How To Find The Best Products To Sell On Amazon

After reading my in-depth guide on how to start an Amazon FBA business, the most common question I get is: how do you go about choosing what to sell? What are the best products to sell on Amazon?

Well, it takes quite a lot of research but here are the basic criteria of what you should look for:

  • Items that can be sold for between £20 and £100 in the UK. Or $20 and $100 in the USA.
  • Items that aren’t too big. ≤ 45 x 34 x 26 cm in UK.  ≤ 18″ x 14″ x 8″ in USA.
  • Items that aren’t too heavy. ≤ 5kg in the UK. ≤ 10 pounds in the USA.
  • Items without too much competition. Where there aren’t a lot of items with hundreds of good reviews competing for the top spot.
  • Items that are selling well. Enough that it is worth the time to go to the trouble of competing with them.
  • Items that are simple with few moving parts.

If you’re interested in why then read on. If not you can jump straight to ‘How to Research What Products to Sell on Amazon’:

Price

Let’s start with the money because understanding pricing is hugely important for any Amazon FBA sellers. When working out how much money you’re going to make it isn’t as simple as taking the amount you paid from the amount you sell the item for. There are a bunch of costs involved.

If you don’t pay attention, you might end up selling an item for a huge markup and still make a loss. This is a pretty typical example:

  • You expect to be able to sell the item for £10.
  • It costs £2.5 per item to buy.
  • Shipping is £1.5 per item.
  • Tax and import duties are £0.5 per item.
  • Delivery to the FBA warehouse is £0.4 per item.
  • FBA fulfilment fees are £3 per item.
  • Amazon closing fee is 15% of sale price, so £1.5.
  • There is VAT which averages at 10% for £1. (note, you don’t need to pay VAT till you reach £83k of turnover in one 12 month period).
  • Despite the 4x markup, you are making a loss of £0.4 per item!

I recommend aiming for at least a 25% profit margin after all costs. That should be enough to cover the cost of returns, unforeseen expenses and still make some money.

The Amazon FBA fees can be quite complicated, but they have handy calculators which will tell you all the fees involved:

how to find the best products to sell on Amazon

You will want to check every potential item against the calculator to make sure that you are making enough money. To speed things up we can set a lower and upper limit of what items are worth our time.

Lower Limit on Price

In the UK, there is free delivery on orders over £20. Below that standard delivery costs between £3.99 and £4.75. That means it is cheaper for the customer to buy your item at £20 than it is at £17. The fixed fees and VAT make it very difficult to make a 25% margin on sales below £17. So I set my minimum price at £20.

In the USA, free delivery doesn’t start till the customer is buying $45 of items. The higher fixed fees mean it is very difficult to make a 25% margin on sales below $20. So I set my minimum price at $20.

Upper Limit on Price

We never know how well our items we are going to sell so when starting out I try to limit my exposure to new products by placing a small order to begin with. My personal limit is to spend no more than $3,000 on a first order. I believe a $/£100 max limit is sensible.

If I spend that money on a few high-priced items then I am at much more risk of losing money if there are a few returns. It will also be much more difficult to make a dent on the best-seller list and to get plenty of reviews. I believe a $/£100 max limit on RRP is sensible.

Size & Weight

Very large items cost a lot more to ship, store and fulfil at Amazon FBA. Ideally, I suggest looking for items that you can easily hold and carry in one hand.

You can go heavier but make sure to get accurate quotes for the inbound shipping to Amazon FBA as it can get very expensive very quickly.

Complexity

There is a dark side to Amazon FBA businesses. Badly designed and dangerous products.

amazon fba hoverboard catches fire amazon refund

Last year hoverboards were very popular and there were hundreds of sellers on Amazon. People who had found a factory on Alibaba selling cheap hoverboards, put their brand on it and then started selling them for a large markup on Amazon FBA.

The problem was that a lot of these hoverboards were made with non-Uk compliant plugs. They had faulty cables, chargers or plugs that could catch fire or explode. At least three house fires were caused by such devices over 10 days in October.

My advice is: if you don’t understand exactly what you’re buying and how it works. Stay well away.

Competition and Best-Seller Ranking

The best products to sell on Amazon will be those that are selling a lot but with little or poor quality competition.

We don’t know exactly how many items our competitors are selling, but we can make a pretty good guess. Amazon tells us every product’s best-seller rating, known as the BSR.

Each category has its own best-seller list, and every product is listed from 1 onwards, with 1 being the best-seller.

