This article is not a list of the best items to sell on Amazon. It is a guide to helping you find the best product to sell on Amazon. A list of popular items is not going to help you win on Amazon since what is popular changes on a monthly basis.
Instead, this article helps you understand the many facets to selling on Amazon, including what makes something a successful product, what makes a seller successful, and some advice on what sells the most on Amazon. This article is not a ready meal for quick bucks: it is a recipe book for success.
Finding Products to Sell on Amazon: Problems to Keep in Mind
The Pragmatic Place to Start
If you are looking at things from a purely pragmatic and middle-to-long-term view, then the best items to sell on Amazon are things you can produce and continually reproduce. If you are just starting out, then you need to find things you can continually reproduce and sell without it costing you too much.
The Knitting Problem
Your product needs to be both of a high quality and something that people want. The knitting problem is that some people knit amazing pieces of clothing and art, and despite their very high quality, they do not sell (even on Etsy) because there is not a big enough demand for them.
The Plants Problem
If you are looking for high quality products that you can reproduce again and again, then plants, flowers, saplings, and seeds are a great option. However, despite the fact that you may produce a fantastic product, you are going to have a hard time selling them. Plants would be one of the best things to sell on Amazon if it were not for the fact that most of them die in transit. Even seeds and saplings are vulnerable during transit.
What About Warehouse Products from China?
If you are looking into making money on Amazon, and you are searching for the best products to sell on Amazon, then you have probably come across the YouTube videos and articles claiming that cheap warehouse goods are the way to go. This could not be further from the truth. Hundreds, and maybe thousands, of independent and chain retailers are buying those cheap bulk-buy products from warehouses. The prices are so appealing that it is difficult to see how you could make a loss. A few cents for a potato peeler seems amazing? And bulk buying compost at such a low price seems like such a great deal, but the problem is that there are too many other people doing the same.
In order to compete with the scandalously low prices other people are offering, you are going to have to go even lower. The tools at your disposal you have to make your sales are prices, delivery times, and delivery charges, and no matter how much you lower your prices, you will not be able to compete with other people. Plus, even if you do make a few sales, your profit margins will be so thin that just a few people claiming their product didn't arrive will cost you a week's profits.
Here Are the Five Facets to Remember When Selling on Amazon
It is going to be up to you to decide what to sell on Amazon. The previous paragraphs should give you some idea as to the problems you are going to face, but here they are summarised anyway.
1. Something You Can Produce and Reproduce
We have all felt the giddy thrill of selling our old stuff on Amazon and eBay, but your old stuff runs out, and much of it simply will not sell. You need something you can produce on your own.
2. It Must Be of a Very High Quality
It sounds obvious, especially when there is so much low quality rubbish on Amazon, but it is the bigger businesses that can get away with selling cheap breakable junk. You need to sell high quality products in order to compete.
3. It Must Be in Demand
Again, this sounds obvious, but there are plenty of people on Amazon that have fantastically high quality products that simply do not sell because the demand is not high enough. Plus, frustratingly, people will often opt for the lower-priced lower-quality product because they do not know any better.
4. Cheap Buying Prices Do Not Mean Better Profits
If you are bulk buying and you are not filling warehouses with your stuff, then you are going to lose out to those who buy in bigger bulk. Lower buying costs may be tempting, but you are often competing with people who can sell for even cheaper and your profits will be razor thin.
5. Getting Your Product to the Customer Safely Is a Big Problem
It is not just about plants. What if you were selling art, sculptures, or concrete garden ornaments. In some cases, getting them to the customer safely is very difficult, and in many cases, the delivery costs for heavy items cost more than the actual item itself.
Finding Products to Sell on Amazon: What About Second-Hand Stuff?
The problem with this method is not that it will not work, because some people succeed rather well at this, but is more about how to find products to sell on Amazon. Doing the second-hand thing on a long-term basis is very difficult for many reasons.
Firstly, there are many other people making a living selling second-hand stuff on eBay and Amazon, which means things like house clearance bidding and bulk-buy bidding has a lot of competition. Secondly, everything you buy is a complete 100% risk. You do not know if the toys you are about to buy are broken, smell, otherwise defective, and/or will not turn up when you order them. You do not know if the second-hand record with no scratches doesn't in-fact have many scratches and the seller doesn't take returns.
