If you’re planning to sell on Amazon, you’ll know that choosing the right product to launch is a critical contributor to your success on Amazon.
With incredible product research tools at your disposal, especially with Jungle Scout’s sales estimator, it’s now easier than ever to make data-driven decisions on choosing a product to sell on Amazon.
We’ve covered product research techniques for Amazon FBA extensively in this guide, but there’s always a recurring question that arises whenever someone starts the product research process, especially for the first time.
“What is the criteria for product research in Amazon FBA?”
After all, even the most powerful software would be useless if you don’t know the metrics to look for when it comes to analyzing data from Jungle Scout.
While we can assume that every seller is looking for high demand, low competition products, a precise parameter would take all of the guesswork out of product research. This way, you are doing your research methodically, significantly reducing any room for error.
That is exactly what we’ll cover in this guide, where we’ll give you the precise numbers to look out for so that you can shortlist the results from Jungle Scout quickly and efficiently.
Before we dive in to the product research criteria, you should know that there are certain types of products that you should never sell on Amazon.
Important: Don’t sell these items!
When selling on Amazon, certain types of items are absolutely not viable despite looking like a promising option initially. These items will usually have favourable metrics, but other factors will potentially cause serious issues down the line.
In a nutshell, we’re looking for a safe, simple, and small items to sell on Amazon. With Amazon’s maturity as a marketplace, there are a ton of rules to abide by, and selling anything risky will put your entire Amazon business at risk.
Let’s go through the types of products that you must avoid.
1. Anything powered by a battery or requires power
This pretty much rules out all electronic devices. The reason we want to avoid this is that you’ll need tons of documentation and approval from Amazon to sell anything battery-powered or requires a power supply, which can be potentially hazardous during shipping.
2. Anything that is consumable, or has chemicals.
Consumables would require some form of approval from the FDA, which is an arduous process to deal with. Examples of such products would be supplements, pet food, skincare, hair gel, and so on.
3. Fragile Items
These items can easily break during shipping or even arrive damaged. If Amazon receives your products will less than ideal durability, you’ll risk having your shipment rejected if they deem it not fit for the FBA service. There’s also the concern that it might be damaged when in transit from Amazon’s warehouses to the end customer, which increases the risks of negative reviews.
4. Prohibited Items
There’s a long list of explicitly prohibited items on Amazon, but here are a few of the most important ones:
- Pornographic or sensuality products
- Plants/animal parts
- Tobacco products (including e-cigarettes)
Check out Amazon’s own documentation on prohibited items here.
5. Odd sized / heavy Items
For obvious reasons, heavy or large items would increase our shipping costs significantly. Don’t go for anything that weighs more than 1 lbs, or 450 grams.
You’ll also want to avoid products with abnormal sizes to avoid being placed in the ‘Odd Sized Items’ category on Amazon FBA. This basically means that one side of the product is abnormally longer than the other dimensions. An example of this would be an umbrella.
This will cause some complexity during shipping and drive up our FBA costs significantly.
Another key thing to look for is if the item is hard to put a box around, or when boxed, it contains a lot of ‘empty space.’ These types of products would unnecessarily consume a lot of space.
A perfect example of this would be a lampshade.
6. Complex / Difficult to understand products
We would also disregard anything that has moving parts, or has lots of cogs or parts. On top of that, we’d also stay away from products that require complex construction, or if the product is difficult to operate.
Ideally, the customer should know exactly how the product works without a manual.
Complex products are more likely to fail or cause high return rates if the consumer can’t figure out how to operate it.
A great litmus test for this is to simply ask yourself: If I gave this product to my mom/dad, would they know exactly how it works within 30 seconds of examining it?
7. Replacement Parts
What we don’t want to do is to sell a part for a popular item. Think printer toners, for example.
If the printer company decides to discontinue the printer, the demand for our item will vanish overnight.
8. IP Infringement
This is an issue that Amazon does not take lightly. Stay away from anything related to huge established brands or copyrighted material. Examples of these would be Mickey Mouse keychains or Batman socks.
We’d also like to stay away from anything that is patented/trademarked/copyrighted. Chances are, if an item is IP protected, it will be stated in a competitor’s listing.
9. Generic, high competition products
Our ideal product has to be something somewhat niche so that it doesn’t have too much competition, which means there is plenty of room for us to come in and differentiate and add value to the product.
Products that are too competitive will be extraordinarily hard to rank for and isn’t worth our time. Some examples would be clothing, iPhone cases, power banks, cables, shoes, caps, and so on.
Now that we’re fully clear on what you should never sell, let’s explore what you’ll want to look for in your Jungle Scout results.
What are we looking for?
Simply put, we’re looking for a keyword that shows us a favourable search results page. For example, if ‘yoga mat’ is our golden product, then the search results for yoga mat would have to meet all of our criteria.
