The most difficult part of selling on Amazon is finding a product to actually sell on the platform.
If you look at Amazon holistically, it’s so daunting and overwhelming that most quit before they can even start.
This also applies to existing sellers who are looking to expand their product catalogs.
On top of that, with every passing year, it gets more difficult to differentiate yourself from competitors, and 2023 will be no different.
A trendy word in marketing these days is “moat” and every influencer will tell you to “build a moat” around your products.
And they’re right.
So for 2023, if you’re finding a product to sell on Amazon, follow these 6 tips to help find a product that can actually sell.
Tip 1: Make a product with a unique manufacturing process and/or design aspect
The first and most obvious differentiating moat you can build around your products is how it’s actually made.
There are a lot of copycats on Amazon, and no matter how well you protect your products, if it’s a good idea, other sellers WILL copy it and make their own version.
Sometimes even the factory that makes your product will make a knockoff of something you sell successfully!
While some form of copying is inevitable, you can make it as difficult as possible for others to mimic your products, enough so that your product can dominate sales for a few years before competitors rise, and by then you’ll have expanded into more unique products and leave the competition playing perpetual catch-up.
How do we do this?
One great way is to create a unique manufacturing process as the main feature of your product.
If you’re working on a product idea, there will always be some kind of unique spin you can put on the product to make it better than what currently exists, and most manufacturers in China are more than willing to help you create something custom that’s never been done before.
This can be a special plastic mold used to make a design aspect of your product.
It could use a special material, or even a novel design atypical of existing products.
Once you come up with that unique advantage? Try to protect it as much as you can.
One extremely obvious thing you can do is make a patent on your product. This is obviously very expensive and you have to make an incredibly unique product to secure a patent.
However, if you make something patentable, it will be extremely difficult for competitors to make a knockoff of your product.
If a patent isn’t possible, protect a manufacturing advantage by creating a deal with your factory to not allow other sellers, or even themselves, to utilize the special unique process, feature, or mold.
While some manufacturers might not agree to this, many will as they are invested in your success (if you sell well, they sell well).
If you can’t make a manufacturing advantage, you can have design aspects of your product so unique and different that competitors couldn’t match it even if they tried.
A unique design that is themed for your niche and resonates with them will go a long way in creating loyal customers.
Tip 2: Go all in on branding
The advantage branding gives your products can’t be overstated.
Branding is all about the little details.
Your brand name, your color choices, your niche, how you describe your products, what your target customer does and looks like.
It all matters.
A great example of this is Tactical Baby Gear, a brand that makes baby carriers and gear that is military themed.
Seriously, look at their main product:
This is a great example of a well-branded product:
- The model in the image matches the target customer
- Everything is in theme, it has a military-inspired look with patriotic (and funny) clothes to match.
- The baby is fast asleep
You may not find this kind of thing appealing, but it could be exactly what their target audience is looking for.
For that, they can demand a premium price ($155) for a purchase.
The market for baby carriers is extremely saturated. If you wanted to get into this category and just make a generic commodity-level offering with zero branding, look at the options:
These are the top 4 organic results from Amazon.
Compared to the $155 price of the Tactical Baby Gear carrier, these carriers come in at $33, $33, $24, and $27.
Not much room for a decent profit, and then these offerings have as many as 55 thousand reviews!
So you can see the power of branding. TBG made a baby carrier like anyone else, but since it has a specific theme, a target customer, and is designed around those 2, it can command a much higher price.
Tip 3: Niche Down as Hard as You Can
Unless you have something extremely innovative that can disrupt a mature product category, you’re going to have to start thinking niche.
Selling on Amazon is tough, and it’s only getting tougher, but your difficulties start to drop off one by one the more niche you target your product.
Amazon selling experts will tell you that you can’t survive only on organic listings these days, but if your product is niche enough, it still can.
Sure, more niche means a smaller audience and lower sales… but you’re still getting sales.
When you’re researching your next product, see just how far you can make a niche and specific version of a product and see if you can still make decent sales.
When it comes to determining how much you’re willing to make off of a product, you can see the revenue that similar products earn with tools like Jungle Scout's revenue estimator.
While making more revenue per product is preferable, a niche product has less competition to worry about, and typically more passionate customers.
Find your balance of how low you’re willing to earn monthly for a product and go through the trouble of actually making it.
Tip 4: Find a Product You Can Support Outside of Amazon
This treads into the branding and niche tips a bit, but it deserves its own spot.
Supporting your products outside of the Amazon platform is something 99% of sellers won’t even bother to do, meaning that the door is open for you to take advantage of this lesser-used advantage.
There are many ways to support your product outside of Amazon.
The Internet is a crazy place, and many products these days will have robust, dedicated communities behind them.
Also behind products are people learning about them, and when people learn they take to search engines, places like YouTube and Google, which are platforms you can create content for.
If you create thought-leading, high-quality content around your products and in your product category, you can lead people to your Amazon listings, providing inbound traffic from outside of Amazon to your products, creating a huge advantage for your brand on Amazon.
Creating ads outside of Amazon
While ads on Amazon are currently a big deal, there are still effective ad spots on other platforms.
One of the tried-and-true ad platforms, Google Ads, still has some space for Amazon listings. See if you can get a low return on ad spend by testing some Google ads or even Facebook.
Influencers in certain product categories are always looking to tell their audience about new, cool products they come across.
If your product is well branded and niche enough, it could make for a great product for influencers to tell their audience about.
The world of influencer marketing is vast, so a bit of research on how to get it all done is worth your time.
Tip 5: Find products with a community behind them you can engage
You would be surprised to learn that many products have huge internet communities behind them.
Within these product-focused communities, there exist opportunities to create those products or complementary products that said community could be interested in.
Do you think it sounds unbelievable?
Let’s look at some examples of communities on the social site Reddit:
- Darts. 38,000 members. Enjoy custom and high-quality darts and dart boards to share with community members.
- Candles. 14,000 members. Share custom-made candles, and discuss the best candle-making supplies and new scents/candles on the market.
- Fountain Pens. 240,000 members. Discuss the newest and best fountain pens on the market while showing off fountain pen art and writing.
- Mechanical Keyboards. 1.2 million members. A community dedicated to custom keyboards that have unique switches, cases, keycaps, and cords, down to the printed-circuit board and foam padding.
- Board Games. 3.2 million members. Discussion of the hottest and newest board games.
This is just a tiny fraction of the number of intensely dedicated hobbyist communities on Reddit. If you can offer a product that fits within one of these communities that is innovative and niche, people will be looking forward to what you show them.
On top of Reddit, the chat app Discord will have multiple communities for any hobby that exists as well, typically multiple communities per hobby.
If you’re going to create products that have a community behind them, it’s a good idea to start contributing and engaging with them.
Tip 6: Find a Complex, Difficult Product
Complex products are harder to bring to market and harder to replicate.
If you’re comfortable with taking on the challenge of a complex product, you will be rewarded with slower competition, you will encounter fewer competitors, and you will have an easier time branding your products.
What makes a complex product? Things like products that require multiple manufacturers to make the parts and another factory to assemble the final product.
Or a difficult product that is made in a country other than China that uses unique materials.
It could even be a product that is common but uses an entirely new design that requires special machinery and techniques to make.
Difficulty and complexity can be your competitive advantage, and they are strong ones.
There you have it, with this unconventional approach to finding products to sell on Amazon, you can create huge moats that few competitors will dare cross.
Having multiple levels of protection around your products ensures that you will be able to sell your SKUs for a long time without fear of your product commoditizing quickly, you will have a community of repeat customers behind you, and your brand will outshine other companies simply trying to make easy money.