More than 20,000 Amazon Sellers worldwide surpassed $1 million in sales during 2017.
That’s the number Amazon released in its first ever Small Business Impact Report this May. While the figure might sound like there are a lot of people making more than a million dollars by selling products on Amazon, it’s important to keep in mind that there are millions of Amazon sellers worldwide. So, at the most, 2% of all sellers reach the million-dollar sales status.
Still, hundreds of thousands of small businesses are turning to Amazon to sell products each year. More than 300,000 small to medium-sized businesses started selling on Amazon in 2017, according to the report.
The competition is fierce, but there is still money to be made if sellers can differentiate themselves from the other savvy sellers vying for a piece of the ecommerce pie. One way to do that is create a brand and sell private-label products.
Instead of reselling branded merchandise on Amazon, finding generic products and then creating original branding, packaging, logos and marketing around them can be a lucrative way to make income on Amazon marketplaces across the globe.
Private-label items exist across categories and include things like Bluetooth speakers and 10-piece kitchen utensil sets. Sellers buy the generic product, but print their own logo on the product or packaging in order to market the item.
Selling private-label products takes some additional research, creativity and marketing in order to be successful since there are very few private-label products that are not already being marketed and listed on Amazon. However, there are some basic steps and tips that can help private-label sellers stand out from the crowd.
Do the research
The first thing to do when looking for a private-label product to sell on Amazon is to search current Amazon listings.
A good place to start is to look at the Amazon best-sellers rankings. This will give you an idea for what sells best. Ignore the branded products like Amazon Alexa speakers and Keen sandals, and look for lightweight, generic items that you can put your own spin on.
If you are having trouble identifying products, there is software, like Helium 10 and Jungle Scout, that identifies the best product ideas for sellers.
Once you’ve identified a product, the next step is to look into how other sellers have listed the product. The important things to keep in mind are price, number of reviews, quality of listing and best-sellers rank.
Good private-label products to get into have a price point between $10 and $40, a low number of reviews on current listings, low quality on current listings, and rank less than 1,000 on the bestselling list.
It is also important to look at the number of listings selling the same private-label product. If there are pages and pages of the same private-label product from different sellers, if might be hard to crack into that market. If you find a product that has a quality listing, great marketing and tons of positive reviews, but it isn’t on the first page of the search results that could be a red flag, too.
However, if you start to see other products that are irrelevant on the first or second page of the search results, that is usually a good sign that competition isn’t as tough.
As far as price, make sure that the competition isn’t already priced so low that you would have trouble making a profit as a newcomer. This comes into play more in the next step: finding a supplier.
Find a supplier
It’s more than likely that in order to find a cost-effective supplier for a private-label product, you’ll need go overseas.
Searching Alibaba is a good way to find a supplier to reach out to directly. Sellers can also order from shopping site AliExpress to buy from wholesalers at a low price. The benefit of AliExpress is that you can buy only a few items to start in order to test the market before ordering large quantities directly from a foreign supplier.
If you do go directly to the manufacturer, make sure to negotiate on the price and the minimum quantity. As a first-time buyer they may allow you to order less than their listed minimum quantity.
Once you have a quote from the supplier, estimate the margin you will make on the product. If you order 300 units at $2 each ($600) and sell them for $4 each, you’ll earn a $2 gross profit or 50% margin (gross profit / revenue).
Most experts say you should look for products that will give you at least a 40% margin. Of course, this is not factoring in Amazon fees, marketing costs, etc., but it’s a good way to roughly determine if the product is good to pursue.
If you decide to move forward with the product, when paying the supplier, you can use WorldFirst’s award-winning international payments technology to pay in the local currency and avoid exchange-rate markups.
Market better than the rest
The biggest way to make your private-label product stand out is through a quality listing and excellent marketing.
This consists of branding as well as a listing with quality photos, descriptions, measurements and headline.
In order to build your brand, you’ll need a name, logo, packaging and maybe even a website.
If you are not a graphic designer, you can hire someone on a site like Fiverr to create a logo you can give to the supplier to put on the product and packaging. While having a website may seem counterintuitive to selling on Amazon, having a professional landing page gives credibility to your listings.
Sign up for FBA
Using Fulfillment by Amazon is an easy way to ship products to customers once your listings are live.
Essentially, sellers ship their products to Amazon warehouses where the product is stored. When an order comes through, sellers submit the order on Seller Central and Amazon preps, packs and ships the product to the buyer.
For more on the FBA process and how it can help ecommerce sellers, particularly those entering a new market, check out our WorldFirst e-selling guides.
Once your account is fully set up and your products are ready to ship, launch your listings.
However, the marketing doesn’t stop there. As mentioned at the beginning of this article, competition is stiff. Get creative and think of ways to get your private-label product to stand out.
One strategy is to create a product bundle, selling two complementary private-label products together in order to attract customers for the convenience of your posting.
Some sellers also choose to run “store opening” discounts in order to attract new business.
Fine tune the process
Once sales start happening, it’s important to evaluate your selling strategy, particularly the quantities of your orders from the manufacturer. If your items aren’t selling as fast as expected, adjust your shipments.
If you are selling private-label products on Amazon sites overseas, eventually you’ll need to bring those profits back home to the United States in USD. Amazon offers a service to do this for you at a fee. However, you can save money with a virtual account from WorldFirst. WorldFirst offers great exchange rates and allows sellers to bring back their earnings at a time that works for them.
Whether you are just starting to sell on Amazon U.S., venturing to an Amazon market overseas, or building a private-label business for the first time, WorldFirst offers tools and tips to unlock your global ambition.