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The Amazon Private Label Checklist
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Private label products can be a phenomenal way for third-party sellers and brands to increase their margins and capture added revenue on Amazon. However, making the most of these products takes time, research, effort, and capital. Your success depends on how well you can control and optimize your whole process, from scouting a product and sourcing it, all the way through fulfilling orders on Amazon. For sellers interested in making the leap, we put together this private label checklist to help you get started.
Brainstorming Product Ideas
Ideally, you want to find a product that you like and that can feasibly become a best seller. To brainstorm ideas, think of activities, services, or product categories that are interesting to you, then list the products associated with each. You want to create a longer list of products that you can gradually narrow down.
To increase your chances of success, you will also want to look for best selling products on Amazon with little to no competition. Before you spend the time, effort, and money to have your products manufactured, you should have a strong sense that they will sell.
The following web pages provide a quick overview of the most sought-after products on Amazon today:
Popular Product Categories
These best selling product categories are worth exploring for private label potential:
Arts, Crafts & Sewing
Home & Kitchen
Kitchen & Housewares
Patio, Lawn, & Garden
Sports & Outdoors
Tools & Hardware
Toys & Games
Product Categories to Avoid
Aspiring private label sellers should specifically avoid the following categories:
- Product categories dominated by premium brands
- Product categories with a significant Amazon private label presence
- Amazon’s own products, like Alexa or FireTV
- Products with seasonal sales or inconsistent sales
- Products already trademarked, copyrighted, or patented
High-Performing Product Types
Although it is possible to achieve success with many different kinds of private label products, there are three product types known to perform well.
Essentials never go out of season and do not usually follow one-off trends. Think beauty and grooming products, cleaning supplies, stationery, and other items that people need. Essentials are usually simple, lightweight, easy to manufacturer, and do not consist of complicated parts or mechanisms. Since the learning curve and barrier to entry are lower for these products, they are ideal for new private label sellers.
To note, sellers will need to pay particularly close attention to their margins. Rather than selling the cheapest essentials possible, you should select products that can be competitively priced between $20 and $60. Since your products are completely new and unknown to the world, you will need to earn added margin from sales to promote your products via Amazon Advertising.
2. Best Sellers With a Twist
Suitable for both new and experienced private label sellers, these products take a best selling product and add a twist to it. For example, you might take a popular iPhone case and release your own branded version in a different material. As food for thought, you can rebrand and enhance a product with a new feature, color, design, texture, or material. Just make sure not to violate copyrights for branded products.
3. Complex Products
Intended for advanced private label sellers, complex products feature a sophisticated design, usually multiple parts, and advanced functionality. Vacuum cleaners, power tools, tablets, and similarly complex products all fall within this group. Given the higher barrier to entry, these products have somewhat less competition compared to essentials. More costly to produce, complex private label products come with high risks and potentially high rewards.
How to Conduct Market and Competitor Research
Once you have a list of product ideas, you want to learn which related products sell best and have the least competition on Amazon. Third-party software platforms, like Feedvisor’s, include scouting tools that can streamline this research by tracking a variety of key Amazon metrics, such as a product’s sales numbers, the top competitors, and the most popular keywords relating to your product ideas.
If you are still warming up to the idea of a software platform, you should familiarize yourself with the following key metrics; they can help you size up the market and the competition. For private label sellers, outperforming the competition is more about overall sales numbers and market presence than winning the Buy Box.
Since search results drive sales on Amazon, keywords are crucial to your success. You want to identify the most important keyword for your potential private label product — typically this keyword would go in your product’s name. Once you do, you will need to evaluate how popular it is. If the keyword is low-performing, you will likely not receive enough session views on your product page. If it is too popular, then you will likely have too much competition. In either case, you will need to come up with a new product idea.
Product reviews are another method for understanding your competition. Search on Amazon for your main keywords and look at the first five products that show up in the results. If all of the top five products have 300+ reviews, you will want to steer clear of that product type — the competition will be too difficult to beat.
Amazon Best Sellers Rank
This best sellers rank is a metric that updates hourly according to Amazon. It highlights the top-selling products by sales volume for a product category and subcategory on Amazon. You can use it to estimate the sales frequency of a product or product category. You want your prospective product to fall within #500 to #5,000 in these rankings.
If you have the means, you should examine competitive sales data for products similar to yours. You want to examine similar ASINs and products with a similar look or feel. This data will not only help you gauge if an item makes sense to sell as a private label, but will also suggest how frequently it will convert. Monitoring competitor catalogs and ASINs can also help you build stronger product bundles later and strengthen your grasp on the market as a whole.
Finding a Supplier
Your supplier can have a massive impact on the profitability of your private label products. No matter which one you choose, you will typically want to prioritize quality over finding the lowest cost and you will want to inspect your inventory with every run. While Alibaba is incredibly popular, you should work exclusively with their premium gold suppliers. You can learn more about working with Alibaba here.
Importing Your Products
When shipping your products from overseas, you will have a string of decisions to make — from choosing incoterms with your supplier to hiring a freight forwarder and customs brokers to planning a final destination for your shipment. The key is to strike a balance between your timeline, your budget, and the services offered. To more fully explore the process, go here.
Branding is the first step to ensuring that your product stands out. You will want to work with freelance creatives to produce branded product images, marketing copy, a brand story, and unique packaging. If you have a minimal budget for branding, you can hire freelancers at lower rates via Fiverr, Freelancer, or Upwork. For polished brand work at typically higher rates, check out Working Not Working or Behance.
Final Thoughts: Advertise, Optimize, and Launch
Since your product is new to the world, you will want to drive traffic to it by optimizing your listing for search and by utilizing Amazon Advertising. Amazon’s PPC advertising, such as Sponsored Product Ads and Sponsored Brands, can boost exposure especially if your product does not appear on the first page of Amazon’s SERP. To enhance your search performance, you will want to optimize your product listings for keywords.
Private label selling is not for the faint of heart but it is a viable strategy for unlocking new revenue for your business and further harnessing Amazon’s power. When in doubt, go that extra mile.