated with a certain product?
Pay attention to everything and look out for these key moments.
This doesn’t need to be a world-changing thought, either.
Example: You go to concerts a lot, but hate how loud they are and you leave with a ringing in your ears that lasts for hours.
Even worse, you bring some ear plugs but you put them in a dinky plastic bag, they end up blocking out too much noise, or worse… you forget them at home.
If you had ear plugs that were reusable, discreet, come with a keychain so you never forget them, and they only block out some noise that allows you to hear everything comfortably… that sounds like a win.
Well, someone did just that:
Ideas like this exist all over Amazon.
Sell Products Purely Based on the Data
This strategy is where most online guides will steer you.
With these tools, you can assess product categories based low-competition indicators like:
- Low resolution images
- Products not utilizing all available image slots
- Products that don’t fill out every text field possible
- Fewer overall reviews
- Monthly sales between $5,000 – $25,000
- Review scores under 4.5
These indicators represent a space where customers aren’t being served well enough, revenue isn’t so high where you’d need an extremely large investment, or customers are not happy with what’s currently available on Amazon.
That’s your opportunity to make something better and improve the space.
Typically you can analyze 1 and 2 star reviews of these products to see where people aren’t happy so you can make your own innovations.
There are many, many videos going over this process, from YouTubers and even by Helium 10 and Jungle Scout themselves.
A few product discovery tutorials on YouTube:
Products You Should AVOID Selling on Amazon FBA
While I am going to recommend beginner sellers avoid some product types and categories, if you’re passionate about a product and it has barrier to entry, you should still try sell in that category, as passion will overcome any barrier.
This quick list is more to help you assess if your idea is a good one or might be more trouble than it’s worth.
Avoid #1: Restricted Products
Amazon has an extensive list of restricted products that are either outright banned on the platform or require certifications to get approval to sell.
When you are coming up with a product idea, make sure you check that is either in a non-restricted category, or that you’re willing to jump through whatever hoops Amazon will set up to get your product listed.
Avoid #2: Low Priced Items and High Priced Items
While everyone will argue what the best “sweet spot” is for a product price range you should sell in, the price shouldn’t be too low or even too high.
Why a product shouldn’t be too low price:
- Margins will be much tighter, so you’ll be putting in the same effort but making less money
- Overall profits for low priced items come from logistic efficiency more than value provided to customers
- Low priced items are more generic and easy to replicate, typically having a lot of competition from huge brands
Why a product shouldn’t have a really high price
- High priced items cost a lot to produce, so you may not have enough initial investment to even get started
- Higher priced items are typically complex and can’t be created reasonably by yourself
On the other hand, if you think you can make your specific price point work, high or low, then go for it.
However, don’t make the mistake of having price be your only competitive advantage.
You will eventually be undercut and lose that advantage instantly.
Avoid #3: Heavily Commoditized Products
Simple products that are hard to add value to are something you should likely avoid.
The products I’m talking about are everyday products you have in your house that are typically sold by giant companies that aren’t easily innovated on.
For something like spatulas, the only differentiator is color and prices are rock bottom.
You can see they constantly have to run deals to boost sales, and that sacrifices a ton of margin.
Avoid these commodities and stick to products where you can really add value and charge a premium for it.
Avoid #4: Seasonal Products
While there’s nothing inherently wrong with seasonal products, they’re really hard to manage properly for new sellers.
If you really love Christmas and want to make the best Christmas-related stationery to ever exist, go for it.
Otherwise you should be looking for products that have consistent sales year-round.
It will be easier to manage your costs and predict future events.
Hopefully this gives you a bit of inspiration and insight on how to find a product to sell rather than just throwing a bunch of categories in your face.
The biggest advantage in your business is you, especially at first.
Leverage everything you can to come up with your first product.
Once you get the hang of it, product discovery and creation will become second nature, and you can build out a strong product catalog.