Amazon and e-commerce expert Katharyne Shelton shares her hottest tips for Amazon sellers: trade show product selection, using the “N.E.S.T.” formula, trendspotting and social media tools — AND Amazon Custom!
This past March, I attended (and spoke at) the ASD merchandise trade show and, as always, came away with a ton of revenue-inspiring product ideas and new vendor partnerships in a lot of different categories. You can too!
Here are my revenue-generating tips for Amazon (and all online sellers) in a nutshell:
- Go to high-margin merchandise trade shows to source product and create vendor relationships.
- Use the N.E.S.T. approach to find the perfect Amazon-ready product.
- Search Google to see what products are trending.
- Create your own content to generate product sales.
- Get on the Amazon Custom train!
Building relationships was key for many Amazon sellers I spoke to at ASD. Many of them, just like you, emphasized the success that came from strong connections with vendors (this is also why trade shows are so important).
Another big advantage of shopping at a trade show versus via a catalog or a website is that you can physically touch the product, get a feel for its quality, and better assess whether you think it will sell in your venue.
Trade show vendors used to be hesitant to work with Amazon and marketplace sellers, but that has changed rapidly in the last couple of years.
The megatrend towards small batch manufacturing, lower minimums, rapid product testing, and private-label partnerships have turned this around almost completely.
My advice to experienced Amazon sellers when approaching vendors at a trade show is to clearly convey the wealth of positives a partnership with you can provide, including:
- Using Sponsored Product adverts on the Amazon platform to draw more eyes to the product line.
- Sharing products on social media to build buzz and grow a fanbase.
- Bundling related products together into unique gift sets, baskets, and collections. This strategy offers more selection and value to customers while reducing direct competition from other sellers, preventing price wars and erosion.
- And of course, “front line” market research and rapid product testing — this means connecting with customers and gathering feedback and reviews in real-time to offer back to the vendor.
Barbara Boschen, founder of CoMerchant listing software for Jet.com, underpinned the value of working with vendors at a trade show like ASD:
“I found a new vendor who is going to help me in a big way with my shipping costs. In addition, I found new product, products for bundles, and even got some new ideas for custom items.”
Great trade show vendors are increasingly offering next level options like unique packaging, branding, and private label. This means Amazon sellers can offer exclusive branded products in their stores.
Are you an Amazon or Marketplace seller looking for amazing products at incredible margins? Get your free ticket here to ASD Market Week and meet your ideal vendor-partners in person!
N.E.S.T. – What Makes the Perfect Product to Sell on Amazon?
Now that you’re armed with your unique value proposition as an Amazon seller, it’s time to narrow it down to the acronym N.E.S.T. when concepting and sourcing your products to sell.
Does this product meet a particular Need?
Does it have an Emotional hook?
Is it Seasonal?
Is it Trending?
I would also add how important it is these days to be Unique — with your product approach and your product marketing.
Going the Extra Research Mile With Content + Keyword Research
While I was at ASD I was intrigued by the number of pool-related items in anticipation of the summer season, particularly pool inflatables. The first thing I did back at my hotel was a little market research with Google Keyword Planner — these products are certainly of interest!
What’s more, the Keyword Planner also has the option to suggest related terms. For example, a preliminary search of “pool float” told me that the most popular related search terms are “swan float,” “pizza float,” and “flamingo float.”
I suggest using the following tools to see what products and content are trending:
Soovle auto-completes a search entry across all of the main search platforms — just begin typing!
Google Shopping Trends allows you to explore the popularity of products across the U.S.
I also have a Chrome extension called Keywords Everywhere, which superimposes search volumes over Keyword Planner.
We can then follow up with the free visualization tool AnswerThePublic to discover the kind of questions people are asking about the topic of “inflatable pool toys” and we learn that “How to repair inflatable pool toys” and “How to store inflatable pool toys” are frequently asked questions on Google.
Create Your Own Content to Attract Product Interest
Combine your newfound product plus content insights to create your own content around the hot product you’re now selling. An easy starting point for a blog post is always:
“10 things you always wondered about ____ but were afraid to ask” — or even better, upload a YouTube video that can provide answers for curious Googlers and also be a wonderful promotion, directing interested customers to the product you’re selling.
Facebook Live and Instagram Stories are also great ways to publish video cheaply and easily.
As an Amazon seller and marketer, being willing to develop this kind of social media and content commitment to a brand can build trust and powerful relationships with vendors.
Pro Tip: Small Is the New Big
One way to supercharge your revenue — and decrease your risk — is to deal with smaller items that are easier to ship.
Amazon recently launched its Small and Light Program, which offers enticingly low fees for sellers shipping lightweight products valued under $10.
The popularity of small items with sellers also means less competition, and therefore more opportunity for those who are willing to deal with bulkier products.
The good news here is that, by using Amazon’s Fulfilment by Amazon program, sellers receive deeply discounted shipping to Amazon’s warehouse and their customers are offered free shipping with Prime.
Sellers can also determine profitability on products using Amazon’s own FBA revenue calculator.
Amazon Custom! Personalization as Your Key to Driving Sales
By now you’ve figured out the criteria for hot-selling Amazon and/or Marketplace product and settled on your strategy to talk to — and partner with — vendors at a trade show.
And Now for The Really Exciting Stuff: Amazon Custom!
Without a doubt, Amazon Custom is one of the most exciting opportunities on Amazon’s platform this year. This simple add-on to Amazon’s existing marketplace means sellers can offer both text and image personalization options on products in almost any category in which they are approved to sell.
From sneakers to breadboards to candy, sellers can configure listings with Custom so that customers have the chance to add their name or photograph for a truly unique gift.
Manufacturers and vendors who offer the option to embroider, emboss, or engrave products are likely to see a lot of interest from Amazon sellers in the coming year.
Recently launched from beta, Custom is currently accepting new seller applications, so it’s worth jumping on board while the gates are open!
A Key Tip for Amazon Custom Sellers: Don’t make customers think! When faced with a blank T-shirt, mug, or doggy bed, customers will freeze, so you need to do the work.
Another way to stay on top of Amazon trends?
Follow ASD on Instagram and Facebook throughout the year to see the latest product and retail marketing trends.
ASD’s free educational track for internet merchants ensures your travel dollar goes even further: you’ll learn tips to broaden your social media skills, communicate with a wider audience, and thus grow your client base and your business.
Katharyne Shelton is a leading Amazon, e-commerce, product development and marketing expert. Over 1000 sellers have taken her Create and Curate courses, learning to create successful product listings on Amazon.com. She also heads the popular private label and product creation group Blue Sky and the 16,000+ member reseller group, “Treasure Hunting with Katharyne.”