What to Sell on Amazon: The Ultimate Guide for Small Businesses

As a fellow small business entrepreneur, I know the thrill and terror of launching your first products on Amazon. The opportunity seems boundless, with over 197 million customers ready to buy. But how do you choose which products to sell when over 12 million are already listed?

This comprehensive guide draws from my experience building a profitable Amazon business that now generates over $120k in annual sales. I‘ll share specifics on how I select promising products, source reliable suppliers, create standout listings, and provide exceptional service post-purchase.

Follow this plan, and you‘ll be prepared to thrive in 2024.

How to Identify Top-Selling Products

Choosing the right products is the most critical decision you‘ll make. Rather than guessing what might appeal to Amazon shoppers, let data guide your decisions.

I analyze 3 demand signals before pursuing any new product:

Customer Review Volume: Prioritize categories with products that have over 50 reviews. This indicates existing buyer interest.

Search Volume: Use Google‘s Keyword Planner and Amazon autocomplete to estimate monthly searches for related keywords. Products with 500-5,000 monthly searches do well.

Competition Levels: Tools like Jungle Scout allow you to assess how many sellers exist and Product Registry identify production capability. Pursue markets with high demand and lower competition.

Once you‘ve narrowed your choices using this criteria, dig deeper into customer needs. Read through negative product reviews and look for common complaints. This reveals opportunities to improve upon existing listings and delight shoppers.

By validating demand ahead of time, you mitigate risk and surface gaps you can fill with unique products tailored to Amazon‘s audience.

Sourcing Reliable Suppliers and Manufacturers

You‘ve identified hot-selling products. Now it‘s time to find suppliers who can deliver.

Rather than scrolling aimlessly through Alibaba, I create a Supplier Scorecard to evaluate options objectively. Assess crucial criteria like:

  • Production Capacity: Can they provide enough inventory to meet sales projections? Get specifics on machines, labor, and materials.
  • Quality Control: What inspection processes ensure consistency? Require certificates like ISO 9001.
  • Logistics and Customization: Will they handle labeling, packaging, shipping? Offer customization options?
  • Communication: How clear and responsive are contacts via email, phone, video calls?
  • Previous Buyer Reviews: Reach out to past customers to understand their experience.

By grading each supplier against this standardized scorecard, I remain objective when making this crucial business partner choice. Don‘t compromise on product quality to save a few dollars. High ratings reflect expertise and consistency that support long-term success selling on Amazon.

Optimizing Your Amazon Listings

You‘ve sourced an excellent supplier. Now it‘s time to create listings that convert browsers into loyal customers.

Follow these listing optimization best practices:

Keywords: Include your target product keywords in titles and backend details. I research using MerchantWords and Helium10 for low-competition options with decent search volume.

Descriptions: Focus on pain points your product solves in easy-to-scan bullet points. Avoid generic, overly sales-y claims. Show you intimately understand customer needs.

Images: High-quality photographs demonstrating your products in context perform best. I invest in a lightbox and DSLR camera to showcase all angles with a consistent style across listings.

Pricing Architecture: Create pricing tiers good-better-best to appeal to a wide range of budgets. Offer slight discounts, bundles, and coupons to spark urgency.

A/B Test Listings: Continuously test listings with different keywords, imagery, pricing to determine what resonates most. I use SellerApp and Helium10 to streamline ongoing experiments.

With compelling, customer-centric listings aligned to Amazon search behavior, you can stand out despite fierce competition in popular categories.

Advertising to Get Discovered

But attractive listings alone won‘t bring sustained sales. You need exposure to relevant searchers.

Amazon advertising and other initiatives like Kindle Direct Publishing allow you to get products in front of people ready to buy.

Here are the programs I leverage consistently:

  • Sponsored Products: Bid on keywords so your listings appear at the top of Amazon search. Start conservative with bids under $.20 per click.
  • Promotions: Strategically offer discounts, bundles, coupons to incentivize larger customer orders.
  • Product Inserts: Include customized pamphlets to incentivize reviews, feedback, and future purchases. Offers drive return shoppers.
  • Brand Registry: Claim ownership of your brand and products to customize branding in promotions and unlock added visibility tools.

Amazon wants you to succeed since they share in generated profits. By actively engaging with their marketing tools, you signal your commitment to their customers.

Manage Shipping and Inventory

Logistics prove challenging, especially early on. Inventory shortages from unexpected demand will frustrate shoppers.

Follow these tips for smooth operations:

Demand Planning: Use historical data to estimate future monthly and seasonal interest. Produce or order enough to meet projections without significant excess.

Multi-Channel Fulfillment: Use Amazon‘s Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA) so merchandise gets stocked in local warehouses for speedy Prime delivery. Integrate with Shopify or other platforms.

Inventory Tracking: Closely monitor how many units sell daily/weekly. I use Sellbrite to sync Shopify and Amazon. Receive alerts when stock runs low.

Quality Inspections: Spot check shipments for damage and inconsistencies even from trusted suppliers. Address issues promptly.

Invest in supply chain transparency and organization early on. This reduces costly stockouts down the road as your brand and Amazon storefront gain momentum.

Offer Exceptional Post-Purchase Customer Service

Providing an incredible customer experience builds loyalty beyond a single transaction. 73% of all customers point to customer service as an important factor in purchasing decisions.

Make service a competitive differentiator with actions like:

  • Respond quickly to questions and concerns pre and post-order via messages or email
  • Share tracking info once shipped
  • Proactively notify customers when inventory is back for popular items
  • Offer convenient self-service returns and exchanges
  • Follow up post-delivery to resolve any outstanding issues

I spend over 5 hours each week corresponding directly with customers. This high-touch approach earns repeat business despite cheaper competitors. Scale this mindset even as daily messages grow into the hundreds.

The relationships you cultivate set your brand apart on Amazon.

Follow this playbook to launch and grow your Amazon business:

Target In-Demand Products: Let data guide your product research to promising listings backed by strong buyer interest and intent.

Vet and Choose Reliable Suppliers: Create a scorecard to objectively compare manufacturers on crucial criteria like quality, customization, communication.

Optimize Listings for Conversions: Craft compelling titles, descriptions, imagery and competitive pricing tailored to Amazon shoppers‘ expectations.

Advertise for Visibility: Consistently promote listings via Sponsored Products, coupons, product inserts so ideal buyers discover your brand.

Focus on Customer Loyalty: Provide quick, high touch service and strong fulfillment to delight shoppers and earn repeat business.

Selling on Amazon offers immense potential, but you need the right roadmap. Now you have the details and frameworks to confidently build a profitable presence even among cutthroat competition.

I‘m rooting for your success unlocking the power of Amazon! Please reach out if you have any other questions getting started on this exciting journey.