This can be done by using the Jungle Scout Chrome extension, where the sales estimator pop up will show several crucial metrics that will help us choose our products. Alternatively, you can also use these metrics in the Jungle Scout Web App to get a list of products that fits these criteria.
First, we want to look at the price. You want to sell products between $15 to $25.
This is because if you go below $15, the profit margins get very slim after Amazon takes their cut, and above $25, customers are less likely to make impulse buys on a brand they don’t know.
Look at the top 10 results of the search listing and ensure that at least half of them are between $15 and $25.
If 3-4 listings out of the top 10 falls outside this range, don’t be too concerned – give it a 10-15% buffer.
• Best Sellers Rank
On Amazon, each listing is given a score called the Best Seller’s Rank, or more commonly known as BSR that is indicative of its sales velocity. The fastest-selling product in a given category will be ranked #1, so the lower the score, the better.
You can usually find a listing’s BSR at the bottom of the listing, under the ‘Product Information’ section, as shown below.
The BSR can fluctuate a lot, especially for scores that exceed 20,000. This is because the score takes into account so many different factors other than just the number of sales per day. It’s actually highly influenced by recency of sales, sudden spikes in sales, and much more.
While we don’t need to know everything about BSR, what we’re looking for is approximately half of the listings shown on the Jungle Scout Sales Estimator to have a score of less than 20,000.
We also don’t want the BSR score to be too low, as that would mean you’d need to be the top seller to capture that product’s sales volume. For this, we also don’t want more than half of the products to have a score of less than 1,000.
This is quite straightforward; it’s simply the number of units of a listing that’s being sold. Needless to say, the higher this number is, the better.
We want the top 10 results to have a combined sales of more than 3,000 units per month. Ideally, we’d also like to see spread out sales across listings on the first page, and not being dominated by 1-2 listings.
If the sales are concentrated in 1-2 or listings, and they account for more than 80% of the sales volume, you can ignore this product, as you probably won’t capture any sales volume even if you managed to push it to page 1 on the search results.
This is going to be the most important metric that you should pay close attention to. While this is simply derived from the number of sales by the price of the product, it can be bloated from listings with high prices.
What we’re looking for are products with half of the top 10 listings to bring in around $10,000 in revenue.
The revenue metric on Jungle Scout will fluctuate a lot, so give some leeway in analyzing this metric. Anything above $8,000 would suffice, but ideally, we’d like to see half of the listings hit 5 figures.
Most people tend to buy from listings that have good reviews, so that’s why we can use it to gauge competition. Listings with too many reviews might be too hard for a new seller yourself to compete with, so we’re looking for a low number of reviews in the top listings.
For this, we’d like to see at least 1 listing in the top 10 with less than 100 reviews, and 1-2 listings with less than 200 reviews.
This makes it more feasible for newcomers like us to catch up.
If the search results contain more than 3-4 listings with more than 500 reviews, the competition will be too tough, and you’ll want to skip this product.
The rule of thumb here is, the lower the reviews overall, the better.
An example of what you’re looking for
Let’s have a look at a real example on Amazon on what a great product idea looks like.
In this case, the keyword is ‘spot markers.’ Simply enter this search term on Amazon and pull up the Jungle Scout Chrome Extension to see the results.
Let’s break down these results to see why it passes all of our criteria.
✔️ Price: Most of them are between $15 and $25. Only 3 of them are outside this range.
✔️ Rank (BSR): Most of the listings are under 20,000, and none of them are under 1,000.
✔️ Sales: There’s definitely more than 3000 monthly sales combined here, and there’s a nice spread across the listings.
✔️ Revenue: Exactly half of the listings are doing more than $10,000 with another 2 that are just shy of $10,000.
✔️ Reviews: These results are totally in our favor, with extremely low reviews in the top 10.
With these metrics, you’ll be covering all the bases when it comes to launching a product to compete in this niche.
You’ll have enough profit margins with the right price, the sales rank isn’t too competitive but still has healthy demand, and the sales volume means that you stand a good chance in generating a lot of revenue when you get your listing ranked. You’ll also be able to realistically catch up to the top listings in terms of reviews, which is a huge factor in the perceived legitimacy of your product.
With the right metrics in place, you’ll be able to find a viable product to sell on Amazon easily. As you conduct more product research over time, looking for these metrics should be second nature, where you’ll be able to tell which products are a good fit with just a glance.
For more guides on building an Amazon FBA business, check out our guide on product research techniques for Amazon here. Also, check out our detailed guide to the Jungle Scout Chrome Extension here to learn more about interpreting the data from the Chrome Extension.
Bernard currently works full-time as a growth hacker and content researcher for HUSTLR. When he was studying in the US 2 years ago, he flipped Yeezys on eBay as a side hustle to fund his degree and living expenses. He’s currently working on his Amazon FBA business & dropshipping on the side.