Thirdly, some second-hand products have a far shorter saleable life than many people understand. Something like a mobile phone will depreciate by around 70% in just one year, and even something like gold coins will go out of fashion as soon as the economy starts to shrink. Again, selling second-hand stuff on Amazon is possible, but it is a tough racket.
What About Second-Hand Collectibles and Antiques?
Now we are talking. Some people are making a fortune selling second-hand collectibles, mint-condition collectibles, and antiques on Amazon. So, why isn't everybody doing it if it is so successful?
Despite being a great money earner, there are several issues and problems that you will run into. Many times, people will buy these items from you and claim they were not delivered so they can get their money back and keep the product. Even if you have signed-for delivery, they will claim it was damaged, pull photos of damaged items from the Internet, and then make a money-back claim.
Can Be Easliy damaged
Another problem is that collectibles and antiques are very likely to face damage when they are delivered and even when they are handled. Many times people have pulled something like a comic from its package, caused a crease, massively damaged its value, and then sent it be (defective) to you for a refund.
Prices Are Available Online
Finding products to sell on Amazon can also be very difficult thanks to Google. In the old days, you would have Martin Prince's mother walk into your store and offer to sell hidden gems like the alternative ending the Star Wars for just a few dollars, but those days are gone thanks to Google. People can research the going rate for all their collectibles, so it is very difficult to get a bargain.
Items Need to Be Genuine
Another problem with collectibles and antiques is that you are often sourcing your goods from online, which means it is very difficult to tell if the item is genuine or not. Take a Wade figurine that you buy online, and then you get it home and you see the finish is cheap, meaning it is a reproduction. You get back in touch with the seller, even on Amazon and eBay, and they claim it is real and that you are trying to return a fake as a scam. You lose money and the reproducer wins again.
Profits Require Time
Yet another problem is that, like many Amazon business models, it is a very long waiting game. If you do not have the sort of money where you can invest into a product and then wait 5 years to make your 300% profit, then selling collectibles and antiques is not for you. A large part of the process is about waiting to get the right price, and some new starters on Amazon cannot afford to wait years to make their profit.
The Deal Sniper Method
Some people know how to find items to sell on Amazon through deal sniping. Probably the most classic example is the person who trails around the stores just after Christmas in order to pick up very cheap decorations, wrapping, etc., so that they can start selling them again in October the next year.
Yet, the deal sniper method can be far more complex than that yearly opportunism. For example, some people monitor mattresses all year round. Every now and again, a company will sell mattresses on very deep discounts for a short period of time. This happens for many reasons, be it new stock coming in, old stock not moving, and so forth. In many cases, they sell on deep discounts just to stimulate sales, and often to bulk up their sales numbers before the next annual report is given. Deal snipers watch these mattresses and grab them at heavy discounts. Then, they put them on Amazon at their regular price (maybe 5% less). When the mattress prices go back to normal, people see those, then they see your cheaper prices on Amazon, and they buy from you. This method works in many industries from sofas to supercars.
The eBay Sniper Method
Sometimes the best prices can be found on eBay. Sniping is simple, you wait until the last 20 seconds of an auction before putting in your bid. If you are lucky, yours will be the winning bid. Obviously, you keep an eye on the cheaper auctions and you only place a bid if the prices are still low in the closing minutes of the auction. It is a labour intensive way to find great deals and buying prices, but it is suitable for people who are already sat at their computer all day anyway.
Why Do Different Articles Claim Different Best Sellers?
If you were to pull up ten articles on best items to sell on Amazon and what sells the most on Amazon, then each article is going to say different things. One will claim that Lego is the big thing, others will claim it is cork chopping boards, and others will claim it is memory games. Why do the best sellers seem to vary so often?
The obvious answer is that buying trends change from day to day, be it because of various marketing campaigns online, and be it because of the weather, movies, pop culture and so forth. If you are part of the Amazon affiliate program, you can keep tabs on what they are promoting this month. If you are able to alter your stock accordingly, then you could ride their promotional waves in order to make your sales. At the very least, you could run concurrent promotions with the same products at better prices to take advantage of the extra effort the affiliates are going to make in selling said goods.
Plus, as a final thought, try to remember that the best-selling items on Amazon are often the ones you should avoid. If they are best-selling, then that means other people are making a killing in the category. Books may sell very well, but that is because bigger authors are selling a book per second. It doesn't mean you should go out and write your version of Lord of the Rings featuring barnyard creatures. Unless you are already established in the category, it may be best to average the very best selling categories and products and start out with something where the competition is not as fierce.