The following is a graphic from the paid-for product research tool Jungle Scout and shows the approximate number of items sold a day in different categories on the USA marketplace and with different BSRs.

amazon bestseller data

The graphic is just their estimates, but it gives you a rough idea (personally I’ve found them to be too low).

When we open a product’s page on Amazon you will be faced with:

best seller ratings

This product is number 4,777 in Toys & Games. Looking at Jungle Scout‘s estimates we can be pretty confident this item is selling more than 10 units a day.

It also has 103 good customer ratings. That is quite a lot, so perhaps it is not the best item to try and compete with.

best seller ratings

This product, on the other hand, is selling only slight less well, perhaps 9 units a day. But it has a very low number of reviews. A much easier product to compete with.

Ok. So now we have a rough criteria for the best products to sell on Amazon, but how do we find them among the hundreds of thousands of items for sale on Amazon? There are really only two choices:

How to Research the Best Products to Sell on Amazon

Manually

This is the way I used to do all my research. It is time intensive and hard work. But it is free and used to be the only way to find underexploited niches and the overall best products to sell on Amazon.

  • Create a spreadsheet that lists:  price, number of reviews, average review, size (small, medium, large, extra large), weight, amazon seller ranking, category.
  • Then open up the bestseller lists on the Amazon website and manually go through sub-category, adding every to the spreadsheet.
  • Filter the spreadsheet by all products that fit your criteria.

Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend it. It’s really boring and takes forever.

With a Paid-For Tool

Normally I like to give you a few different options for online tools, but when it comes to researching the best products to sell on Amazon, there is one company that is miles above all the other competition. Let me introduce you to Jungle Scout.

I must admit I hadn’t tried out Jungle Scout until very recently. I kept getting emails from readers telling me how awesome it was so eventually I gave in and signed up. Now I am kicking myself that I didn’t find it earlier. It would have saved me so many hours of work.

They have two different options: a chrome plugin and a web app. I have found the web app to be the most useful.

The starting place in the web app is the product database. It is basically a live and filled out version of the spreadsheet we spoke about creating in the ‘manual’ section.

You can easily search and filter through every product on Amazon based on the criteria I spoke about above. In the below screenshot I have filtered by:

  • Price: $20 to $100
  • Estimated Sales: 100 to 1,000 a month. Below 100 it’s not really worth the hassle. Above 1,000 is fine, but chances are there will be a lot more competition.
  • Number of Reviews: 10-20. These are listings with hardly any reviews, which means it will be easy to beat them on number of reviews.
  • Weight: Max 10lb.
  • Size: Standard.
  • Seller: Fulfilled by Amazon. We don’t want to try and compete with the products Amazon is selling themselves.

Even with those limitations it immediately filters to over 3,250 search results. There is plenty of good product options in there.

jungle scout product database search

Imagine how long that would have taken to do manually!

A cool little feature is that it tells you how much you get after all the fees. This makes it much much quicker to work through your potential products.

You can get the product database on the web app for just $39 a month. If you do your research quickly you might only need it for a month or two. Considering the amount of time it takes to do all this research manually, that is a bargain.

There is still quite a lot of manual work to be done, delving into that list, checking the other competition in the same category and searching AlibabaJungle Scout does have a more advanced feature as well called the niche hunter that aims to make it even easier for you.

The main thing I like about the niche hunter is that you’re filtering by search keywords and grouping the top 10 items in that search. With the product database, you need to go and manually compare the other similar products that are up for sale in the same category.

Here is a video from Jungle Scout to show you how the niche hunter can be used.

It is pretty awesome, but you do need to get the more expensive middle subscription that costs $69 a month. Personally, I think it’s worth it but you need to way up the pros and cons.

If you sign up for the year you get three months free. Personally, I recommend just getting the monthly subscription. It’s easy to cancel once signed up, so if you move quickly you can do all your research in one or two months and then cancel your membership once you have found your favourite/best products to sell on Amazon and they are being manufactured. Which works out much cheaper.

The web app has recently been upgraded and now works in all marketplaces (including the UK) and not just the USA.

As the USA market is the most mature and competitive I think it makes sense to start your research there. If you find something that is selling well in the USA but isn’t yet for sale in the UK, it’s a fairly good bet that it will do well in the UK market. Chances are that the best products to sell on Amazon USA will also be the best products to sell on Amazon UK.

The main thing to be careful about when comparing the two markets is using it to predict sales volume. I don’t know if this is true across the board, but I’ve found with my products items with similar sales rankings in the UK and the USA get about 4x less volume in the UK.

The chrome plugin also works on both UK and USA markets.

Once you have your short-list of the best products to sell on Amazon that fit your criteria, you can start discussing with factories on Alibaba and doing all the other steps to starting an Amazon FBA business.

