This beginners guide is going to teach you how to find that exciting first product to sell (and make a profit) on Amazon, through their FBA program.
You’ll discover how to source from China, India, Indonesia or any country whereby you can still make a margin.
I wrote this for the beginner student. I’m sharing this with you, so you can get an idea of the process. Plus, I wanted you to know that I actually know my shit.
I’ve written this based on some assumptions:
- You want some straight forward help
- You don’t know how to start on Amazon
- You’ll want a step by step guide to teach you
- You’ve not taken any Amazon training courses before
- You’re excited to start the Amazon journey and create a real business
I’ll also assume that you’ve found my blog through researching Amazon teachers. You’re almost ready to get started with a course to teach you the ropes.
You probably appreciate that you’ve found an Australian who sells on Amazon US. But one who does without the hype. Without the fuss. Without the BS. It’s great that you’re here!
Start with the customer
We need to 1st define our niche. Then, within that niche, we want to create our ideal customer.
This is what we want to know:
- What is their age range?
- Are they primarily of one gender?
- Is their income in the low, medium or high range?
- Would they really love this product, and leave great feedback?
- What do they not like about the products currently in the market?
- Will the buyer buy just one unit today, or be back in the future for more?
It’s important to know this. We want to know exactly who we’re selling to. We want to know what they like, and don’t like.
Product idea example
For example, I’m going to use men’s corporate socks. These are the corporate socks with cool, funky yet sophisticated designs. They’re quite popular here in Australia’s corporate crowd.
I’m a man, and this is a product I would buy, so it’s easy for me to provide you with an insight.
- They range in age between 30 and 50 years old
- My customer will likely be male, though some wives will buy for husbands
- Their income is in the medium to high range, though predominately high
- They will love this product, if I can bring some excellent designs to the market
- Upon researching my competitors on Amazon, some men have found the socks to be itchy
BONUS: Socks is a product that the average customer won’t buy one of. It’s not often we buy 1 pair of socks, we generally buy a few together. So this customer may purchase a few pairs in the one transaction. Great news for me!
I would want to expand to several different unique styles and colours over time. Same sock – different design patterns. And if they like them – they’ll be back in 6 months for more!
Running the numbers
From here, I want to run the numbers. Briefly, I would look on Alibaba to see what factory prices are out there. I’d also consider Australian suppliers. There happens to be quite a few, particularly in Victoria, that manufacture men’s corporate socks. The ‘Made in Australia’ logo can be a real winner in the US.
The numbers you’ll find on Alibaba are just to be taken as a guide. At this stage, I’m just looking at a ‘back of envelope’ calculation. I could look at dozens of products, before I find one that is profitable. By profit, I want at least 25% after all expenses.
When looking at expenses, you need to consider:
- Sample costs and shipping it to you
- Cost to have unique product design(s) created
- Unique packaging and design for that packaging
- Shipping costs and taxes from China (or anywhere) to the US
- Amazon seller fees, which can range depending on the product
Those costs and figures we’re not really going to know at this stage. So, here’s what I like to do….
I like to work on the 1/3 principle. If I can land a product out of China into the US for $10, then I should be able to retail it for $30. If I can’t, it’s not the right product. Of course, with men’s corporate socks, if I’m heading for a $15 price-point, then I need to land at Amazon’s front door for $5.
In my case of men’s corporate socks, I can fit 100 units (effectively 100 pairs, so 200 actual socks) in a large carton. Because my product is light, I can airfreight this. And even after extra freight costs, I can still be profitable.
I like products that I can airfreight, as I can get live on to Amazon VERY fast, and start making a profit. Even as a beginner, I could be selling on Amazon as early as next week.
The numbers by example
In this example, I have been quoted $270 for air freight, inclusive of fees and taxes, for my 100 pairs. My cost price from the factory was $1.90 per pair, including new packaging. Yes, it’s often more expensive to ship a product, than the actual manufacturing cost.
So my price per unit is $4.60 delivered to Amazon. I’ll sell these at the $15 mark. This is because my products are of high quality, and I choose organic bamboo, because I didn’t want my customers to have an itching problem.
Hint: I learned from my competitors 1 and 2 star reviews on Amazon about what their product problems were, and I created the solution. Super win!
Yes, Amazon will take some fees. But after all is said and done, I’m profiting about $5 per pair. I’m effectively doubling my money on every sale. I’d like to do 1,000 sales per month, at $5 per sale, to really have a profitable business.
