Million dollar question 😉 Obviously I won’t be able to tell you exactly what I am selling. But I do have a set of guidelines influencing my decisions.
New sellers are typically restricted in some categories. Examples of restricted categories are Grocery, Health & Personal Care, Beauty, etc.
You want to give those a miss when you first start out.
And yup, I’m still gated in those 🙁
There is no such thing as the “most profitable” category. There are opportunities in all categories. You just need to find it!
Best Sellers Rank or Sales Rank
I try to stick to top 1% of each main category. Do not get the main categories confused with the subcategories. Main categories are highlighted below in the black box.
If you click on any of the main categories, all the sub categories will be displayed below the main. Sub categories are highlighted in the black box.
To check the Sales Rank/Best Sellers Rank/BSR) of a product, click on the product listing to go into the product page itself.
Scroll down and you will find it somewhere in the middle of the listing.
In this example, “Appliances” is the main category.
Sometimes I do sell up to top 5% or even 10% of main category. BSR is a snapshot, and it changes periodically. Use it for reference only. There is more than just BSR when it comes to deciding what to sell.
To get sales, you will want the buybox. FBA sellers and Amazon will get priority when it comes to the buybox.
And why do you want to get the buybox? Refer to this screenshot below.
If you are getting the buybox, your listing will appear in the highlighted black box. In this case, the seller getting the Buybox is “Best Filter”.
Most customers purchase by clicking on “Add to Cart”( Highlighted in Red). The seller who is in the black box, gets their item added to cart, hence resulting in a sale. In this case, “Best Filter” gets the sale.
If you are not getting the Buybox? You fall under “Other Sellers on Amazon” (Highlighted in blue). Ask yourself, how many times did you actually click on that option while shopping on Amazon?
To determine the odds of you getting the buybox, you need to know many FBA sellers are there on that listing.
Also, is Amazon selling on that listing too?
Obviously, you want to stick to listings with little FBA sellers. And preferably one which Amazon is not selling on.
Generally, the lowest FBA priced item will win the buybox. If there is more than one seller at that price, you share it.
The catch : Amazon doesn’t always share the buybox. Even if you price it lower than them!
I usually go for ROI of more than 40%, and preferably more than $4 profit in terms of dollar value. I like to have wiggle room to price the item lower if needed.
Unless the sales rank is really good. Then I will take a lower ROI if it is a fast mover. But personally, nothing less than $2 in profit per item.
Other things to take note
Clothing and shoes generally have a higher return rates than other categories. You might want to factor that into your bottom line.
Items more than 18 inches on the longest side is classified as over-sized by Amazon and will cost more in fees.
I stay away from items which are fragile. Example : ceramics, statues, glassware.
You may wish to stay away from items with too many moving parts as well, since that could be easily damaged in transit. Also, if the item is missing one piece, it would be hard to tell.