Finding the right products to sell plays a leading role in your success as an online seller. However, you also need to know where to find those products. In this post, I will be looking at how to source products to sell on Amazon.
You can adopt several business models when you decide to sell on Amazon, but since I went down the private label route, this will be my focus in this article.
Let’s get into it.
How to Source Products to Sell on Amazon?
As you may already know, private label is when you source or manufacturer products that you later add your own brand to. I will admit. Initially, it is one of the more costly Amazon business models. However, it’s also the most worthwhile, particularly in terms of profits.
So, how would you go about sourcing products for a private label business?
Find an Overseas Supplier
The first option is to use an overseas supplier for your private label products – Alibaba is one of the most popular options and one that I highly recommend.
Alibaba is even bigger than Amazon and is home to hundreds of thousands of suppliers from every category you can imagine. The platform might be massive, but their strict regulations help keep buyers safe.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t carefully evaluate potential suppliers and be aware of scams, though.
I suggest you read through my detailed guide on evaluating suppliers on Alibaba to ensure you make the best decision possible.
As a bonus, I show you how we find and negotiate with the very best suppliers in the video below.
Find a Local Supplier
If you would prefer to work with a local supplier, sourcing products is as simple as a Google search.
When searching, use the terms “private label” or “white label” to ensure you find suppliers who can manufacture products that you can brand under your own label.
With a bit of research, it’s possible to find local suppliers across multiple categories. However, if you’re hunting for something particular, you might find that your only option is an international supplier.
Remember that regardless of whether you choose a local or international supplier, you will need to buy minimum quantities and stock and ship your products.
I’d highly recommend that you look at using Amazon FBA (Fulfilment by Amazon). It will make your life a little easier; with this program, they hold your stock, and as orders come in, they send them out to your customers!
One last thing before we move onto the option of working with a manufacturer, though. Before you start sourcing products, it’s essential to find and qualify your product idea.
Why spend thousands of dollars on sourcing and branding when you’re not 100 percent sure it will sell?
Watch the below video for clear instructions on how to qualify a product idea before you begin the sourcing process:
How Do I Find a Manufacturer to Sell on Amazon?
Let’s going into a little more detail on the supplier side of things. A Manufacturer is really just another name for a supplier, although they are a specific type.
A supplier can come in many forms; your supplier might be a trading company (They will manage your order but outsource production to a factory/manufacturer). If you are working directly with the manufacturer, you won’t be dealing with any middle people; you are going straight to the source.
When you start the product sourcing process, you may discover that you can’t find exactly what you’re looking for; sometimes, you can use a trading company or sourcing agent to help you connect directly with the manufacturer.
Many international manufacturers can offer cheaper production costs (this, of course, depends on the location). However, you should also be prepared for longer turnaround times and the additional costs of freight.
You also need to spend more time researching and vetting potential manufacturing partners; a factory in China will follow very different compliance rules compared to one based in the US.
Working with a local manufacturer will give you faster turnaround times. However, production costs tend to be higher, and there’s no guarantee you’ll find a local manufacturer who can do what you want.
There are three ways that you can find a manufacturer to sell on Amazon:
- Directories. There are many excellent online directories that you can use to find both international and local manufacturers. Again, Alibaba is one of them. Other popular directories include the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, Sourcify, and AliExpress (not the same as Alibaba).
- Trade Shows. The second option is to attend trade shows in and around your area. What I really like about trade shows is that you can interact with potential manufacturers directly. What’s more, they usually have product samples available, giving you the chance to evaluate the quality.
- Word-of-Mouth. The only other way to find manufacturers is to use your professional network. If you know of any other eCommerce sellers in your network, reach out to find out whether they can provide you with any recommendations or references.
- Google Search. This is probably one of my favorite methods, it might take you some time, but there are hidden gems all over the internet.
When evaluating potential manufacturers, consider how well they communicate and how helpful they are. It also pays to do a bit of research to find out more about their reputation.
How Do I Find Profitable Items to Sell on Amazon?
Naturally, when you start searching for products to potentially sell, you want to go with what’s profitable.
There are a few ways that you can do this:
- Refer to Amazon’s Best Sellers. Sometimes, finding the most profitable products is as simple as referencing Amazon’s Best Seller area. Best Seller items are based on sales volumes and are a good indicator of where you can expect to make more money. You can also use Amazon’s Best Sellers Rank metric to determine how many sales you can expect to make on an average day.
- Read Through Product Reviews. While you’re browsing around Amazon looking at best-selling products, it also helps to read through customer reviews. What you want is that ideal middle ground – you want to find products that have good reviews but are still lacking in places. This leaves room for you to improve and make even more sales.
- Keyword Research. The other method you can use to find profitable products to sell on Amazon is keyword research. Tools such as Jungle Scout and Helium 1o will tell you what shoppers are searching for. In fact, I recommend combining keyword research with the above two methods to get the best picture of where you should be focusing.
When considering which items to sell, the physical product isn’t the only consideration.
Unit costs, tax, and duties and packaging, customization, and shipping costs all need to be considered. Then there are Amazon’s fees, too – you can find out more about what you can expect to pay here.
How Do Beginners Sell on Amazon?
The process of selling on Amazon starts with research. Before you can start setting up product listings and dreaming about profits, you need to know what you will be selling and where you will get those products from first.
I’ve created a video that will show you how to start an Amazon private label as a beginner:
When it comes to deciding on and sourcing products, take your time. If you can get this part of the process right, you can look forward to success much sooner.
If you have any additional questions about the private label business model, leave me a comment below.