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4 Tips for Sourcing the Right Products to Sell on Amazon

Are Amazon themselves also selling the item? You can use the free FBA calculator to see if the item would be profitable for you. By Tami Ben-David July 16, 2014
The Easiest Way to Scout New Products to Sell on Amazon
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About the Author

A British ex-pat, Tami been writing and content-strategizing for Israeli tech start-ups for the last 5 years. When she's not writing nerdy content, you can find Tami on open water charity swims or traveling to far-flung countries.

Maybe you’re just starting out on Amazon and wondering what products to sell and how to find them, or perhaps you’re a veteran seller but need some new inspiration! Either way, the sourcing process can be a challenging one, especially if not done properly.

Here are 4 quick tips about the process and how to handle it:

Tip 1: Do your homework

First things first, do some research!

Gain an understanding of which products are popular by looking at the bestselling categories on Amazon. See how much they’re selling for and what the competition is like. Are Amazon themselves also selling the item? You can use the free FBA calculator to see if the item would be profitable for you.

You can also have some fun with your phone. Use one of many apps out there (including Amazon’s free Price Check app) to scan products around your house and see what their story is on Amazon.

It is important that you learn to use your computer or phone to ?feel out the situation? before investing in any products or equipment, tools or services.

Tip 2: Source around

There are numerous places to find your selling gems.

  • Wholesale

Buying products in bulk and having them shipped right to your doorstep is probably the most popular and common sourcing method. Purchasing wholesale means that you can easily re-order items that sell well and if you develop a particularly special relationship with a supplier, you may gain exclusive rights to sell their goods on Amazon. It may take quite a bit of detective work to find good wholesalers though, and the competition for their items can be quite fierce.

One of the major considerations when going down the wholesale route is whether to find a domestic supplier, or an overseas one. A domestic supplier will tend to have higher manufacturing quality, better labor standards, and faster shipping times. You?re also less likely to encounter any language barriers. However, you’ll find yourself paying higher manufacturing costs and having less product choice with a domestic supplier than you would with an overseas one.

There are multiple ways to find a supplier. You may have a friend, acquaintance or family member who could refer someone specific to you?some of the best leads come from such referrals. Make sure to utilize social media to its highest capacity in order to get the word out.

Alternatively, do some google searching using a variety of search terms, or use one of numerous free online supplier directories to find your company. These directories can contain profiles for hundreds or thousands of manufacturers, wholesalers and suppliers. One-stop services like Alibaba have also made it easy to navigate suppliers.

  • Retail stores

Retail stores are often a great place to find inventory to resell on Amazon. This could include grocery stores, pharmacies, and toy stores. Not only might you find things on clearance that you could sell for much higher on Amazon, but you could also find regular priced items that sell for much more on Amazon. It?s all about supply and demand. Your local store may have a large supply of an item that isn’t selling so they put it on sale to get rid of it, while across the country someone is desperately searching for this very same product, and then find you selling it on Amazon.

Sellers who shop this way can often find more than one item. However, one of the main issues is that you may not be able to find the same product and the same price again, making replenishing difficult.

  • Thrift stores

If you have a limited amount of money to start with, this could be a good option for you. The main advantages to selling thrift store items is that you can find extremely low cost items and sell them at high profits, and you’ll probably have little competition from other sellers. However, it can take time to find these great finds and you also could be waiting a while for the right buyer to come along.

  • Your house!

Believe it or not, you almost certainly have some sellable items at home. This is also the cheapest way to start loading up on inventory. Look for things you’ve never used before, such as disregarded gifts or things that you thought you needed but then didn’t.

Tip 3: Wait for a good quote

Getting a good quote and establishing what will hopefully be a long and lasting relationship with a supplier is crucial to the whole sourcing process. It is vital to ask them every important question at the outset, so that you’re not missing anything. And once you?re satisfied with their products, you must negotiate! There is almost never a straight set fee and if you don’t try to shmooze yourself a better price, you’ll miss out.

For example, you want to make sure their MOQ (minimum order quantity) is manageable for you and that you can afford it. This minimum order quantity can vary wildly depending on the product and the supplier so it’s important to ask upfront.

You should also ask about their sample pricing, since you’re likely to want samples to inspect and test before making a full order. Some suppliers may charge the full retail pricing, especially if they receive many requests, whereas others will offer you samples at a discounted rate, or even for free.

Other important issues to discuss properly are how much the products cost (according to different quantities ordered), what the suppliers turnaround time is, and what their payment terms are.

Tip 4: Test the waters

Once you have a reasonable quote, start testing!

You must test your products first, to see if they sell and how quickly they sell before you commit to buying in bulk. Getting a great deal on inventory does no good if the item doesn’t sell, so why take the risk of gambling with your money.

It’s best to start slow and see what works.

And finally? Sell sell sell!

Once you’ve decided what to sell, found the perfect partner, tested out your items to see that they sell, then you’re on the road to becoming a successful seller. The whole beginning process may require a little patience and perseverance, but creating solid foundations will stand you in better stead for the rest of your selling career.


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