Using Amazon-driven software
A fantastic solution that I use for research is Zonguru. It’s not cheap. In fact, selling on Amazon isn’t for cheap people. I’m sorry – you will need some decent cash to start. So please consider Zonguru (referral link for 15% off) for your research, as that’s what real Amazon sellers like myself use.
Through this software, we can gather information on our competitors. We’ll discover:
- What they sell on Amazon
- How long they’ve been selling
- Their most profitable products on Amazon
- The amount of monthly sales $$$ they’re doing (HUGE advantage!!)
- How many photos, keywords and optimization they are using on their listing
Quite commonly, the average Amazon seller has a totally crap listing. They’ve put it up years ago, they somehow make some sales, and they think it’s all sweet. It’s where people like me, and soon, people like you, decide to jump on with the tools, resources and know-how to make it work on Amazon.
They’re sleeping ducks. We’re not the wolves, but we’re about to take quite a lot of their market share. They shouldn’t be sleeping on the eCommerce boom, especially on Amazon. Neither should you be sleeping on this opportunity either.
Places to look at products
There’s a range of places to find products. These include:
- Global Sources Direct
- Dhgate (sort of…)
Some manufacturers now have moved into the digital age, and you’ll find their websites on Google. Some are so busy, that they don’t actually have listings on Alibaba and the like.
There’s 2 types of factories out there:
- Good factories that manufacture good products that work
- Outstanding factories that manufacture for the big brands
We really want the factories that manufacture for the big brands. They’re outstanding, with high quality and excellent detail. Your customer is unlikely to know that your product even came from China, with these sort of standards.
The good news is that all worldwide shipping records are available online, and I’ll be able to direct you exactly how to find those brands and where they’re manufactured. This is a bonus, only offered to my readers here, if you purchase an Amazon course that I recommend.
Currently it’s only offered to students who join through my referral links to either Amazing Selling Machine or Reliable Education. I do not offer it to Sophie Howard students, or students of any other course. Sophie Howard is a great teacher, but is associated with a not-so-great company.
Further places to find products
There’s other places that you can source products. This is in person, at one of the many trade fairs. These include:
- The Canton Fair (world’s largest) which is run twice yearly
- ASD Market Week in Las Vegas, Nevada. This is primarily for wholesalers
- The home, gift and fashion fairs run in Hong Kong
- Trade Fairs in Australia, though this is primarily to generate product ideas
Between the sites listed, and the trade fairs mentioned, you’ll have a MEGA library of sources to look up. You’ll be able to find 99% of the products out there between these two avenues.
Countries to source from
There’s a range of countries to source from. Many teachers are recommending China, and that’s what I recommend too. They manufacture 80% of the goods for the world, and are of high quality. Most things you own right now, including the phone in your hand or the keyboard on your desk, came from China.
There’s some others though:
- Taiwan (less quality than China)
There are inspection services that cover all of those countries. That is, once your product is ready, they’ll check it all for quality. This ensures that your factory has provided you the quality you expected from Day 1.
Discovering product ideas
This is a common question “How do I find a product?”. I would reply, with find products that you generally like. Things that you’re interested in. Go shopping.
I’ve found great product winners through walking in shopping centres. Browsing on eCommerce stores. Even looking at random categories on Amazon. I’ve found products I never knew existed, with a massive market of buyers willing to pay up.
The easy part is finding a product actually. The more challenging part is the steps involved to get that product from China to the US. It’s not so easy, and as I’ve mentioned on my blog many times, but it’s possible. If you’re willing to work.
I highly recommend a course, so that you won’t get stuck. You’ll get the complete blueprint. One where you’ll learn what to do at each stage, because there’s 101 steps involved.
Plus, if you join either of the 2 courses I recommend, I actually give you 1,000+ product that I have personally found! I can’t personally launch 1,000 products, or even 100, so use this to your advantage. Consider that some of the work has been done already.
Summary and next steps
I hope this guide has helped you. To really give you some ideas of the tools, strategies and ideas to get yourself moving. It’s 700% easier to learn through a course, where they walk you step-by-step through the process. Every single stage is covered in greater detail.
I look forward to seeing you start, grow and enjoy the benefits of becoming on Amazon seller. It’s not easy , and you will be challenged, but I assure you – the work is worth it!
See you on the other side! And feel free to take my men’s corporate socks research further if you want… 🙂
By the way, I’ve written the 2nd step in the series. You’ll find it in this link here.
Onwards and upwards!