Further Reading

  • Ka Hei Chan

    I am based in UK but interested in selling in US.

    One of the products I am really interested is books – new or used.

    Do you think Jungle Scout is useful for book sourcing?

    Can I source the books in Alibaba and sell them on Amazon US?

    Thanks
    KC

    • Hi Ka,

      I am in the UK and sell in US so that is very possible. But in terms of books, I am afraid I don’t know anything about sourcing them (apart from the self-publishing stuff). Sorry

      • Ka Hei Chan

        Thanks Sam. How do I sell in US if you are not living there?
        I have found a company in US that would like to supply the books. The only problem is I need someone to pick up the goods, pack and ship them to FBA warehouse. I wish there are agents doing this for me….

        • There are agents who do it for you. I use Flexport for all my international shipping. I assume they could do domestic as well.

          Google: “logistics agent” or “freight forwarder” to find companies that help you.

        • william fitzsimmons

          hi I can help with this I work for YFT Logistics in Southampton UK we handle amazon shipments to the UK and US from China or UK to USA if you need any help please to not hesitate to contact me my email is William@yftlogistics.co.uk or go to our website for more details of what we can do for you http://www.yftlogistics.co.uk
          thank you for your time
          William

  • The UK market is very different to the USA.

    A few years back OFCOM conducted research showing that the UK leads the world for online consumer spending per person, with each person spending on average £1,083 per year online, versus £842 in Australia, £747 in Sweden, £683 in Ireland, and just £620 in the USA. What’s more is that online spending in these countries is actually growing faster than the USA too.

    Another thing is that the items people in the UK buy will be very different to those in the USA. Takes sports/leisure for example. The USA will have US specific sports equipment performing well e.g. baseball gloves, hockey sticks etc.. Perhaps camping and outdoors equipment too. These are less likely to be good sellers in the UK or or Europe where outdoor activities are more limited.

    It’s just a shame Jungle Scout don’t have UK web app.

  • Watusi Boogaloo

    Congratulations on your very interesting posts. I am a professional buyer in Asia in a specific home & garden industry and I have one question: Is it really impossible to go against top leading products with hundreds or even thousands of reviews if you have a better product & better offer and you manage a couple hundred reviews for your product?

    • Yes it is possible. I recommend people start with something easy. Getting a couple of hundred reviews is very difficult without cheating. But if you have previous experience then go for it.

  • James Baldock

    Hi Sam, why do you ship to the US and don’t do FBA in the UK? We’re looking at setting up a small business in the UK doing Amazon and FBA and just looking for good info and suggestions. Cheers.

    • I use FBA in the UK and in USA and in Canada. So I ship to all three countries separately. Hope that helps!

  • Jenny Waylor

    SAM! This is wicked stuff. I’ve only been to your blog a few times, but the ideas are always so interesting. I just started getting into the Amazon FBA business and am doing product research right now. This article has been super helpful. I already picked up Amasuite though (http://getamasuite.com), do you have any experience with it?

  • Mack

    I just have one question, if you still see questions on a page this old! Why do you recommend avoiding products that have a large number of reviews?

    • Because you will need to get a lot of reviews yourself in order to compete with them. Between two similar products a customer will buy the one with the most/best reviews/

      • Mack

        Whoops, in my sleep deprived state I managed to completely misread what you had actually written! For some reason in my head I read it as saying that you should avoid selling any product that already has a large number of reviews rather than it saying that you should avoid selling a product that directly competes with a product that has a large number of reviews.

  • Alive Laugh

    Hi Guys,
    I am a freelancer. I am engage with amazon from 4 years. I have good experience about amazon policy. I can help you of your business with amazon. I can do the work below-

    * I can increase your seller ranking or can get you best seller rank and can bring your product on the top of the search page.

    Note – For increase your seller ranking I have to SEO by searching keywords and showing your product amazon top page.

    If you need any help of the service above then contact to me via Skype.

    ===========================
    My Skype ID is – ( md.pappu90 )
    Skype name MD pappu
    ===========================
    Thanks.

  • md pappu

    hi, SAM PRIESTLEY
    I really like your article because this article is very informative & well descriptive. keep continue your writing.

    A better amazon rank and sales (within 7 days ) connect my SEO team skype: md.pappu90

  • Melanie

    Hi Sam, would I need two different accounts to sell in the US and Germany, e.g.? Or is it possible to open one account and use it in both countries?

    • Do you mean for Amazon FBA or for Jungle Scout? You will need two Amazon seller accounts. One for the Americas (USA/Canada/Mexico) and one for Europe (UK/Germany/France/Italy/Spain).

      On Jungle Scout you only need one account.

      • Melanie

        Thank you! @Amazon FBA: And both accounts are independent? Means, I would have to pay monthly fees for each account, right?

  • Hi Sam thanks so much for this very detailed guide! Just one question: how do you handle returns, for instance, when you’re selling in the US? Where do the returned products go?

    • Amazon handle the returns. They normally just throw them away. If you want to control it yourself you can use an outside company to handle it for you. I’ve never used one myself but there are companies that will refurbish it for you can send back to amazon warehouse

  • Anusha Stewart

    Hi Sam
    Thanks so much for this article – very helpful. I am hoping to set up a UK seller account with a friend. Do you know if we can both use the same seller account from our houses, as there will be effectively two computers using one account? Is this ok? I have heard of suspension of accounts, and was not sure about the best way to move forward. Thanks in advance for your help.

    • There would be no problem with that. But what you should probably do is create the account in one of your names, and then grant access to the other person on their own email address. Or set up a business and create the account in the business name.

  • George Turner

    Hi Sam,

    Love the blog – helped me massively getting started with Matched Betting and I am now trying my hand at FBA.

    I have designed my product and am shipping it to the States via Flexport. They will obviously handle the importing and customs taxes etc. for my but I am wondering about post sales taxes. I’m based in the UK right now so I’m assuming that I would be expected to pay Tax on any profits here in the UK and then VAT if I make over £83K in a year. I am not currently registered as a business while I am still getting off of the ground. Is that correct in your experience or are there other costs that I need to pay in the States or in the UK that I have missed?

    Cheers!

    • Hi George, I am not an accountant so this is only my understanding. You don’t need to register for VAT in the UK until you have £83k of sales in the Europe region. You will never need to pay VAT on sales outside of Europe. Some European countries have lower limits where you’d need to register in their country as well, but it is unlikely you will hit them for a long time. You can Google European distance selling VAT thresholds.

      In the USA it is pretty complicated and murky and the law is a complete mess. Each state has it’s own sales tax law and threshold. There are different understandings of it and there is pretty much no case law explaining what is right.

      Either:
      – you don’t need to register for sales tax as you are consigning your stock to Amazon and it is their responsibility.
      – you need to register for sales tax in the state where you send the inventory (probably california) and pay sales tax there. You are then consigning the stock to Amazon and it is their responsibility from then on.
      – you need to register and pay sales tax in every state where you hold stock.

      I have spoken to accountants all who have a different opinion. I recommend you speak to one yourself. Check out taxjar for automating it.

      • George Turner

        Perfect thank you for the reply – thats pretty comprehensive. I will look into tax jar.

        On top of any potential VAT, as I will initially be operating essentially as a freelancer, do you know whether I will still pay income tax here in the UK or elsewhere?

        I don’t know if you have much experience of that as I know you mentioned you had registered as a business..

        • You will need to pay income tax in the country you are resident in (UK in your case). You will need to register with HMRC as self-employed. You can do it online

          • George Turner

            Hi Sam,

            Thanks so much for your help before – my business if now up and running – can’t thank you enough for laying everything out on here!

            I wanted to get your opinion on getting paid through Amazon itself – transferwise has been the best way for me to save on conversion fees for paying suppliers but I wondered if you had found away around losing out due to Amazon’s own currency converter when you get paid.

            I have a USD currency account in the UK but Amazon make it very difficult as they will only pay UK accounts in GBP. I recently found this site https://www.currenciesdirect.com/en/ who act as an intermediary but their fees still seem pretty high.

            Always useful to get the input of someone who has succeeded as a UK based person selling into the US!

            George

  • Redchevy9I

    Where is it you buy these stuff to sell on amazon? You never mentioned that in the first place.

    • Most people source from factories in China or other third world countries. Alibaba is a good place to start looking for a factory. Or you can just look on the packaging of a product you like, find the factory and contact them directly.

      Check this post out for more info:
      https://www.arbing.co.uk/amazon-fba-business/

  • Sam Greensted

    This post was really helpful, thanks Sam.

  • Total Grit

    Hi Sam! I am an absolute beginner in terms of selling on Amazon..Would you recommend to invest in Amazon FBA and Jungle Scout when you are just starting out ? Also which seller account: Individual or Professional?

    • You should use an indiviudal seller account until it works out cheaper to upgrade. I think that is when you hit 30 sales a month. I think jungle scout is great and recommend it.

      • Total Grit

        Thanks Sam!